North Shore-LIJ’s Feinstein Institute is partnering with Ohio health giant Battelle on a so-called Neural Tourniquet that will reshape the way doctors staunch blood loss, from the battlefield to the operating room.
The technology is an outgrowth of research pioneered by Feinstein director Kevin Tracey, whose discoveries have helped fuel the bioelectronic medicine field, which combines molecular medicine, bioengineering and neuroscience to develop nerve-stimulating and sensing technologies to regulate biological processes.
Tracey’s discoveries have already led to devices that treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and other maladies by stimulating the vagus nerve. But related studies show nerve stimulation can also significantly reduce bleeding. For example, a 60-second electrical stimulation of neural pathways to the spleen primes the coagulation system so it is able to clot in half the time, reducing the volume of blood loss by 50 percent.
Battelle’s strategic partnership with Feinstein comes amid ramping growth in the market for neurostimulation devices, already pegged at $4.5 billion annually. The market is expected to grow to almost $8 billion by 2018, according to MicroMarketMonitor, a market research firm. No surprise, then, that Tracey is out pitching a $400 million center that would combine bioelectronic research and commercialization.
Battelle has made its own advances, including neural bypass technology released last year. The partners believe the neural tourniquet technology could reach hospitals in as little as three years, helping doctors reduce blood loss in the more than 50 million surgeries performed in the United States each year.
First responders and the military are also likely customers.
“Our main goal at the Feinstein is to improve the health and well being of people through scientific discovery,” said Christopher J. Czura, the institute’s vice president of scientific affairs and co-inventor of the Neural Tourniquet. “We know that blood loss is a tremendous problem in a range of settings, and when we saw that our discoveries could change that, we knew we needed a partner to help bring that discovery to market. Battelle’s track record and approach make them a perfect partner.”
The Neural Tourniquet is based on intellectual property developed over the last 15 years by Tracey, Czura, and Feinstein staffer Jared M. Huston, with initial support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Battelle is a $7 billion health behemoth focused on technology development, commercialization of new products and management of U.S. government research facilities, including Brookhaven National Lab.