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University of Iowa News Release


April 3, 2007

UI Spin-Out Company Wins More Funding For Lung Imaging Systems

VIDA Diagnostics, a University of Iowa spin-out company located in the UI's Technology Innovation Center, has been awarded grants totaling $200,000 by the National Institutes of Health to further develop imaging systems used in the diagnosis and detection of lung diseases.

VIDA received two Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, a highly competitive federal funding program that encourages small businesses to do research and development and then commercialize the technology. This makes four competitive SBIR awards totaling $950,000 won by VIDA in the past two years.

One $100,000 SBIR Phase I grant will help support the company's development of an integrated imaging and software analysis system for the identification of lung lobes in the assessment of lung structure and function. Identification of the lung lobes is essential in designing and planning treatments targeted toward a specific lung region. During the Phase I projects, VIDA will develop methods to identify the five lobes of the human lung in computed tomography (CT) images, including patients with incomplete tissue anatomy. This will make it possible to measure and study lung disease on a regional lobe-by-lobe basis, which should help physicians take advantage of emerging therapies for the early treatment of lung disease, said John Garber, CEO of VIDA Diagnostics.

The second $100,000 grant will fund a study to develop a tracking system to help doctors better utilize a device called a bronchoscope, which is used to examine areas of the lung that are suspected to be diseased. This instrument has a light and lens at the end of a long flexible tube, which is inserted into the patient's lungs through the nose or mouth. VIDA's study will track the tip of the bronchoscope inside the patient and display the instrument's location in a computer model of the patient's airway system created from x-ray data. This model will be visualized on a computer screen using 3-D graphics so that the physician will be able to instantly locate the position of the scope inside the patient's lungs and quickly determine how to proceed to the target area.

"This will allow greater access to areas of the lung and will greatly improve the physician's ability to diagnose and treat diseased parts of the lung," said Jenelle Ganatra, Ph.D., a senior engineer at VIDA. "For diseases, such as lung cancer, where early detection is crucial, this would significantly improve patient healthcare."

VIDA Diagnostics is based on research done at the UI and on core technology licensed from the UI Research Foundation. The company was founded by four UI faculty members: Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering, nursing and radiology; Geoffrey McLennan, M.D., professor of internal medicine; Joseph M. Reinhardt, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering; and Milan Sonka, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering. For more information on VIDA Diagnostics, visit:

The UI Research Foundation and the UI Technology Innovation Center are two of the programs in IOWA Centers for Enterprise, which integrates existing economic development activities at the UI, offers a comprehensive program that promotes economic development and technology transfer, provides assistance to Iowa startups and existing Iowa businesses and communities, and helps the state of Iowa develop a creative, entrepreneurial workforce. IOWA Centers for Enterprise optimizes the flow of University intellectual property into opportunities for licensing, commercialization and business development. For more information, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500 and VIDA Diagnostics, Inc., 100 Oakdale Campus, #231 TIC, Iowa City, IA 52242

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