Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 14 2006

UI Spin-off Company Earns $850,000 In Grants For Disease Treatment Detection

VIDA Diagnostics, a company located in the University of Iowa's Technology Innovation Center, has earned a $750,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance an imaging system that can detect and treat lung diseases including lung cancer and emphysema.

VIDA received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, a highly competitive funding program used by the 10 largest federal agencies to fund small businesses that can meet the agencies' research and development interests. The program encourages small businesses to do research and development and then commercialize the technology. The SBIR Phase II grant was based on an earlier SBIR Phase I grant of $100,000 awarded two years ago for initial work on the imaging system.

The company also received an SBIR Phase I grant for $100,000 for a tissue classification technology called adaptive multiple feature method (AMFM) that has many potential uses in the areas of lung disease detection, early detection of emphysema and early detection of pulmonary fibrosis. The initial AMFM patent has been issued to the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) with a second patent in the works, said John Garber, CEO of VIDA Diagnostics.

VIDA Diagnostics is a UI spin-off company based research done at the UI and core technology licensed from the UIRF. The company was founded by four UI faculty members: Dr. Eric Hoffman, professor of biomedical engineering, nursing, and radiology; Dr. Geoffrey McLennan, M.D., professor of internal medicine; Dr. Joseph M. Reinhardt, associate professor of biomedical engineering; and Dr. Milan Sonka, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

VIDA develops medical imaging and analysis software for assessing lung structure and function. VIDA's software solutions, based on research conducted at the UI, aid in the planning, guidance and evaluation of various therapeutic interventions for lung diseases. VIDA's customers include researchers at pulmonary device and pharmaceutical companies as well as researchers at leading lung research centers

In particular, VIDA software capitalizes on the recent advances in lung imaging technology that provide detailed structural and functional information about lung tissue and airways. VIDA's "Pulmonary Workstation" technology uses this information to precisely locate lung abnormalities and determine pathways through the airways and lungs to access those abnormalities.

VIDA technology is likely to enhance emerging non-surgical therapies and diagnostic techniques for lung disease, including placement of therapeutic devices for emphysema and guidance of biopsy instruments through patients' airways.  The emphysema therapy, which is currently in clinical trial, is called endoscopic lung volume reduction and requires precise and efficient placement of the devices. VIDA software aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of valve placements.

"Novel, endoscopic therapies for lung disease, such as endoscopic lung volume reduction, have raised nearly a half-billion dollars of investment capital and will transform pulmonary care in much the same way that angioplasty and stents transformed the cardiology space. VIDA's procedure planning applications are an ideal extension of our world-leading lung mapping methods and we expect them to improve the outcomes of these emerging therapies as well as improving the workflow for the physician," said Garber.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012,; Program: John Garber, CEO, VIDA Diagnostics, 319-335-4740