Benninger to receive 2015 Young Fluorescence Investigator Award

Richard Benninger has been selected for the 2015 Young Fluorescence Investigator Award, to be presented at this year’s Biophysical society annual meeting. The Young Fluorescence Investigator Award is given to an outstanding researcher at the beginning of his or her career for significant advancements and/or contributions in or using fluorescence methodologies. This award is sponsored by Horiba Jobin Yvon and consists of a $1,000 honorarium and an invitation to present a 20-minute research talk at the Fluroescence Subgroup Meeting during the Biophysical Society Annual meeting.

Carpenter and Yakacki published in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials

Mechanical engineering assistant professors Dana Carpenter and Christopher Yakacki have published their first jointly authored paper, which is featured in this month’s issue of Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.

The study, titled “Monotonic and cyclic loading behavior of porous scaffolds made from poly (para-phenylene) for orthopedic applications,” was designed to integrate medical imaging, computer models, and mechanical testing to uncover the relationships between the porous structure and mechanical behavior of porous polymer scaffolds. These scaffolds have potential applications in a range of different medical devices, including orthopedic implants.

This research is the result of a collaboration between the CU Denver Smart Materials and Biomechanics Lab and investigators Carl Frick, Ray Fertig and Joe Hoyt at the University of Wyoming.

EnteroTrack Commercializing Device for Non-Invasive Inflammation Monitoring

Non-invasive device enables better monitoring of esophageal disease and inflammation. 

AURORA, Colo., January 6, 2015 – EnteroTrack, LLC and the University of Colorado (CU) have executed an exclusive license agreement that will allow the company to develop and market a novel device to monitor inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Diagnosing inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), severe gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE), food allergic enteropathy (FAE), and inflammatory bowel disease (lBD) is often difficult, since blood tests and radio-imaging aren’t able to pinpoint the cause of inflammation. Ultimately, many patients must undergo endoscopy – use of an instrument to visualize the esophagus and collect samples for testing.

EnteroTrack LLC is developing a capsule that allows for simple, low-cost analysis of esophageal content. The capsule can help identify the presence of esophageal inflammation, leading to faster treatment. The capsule can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and in the future may also be used to help diagnose esophageal diseases.

The company was formed as a result of a partnership between Glenn T. Furuta, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus and a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado; Robin Shandas, Ph.D., professor and chair of bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver, College of Engineering and Applied Science; and Steven Ackerman, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.

“This partnership represents the best aspect of academic medicine,” said Furuta. “We have been able to successfully collaborate in a multi-disciplinary fashion to develop and execute a plan that will ultimately improve the lives children and adults with gastrointestinal diseases.” Furuta developed the technology in collaboration with Ackerman; the duo then approached Shandas to move the idea from the university research lab into a commercial entity.

At that time, Children’s Hospital Colorado stepped in to provide seed funding to the company, supporting the innovative research of the researchers and recognizing the opportunity to positively impact the lives of children with inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal track.

“Given the increasing pressures to contain costs, there is clear rationale for innovative, cost-effective methods to monitor esophageal diseases,” said Shandas, who is acting as the company’s interim CEO. “This technology holds particular promise because it can reduce total patient care costs while keeping good margins. We hope to obtain FDA approval for the device in 2015.”

About EnteroTrack
EnteroTrack aims to be a key player in the field of detecting gastrointestinal (GI) biomarkers to monitor various diseases in children and adults. In contrast to current, more invasive approaches or less direct methods, the company’s products are minimally invasive and targeted for specific organs and diseases. The diagnostic market for GI diseases in the US exceeds $1B annually. The company has received funding from Children’s Hospital Colorado, and from the State of Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant program.

Shandas shares patent for drug delivery to the eye

Robin Shandas, chair and professor, bioengineering
Robin Shandas, chair and professor, bioengineering

The CU Technology Transfer Office is pleased to announce that researchers from CU’s Anschutz and Denver campuses have been awarded a patent for an implantable device to treat dry-eye and deliver medications to the eye. Based on shape-memory polymer materials developed at CU, the patented ‘punctal plug’ is easy to insert, stays properly and comfortably positioned, and can deliver a continuous supply of topical pharmacological treatments for eye conditions like glaucoma.

The CU inventors on the patent are Robin Shandas (CU Denver, Bioengineering; CU SOM, Pediatrics; Children’s Hospital), and Naresh Mandava and Malik Kahook (both of the CU School of Medicine, Ophthalmology, and University of Colorado Hospital). U.S. 8,911,495 (Reliably Retained Shape Memory Ophthalmological Implants) was issued on December 16, 2014.