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 the UD, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and BGN Technologies in Be’er Sheva, Israel.
The project combines the medical expertise of physicians at Cincinnati Children’s with the extensive technical and engineering capabilities of faculty at BGU, said Netta Cohen, CEO of BGN, the technology commercialization company of BGU.
According to Cohen, the goal is to improve overall health in hospitalized children by ensuring device design that is customized to meet the unique physiological differences and medical needs of children.
“The pediatric sector of medical device development has been neglected throughout the years,” Cohen said. “Only a small fraction of medical research and development 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.
Insufficient solutions for children
In reports to the U.S. Congress, the FDA has cited prohibitive development costs for pediatric devices as a significant barrier. Factoring into this is the limited size of the pediatric market and related economic factors.
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Children represent only ten 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. When devices cannot be adapted, physicians often must resort to more invasive treatments or less effective therapies.
“Many devices used today to treat children are actually miniaturized adult devices that do not sufficiently address the clinical needs of children. Pediatric patients vary greatly due to a range of differences in size, anatomy, activity levels, and physiology,” said Dr. Richard Azizkhan, Surgeon-in-Chief in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“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.”
Meeting the challenges
Under the BGU-Cincinnati Children’s collaborative structure, medical center 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.
Assisting with the evaluation of new device concepts for their market potential will be CincyTech, a Cincinnati-based public-private seed-stage investor that collaborates with Cincinnati Children’s on technology commercialization efforts.
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