PITA Funding Allows for Creation of Blood Monitoring Technology
Article Posted On 3/10/2011
In the last four years, Alan Rosenbloom has been able to realize his vision of creating medical devices that allow for the continuous monitoring of the bloodstream to measure blood glucose and chemotherapy drugs.
Thanks to initial PITA funding in 2007, he has tested his ideas, built prototypes, and established, equipped, and staffed his spin-off company Invivomon with subsequent funding from two National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research grants. As well, he has formed a recent collaboration with Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc. to work to create a device that detects bacterial infections in the blood, and he received additional PITA funding in 2010 to develop a system that will allow individualized dosing of cancer chemotherapy drugs.
"It's difficult to imagine how this work would have progressed nearly as far and fast as it has without the funding from PITA," states Rosenbloom, a research scientist in the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES) at Carnegie Mellon University. "In reality, there is a large gap in funding between theoretical realization and product development. In our case, PITA funding has allowed us to bridge this gap. In turn, the funding from secondary grants has allowed us to establish Invivomon and to develop our prototypes into medical devices."
"The goal of Invivomon is to use the latest engineering technology to create robust, clinically useful tools that improve the quality of medical diagnostics available to physicians and treatment available to patients," explains Invivomon CEO and Company Engineer George Subrebost. "Our platform technology is based on continuous blood monitoring via intravenous microdialysis. This technology eliminates repeated testing and allows for continuous adjustments of metabolite or drug levels that are smoother, quicker, and safer."
With recent PITA funding, Rosenbloom is now able to work on extending this blood monitoring process into developing and commercializing a point-of-care chemotherapy monitoring system that uses a drop of blood from a finger stick, by partnering with Invivomon, which has provided matching funding for the project.
"The importance of developing a chemotherapy monitoring system hit home when my father was recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer," explains Subrebost. "It's startling that only 15% of cancer patients are dosed in the optimal therapeutic range for treating tumors, the remaining patients are either under or overdosed these toxic drugs. I'm glad these combined industry/academia initiatives funded by PITA exist to push forward the necessary research and development."
Rosenbloom is also now partnering with Invivomon and Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc., a Gilbertsville, PA biotechnology company with long-standing expertise, in the development of antibodies and antibody based tools and highly sensitive immunoassays. They are collaborating to create a technology that allows for the early detection of hospital acquired infection, using a sensitive biochemical marker of bacterial infection, Procalcitonin (PCT).
Developing highly sensitive immunoassays is the core competency of Rockland. Combined with Invivomon's expertise in microfluidics, the goal is to create a real-time bedside monitoring system for bacterial infection. This will have a significant impact on health care costs. In Pennsylvania alone, there were nearly 30,000 infections acquired in hospitals in 2007. The cost per patient was about 5 times higher when an infection occurred.