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Medical devices

Examples of medical devices projects previously funded by Innovations.
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Pathfinder Award Reanimating faces: Creating an iPad/mobile device application to facilitate rehabilitation following Bell's Palsy A Pathfinder Award facilitating the new partnership between Image Metrics Ltd with Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Aesthetic Research Group LLP. 

Bell’s palsy affects approximately 25,000 people in the UK each year and leaves up to a third of them with chronic facial disfigurement. Image Metrics Ltd, leaders in facial movement tracking and animation for the film and gaming industry have teamed up with Mr Charles Nduka, a reconstructive plastic surgeon specialising in facial paralysis treatment to develop a novel home-based facial movement tracking and rehabilitation app. In this collaboration with sensor technology company, Sense Innovation, they are allowing those affected by Bell’s palsy to monitor their recovery, and send updates to specialists. By monitoring their progress remotely, therapists will be able to identify those Bell’s palsy patients who are not improving and thus reduce unnecessary travel, minimise the development of chronic facial disability and motivate adherence to the rehabilitation regime
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Translation Award A bio-inspired artificial pancreas for the control of Type 1 Diabetes in the home Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Current management of type 1 diabetes can lead to prolonged episodes of high and low blood glucose which can have long term side effects such as blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.

The aim of this project is to develop an artificial pancreas for treatment of type 1 diabetes in the home environment able to manage variations in meal composition and external perturbations such as exercise, physiological stress and intercurrent illness. A miniature microchip, which is capable of mimicking the behaviour of the endocrine pancreas, has been developed at Imperial College and this forms the basis of a bio-inspired artificial pancreas that automatically delivers hormones to control the blood glucose levels in response to changes detected by a glucose sensor. This project builds upon the existing development to create the first bio-inspired artificial pancreas capable of bi-hormonal glucose control to be used in a free-living environment.
Development and validation of clinically robust neonatal seizure detection systems
Strategic Translation Award Multicentre clinical evaluation of a neonatal seizure detection algorithm Seizures are difficult to detect in new-born babies and can be a marker of brain injury, resulting in lifelong disability. Treating seizures early is more successful than treating them at a later point, and there is evidence to show that controlling seizures can reduce brain damage.

Seizures cannot be treated unless clinicians have an accurate way of measuring them – recognising seizures by observing the baby alone is not reliable. The only way to accurately detect these events is to monitor electrical brain patterns using wires attached to the scalp (EEG). However, EEG signals are very difficult to interpret and full-time monitoring of EEG outputs by trained clinicians is not practical. Using funding from a Translation Award, Liam Marnane and colleagues at the University College Cork have developed an automated intelligent EEG computer program that can detect seizure accurately. They will now test the system in neo-natal intensive units around the world to show its benefits for new-borns. The goal is to make the software reliable and compliant with international regulatory requirements so that it is suitable for inclusion in multiple medical monitors.
Translation Award Development of PeproStat, a new class of topical haemostat for the control of bleeding Bleeding is a major cause of mortality during trauma and rapid control of bleeding is essential for safe and effective surgical procedures. Such bleeding is controlled by using “topical haemostats” that are applied directly onto the wound in the form of sprays, gels and pads.

 
The active ingredient in these products is often the enzyme thrombin that clots blood. These products have drawbacks related to the use of thrombin that limit their use, such as a slow onset of action as well as a lack of “ready-to-use” formulations. Thrombin is also sourced from donated blood, and therefore poses a theoretical contamination risk.  The company Haemostatix has developed a new class of peptide-based haemostat known as PeproStat to overcome the limitations of current haemostatic products. PeproStat controls bleeding by binding to the blood protein fibrinogen to rapidly form a clot. The company has been awarded funding from the Trust to test the product’s safety and effectiveness in a clinical trial.
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Strategic Translation Award Novel test for early diagnosis of Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is responsible for the deaths of some 1.4 million people every year -  half of them children - and is the world’s eighth biggest killer, according to the World Health Organisation. Global BioDiagnostics Corporation (GBD) has received a Strategic Translation Award to develop a novel point of care test for the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis in resource-limited settings.


TB causing bacteria produce a unique enzyme, β-lactamase or BlaC. GBD’s test utilises a  synthetic molecule which is enzymatically cleaved by BlaC to generate a fluorescent signal that is readily detectible by simple, low-cost, portable fluorimeters. The test is based on technology developed at of Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Medicine and Stanford University and can detect presence of the bacterium that causes TB in as little as 10 minutes.

The project builds upon 5 years of research by Texas A&M, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A proof of concept study undertaken by the company with funding from the Wellcome Trust in the US and Peru has proven feasibility of  the technique for the rapid diagnosis of TB using sputum samples from suspected TB patients. This further project aims to optimize the assay and to validate the test through clinical evaluation in field settings where TB is endemic
Clinically practical two- and three-dimensional ultrasonic elasticity imaging
Strategic Award Detecting treatment response in cancer using hyperpolarised magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Patients with similar tumour types can show very different responses to the same therapy.  The development of new treatments would benefit, therefore, from the introduction of imaging methods that allow an early assessment of treatment response in individual patients, allowing rapid selection of the most effective treatment.


Conventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which produces images of tissue morphology by mapping the distribution of water molecules, can be used to detect tumours and monitor their responses to treatment by measuring reduction in tumour size.  However, changes in tumour size may take many weeks to become manifest, and with some treatments may not occur at all despite a positive response to treatment.  MRI can also be used to detect tumour metabolites in vivo, using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging techniques.  However, these metabolites are present at ~10,000x lower concentration than tissue water, which makes them hard to detect and difficult to image, except at relatively low resolution.  Professor Kevin Brindle and his colleagues in Cambridge have been developing a technique in collaboration with GE Healthcare, termed “hyperpolarisation”, which increases the sensitivity of MRI by 10,000 – 100,000x.  With this technique they inject a hyperpolarised 13C-labelled molecule and now have sufficient sensitivity to image its distribution in the body and the distribution of the metabolites produced from it, effectively providing a real-time readout of tissue metabolism.   They have shown, in preclinical studies, that they can detect very early evidence of treatment response in tumours by using this technique to monitor changes in tumour metabolism.   The team have been awarded ~£4.3M of translational funding to take this technology from the laboratory to the clinic, where they will investigate its potential for detecting early evidence of treatment response in lymphoma, glioma and breast cancer patients. 
Development of a novel mammography system based on X-ray phase contrast imaging
Translation Award A computer assisted system to reduce auditory hallucinations unresponsive to antipsychotic medication About 25% of people with schizophrenia continue to suffer with persecutory auditory hallucinations despite drug treatment. Their capacity to work and make relationships is grossly impaired, often for the rest of their life.

 
Professor Julian Leff from University College London and colleagues at Speech, Hearing and Phonetics, UCL have developed and evaluated a novel therapy based on computer technology which enables each patient to create an avatar of the entity (human or non-human) that they believe is talking to them. The therapist promotes a dialogue between the patient and the avatar in which the avatar progressively comes under the patient's control. This translation award aims to refine the system, streamline the technology to make it more user-friendly and evaluate the system by a randomised controlled trial conducted by an independent team of researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
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Translation Award Total Shoulder Replacement System Many people with arthritis of the shoulder would benefit from total shoulder replacement (TSR). However, the use of surgical implants is limited because the scapula has very little bone in which to fix the artificial joint.

 
Additionally, access to the damaged joint and its proper visualisation are often difficult tasks for the surgeon, resulting in a high prevalence of implant misalignment that is exacerbated by uneven arthritic bone loss. The overall result can be premature TSR failure due to instability, loosening and accelerated wear. Professor Andrew Amis and colleagues at Imperial College London are researching an innovative artificial shoulder joint which will be less destructive and yet more secure when implanted. It will use novel bearing materials to reduce wear rates. The component which fixes to the upper bone of the arm will feature a compact ceramic shell to allow its placement with minimal soft tissue damage. The project team is also developing a surgical guidance system to ensure accurate insertion and alignment of the prosthesis and a less-invasive surgical procedure that will negate the need for shoulder dislocation and thus enhance rehabilitation. The project will culminate in a pilot clinical study in patients.
Translation Award Innovative Water Pumps Enabling Better Healthcare Thermofluidics has been awarded funds to develop an innovative, low cost irrigation pump to improve the health of malnourished smallholders in the developing world.

 
The solar powered water pump is based on entirely new technology with two components: the Non-Inertive Feedback Thermofluidic Engine (NIFTE) converts heat into fluid oscillations without moving parts and the Double Acting Hydraulic Ram (DAHR) uses fluid oscillations to generate shock waves that draw water from up to 100m below ground and pressurise it at the surface.  The NIFTE/DAHR is easy to maintain and can be manufactured from inexpensive materials (aluminium and plastics) using low cost production methods (moulding and extrusion). It has numerous other health-related applications including water pumping for drinking and sanitation, solar hot water provision, refrigeration, and oxygen enrichment of air.
 
Mark Bryant and Tom Smith will lead the project which aims to deliver a functioning pump suitable for a smallholder and which delivers demonstrably superior performance to a treadle pump. It will also address key aspects of the smallholder adoption process, installation skills, pump construction materials and techniques for manufacturing.  The intent is that Thermofluidics’ pump will ultimately improve crop yields, income and health outcomes for up to 550 million malnourished smallholders across the developing world.
Translation Award Non-Invasive Blood Glucose Meters Diabetes is affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide who have to monitor their condition using invasive methods (e.g. pricking of finger or insertion of needle into hip region).

It is clear that non-invasive, continuous monitoring has the potential to help and encourage patients to monitor their diabetes more closely due to the associated improved quality of life. This incentive will lead to a reduction of hyper/hypoglycaemic episodes and the subsequent reduction of long-term risks, such as morbidity and shorter life expectancy, when this condition is poorly monitored and managed.

The Trust has awarded a team led by Professor Adrian Porch (University of Cardiff) £892k to develop a non-invasive blood glucose monitor (NIBGM). Their device will improve the quality of life of people with diabetes and, with better management of their condition encouraged by the device, improve their life expectancy. It is fundamentally different from all other glucose monitoring systems on the market in that it does not require blood to be extracted from the patient, or for the sensing element to be inserted into the patient’s body. It is merely attached to the person’s hip with adhesive, does not require blood extraction, and provides an instant readout of the blood glucose level on a unit that can be carried in the person’s pocket.   The underlying technology for the device is based on microwaves and how they interact with the person’s blood. However, there is no heating (the microwave field strength is much smaller than that generated by a mobile phone) and the only sensation is that of touch. It is envisaged that final device will be around the size of a £2 coin and will be ready for mass-manufacture.
Strategic Translattion Award Steering-brain-stimulation Probe Assembly Development and Engineering Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is applied, amongst others , for patients with Parkinson's disease. By electrically stimulating a small region in the brain, often the Sub-Thalamic Nucleus (STN), important symptoms of the disease are suppressed and patients regain control over their movements.

The stimulation is done using a probe that is implanted in the brain and an Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG) which supplies the appropriate signals to the probe. Given that the STN is only a few millimeters in size, systems that are currently on the market often stimulate other areas as well, which then leads to sometimes severe stimulation-based side-effects. These side-effects have been a prominent barrier-to-adoption for wide scale adoption.

Sapiens BV have been awarded a Strategic Translation Award to develop a unique high-resolution probe which can be configured to steer the stimulation signals from the probe towards specific brain regions which is referred to as Steering Brain Stimulation (SBS). This radically new approach should eliminate mostly all stimulation-based side-effects and if successful will provide patients with Parkinson's Disease with a much more effective treatment.
Strategic Translation Award In-room neonatal MRI scanner to be placed in the NICU anywhere in the hospital building In neonatal units, ultrasound imaging is used today for routine imaging of the brain. Prior research has indicated that magnetic resonance imaging rather than ultrasound is optimally suited to visualise the  brain conditions seen in neonates.

Key reasons for the lack of utilization of magnetic resonance in neonate imaging are that the equipment is often bulky, difficult to site and therefore usually placed in separate and often distant areas of hospitals. There is a huge need for a dedicated, bespoke magnetic resonance imager that addresses these issues.GE Healthcare have been awarded a Strategic Translation Award to co-fund the development of magnetic resonance imaging equipment capable of being located within neonatal units. First, engineers at GE Healthcare will build three small, high-field (3T) magnetic resonance prototype systems capable of being installed in a neonatal unit. Secondly, these prototype magnetic resonance systems will be placed in a minimum of two neonatal units to understand workflow elements and the requirements for a fully functioning finished product. As such, the hope is that the project output will be able to provide high quality information in 3 years that has a high chance of changing neonatal management.
EndoFLIP
Strategic Translation Award Design and clinical validation of a system improving bariatric surgery outcomes Recognising that obesity has reached epidemic levels, a number of surgical techniques under the general classification of "bariatric surgery" are now being employed which can lead to significant excess weight loss, and in up to 80 per cent of cases can eliminate Type 2 diabetes.

One of the fastest growing bariatric procedures is laparoscopic gastric banding. Currently, post-surgery, the band requires a number of adjustments which are carried out in a trial and error fashion. Crospon Limited, established by John and Caroline O'Dea in 2006, has developed a product, EndoFLIP, for diagnosis of gastro-esophageal reflux. The funding granted will be used to re-design this product to allow it to provide a unique quantitative way of adjusting gastric bands, and to clinically demonstrate the improved clinical efficacy that can be achieved adjusting gastric bands by removing the guess-work associated with the current methodology. The new product ("BaroFlip") will also provide a new and unique capability to surgeons to measure the small stomach pouches created in another bariatric surgery procedure, known as gastric bypass.
i-Snake (Imaging-Sensing Navigated And Kinematically Enhanced) surgical robot
Strategic Translation Award i-Snake surgical robot The need to perform delicate surgical procedures safely in tight spaces where the surgeon cannot see directly has created a growing market for devices that act as extensions to the surgeon's eyes and hands.

Surgical interventional techniques have undergone significant changes since the introduction of keyhole surgery and the recent development of robotic assisted Minimal Invasive Surgery (MIS). In robotic surgery dexterity is enhanced by microprocessor-controlled mechanical wrists, which allow motion scaling for reducing gross hand movements and improved performance of micro-scale tasks. Existing surgical robots, however, are generally unsuitable for following curved operation pathways where obstacle avoidance is critical. Imperial College has been awarded a Strategic Translation Award to develop an Imaging-Sensing Navigated And Kinematically Enhanced (i-Snake) surgical robot for MIS. It is equipped with multiple sensing-enabled flexible joints that permit full forward control and tactile feedback of the operator for following curved anatomical pathways that are essential for performing complex procedures such as multi-vessel coronary bypass surgery. The proposed i-Snake robot uses a biologically inspired mechanical design with fully flexible locomotion control such that the device can reach inaccessible anatomical regions with enhanced precision, dexterity and safety. The robot is further equipped with a multi-purpose imaging probe at the tip to allow for both visible light navigation and tissue characterization. The robot will enable the performance of a range of procedures that are not possible with the current technology and ensure the greater success of future clinical robotic systems used for key-hole surgery.
Translation Award Pravda (Proton Radiotherapy Verification and Dosimetry Applications) - Integrated computed tomography and dosimetry instrument for proton therapy Radiotherapy is a fundamental weapon in the battle against cancer with some 40% of patients receiving it as part of their treatment. Standard x-ray therapy and proton beams work through selective cell destruction.

Proton therapy offers unique clinical advantages, because unlike x-rays, protons can be delivered precisely within the diseased tissue, leaving surrounding healthy tissue relatively unaffected. However, the tightly focused deposition of protons also creates potential risks, as errors in delivery of the treatment could result in high doses being deposited to healthy tissues. To overcome this problem, Professor Nigel Allinson of the University of Lincoln has assembled a team of instrumentation scientists, medical physicists and oncologists to develop detectors that provide accurate information about the proton beam during treatment. The new detectors will also record individual proton tracks to allow full 3D images of the proton interactions with the tumour. This work will lead to more effective treatment of cancers both in children, who are at greater risk for developing secondary tumours from conventional radiotherapy, and in cases where tumours are located close to our vital organs.
Translation Award Extending electropharyngeal stimulation for the improvement of swallowing function to chronically dysphagic stroke patients Dysphagia - an inability to swallow food or drink - affects tens of thousands of stroke victims every year in the UK alone. It can lead to malnutrition but there is also a high risk of potentially lethal pneumonia as a result of inhaling solids, liquids or even the patient's own saliva. Sufferers are three times as likely to die within three years of a stroke than non-dysphagic stroke victims.

There is no treatment: patients are 'managed' with puréed food, thickened liquids and in many cases are fed through a tube. Addressing this problem has been the main research focus for over 15 years of Professor Shaheen Hamdy at the University of Manchester. Daniel Green of Phagenesis Ltd, is turning the results of his work into a practical treatment for dysphagia. The company's first product has already proven effective in treating patients in the few weeks after a stroke while the patient is still in hospital. Now, via a Wellcome Trust Translation Award, it is developing and testing a version of the device that is suitable for use with patients in the community who are living with dysphagia. The treatment principle is to apply an electrical pulse to the pharynx (the back of the throat) for ten minutes a day for three days. A benefit of this medical device is that it avoids many of the safety issues associated with surgery or long term implants.
Development of a novel mammography system based on X-ray phase contrast imaging
Translation Award Development of a novel bioartificial liver device for the treatment of patients with liver failure In the UK, over 16,000 patients a year die of liver failure. Their livers have the capacity to repair and regenerate, but do not have time to do so.  A device temporarily replacing liver function would save lives and reduce the necessity for liver transplantation worldwide.

Dr Clare Selden and her team at UCL have developed a prototype 'bio-artificial liver' (BAL) to address this unmet need. Its key element comprises functioning liver cells in an external bioreactor. Plasma from a patient with liver failure will be passed through the bioreactor, contacting the alginate encapsulated liver cells, so that the cells replace those functions that the sick liver cannot perform. The machine will buy time for a patient's liver to improve or, if damage to the liver is irreversible, may buy time until liver transplantation can be arranged. The technology combines alginate encapsulation of a human liver cell line and subsequent culture of the encapsulated cells in a fluidised bed bioreactor -  providing a convenient, manipulatable biomass in a form which maximises mass transfer between cells and perfusing plasma. The team have Translation Award funding to complete the design, specification, performance characterisation and manufacture of this fully biocompatible BAL.
Translation Award Development of a novel artificial aortic valve for transcatheter implantation Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) allows delivering a valve substitute through the vascular system, avoiding the need of open heart surgery. TAVI represents an ideal answer to the need of the expanding aged patients’ population.


The objective of the project led by Dr Gaetano Burriesci at UCL is the manufacture and pre-clinical assessment of a novel prosthetic aortic valve suitable for TAVI. An original design and the use of a novel synthetic functional nanocomposite polymer should result in a device which has the advantages over existing valve replacement of being fully retrievable/repositionable, has enhanced anchoring and sealing, maximises expanded/collapsed diameters ratio and has an extended durability
Translation Award Development of TIPS microspheres for the treatment of fistulas Perianal fistulas are abnormal channels formed between the anal canal and the skin surface. Existing treatments to close these channels typically involve medical and surgical approaches, however both have limitations.

Medical agents are usually delivered systematically, but this may predispose the patient to severe infection and autoimmune reactions. Surgery using existing anal fistula plugs is successful in the treatment of simple fistulas but is associated with a high failure rate in more complex fistulas and in patients with Crohn’s disease. Dr Richard Day from University College London has received a Translation Award to develop a potential solution to this problem. He and his team have developed microspheres that, when packed into a fistula, provide a ’scaffold’ that cells can grow between and into. As the microspheres dissolve, they are replaced by new tissue to heal the fistula. With this award, Dr Day and his team aim to demonstrate that the microspheres are safe when implanted into perianal fistulas in humans.
Translation Awards Development and validation of a novel device for detailed visual field assessment Children and adults who suffer from certain types of brain tumours or other acquired brain or eye disorders can have visual problems resulting from defects in their peripheral vision (visual field defects).

In children these can only be approximately measured in the clinic setting and similarly some adults have difficulties with the usual testing machine. Professor Robert Minns and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh have developed a new system to detect visual field defects by monitoring a child’s eye movements when he or she is sat in front of a TV screen. This translation award aims to further develop and validate the system to enable more detailed testing (threshold testing) which could be of benefit for adults, especially those with glaucoma. The system is patient friendly (child or adult), not at all threatening and does not involve any head or other restraints. All that is required is just a few minutes in front of a TV screen and this gives the doctor detailed information about the patient’s visual field.
Urine flow meter
Translation Award A portable, low cost, electronic urine flow meter to assess Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as frequency, urgency and weak flow are often seen as an inevitable consequence of male ageing. They are significantly troublesome for around 30 per cent of men older than 50 years old, amounting to 1.8 million people in the UK.

The recording of urinary habits using a voiding diary and measurement of urinary flow rate are key steps in clinical assessment of men with LUTS, and the results guide treatment. At present, voiding diaries are manually completed by the patient and the urine flow test is performed in a clinic giving only a single, potentially inaccurate reading. Dr Michael Drinnan and colleagues at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle have designed and built a simple electronic flow meter-diary, specifically intended for home use. It can measure urine flow and record the volume, time and duration of each void for up to two weeks. The team have received Translation Award funding to improve the design, durability and functionality of the device for prototype production, and then formally investigate its usefulness in the assessment pathway for men with LUTS.
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Translation Award MRI Guided Endoscope Image-guided interventional procedures are becoming increasingly common. The version which is most commonly encountered is laparoscopy (frequently described as keyhole surgery). 

Many common clinical investigations such as the taking of tissue samples from suspect organs such as the prostate, or breast are performed using ultrasound or X-rays to help the clinician find his/her target. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the best way of detecting subtle tissue differences that has yet been developed and it is logical to believe that it would provide clinicians with more accurate and useful information than any other approach. MRI systems are, however, very restricted in available space, with the patient occupying much of what might be useful and access to any particular target organ or region is very restricted. Using a robotic system is one practical way of improving access, as long as the robot is, completely safe and compatible with any MRI machine, small enough to allow it to be sited alongside the patient, and is flexible enough to allow it to be used in a variety of applications. Dr Mihailo Ristic and colleagues at Imperial College have been awarded translational funding to develop a novel form of remotely operated endoscope, with a variety of associated tools, to achieve this aim.
Accelerometery as a gait measurement tool for routine clinical analysis
Translation Award Accelerometery as a gait measurement tool for routine clinical analysis Dr Helen Dawes, Oxford Brookes University and colleagues have been awarded translational funding to develop a practical, quick and simple method to analyse gait.

The method uses a revolutionary mathematical technique to analyse the signals arising from accelerometers. The healthcare benefits arising from the work should include improved detection of changes in condition of people with movement issues (for example: stroke and other neurological patients) leading to better decision making with regards to direction of treatment changes.
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Translation Award A bio-inspired artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetes The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) demonstrated that intensive management of type 1 diabetes reduced complications by 50-76 per cent compared with conventional therapy.  This was achieved at the expense of increased hypoglycaemia, especially when HbA1c levels <7.5 per cent were achieved. 

A closed loop system provides the potential to improve HbA1c levels while avoiding hypoglycaemia.  Professor Christofer Toumazou and Dr Pantelis Georgiou at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering together with Professor Desmond Johnston and Dr Nick Oliver at the St Mary's Hospital of Imperial College London have received a Translation Award to develop a bio-inspired artificial pancreas that will be used for closed loop control of type 1 diabetes.  They aim to develop and clinically trial a microchip that will be used in conjunction with clinically approved glucose sensors and pumps to control blood glucose.  The overall system will replicate the concentrations between 4 and 8mM and will therefore be the world’s first bio-inspired artificial pancreas.A film of Dr Nick Oliver and Dr Pantelis Georgiou talking about the device is available to watch on the YouTube channel of Imperial College London.
Millennium Microscope
Translation Award Millennium Microscope The World Health Organization indicates that microscopy remains the 'gold standard' for the diagnosis of tropical diseases.

The burden of infectious and parasitic diseases in the tropical regions is truly alarming and continues to kill millions of people in developing countries every year. Many of these tropical diseases are preventable and may be routinely diagnosed by the simple microscopic examination of patient fluid samples.Nevertheless the lack of low cost and effective microscopes is a major logistical bottleneck in the identification and treatment of these life-threatening diseases, especially amongst field-based health workers in remote regions.Cambridge Optronics has been awarded translational funding to design and test a simple, pragmatic alternative to expensive laboratory instruments. The company has now developed an effective, low-cost, highly portable microscope prototype with the potential to be distributed to the developing world within as little as a year.
Development of a medical device for minimally invasive surgical aortic valve replacement
Translation Award Development of a medical device for minimally invasive surgical aortic valve replacement CardioPrecision Limited have received Translation Award funding to develop a medical device that will enable aortic valve replacement to be performed minimally invasively.

Open heart aortic valve replacement (AVR) is the gold standard surgical treatment of advanced aortic valve disease. However, it requires sternotomy (splitting the breastbone) to expose the heart. Sternotomy inflicts significant patient trauma and discomfort, requires extensive recuperation and may result in life-threatening complications. CardioPrecision's approach will cause patients less pain, reduce infection and lead to earlier mobilisation and recovery from surgery. Furthermore, CardioPrecision's technology will not only benefit patients but also provide substantial economic savings to health service providers through reductions in operating time, blood loss, infection rates, intensive care utilisation and hospital stay.
Heavy tamponades in vitreo-retinal surgery
Translation Award Heavy tamponades in vitreo-retinal surgery An alternative heavy fluid consisting of a mixture of silica nanoparticles in silicone liquid as an implant for the treatment of a detached retina.

Support has been given to Dr Michael Garvey and Dr Rachel Williams at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with Professor David Wong at St Paul's Eye Unit, The Royal Liverpool University Hospital.  Silicone oils are the commonest fluid used for this therapy, but as silicone oil has a density lower than water it floats on any remaining aqueous fluid in the eye and does not provide an effective contact for repair of the lower part the retina. Heavy silicone oils, which are based on a mixture of liquids, are available but there are concerns over their tendency to break up within the eye. The nanoparticles discovered by the team in Liverpool have a higher density than the liquid thus permitting a stepwise increase in overall density of the mixture providing the ability to tailor the density over a wide range to optimise the fluid's effect in different clinical situations.
Implantable SAW transponder for acute and chronic blood pressure monitoring (BPM)
Translation Award Implantable SAW transponder for acute and chronic blood pressure monitoring The SAW device will be designed to be compatible with standard mobile communications devices to allow remote monitoring and to alert medical professionals if cardiac events may arise.

Professors Christofer Toumazou and Chris McLeod together with colleagues at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London have been awarded a three-year Translation Award to develop a wireless Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) based pressure transducer that can be permanently implanted in the heart to allow continuous blood pressure monitoring. SAW technology is already ubiquitously used in televisions and mobile phones, and has been adapted to be pressure sensitive for tyre pressure monitoring systems in the automotive industry. Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub will lead work exploring surgical and minimally invasive procedures for implantation of the device, in order to inform best practice.
Development of a novel mammography system based on X-ray phase contrast imaging
Translation Award Pre-clinical assessment of small diameter conduit made from nanocomposite polymer for coronary artery bypass graft application Current synthetic grafts are largely based on polytetraluoroethane (PTFE) or Dacron  perform adequately as large calibre grafts, but are not suitable for coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG) due to the small diameter of the coronary arteries, the low blood flow rates and high occlusion rates resulting in thrombosis and intimal hyperplasia.

There is a clinical need for a smaller diameter CABG (<5mm) that mimics the properties of native human artery, and this is being developed by Professor Alexander Seifalian and colleagues at University College London.  The conduits are to be made from a novel patented polymer based on polyhexal oligomeric silsequioxanes and poly(carbonate urea) urethane.  The translational funding will be used to validate the small diameter cardiac bypass graft in an animal model, experiments that are required in accordance with the regulatory authority requirements for an implantable device.
Development of a novel mammography system based on X-ray phase contrast imaging
Translation Award Development of a novel mammography system based on X-ray phase contrast imaging X-ray mammography is the best diagnostic tool currently available for identifying breast cancer.

However, it is limited in its sensitivity for spotting the early signs of breast cancer and in differentiating between normal and cancerous tissue. An alternative X-ray imaging technique, phase contrast imaging (XPCi), has been developed and shown to have much greater sensitivity for seeing the early stages of disease. Professor Robert Speller and Dr Alessandro Olivio at UCL have been awarded translational funding to develop a laboratory prototype that will allow XPCi images of excised breast tissue to be taken using conventional equipment.
Functional electrical impedance tomography of evoked responses (fEITER)
Translation Award Functional electrical impedance tomography of evoked responses (fEITER) Functional brain imaging is now an essential tool, and is well established in medicine.

The need for brain imaging is increasing with growing concern over neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's; hence there are larger numbers of patients to be routinely scanned than ever before. Current scanners are not available in every hospital due to their high cost. Where they are available they are large, noisy, fixed installations that are not portable. Professor Hugh McCann and Dr Chris Pomfrett from the University of Manchester have been awarded translational funding to develop a newly discovered technique called 'functional electrical impedance tomography of evoked responses' (fEITER), which is directly sensitive to the brains electrical operation. This tool will enable screening of large populations, and prompt action to be taken in emergencies. The scans could be performed wherever the patient is, even at home.
New signal analysis tools for defibrillators and pulse oximeters
Translation Award New signal analysis tools for defibrillators and pulse oximeters An award to allow the generation of software that extends the functionality of defibrillators and pulse oximeters.

CardioDigital Limited, a spin-out company from Napier University, Edinburgh, was established by Professor Paul Addison and Drs Jamie Watson and Brendan McGuckin to harness the increased signal analysis capacity of an established engineering-based method to give real-time patient status information.
Aircraft Medical Limited
Translation Award Aircraft Medical Limited Airway management is the most challenging risk facing anaesthetists.

Laryngoscopes are used to guide a tracheal tube into the larynx to maintain a patient's airway during anaesthesia. A difficult intubation can lead to severe trauma and in some cases, death. Aircraft Medical Limited, established by Matt McGrath, was granted Translation Award funding to develop an innovative laryngoscope that offers a near-guaranteed view of the larynx through the integration of a miniature video camera into the device and a display screen on the handle.See our video: Developing the video laryngoscope
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