Last night at the Surrey Business Awards 2018 we were surprised and delighted to win the Business Innovation of the Year Award sponsored by the Surrey Business School. Sadly our founder and inspiration, Dr. Shakar Jafari, could not be there but Nigel Biggs collected the award on her behalf.
Afterwards Nigel reflected on innovation. “Innovation is a journey, often very long and tortuous, from a germ of an idea to commercial and/or community success. Shakar had her idea about improving the accuracy and safety of radiotherapy way back in 2013. She nurtured it through her PhD and was then determined to bring the research to reality especially so that one day it could help improve the lives of many cancer patients in developing countries like her home nation Afghanistan.
Many people have seen our bead array technology, called DoseMapper, and commented that it is very simple and ask why has it not been done before? Shakar answers that she used to make and sell items of jewellery as a child and often played with glass beads. That was the trigger in her mind when she was struggling with the use of fibre-optics in radiation detection and was looking for a simpler alternative – based on the same base material, glass.
Innovation is often about using a technology from one industrial or commercial area and using it in something completely different. A recent example of that was using computer digital technology in the (then predominantly chemical film) photographic industry. We all know what happened next with digital cameras.
The DoseMapper innovation will not replace anything in the medical industry but significantly adds to the quality and safety of radiotherapy! It provides the priceless ability to measure the radiation dose received in-body (or in animals or in nuclear contaminated areas) and give the operator/clinician the opportunity to correct for inaccuracies before any further damage is done.
We are still early in our innovation journey but we have excellent hospital partners, great international medical university research collaborations and a solid band of committed and supportive investors.
That germ of an idea needs ongoing support to make innovation work and all of us at TRUEinvivo thank everyone, including the Surrey Business Awards 2018, for supporting us along the way.”