NEW YORK, May 16, 2012 -- A collaboration to address the lack of medical devices designed specifically for children is being launched by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCH) in Ohio and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel. The goal is to improve health outcomes for children by ensuring device design that is customized to meet childrens' unique physiological differences and medical needs.
"The project combines the medical expertise of physicians at Cincinnati Children's with the extensive technical and engineering capabilities of faculty at Ben-Gurion University," says Netta Cohen, chief executive officer of BGN Technologies, the University's technology transfer company. "The pediatric sector of medical device development has been neglected throughout the years and only a small fraction of medical R&D funding has been devoted to pediatric medicine."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the development of pediatric devices lags years behind the development of adult devices. In reports to the U.S. Congress, the FDA has cited prohibitive development costs for pediatric devices as a significant barrier.
Children represent only 10 percent of the total medical market. As a result, insufficient resources have been channeled to the invention of dedicated surgical and medical devices for the pediatric population.
"Many devices used today to treat children are actually miniaturized adult devices that do not sufficiently address the clinical needs of children," says Dr. Richard Azizkhan, surgeon-in-chief, Lester W. Martin Chair of Pediatric Surgery at CCH. "Pediatric patients vary greatly due to a range of differences in size, anatomy, activity levels, and physiology. The challenge with adapted devices is they frequently are not the ideal solution, especially for very small and fragile infants. This collaboration is an opportunity to target new solutions and improve medical outcomes for children."
Under the collaborative structure, CCH physicians will provide detailed insight on specific medical device challenges and development opportunities. This information will be provided to BGU engineers and technology researchers who can match development opportunities with technical solutions.
CincyTech, a Cincinnati-based public-private seed-stage investor that collaborates with Cincinnati Children's on technology commercialization efforts will be assisting with the evaluation of new device concepts for their market potential.
"This groundbreaking project will hopefully yield significant medical innovations that are commercially viable and leverages BGU's world-class engineering capabilities," explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "It is significant that a prestigious hospital like Cincinnati Children's is working with BGU researchers to make a difference for children here in the U.S., in Israel and around the world."
Cincinnati Children's is a leading pediatric hospital and research center and one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is known for pioneering breakthrough treatments and providing outstanding family-centered patient care. The BGU collaboration is being coordinated through its Center for Technology Commercialization. The Center identifies promising new medical technologies discovered by medical center researchers and facilitates their commercial transition to clinical use and patient benefit.
BGN Technologies has a proven and growing track record of commercialization success. During the past few years, it has signed agreements with or licensed Ben-Gurion University technology to biomedical industry leaders, including Teva Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson. Nearly one-third of engineering researchers in Israel are at BGU, which has 850 senior researchers engaged in basic and applied research in multidisciplinary areas that include drug delivery and biotechnology, advanced materials, nanotech, sensors, electronics, and optics.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel's southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. For more information, please visit www.aabgu.org .