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News from the CU system - Tech Transfer

Optioned device helps diagnose acid reflux, other esophageal diseases

A diagnostic device developed at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine recently was optioned by Sandhill Scientific Inc., a Colorado company developing diagnostic devices for a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses.

Diagnosing inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as severe gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), inflammatory bowel disease (lBD), and a number of other diseases can be difficult. Blood, stool and X-ray tests are not sufficient to diagnose any of these conditions definitively, or to differentiate them, and more invasive methods such as endoscopy are costly and carry potential complications.

The optioned technology provides a less invasive way for doctors to determine the cause and appropriate treatment of esophageal inflammation. The technology, which was developed by Glenn T. Furuta, an associate professor of pediatrics at UC Denver, The Children's Hospital and National Jewish Health, and Steven J. Ackerman, a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics and medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is an inert capsule that is swallowed, deploying a line into the esophagus. The line binds relevant diagnostic markers that can be measured using standard laboratory techniques.

Development of the technology was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Gastroenterological Association and the Campaign Urging Research on Eosinophilic Diseases (CURED).

"This device could greatly improve a physician's ability to diagnose GERD and EoE patients, in particular pediatric patients, since this procedure is far less invasive than the existing techniques," said David Poticha, senior licensing manager at the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office. "The university is excited to partner for the development of this device with a local company of Sandhill's reputation; we feel they are perfectly situated to bring this simple but elegant new device to market."

Said Jerry E. Mabary, vice president of Sandhill Scientific, "Knowledge of the epidemiology and manifestations of EoE has grown markedly in the past few years, and scientific evidence clearly emphasizes the importance of EoE diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment serial monitoring for recurrence. These diagnostic requirements demand more accurate, minimally invasive diagnostic tools. We are optimistic that innovative, paradigm-shifting diagnostic capabilities can be attained by virtue of this product development effort."

Sandhill Scientific Inc. is a private corporation that develops, manufactures and markets a series of gastrointestinal diagnostic devices. Founded in 1981, Sandhill Scientific product technologies include leading-edge patented products for diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and esophageal motility disorders. Sandhill is the worldwide technology leader for nonendoscopic esophageal diagnostics with world headquarters in Highlands Ranch, manufacturing in Prague, Czech Republic, and administrative offices in Eynsham, U.K.


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