Arthritis Imaging Device Backed by Regional Group

Cartesia Dx, a Pittsburgh-based company whose technology uses three-dimensional and thermal images to spot inflammation, is the latest startup to receive backing from a local life sciences support group. Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG), an organization that invests in emerging life sciences companies in Southwestern Pennsylvania, has invested $180,000 in Cartesia Dx, to support development and testing of a prototype for its Arthritis Imager device.

Unlike other imaging modalities, such as x-ray and MRI, the Arthritis Imager can be used in an office setting and, according to the company, poses no radiation risk and can be performed in minutes. A pilot study showed that the device’s measurements were more reproducible than physical examinations when assessing the wrist and metacarpophalangeal joints.

“Cartesia Dx meets a market need for a more precise and consistent way to diagnose and plan treatment for inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis,” said PLSG president and CEO John Manzetti, in a statement. “There is a current decline in the number of board certified rheumatologists in the U.S. and if this trend continues, more than 70 million arthritis sufferers will have a substantial need for objective ways to monitor and predict their symptoms for optimum treatment of the disease.”

And Cartesia Dx claims that since the technology quantifies swelling and warmth, it may have applications beyond arthritis, to other diseases that manifest at skin surface, such as osteoarthritis, diabetes and skin cancers like melanoma.

Cartesia Dx, which is formerly doing business under the name Arthritis Imaging, is the first commercialized company based on technology developed at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Carnegie Mellon University’s Medical Robotics Institute and the University of Pittsburgh also have contributed to the project.

PLSG was founded in 2001 to support such technologies, those which are born through collaboration among the region’s universities, hospitals and industry. The organization’s goal is to help emerging companies in Southwestern Pennsylvania build sustainable business models and secure capital investments.

Earlier this month, PLSG committed $100,000 to a cardiovascular diagnostic firm called iNTELOMED. And in May, the organization put $150,000 behind Celsense, a local company that was founded in 2005 to commercialize imaging platforms licensed from Carnegie Mellon University.

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