InfraScan, Inc: The Infrascanner

Clinical expertise and advanced technology come together to provide the best possible care to save the brain following traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most debilitating medical conditions, as it can lead to potential lifelong complications. It is also the leading cause of death in children. The quality of treatment provided following a moderate to severe TBI is extremely important due to the way in which TBIs evolve. Traumatic brain injuries progress through several phases. The first stage is the primary injury phase. This is the damage that is directly caused by the impact or blow to head; this initial injury may be relatively small in size and have limited permanent effect on the brain tissue. The second phase is the secondary injury phase. As the brain reacts to the initial injury it goes through a cascade of changes which can result in swelling, brain bleeds (hematoma) and chemical imbalances. All of these are injurious to brain tissue. The final magnitude of injury to the brain is the combination of the primary and secondary injury. “Time lost is brain lost”. Early detection and treatment of secondary injury is critical to limit permanent brain damage. The Infrascanner handheld, hematoma detector was developed to aid clinical personal in the detection of developing hematomas. Early detection means early treatment, usually resulting in surgery for large and growing hematomas. Computed tomography (CT) scans are used to identify and track hematomas but with the addition of the Infrascanner, scans can be done frequently at the patient bedside reducing the exposure to radiation and movement of the patient yet providing clinicians with current information. This helps clinicians identify and track developing hematomas so that they can intervene in a timely manner.

Britton Chance from the University of Pennsylvania and Claudia Robertson from Baylor College of Medicine invented a Near Infrared (NIR) system for detection of brain Hematomas and tested it successfully in 305 patients at Baylor College of Medicine. An entrepreneurial team formed a company, InfraScan, Inc., around this technology in Collaboration with Drexel University. Office of Naval Research and later the Marine Corps funded the technology development. Subsequently the Infrascanner handheld brain hematoma detector was developed, winning an Excellence in Design gold award in 2007 and in 2009 the system was featured as a transformational technology in Better World Report. The company also attracted $1.8M in funding from BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania, from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and from Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation

Severe TBI has become one of the most common battlefield injuries. The newly released Infrascanner Model 2000 was developed based on input from the US Marines. A rugged, compact design was created to support the rigors of military emergency use.

InfraScan, Inc. is in the process of bringing the scanner to market throughout the world. The European CE regulatory approval was obtained in 2008 and US FDA clearance for use in hospitals on adults was obtained in 2013. With support from PPDC a study is currently underway in CHOP to expand the FDA clearance and to show the efficacy and safety of the Infrascanner in children. Infrascanner provides the unique portable solution for helping clinicians detect and treat emerging hematomas in time to limit permanent brain damage.