InSightec is one of the country's more intriguing and promising start-ups. The Tirat Hacarmel-based company, which has raised $80 million so far, is set for a Nasdaq IPO this summer at a value of $600-700 million. And demand for its shares is growing, according to investment bank reports working for the company in New York.
However, the company's expected financial success and the fact that everyone involved in it stands to get rich are not the only reasons why InSightec is so exciting. The small, six-year old company developed a method that at first glance seems more sci-fi than science. The firm's ExAblate 2000 system, a "virtual scalpel" according to InSightec President and CEO Jacob Vortman, is being used to remove tumors, fibroids and cancers non-invasively.
ExAblate 2000 is a novel surgical system combining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and focused ultrasound to treat tumors inside the body non-invasively.
The system is currently in use worldwide and has received FDA approval for the treatment of uterine fibroids.
Clinical trials are under way for its being used to remove cancerous and benign tumors such as breast fibroadenoma, breast cancer, brain tumors, bone tumors, and liver tumors. The system may also be able to treat other tumors, lymph nodes, and epilepsy and other central nervous system diseases.
The system delivers an MRI that supplies 3D images of the detected growth and spaces around it. The image allows the doctor, using a mouse, to guide focused ultrasound waves toward the growth, raising its temperature and consequently destroying it.
This method represents a new paradigm for surgery, and has the potential to provide non-invasive therapy to millions of patients worldwide.
While its medical advantages are apparent, the potential economic advantages for patients, hospitals, HMOs and insurance companies are enormous.
Removing uterine fibroids, for example, saves performing a hysterectomy, which usually includes hospitalization, weeks of recovery, and work absence, not to mention any extra work due to complications. Some 5,000 Israeli women undergo this surgery each year.
InSightec employs a team of 110 scientists and engineers. Elbit Medical Imaging is the company's controlling owner.
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