Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Medical Device Research

Dr. Keith Kocis, Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, and a collaborator with the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received a grant for $188,812 from the University of North Carolina Research Competiveness Fund. The funding will be used to further research and develop a prototype medical device to revolutionize how critically ill infants and children are monitored and cared for in pediatric intensive care units.

The most important and essential function of a PICU is to provide advanced monitoring capabilities to be able to evaluate the clinical status of patients and to be able to track their response to a wide range of interventions. Despite tremendous advancements in computer technology and bioinformatics, critical care monitoring devices so far do not provide any significant new information to the bedside caregivers. Current monitoring systems do not present data in a format that fosters the understanding of the complex dynamic changes occurring instantaneously or over time in a biological system.

Dr. Kocis and the research teams from RENCI and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the university are working with REALTROMINS, a UNC backed start-up company involved in building next generation medical devices. The funding will enable REALTROMINS to create two additional medical devices that use their predictive modeling technology

In 2010 there will be approximately 5500 PICU beds available and according to the American Board of Pediatrics, there are 1287 board certified pediatric critical care physicians providing 24/7 care. The critical care monitoring industry is a $1.2 billion a year business and growing at 3.9% per year. Most of the market share is adult monitoring plus 8% for neonatal and 2% for pediatric care.

The Research Competiveness Fund created by the North Carolina General Assembly in FY 2007 and 2008 was allotted $3 million to provide funding for research efforts that hold the potential for strong economic development.