Two projects have received funding from OHSU’s 2022 Biomedical Innovation Program, both in the Device, Diagnostic, Software track. The funding program, which is a collaboration between the Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute and OHSU Innovates, aims to improve patient care by advancing innovative discoveries through moving them closer to market–and in addition to funding, provides project management and mentorship in technology commercialization.
“The BIP meets a critical need at OHSU by funding promising early-stage and potentially marketable technologies,” said OCTRI Director David Ellison, MD. “This funding, along with project management and mentorship, helps move the needle substantially, to put these technologies in the best possible position for commercialization where they can ultimately improve patient outcomes. We are very excited to fund these new technologies for 2023–and we look forward to working closely with the investigators.”
Awarded projects and research teams
Hyperspectral Imaging for Advanced Diagnostics (HIAD): Deep Learning in Surgery
Many patients arrive at the hospital or clinic with symptoms that could result from a number of diseases–and for which only surgery can provide a diagnosis. Thus, better diagnostic tools are important for avoiding the extra costs and risks of diagnosing disease in the operating room.
Necrotizing fasciitis is one such life-threatening disease. It is difficult to distinguish necrotizing fasciitis from severe soft tissue infections without surgery. The co-principal investigators of this project are Albert Chi, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S., associate professor of surgery in the Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery; and Xiao-Yue Han, M.D., general surgery resident. They propose to use hyperspectral imaging to make this distinction, saving patients who don’t need surgery from the operating room and preserving critical operating room space for those who do. Yet hyperspectral imaging for medical applications has been challenged by high camera costs, low reproducibility, and high data processing needs.
To overcome these barriers, Chi and Han have designed a bedside hyperspectral platform for advanced diagnostics in surgical patients with hardware that enables reproducible measurements.
The goal of this project is to build a proof-of-concept platform and produce preliminary data that can be used to bring this technology to the patient.
Novel riboflavin and oxygen delivery methods for transepithelial corneal collagen crosslinking
The common eye disorder keratoconus results in a thinning cornea, negatively affecting vision for many children and young adults–and it’s a leading cause of corneal transplants. In 2016, corneal collagen cross-linking surgery to strengthen the cornea was approved as a treatment by the FDA. This treatment halts the progression of keratoconus by inducing a photochemical reaction that creates covalent bonds between collagen fibers to strengthen the stroma. This reaction occurs by activating riboflavin under UV light in the presence of oxygen. Standard cross-linking treatment, however, requires the removal of epithelium so that riboflavin, oxygen, and UV can easily enter the corneal stroma, and while it is effective, often the epithelium is slow to heal. This delay raises the risk of corneal haze and infections. Thus, improving cross-linking surgery is important for those with keratoconus.
The principal investigator of this project is David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., Martha and Eddie Peterson Professor of Ophthalmology, professor of biomedical engineering, and director of research at the Casey Eye Institute. Dr. Huang and his team have developed an advanced technology that may overcome the epithelial barrier to delivery of riboflavin, oxygen, and UV while also strengthening the cornea. This project will validate the new technology in preparation for clinical trials.
The Biomedical Innovation Program
Additional funding for the program is made possible by OHSU Innovation & Research, and the University Venture Development Fund, which gives Oregon universities the opportunity to accept gifts from individuals and organizations that want to support research and commercialization activities. Interested donors, who receive tax credits from the state, are encouraged to email Timothy Coffey (email@example.com) at the OHSU Foundation.
OCTRI is supported by (UL1TR002369) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).