The current technology employed in neonatal life support systems for children is derived from cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) systems i.e. heart-lung machines. However, the challenges presented by non-standard CPB applications e.g. Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) for children, tissue, transplant organ perfusion and isolated limb perfusion are quite different to those of conventional CPB, rendering it a sub-optimal approach.
Scientists at the University of Strathclyde, working in conjunction with local clinicians, have developed a simple but novel life support system (controlling blood flow & oxygenation) for babies. It has all the functional and control aspects of conventional ECMO systems but is much more compact and mobile. It also has the potential to address other perfusion markets.
Compared to conventional ECMO it provides:
The paediatric ECMO market is relatively small but growing. It is very important insofar as it is considered to be at the leading edge of life support practice. Currently there are in the region of 2000 stand alone ECMO procedures carried out globally with a similar number being converted after open heart surgical procedures. This represents around £16M in global sales. However the market is growing rapidly in light of recent reports that an aggressive approach to ECMO leads to greater clinical success.
Once the basic technology has been proven in the paediatric ECMO market other larger markets can be addressed e.g. Transplant Organ Perfusion, Isolated Limb Perfusion and Military Field/Traumatic Limb Injury.
Transplant Organ Perfusion is a very large market with over 70,000 solid organ transplants being carried out annually. In addition around 10 000 Isolated Limb Perfusion procedures are carried out each year – the effectiveness of newly developed chemotherapy agents are significantly enhanced if delivered locally rather then systemically.
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Patent information: The University of Strathclyde is securing patent protection for this technology.
Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology.