The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF/ERFO) has awarded funding worth almost € 600,000 to Radboud university medical center, Demcon, Encapson and NewCompliance. The companies are investing a further € 800,000 themselves.This ERDF grant enables the companies to develop and test new products faster and more effectively in the MITeC (Medical Innovation and Technology expert Center) operating theaters in Radboud university medical center.
“Companies can’t simply test new products in any hospital they choose”, says Jeroen Meijerink, professor of Innovative Surgery at Radboud university medical center. “These days, companies must first prove that their products are safe and effective, so the sooner they know this, the better. This reduces the chance of a product falling at the last hurdle. This grant allows us to guide and facilitate the entire development process of new products, from concept to final product. We can offer early testing in the animal laboratory, more extensive examination in the anatomy laboratory or we can test the effectiveness and ergonomics through practical use by surgeons in the operating theaters. We can analyze practical application using video, real-time feedback and continuous data monitoring. This is an opportunity to turn the operating theaters in Radboud university medical center into a unique clinical testing ground and make us an attractive partner for companies developing new products.”
The idea of the ERDF grant is to make the Nijmegen region more attractive as a base for innovative companies in the medical-technological sector. In this particular project, products made by three companies are to be tested in the operating theaters for safety, usability, effectiveness (including cost-effectiveness) and convenience. Encapson makes a special coating for making catheters, for example, more visible in ultrasound examinations. Martijn Kriens, project leader of the test project: “When inserting a catheter, you often need an x-ray to make sure it is precisely in place. An ultrasound would be better because it avoids unnecessary radiation, but a catheter doesn’t show up on an ultrasound. The coating developed by Encapson makes catheters more visible to ultrasound. This is a valuable application that can make operating theaters safer. Now we can test it together.”
NewCompliance specializes in data integration in the operating theater. Meijerink: “An operating theater has to deal with numerous sources of data. The data comes from different systems and is not linked. NewCompliance compounds all these sources of information, so that they can all be seen on a single monitor. In addition, NewCompliance wants to work on developing customized checklists for individual patients. At present, the same checklist is used for all procedures.”
The third product, made by Demcon Advanced Mechatronics, is a robot-controlled needle linked to real-time imaging. Kriens: “The needle enables surgeons to take better, more accurate, biopsies for testing liver or prostate samples, while causing less damage. It’s very difficult to isolate a small abnormality but thanks to the imaging, a robot knows exactly where to go. This promises to be highly beneficial.”
Health & HighTech
The ERDF grant and the testing opportunities in the operating theaters will ensure that Radboud university medical center keeps leading the field in testing and applying innovative techniques in surgery and operating theaters. At the same time, the commercial opportunities for companies in the Health & HighTech sector will increased and enhanced.
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