Earlier last year, the Sheikh Zayed Institute received a grant from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to form the National Capital Consortium for Paediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI). The $700,000 AED2.6 million) grant will be part of an anticipated five-year award.
The NCC-PDI is a collaboration between Children’s National Medical Centre and the University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering.
Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD, Executive Director of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation, said, “By leading this initiative, the Sheikh Zayed Institute is demonstrating the importance of paediatric medical devices to improve the health of children. The biggest challenge is that because the market is so small, paediatric medical devices have not received the same attention as in the adult world.” The Sheikh Zayed Institute seeks to “address a significant, yet unmet, need within the paediatric population,” Eskandanian added.
The FDA Paediatric Device Consortia programme is seeking proposals from inventors in medical institutions, private practices, the business community, and academic researchers who have medical device concepts or ideas for use with paediatric patients. The programme is designed to help innovators and entrepreneurs obtain funding to initiate product concepts for commercialisation, and not only research.
The programme places special emphasis on bridging the gap that often follows the prototyping phase, as the promising medical device must also be manufactured, cleared by the FDA, marketed, and sold.
The award will give up to five projects $50,000 each to bring their technology to life. “This is just a start,” Eskandanian concluded. “We are in an infancy stage, where we are trying hard to demonstrate the importance of paediatric medical devices to improve the health of children.” The Sheikh Zayed Institute, which was created in 2009 thanks to a $150 million gift from the Government of Abu Dhabi, is a global model for healthcare innovation in paediatrics, bringing care, education, and research work simultaneously together.
The Institute’s work has already led to a breakthrough in pain management for children who suffer from long-term pain; in January 2013, the Institute established the Outpatient Pain Medicine Care Complex which uses one-of-its-kind multisensory technology to treat pain among children.
The Complex is the latest direct result of research and development undertaken at the Sheikh Zayed Institute and is a key accomplishment toward the vision of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, which aims to find ways to reduce or eliminate pain in children.