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Israel’s Spring Vision to detect systemic diseases, leap into space

CM 01/08/2021

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An Israeli company whose technology enables the detection of systemic diseases in just one flash will head into space in 2022 to test its artificial intelligence tool on space tourists.
Spring Vision and Sheba Medical Center announced Sunday that the company’s iCapture45, based on technology developed in the Advanced Technology Center in Sheba and conceived by international medical laser technologies expert Prof. Arie Orenstein, will participate in the upcoming mission to be taken by Israeli space traveler Eytan Stibee to the International Space Station in 2022.
According to Spring Vision CEO Noam Allon, NASA has discovered over the last decade that as many as two-thirds of all astronauts have developed a phenomenon called Spaceflight-Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) where, due to lack of pressure in a microgravity environment, the retina is “pushed forward” and the astronaut’s vision is impaired. Some of the damage corrects itself on returning to Earth, but often much of it remains. 
The experiment in space is meant to show the structural changes to the astronauts’ eyes to help determine why this happens.

Image taken using iCapture45 (Credit: Spring Vision)Image taken using iCapture45 (Credit: Spring Vision)

Spring Vision had been part of a NASA mission in 2011-2012, which encouraged Sheba to pick the company for the upcoming trip, Allon said. 
Specifically, the technology uses different wavelengths of light emitted from an array of light emitting diodes – commonly known as LEDs – to take a picture in only a tenth of a second. Interpretation of the image is done automatically, Allon explained, using proprietary algorithms.
On Earth, iCapture45 has tremendous potential for helping predict and diagnose systemic diseases. 
For decades, researchers have shown the relationship between the status of blood vessels in the retina and systemic diseases. The retina is the only place in the body where the arteries, veins and their interconnection can be seen directly and in one picture. Scientists have seen that changes in the retina can forecast different illnesses, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. 
“The huge advantage in mapping small blood vessels is that most common and severe diseases are manifested initially in bodily blood vessels, and that most systemic diseases have specific features reflected in retinal blood vessels, said Prof. Eyal Margalit, Spring Vision’s head of clinical research.
“Spring Vision’s revolutionary device enables us to detect changes in small retinal blood vessels, as warning signs for systemic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, and even neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” he said. “Thus, high-resolution imagery of retinal blood vessels provides physicians with substantial information about other pathologies in the patient’s body, using the same non-invasive capturing method.”
The technology also enables the determination of oxygen levels in retinal tissues, which is understood to be an indication of the health of other body tissues.Spring Visions' iCapture45 (Credit: Spring Vision)Spring Visions’ iCapture45 (Credit: Spring Vision)
The company has additionally received approval to carry out a small-scale, 300-subject clinical trial to map small blood vessels in Israel at Sheba Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa. It is also preparing to launch a larger, 10,000-person experiment at six hospitals in India. 
Allon said Spring Vision is also partnering with two leading centers in the United States and progressing toward approval by the Food and Drug Administration.  

Source: Jerusalem Post

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