Researchers at University of Massachusetts are building a new medical device that lets doctors measure blood pressure in real time as it goes through a patientâ€™s arteries. The information it transmits helps doctors to assess the severity of blockages on the spot. This, in turn, could mean better and more timely treatments for patients. The technology could also bring in money for the university.
The small sensor is being developed by the team of assistant professor Xingwei Wang at the department of electrical and computer engineering at University of Massachusetts Lowell. It’s based on optics and can measure pressure differences inside the arteries.
Joel Brown reports in The Boston Globe:
â€œWeâ€™re very excited about this technology, and have been for some time,â€™â€™ said Jill Murthi [link is ours], associate director of UMass Lowellâ€™s Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property, which has started the patent application process. â€œItâ€™s conducive for a variety of medical applications, but it may well have much broader applications outside medical devices.â€™â€™
The question is, how best to bring the device to market? â€œWe are looking to both licensing the technology, or maybe having a start-up company,â€™â€™ said Wang. â€œWe are working toward commercialization, and some companies or people have already contacted us for the possible licensingâ€¦ . I donâ€™t think it is very far away.â€™â€™
The device is being currently tested in animals, and researchers think it may also have applications in lung and brain surgeries.
UMass has high hopes for the technology:
In early April, the project was awarded a $25,000 grant from the university to cover additional testing. Itâ€™s the third such grant for the project.
Murthi said they hope the additional test results will be enough to allow them to seek seed funding or an industrial partner for more expensive clinical tests on humans.
Source: “Cardiac diagnoses get boost from UMass,” The Boston Globe, 05/09/11
Image provided by Nan Wu atÂ University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Rajendrani "Raj" Mukhopadhyay is a science writer and editor who contributes news stories and feature articles on scientific advances to a variety of magazines. Raj holds Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University.