Making Good on Our Mission: A Look at the State of Our Ecosystem, 2022 Accomplishments and a Look Ahead to 2023

While ‘year in review’ and ‘look ahead’ posts or letters sometimes feel obligatory, the team at Georgia Tech Pediatric Technology has committed to sharing more intentionally and frequently our mission, vision, work, and results. Therefore, we proudly share a glance at the state of our 2022 ecosystem and what we look forward to in the new year.

An Ecosystem Filled with Opportunity

Innovation in pediatric technologies that address unmet clinical needs lags behind innovation for adult populations in large part due to its relatively small market size and ROI prospects for industry, continuously changing anatomies of children, and limited populations for testing and clinical trials.

These reasons are the essence of ‘why’ Georgia Tech Pediatric Technologies is unique in its mission, vision, and position within an institution of higher education to solely focus on pediatric innovation. But still it takes a village at a local, regional, national, and global level.

Leanne West

“Our relationships with the International Society for Pediatric Innovation (iSPI) and their supporting hospitals, the International Children’s Advisory Network (iCAN), Shriners Children’s, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the support from local organizations like the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Bio and the Center for Global Health Innovation, the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), and others has increased, and supported, a strong demand and appetite for our mission, vision and work in the past 12 months,” said Leanne West. “Beyond the projects on which we are working directly, our work within the entire ecosystem breeds opportunities to expand our impact through engagements and events like the Shriners 2023 State of Research Symposium we will host in March.

“We expect the rate of clinician-stated unmet clinical needs to remain high, and we further expect our organization and relationships to successfully meet those needs through our funded projects.”

Evidence of Efficacy: A Few High-Impact GTPT Accomplishments in 2022

Samer Mabrouk and Omer Inan. Image credit: Georgia Tech

Medtech innovation follows a rigorous path from concept to the patient bedside. As such, milestone achievement is cause for celebration, especially when new devices or technologies are getting ready for clinical trials. Omer Inan’s IV infiltration technology and David Ku’s connectors for tubing used in ECMO systems that are shown to significantly reduce blood clots are two examples coming out of Georgia Tech.

In many cases, pediatric innovation follows a more direct path to patient impact through compassionate use authorization. Such is the case for Scott Hollister’s 3D-printed tracheal implants. In 2022, this technology saved the life of the fifth patient in Georgia and continues its path to broader utility.

As published in our News section earlier this year, “We are currently using existing funding to develop the best way to 3D print the splints in their latest design status and support the personnel working on the data that we will submit to the FDA IDE submission,” Hollister wrote. “We also intend to seek NIH grant funding for the GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) preclinical studies, in six months and 30 months, which we estimate to cost around $700,000.”

The subsequent, prospective clinical trials are estimated in the $2 million to $3 million range, for which the team intends to seek further funding through other sources, including follow-on NIH funding for these kinds of endeavors.

“If we successfully complete an Early Feasibility Study (EFS)/Phase I Humanitarian Device Exemption clinical trial successfully, then the device would be approved by the FDA for clinical use,” Hollister wrote.

Data in the Driver’s Seat

In their 2022 State of Medtech Design & Development feature, our colleagues at GCMI wrote, “In the near future, sensors and associated software, including AI, will be able to tell us more about what’s going on with our bodies than many ever dreamed possible. Everyone wants to gather as much data as possible to make well- informed treatment decisions for patients. It’s a quite accessible personalized medicine opportunity, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) couple on to that data to identify patterns for actionable insights, diagnosis, and advanced analysis.”

Data and predictive analytics are on the cusp of breaking open new technologies and therapies that make highly personalized levels of care, once only imagined, now attainable. Data from the human genome, from wearable sensors, or connected devices in a hospital or clinical setting are becoming more and more ubiquitous to create opportunities to predict events for preventive action and improve outcomes.

“While we currently have multiple data analytic projects, in 2023, we are eager to begin new ones, especially AI for motion analysis with partners like Shriners Children’s,” West said.

Shriners Children’s Vice President of Research Marc Lalande, PhD, wrote, “The partnership also involves constructing state-of-the-art tools to mine our extensive clinical research databases for designing studies to improve the quality of health of children treated at Shriners. Our future collaborations will extend and expand this first phase of innovation with an emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) tools for performing and optimizing clinical research.

Making Good on Our Mission in 2023

At its core, our mission is to accelerate development, regulatory approval, and clinical utility of new medical technologies for pediatric patients, all of which are directly driven by clinician-stated, unmet clinical needs.

In addition to the projects referenced above, Georgia Tech Pediatric Technologies will advance technologies that show promise for current projects, projects under evaluation, and opportunities that have yet to reveal themselves. We will pursue a more directed approach to our projects with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, focusing on applied technologies and topics like care flow, staffing, patient safety, and mental and behavioral health using AI, virtual and augmented reality, robotics – digitization, automation, and delivery, mobile healthcare, and point of care diagnostic tests.

When asked what she is most looking forward to in 2023, West said, “It’s entirely possible both the IV infiltration and tubing connector both complete their last mile towards commercialization, which is an incredibly exciting prospect. We also look forward to establishing new relationships with more children’s hospitals nationwide this year, hosting the 2023 Shriners Children’s State of Research Symposium in March, hosting a new Pediatric Technology Pitch Competition in the fall, and deepening our working relationship with GCMI.

Our Ask of You

Georgia Tech Pediatric Technologies envisions a world where our collective commitment, expertise, and collaboration brings new technologies to the bedside of pediatric patients, directly improving their health outcomes on a local, regional, national, and global scale. All of our work, every day, seeks to realize that vision.

If you are on faculty at Georgia Tech, get ready to bring your expertise to bear on new projects that advance our mission and vision. As faculty currently working with us will attest, it is highly rewarding work.

Clinicians, bring us your ideas at any stage. It’s never too early. The process can be long and difficult, but we can help streamline it with ecosystem partners like GCMI, increasing its commercial and clinical potential.

Georgia Tech leadership, thank you for your support for and dedication to our mission, vision, and work.

Prospective donors, your dollars are what make these projects happen, from testing new ideas, enrolling and executing clinical trials, and ultimately, patient outcomes. Almost all of our funding is from people like you who care about future generations. Get in touch to learn more about our work and how your contribution or gift impacts the lives of children at home and across the globe.

Industry, you’re the ones that take these technologies across the last mile to the clinical care setting. Get in touch to learn more about what we’re working on. We have over 100 projects beyond what is referenced here.

We wish you all a joyful, restful holiday season and a very happy new year!