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GratXray sets up at PARK INNOVAARE to revolutionize breast cancer imaging

Dr. Martin Stauber: “GratXray will provide all women with access to painless, efficient and precise breast cancer imaging."
Dr. Martin Stauber: “GratXray will provide all women with access to painless, efficient and precise breast cancer imaging."

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Innovation Areas


Recently founded, GratXray AG is developing a new technology for more precise breast cancer imaging. It will significantly reduce the number of false positives and improve patients’ comfort during the procedure.

A new company has joined the deliveryLAB. On July 7, Professor Dr. Marco Stampanoni, Dr. Zhentian Wang, Dr. Martin Stauber, Martin Jermann and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) founded GratXray AG, a high-tech spin-off of the PSI and ETH Zurich. Together with Dr. Giorgio Travaglini, Head of PSI’s Technology Transfer Department, and Nils Gebhardt, Managing Director at PARK INNOVAARE, Dr. Martin Stauber mounted the company’s name plate on the outside wall of its new headquarters.

Providing a solution to challenges in breast cancer imaging

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world. There were about 1.7 million new cancer cases diagnosed in 2012. Its early detection is essential for reducing the rate of mortality. Yet, today’s diagnosis tools such as mammography systems, tomosynthesis systems or MRI are limited in image quality or are expensive. There is thus no ideal breast imaging method that could provide high-resolution, tissue-discriminating 3D images. GratXray aims to fill this technological gap.

“GratXray’s grating interferometry breast computed-tomography system will provide all women with access to painless, efficient and precise breast cancer imaging. With this new system, we will overcome many of the limitations of current imaging systems used in mammography, and we believe this will enable us to set a new gold standard,” says Dr. Martin Stauber, CEO.

Technology that makes a change

The company is developing, producing and commercializing a grating interferometry-based breast computed tomography (GIBCT) system. The field of grating-based X-ray interferometry has been pioneered over the last decade by Professor Dr. Marco Stampanoni and his group at ETH and PSI. In addition to conventional absorption, GI makes it possible to simultaneously acquire refraction- and scattering-based X-ray images. These are capable of detecting subtle electron density variations and local small-angle scattering, generated by microscopic density fluctuations in the tissue. This results in unprecedented lesion delineation and tissue discrimination. With this true volumetric 3D approach, the breast is measured in its natural state, without compression, thus massively improving patient comfort.

Many radiology centers in Switzerland and abroad have already shown a high level of interest in this technology. GratXray’s approach will improve breast tumor detection and thus significantly reduce the false positive rate, which is currently around 90%. Further, it will massively improve patient comfort by removing the need for breast compression, as the latter is scanned in its natural state. This will further simplify the biopsy procedure and improve its accuracy, making overall diagnostic and treatment processes more comfortable and efficient.

Further collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institute

The further development of the GI-BCT systems will be carried out in close collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institute. The establishment of the company at PARK INNOVAARE, only a few steps away from PSI’s Laboratory for Macromolecules and Bio-imaging, and thus fully integrated into the vibrant campus, will simplify the collaboration process and allow faster and easier access to the Institute’s experts and facilities.