NUIG research centre involved in development of key health devices

Róise McGagh

According to the Irish Heart Foundation, 1 in 4 people over the age of 50 are at risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

An NUI Galway research centre will be involved in three major industry projects in medical devices worth €4.8 million.

The funding for the project will come from the recent announcement of the government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. 

Two of the projects will be focused on treating atrial fibrillation (AF), a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and other heart-related complications.

The Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) will work with the industry as well as Aurigen and AtriAN Medical, two projects working to treat AF.

“We are developing new ablation technologies which essentially blocks stray electrical signals in the heart, permanently curing Atrial Fibrillation, and drastically reducing the risk of stroke,” Dr Martin O’Halloran, Director of the Translational Medical Device (TNM) Lab at NUI Galway told The College View.

AF is the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the US and Europe. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, 1 in 4 people over the age of 50 are at risk of developing AF. 

TNM will work with AtriAN Medical and Smart Cardio as well as AuriGen Medical and Tyndall, a UCC technology research centre, on the two projects.

The other project, Ardent II will create a therapy for rhinitis, an inflammatory disease which presents as nasal congestion, sneezing and itching. Neurent Medical Ltd and the Biggs lab at CÚRAM will work on the project.

They will use an innovative neuromodulation approach. Neuromodulation is the alteration, of nerve activity by delivering electrical or pharmaceutical agents to a target area.

“The commitment of the Irish government to the development of forward thinking disruptive technologies has the potential to place Ireland at the forefront of biomedical engineering research and development,” said CÚRAM’s Dr Manus Biggs.

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund aims to finance projects that tackle national and global challenges while creating and securing future jobs and is part of the art of the Project Ireland 2040 capital investment plan.

The projects will employ 10 senior researchers from the TNM Lab and a similar amount in the partner companies.

“Longer term, the goal is that this funding will allow these companies to scale, and provide 50 plus hires in each as their companies grow,” said O’Halloran.

“This funding of €4.8 million to CÚRAM research labs is a strong recognition of our pivotal role in the development of the next generation of medical devices and implants that target chronic illnesses,” said the Scientific Director at CÚRAM, Professor Abhay Pandit.

 

Róise McGagh

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