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UMass medical device innovation competition award winners announced

Grants awarded for skin graft dressing, method for breast cancer detection

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

December 12, 2017

The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2), a collaboration of UMass Medical School and UMass Lowell, has named the winners of its 2017 Medical Device Innovation competition. A panel of expert judges at the center’s annual pitch and networking event held last month selected two winners from five teams of clinicians, scientists and biomedical engineers.

A post-operative hybrid dressing for skin-graft donor sites was awarded a one-year, $15,000 grant. It was developed by plastic and reconstructive surgery resident Jorge Lujan-Hernandez, MD, and Raymond Dunn, MD, professor of surgery at UMMS; and Gulden Camci-Unal, PhD, associate professor of chemical engineering at UML. A device that uses fluorescence polarization imaging to detect cancer in single cells and improve early diagnosis of breast cancer with fine needle aspiration biopsies also won a one-year, $10,000 award. It was created by Ashraf Khan, MD, professor of pathology, and Dina Kandil, MD, associate professor of pathology at UMMS; and Anna Yaroslavsky, PhD, professor of physics at UML.

“We are very grateful to M2D2 and the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science programs for supporting our project and look forward to bringing our prototype to the next level,” said Dr. Lujan-Hernandez. “Skin grafting is the most common procedure done for reconstruction of traumatic, oncologic and chronic wounds. Our dressing is designed to decrease discomfort, minimize unnecessary dressing changes, accelerate wound healing, enhance recovery and improve overall patient experience.”

UMMS and UML established The M2D2 Medical Device Innovations program to identify pressing health care problems and bring together cross-campus colleagues with engineering or technology expertise to create multidisciplinary teams to solve the problem with a medical device. The winning product prototypes were selected for intellectual merit, opportunity for intercampus collaboration, and the potential to attract and secure outside funding and achieve market success.

“Reviewers judged the likelihood that the proposed projects will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of the goals of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science,” said Nathaniel Hafer, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine and director of operations for the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “Those goals are to advance understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, to enhance health, and to train the next generation of clinical and translational researchers.”

The UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Office of Innovation and Business Development at UMMS, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at UML lead the M2D2 Medical Device Innovation grant program.

Established in 2006, M2D2 offers inventors and small medical device companies coordinated access to research, engineering and clinical investigation at the UMMS and UML campuses. UMMS brings medical expertise and resources, from initial assessments of device proposals to supporting inventors and manufacturers through the complete life cycle of clinical studies. UML contributes its world-renowned engineering expertise and plastics laboratories, as well as incubator facilities, business analysis and planning support for medical device entrepreneurs. Affiliated faculty and staff have assisted more than 100 start-up companies and entrepreneurs since the program kicked off.

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