A Novel Approach to Improve the Delivery and Reduce the Toxic Side Effects of Anticancer Nanodrugs by Treatment with IntralipidPI: Chien Ho, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Summary: Nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems can specifically target tumors, providing new therapeutic approaches to cancer. A major challenge for translating nanodrugs to clinical applications is their rapid clearance by the reticuloendothelial system (RES), thus reducing their efficacy and increasing their toxic side effects. In preliminary studies, Dr. Ho and his team have found that, in rats, treatment with Intralipid, an FDA approved nutritional supplement, can reduce RES uptake ~50% and increase blood half-life ~3-fold of nanoparticles. The purpose of this project is to optimize the conditions for the use of Intralipid to improve the delivery and reduce the side effects of anticancer nanodrugs. Intralipid has been used for over 40 years as a safe source of parenteral nutrition for patients, so would readily translate to clinical use. The outcome of this study has the potential to decrease the toxic side effects of anticancer drugs, and therefore to reduce human suffering. Also, increasing efficacy could lead to reduction of the dosage of these expensive drugs: the average cost per dose is US$4,000-6,000. Thus, Dr. Ho’s work for the use of Intralipid with nanodrugs can also lead to reduction of healthcare costs. These findings are an example that an “old drug” can have new applications.
Secure Micro-RFID Validation of MedicinesPI: Larry Richard (Rick) Carley, email@example.com
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Executive Summary: The need to prevent counterfeit drugs from being introduced into the legitimate supply chain is acute. The World Health Organization has said that counterfeit drugs represent more than 10 percent of global sales, and they are responsible for some thousands of deaths each year. Dr. Carley’s work will develop a microscopic RFID device that can be incorporated into drugs and that can be interrogated using RF signals to securely identify the drug, its production date, and its manufacturer. In addition, the RFID will be able to validate that the drug was not subjected to temperature extremes.
Search-assisted Early Melanoma DetectionPI: Mahadev Satyanarayanan, Computer Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Summary: Early detection is a crucial aspect of improved melanoma survival. There is an unmet need for improved detection of early stage melanoma lesions by PCPs. Our goal is to create a cheap, easy to use software tool called DermShare that will assist PCPs in more accurately detecting melanoma. An early version of DermShare has been implemented. It is a web-based tool that can be run on a standard desktop, laptop or tablet with Internet connectivity in a physician’s office. Dr. Satya’s goal is to make DermShare easily integrated into the regular patient care workflow of a PCP, thus simplifying its regular use in clinical practice. To make DermShare as low-cost as possible, and as widely distributable as possible he has strongly leveraged open-source technologies. To date, nearly 100 person years of effort have been invested over a decade in the foundational open-source search technologies upon which DermShare rests. DermShare is already effective as a search tool for skin lesions. The proposed work will improve the user interface, search accuracy, and functionality, and lead towards a production-quality tool for clinical use.
Monitoring and Coaching to Promote Proper Asthma Inhaler TechniquePI: Alexander Hauptmann, School of Computer Science, email@example.com
Executive Summary: It is well documented that more than half of asthma patients have poor control, and studies show no improvements in asthma outcomes over a recent 10-year span. The main reasons for poor control include the failure to follow asthma treatment guidelines. Many physicians are unfamiliar with asthma treatment guidelines, and do not have sufficient time during an office visit to educate patients about the proper use of asthma medications. A key element in controlling asthma is good inhaler technique and many patients do not have sufficiently good technique to insure adequate lung delivery. This project proposes to develop automated methods to observe and monitor patients using metered dose inhalers, and coach them in proper inhaler use if appropriate. Observation will take place using an automated RGB+Depth camera system that identifies incorrect actions. Other camera systems, including smart phones will also be evaluated. Coaching is performed by an interactive system with friendly personal reminders and corrections to reinforce good treatment outcomes. If successful, these efforts will result in improvement in asthma control and a reduction of costs associated with asthma and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
Multi-Modal Impedance Detection of Orthopedic Implant Loosening and Biofilm FormationPI: Jeffrey Weldon, CMU, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phil Campbell, CMU, email@example.com
Gary Fedder, CMU, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Weiss, CMU, email@example.com
Website: Weldon: http://www.ece.cmu.edu/directory/department/faculty/W/Jeffrey_Weldon_5442.html
Executive Summary: This project seeks to develop a multi-modal sensing technique to non-invasively detect biofilm formation on medical implants and/or implant loosening. The proposed solution measures both the mechanical and electrical impedances to sense changes at the interface between the implant and bone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that preventable infections cost approximately $40 billion annually with a significant fraction of this cost due to biofilms. Sequelae from orthopedic biofilm infections in knee and hip implants include poor patient outcomes and high health care costs. Early detection of infection and/or implant loosening can potentially ameliorate these effects. However, to date, early detection has proven to be a difficult problem. Multi-modal impedance analysis will be investigated as a method of early detection. Mechanical impedance will be analyzed with piezoelectric transducers and electrical impedance will use conventional electrodes. Preliminary studies indicate that a rigid bone/implant interface will present a significantly different mechanical impedance as compared to an interface intercalated with biofilm or a loose implant. A test device will be fabricated and a rat animal model will be used to investigate the utility of impedance measurements to detect biofilm formation and implant loosening.
Ortho Robotic TablePI: Eric Meyhofer, NREC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Summary: Engineers from National Robotics Engineering Center have been observing orthopedic procedures performed by surgeons Sotereanos, DeMeo, and Christoforetti from Allegheny Health Network at AGH and West Penn Hospitals. With the number of orthopedic surgeries increasing steadily, our goals were to identify ideas where robotics technologies can be applied into the orthopedic space to address problems of high costs and risk to patient safety. Manipulation and position-holding of the patient leg or arm remains a challenge during the orthopedic procedures. Existing tables and limb-support tools require multiple people to operate, have limited or no feedback display, and do not offer the speed and flexibility desired during surgery. NREC proposes the creation of a novel operating room manipulator arm that allows low effort positioning of the patient leg during orthopedic surgery. The robotic manipulator will be able support the patient leg at desirable positions and the surgeon will be able to move the leg to new positions with minimal effort. With the ability to hold the leg in desired position indefinitely, the clinicians will be able to focus on surgical activities. The manipulator will be instrumented to offer angle and force information relevant to the joint being operated upon.
Pre-Clinical Readiness Testing of Breast Palpation Aid for Home and Primary CarePI: James F. Antaki, Biomedical Engineering, email@example.com
Executive Summary: Based on current incidence rates, one out of every eight women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time during their lives). Despite advances in imaging technologies and clinical practice, breast cancer screening has shown an inconsistent impact in decreasing breast cancer-associated deaths while accumulating nearly $8bn in associated annual costs. This project aims to address the shortcomings in breast self-examination and mammographic screening practices by enhancing the roles of patient and primary care physicians in the breast screening process. We propose a cost-effective, sensitive, easy-to-use palpation aid, PalpAidTM, that visually differentiates healthy from diseased tissue based on mechanical stiffness. The proposed scope of work builds upon preliminary progress with a first-generation device to further develop a prototype suitable for clinical testing. The specific aims include: SA1: optimization of the PalpAid lens; SA2: a pilot clinical trial. Subsequent commercialization of PalpAidTM will target both clinical and home settings: both for initial screening and subsequent monitoring of palpable breast lesions. Successful employment of the PalpAidTM device would help educate and empower patients and reduce over-treatment of breast lesions through cost-effective monitoring in the home.
2014 Seed Funded Projects
Interactive Documentation of Clinical Evaluation and Management VisitsPI: Florian Metze, Computer Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cloud-based Expert System for Personalized Pathogen Multidrug Treatment Using Combinations of Antibiotics, Probiotics, and Quorum Sensing InhibitorsPI: Radu Marculescu, email@example.com
Real-time 3D Position Tracking of Ultrasound Transducer and Arthroscopic Surgery Instrument for Rotator Cuff Tear Diagnosis and RepairPI: Kenji Shimada, Mechanical Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Germ Theory to Germ Therapy in Chronic Wounds: Silver Dressing, Designer Synbiotics while Utilizing a SMarT Ecologically Safe StrategyPI: Luisa Hiller, Biological Sciences, email@example.com
Increasing Optimal Decision Making in End-of-Life Contexts via Targeted, Science-based CommunicationPI: Baruch Fischhoff, Environment & Public Policy / Social & Decision Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick and accurate carbohydrate intake measurement for diabetes management using depth and color camerasPI: Sebastian Scherer, Robotics Institute, email@example.com
Sustained Antibiotic Release Hydrogels for Revision ArthroplastyPI: Richard Koepsel, ICES, firstname.lastname@example.org
Discovering Anomalous Patterns of Care to Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce CostsPI: Daniel B. Neill, Associate Professor of Information Systems, and Director of the Event and Pattern Detection Laboratory, H.J. Heinz III College, email@example.com