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

2008-08-07 08:20:00

    DENVER, Aug. 7 /EMWNews/ -- Quest Product Development, with partner

University of Colorado, has been awarded a $1,000,000 Small Business

Technology Transfer grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to

continue the development of a next-generation endoscope. MicroFlex

technology, derived from aerospace engineering, uses shape metal alloys and

micro-actuators that allow active control over the shape of the scope for

minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons will guide this ultra-slim 3mm (1/8")

diameter scope via a joystick-like control, and can reach previously

inaccessible spaces to visualize and diagnose problems. Specialized tools

fit through the scope for therapeutic and surgical procedures. Dr. Dale

Lawrence, University of Colorado Professor and inventor of the technology,

says, "We're excited about the potential of this technology to access small

areas of the anatomy."

    MicroFlex endoscopes may provide easier out-patient surgery for

patients suffering from chronic sinusitis. The sinus application, the first

of many potential uses of this technology, was selected due to the

prevalence of chronic sinusitis, which effects 33 million Americans, and

the challenge of surgery and treatment in these difficult anatomical


    Development is being done by Dr. Lawrence's research group at CU

Boulder, physicians at the Health Sciences Center and an engineering team

from Quest Product Development. A second NIH grant funded research

demonstrating that MicroFlex devices can be fabricated as small as 1mm

(0.04") diameter, which will allow access deep into areas of the lungs not

currently possible, for diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Ultimately,

MicroFlex technology may provide a useful tool for diagnostic and surgical

care for a variety of medical uses including ear-nose-throat, lung,

neurosurgery, neonatal and cardiac applications.

    MicroFlex is innovative technology with the potential to revolutionize

minimally 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

recovery times." Quest Product Development, a specialized engineering and

product development company focusing on medical products and Colorado

bioscience, teams with universities and companies to develop new


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