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NIH Funds $1M Research at Quest Product Development and University of Colorado for New Digitally-Controlled Endoscopes

Friday, August 8, 2008 General News J E 4
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DENVER, Aug. 7 Quest Product Development, with partnerUniversity of Colorado, has been awarded a $1,000,000 Small BusinessTechnology Transfer grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tocontinue the development of a next-generation endoscope. MicroFlextechnology, derived from aerospace engineering, uses shape metal alloys andmicro-actuators that allow active control over the shape of the scope forminimally invasive surgery. Surgeons will guide this ultra-slim 3mm (1/8")diameter scope via a joystick-like control, and can reach previouslyinaccessible spaces to visualize and diagnose problems. Specialized tools fitthrough the scope for therapeutic and surgical procedures. Dr. Dale Lawrence,University of Colorado Professor and inventor of the technology, says, "We'reexcited about the potential of this technology to access small areas of theanatomy."

MicroFlex endoscopes may provide easier out-patient surgery for patientssuffering from chronic sinusitis. The sinus application, the first of manypotential uses of this technology, was selected due to the prevalence ofchronic sinusitis, which effects 33 million Americans, and the challenge ofsurgery and treatment in these difficult anatomical structures.

Development is being done by Dr. Lawrence's research group at CU Boulder,physicians at the Health Sciences Center and an engineering team from QuestProduct Development. A second NIH grant funded research demonstrating thatMicroFlex devices can be fabricated as small as 1mm (0.04") diameter, whichwill allow access deep into areas of the lungs not currently possible, fordiagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Ultimately, MicroFlex technology mayprovide a useful tool for diagnostic and surgical care for a variety ofmedical uses including ear-nose-throat, lung, neurosurgery, neonatal andcardiac applications.

MicroFlex is innovative technology with the potential to revolutionizeminimally invasive surgeries. Alan Kopelove, Quest Director for Technology,says, "MicroFlex scopes could improve healthcare by improving surgeon access,reducing treatment costs, reducing patient trauma and improving recoverytimes." Quest Product Development, a specialized engineering and productdevelopment company focusing on medical products and Colorado bioscience,teams with universities and companies to develop new technologies.

SOURCE Quest Product Development
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