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NIH Funds $1M Research at Quest Product Development and University of Colorado for New Digitally-Controlled Endoscopes
Date:8/7/2008

DENVER, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 structures.

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 technologies.


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