Friday, March 23 , 2018, 8:31 pm | Fair 57º



Active Life Scientific Puts Technology to Work to Improve Lives

UCSB grads research, develop tools to better detect tissue damage

Those who know the rate at which their body and its tissues are deteriorating over time would likely be better equipped to stop, or at least slow, the process.

So why not try to get that type of technology into the hands of as many doctors as possible?

That’s exactly the goal at Active Life Scientific Inc., which was founded in 2007 under the premise that the quality and strength of bone tissue — and any other kind of hard or soft human tissue for that matter — is determined by more than its thickness.

To the global medical community, the small Goleta start-up company is researching and developing a diagnostic device that measures the microscopic distance a thin probe travels into bone tissue. The procedure can determine tissue quality using a reference point indentation technology developed by UC Santa Barbara physics professor Paul Hansma.

More simply put, a medical tool “no bigger than a Highlighter” can produce more accurate and uniform results than a regular doctor’s physical inspection.

With better detection and less subjective results, founders Davis Brimer and Alex Proctor hope to help improve a doctor’s diagnosis, treatment and prevention plans for patients. Active Life is focused on bone tissue now, but the plan is to apply the new technology and tools to all kinds of tissues and health issues.

The young company founders and UCSB graduates say the smaller version of their BioDent product, called an OsteoProbe, is in the beginning stages of approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s really opened up an entire new field of research,” said Brimer, the company’s CEO. “Early results are very, very promising.”

On a recent afternoon, Brimer brought out standard, paper 3-D glasses to illustrate the power of his company’s tools. The tiniest of tissue tears seemingly appear from nowhere when seen through the blue and red lenses.

The thin, needle-like probe, which would be used after giving a patient anesthetic, clicks when its sensors reach a measurement point.

This microscopic view could change the world. Active Life’s products, which have been purchased by top researchers on three continents, are used to research osteoporosis, or the weakening of bone. Applications are also being developed for diseases related to teeth, cartilage, muscle, tendon, ligament, spinal disc and more.

“Everything that we make, we have to really listen to our customers,” Brimer said.

Although the product is years away from becoming a part of everyone’s annual exam, Brimer is confident Active Life is well on its way to helping people — its ultimate goal.

Brimer and Proctor already know they have an award-winning idea, having taken top prize in UCSB’s New Venture entrepreneurial competition just before graduating in 2007.

They planned and actually started Active Life in local coffee shops, and now they have global researchers and investors.

“A lot of very exciting things are happening right now,” Proctor exclaimed. “This will be an exciting year for us. This will change the world.”

Brimer echoed his colleague’s enthusiasm.

“The applications are exponential,” he said. “It’s exciting to deliver something new to scientists.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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