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Current Surgical is developing a ‘smart’ needle designed to treat cancerous tumors

D.C.-based Current Surgical this week announced a $3.2 million seed. The round, which brings the firm’s total raise up to $4 million, was led by True Ventures and features 1517 Fund and SciFounders. It will be used, in part, to modestly grow the startup’s team, hiring between 6-8 engineers in the next 24 months, focused on a broad range of topics, including electrical, mechanical and ultrasound.

“This seed funding gives us the necessary capital to build out our team to develop the clinical embodiment of our device, which we can then test with our clinical collaborators in a preclinical setting,” the company tells TechCrunch. “We’ll also meet with the FDA to confirm regulatory protocols and tests for our technology.”

Current is working to produce a “smart needle,” designed to treat cancerous tumors, without more invasive surgery, which can harm surrounding organs, or chemotherapy and radiation, which bring their own respective drawbacks to the table.

Image Credits: Current Surgical

The tech builds on the existing use of needles, which use a process called thermal ablation to destroy malignant masses, though such processes lack the precision of other methods.

“We’re excited about our technology because we have the benefits of the small size of a needle, yet with much higher precision, allowing us to precisely and confidently treat tumors anywhere in the body,” current says. “To achieve this, we are developing a new technology stack that uses novel ultrasound sensors that allows the doctor to see and destroy the tumor in real time without damaging surrounding healthy anatomy.”

Image Credits: Current Surgical

Current was founded in 2020 by Alireza Mashal and Chris Wagner, medical professionals with previous startup experience, who now serve as the CEO and CTO, respectively. The team refers to their offering as “a software-enabled surgical platform,” which aims to treat additional conditions beyond tumors, including things like chronic pain, cardiac arrhythmia and chronic pain.

“When we first started meeting with investors over the summer, we noticed an apprehension that had not been there when we talked with funders during our pre-seed raise in late 2020 and early 2021,” the company says about the round. “Interestingly, this made it easier to identify investors (such as True Ventures) who are able to invest in long-term, high-potential projects, as they were not apprehensive about short-term uncertainty. Because we’re trying to change the paradigm in surgery, which will not fit into a 1-2 year time frame, we were excited to find our investors who had the same level of vision and ambition that we have.”