When the grandfather of nuclear medicine discovered its first active molecule in the 1930s, he was unlikely to have foreseen the impact for patient outcomes in the 21st century.
Saul Hertz of Massachusetts General Hospital, pioneer of the radioactive iodine cancer diagnostic, was posthumously granted a distinction by the US Congress in 2021, partly in recognition of advances in nuclear medicine over the intervening 90 years.
Modern medicine has seen nuclear pharmaceutical compounds go further to actually treat intractable disease. These days, nuclear medicine is considered a distinct medical branch from radiology imaging. Nuclear pharmaceutical compounds are administered into the patient's body to trace disease at a molecular level, allowing clinicians to visualise destructive pathogens. Increasingly, they also apply targeted radioactive materials against said pathogens.
Novel technologies increasingly mean patients can be screened and have nuclear medicines administered at a reduced cost, and with less exposure to radioactive imagery prior to the procedure. A leading technique, known as Positron Emission Tomography (PET), is among the principal means of treating cancer, along with several inflammatory diseases.
Ghent-based company Nuclivision is making further progress. With its AI-driven imaging platform, clinicians can now automate the process of identifying symptoms on PET readouts, enabling faster diagnoses without undermining their accuracy.
The startup was founded last June on the back of research by medtech entrepreneurs Gregor Strobbe, Nikos Paragios, Jean-Briac Prévost, Alex Maes, Roland Hustinx, Stefaan Vandenberghe and and Dr. Sezgin Üstmert.
Last week, Nuclivision disclosed a fundraising of undisclosed size from the Ghent VC Luminaires. While it hasn't said how much was raised, it expects to have sufficient runway to refine its PET product.
Filip Vandamme, Lumiares managing partner, commented: "We are excited to join Nuclivision on their mission for more accessible nuclear imaging and therapies.
"“Their technology has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of nuclear medicine, while also strongly reducing the radioactive exposure of patients and medical staff. It is a textbook example of how technology can create a win-win for both hospitals and patients.”