Biodesign Innovation teams to be featured at Melbourne Knowledge Week
An invention that improves how stents are placed in blocked arteries will be showcased as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week.
The device was created by a team participating in the Biodesign Innovation program, which sees students from Melbourne Business School and the Melbourne School of Engineering join with doctors to solve real-world medical issues.
The team, called Stelect, have now formed a company of the same name to commercialise the invention.
Stelect recently won $60,000 to develop the device, which will improve outcomes for cardiac patients and will be on display at the Future Hospital Tech Demo Floor at Royal Melbourne Hospital on Saturday May 12.
Other Biodesign Innovation teams, including Lenexa, whose device helps reduce pressure injuries, and Navi Medical Technologies, will also be at the event.
Working with interventional cardiologist Dr Peter Barlis, Stelect realised that doctors make an eyeball estimation of the required stent size. This can increase the chance of life-threatening complications and add to health costs if the stent chosen is not the right length or diameter for the blockage.
"Our research found that at least 70 per cent of the time the chosen stent is the wrong size" says Stelect Director Lizzie Griffiths, a part-time MBA student at Melbourne Business School.
"Doctors currently look at an image of the blocked area on a screen and take an educated guess. Getting an accurate stent size the first time will lead to significant savings and avoid complications that can have catastrophic effects."
Local regulations have helped convince Stelect to focus on launching their product in the US, potentially saving a year or more in development time and costs.
"We’re planning to pursue regulatory approval in the US because we can leverage the fact that we’re using existing technology but in a different way. In Australia, we’d have to re-prove all the components of the device which is a much longer and more expensive pathway,” Lizzie says.
"The whole way, we’re making sure that we keep the needs of the customer at the centre of all the decisions we make. It’s great to create a device that’s innovative and meets regulatory requirements, but if no one buys it, we can’t help anyone."
Melbourne Knowledge Week runs from May 7 to 13.