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AMRI Mobile Stroke Unit Business Finland co-innovation initiative

AMRI MSU project is a Business Finland co-innovation project initiative by Schools of Electrical Engineering (ELEC), and Arts, Design and Architecture (ARTS) of Aalto University. The project builds on Accessible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (AMRI) research project funded by the Future Makers funding programme, which has focused on developing a low field MRI device.
Rendered image of a mobile stroke unit in a rural area, with two paramedics and a patient.

Executive brief 

AMRI MSU project is a Business Finland co-innovation project initiative by Schools of Electrical Engineering (ELEC), and Arts, Design, and Architecture (ARTS) of Aalto University. The project builds on Accessible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (AMRI) research project funded by the Future Makers initiative, which has focused on developing a low field MRI device. 

In AMRI MSU, Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) equipped with an AMRI device is developed to diagnose between ischemic stroke, Large Vessel Occlusion (LVO), and hemorrhage. The unit enables pre-hospital thrombolytic treatment for ischemic stroke, reducing time-to-care and improving patient prognosis, and speeds up care for the other conditions. The project takes a systemic approach, identifying and fulfilling the requirements of the healthcare system, technology, medical research, and operational aspects to develop a holistic and tested solution.  

The consortium projects working towards this objective develop enabling technologies which are valid for also other use cases. Technology areas of the co-projects include special vehicle technology development, tele-medicine, electro-mechanical components, patient-handling, signal processing, AI, and others. 

A clinical pilot study of the MSU system will be performed together with a clinical partner, potentially with separate funding. 

Need, Societal Impact, and Markets 

Strokes are a significant problem globally, being the second leading cause of death in the European Union. The MSU project addresses this need by improving prehospital management of stroke patients. Rapid diagnosis and treatment within the 90-minute window from symptom onset are crucial for effective care. For the different stroke-modalities, the MRI-based system provides specific advantages compared to now emerging CT-based MSUs.  

LF-MRI has potential applications beyond stroke diagnosis, including pediatrics, body composition analysis, and trauma imaging. The global market potential for the developed technology is significant, as both LF-MRI and pre-hospital diagnosis and care of stroke are approaching wider adoption in healthcare globally as a result of successful (CT-based) MSU pilots.

Potential for Domestic Industry and Network Participants

The successful development and exports of the LF-MRI device and MSU benefits domestic industry and network participants. Companies involved in fields like medical technology like telemedicine, specialized vehicles, software, and healthcare accessories, related to e.g., patient handling are in focus. Collaboration within the consortium will foster innovation, create jobs, and contribute to the growth of the Finnish healthcare technology sector. 

Risk Management and Alleviation

The project acknowledges the risks involved in developing new technologies. A frontloaded roadmap involving either CT-based MSU and later transitioning to AMRI-based systems may be implemented and serves as a fallback plan if the clinical partner prefers a pilot early. The consortium will also address the heterogeneity of funding models and healthcare provision systems between markets, utilizing healthcare economy modeling and Aalto University's expertise there to mitigate risks.

Call for collaboration

AMRI project is looking for interested companies to collaborate in the co-innovation project. Information about this funding model is provided by Business Finland

About the project, please contact associate professors Ilkka Laakso or Severi Uusitalo.

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