A potentially life-saving surgical tool under development for years at The University of Toledo looks like a thin wire that blossoms into two tiny umbrellas.
Three UT faculty members who created the QuickFlow PE say — if fully fine-tuned, tested and FDA-approved — the device would safely remove large blood clots in the lungs in emergency situations faster than what currently exists and reduce patient costs.
“Our research led us to this promising, simple and effective technology, which we believe could restore blood flow within 30 to 60 minutes of the patient’s arrival,” Elahinia said. “This would be significantly faster than all other modes of treatment, including competitive catheters.”
The plan is for the device to extract blood clots without leaving behind smaller clots, and make the procedure to remove a pulmonary embolism — a blockage in a lung artery — safe and less expensive than current methods.
An estimated 100,000 Americans die of pulmonary embolism every year, and about 600,000 Americans suffer from this disease each year.
The QuickFlow PE would work similar to a heart catheterization. The idea is for vascular access to be gained through a vein in the groin. The catheter then would be threaded to the affected site, and the device — which opens like two tiny umbrellas attached by a flexible wire — would be deployed. Next, the clot is captured by closing the circular covers together and removed through the catheter.
UT signed an exclusive license agreement with Elahinia and Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs, to move the business-building process forward.
“It has been exciting to watch the technology evolve from a basic idea in the laboratory to the potentially life-saving device it has become today,” Mark Fox, patent technology associate with the UT Office of Technology Transfer, said. “It has been a pleasure to work with Drs. Cooper, Gupta and Elahinia, as well as the various students involved in the development of this device over the last few years to assist with acquiring patent protection for the QuickFlow PE.”
The UT technology transfer team also helped with the launch of Thermomorph by acquiring funding through UT’s Rocket Innovations and the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, which invests in entrepreneurs moving new technology into the marketplace to create companies and jobs.
UT inventors and startup companies have received more than $1.5 million from the Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund and matching funds to support the commercialization of research since January 2012. UT ranks third in the state for the number of these awards.
Elahinia recently participated in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program to more precisely define the market need his device would meet.