2018-04-02 21:42:24 UTC

5 new GI technologies coming down the pike

April 5, 2018

The five technologies presented during the 2018 AGA Shark Tank represent some of the most innovative tools being introduced to GI.

The most-awaited session of the annual AGA Tech Summit is unquestionably the Shark Tank. At the 2018 AGA Tech Summit, sponsored by the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology, five innovators presented their technologies to a panel of sharks – which included several GI experts from the center, a venture capitalist, a commercial payor, a former FDA exec, and one industry representative. Keep reading for a summary of the five technologies presented. A full break-down of the shark’s comments on each technology is available on GI & Hepatology News.

1. Device permits real-time stool sample analysis (2018 Shark Tank winner)

New for 2018, both the sharks and attendees voted on a winner. The unanimous winner was Chang-Hee Kim, PhD, from GoDx, Inc., who presented a new device that permits real-time stool sample analysis (pictured with AGA Center for GI innovation and Technology co-chairs Drs. Sri Komanduri and Raman Muthusamy). The sharks were looking for 1. Novelty/immediate patient impact, 2. Business plan and 3. Pitch. The immediate patient impact for Dr. Kim’s innovation gave him a leg up on his competitors.

Dr. Kim’s device for rapid analysis of stool for pathogens may be revolutionary in that it can provide results within 15 minutes rather than the days normally required when stool samples are sent to a laboratory. Dr. Kim sees applications not only in hospitals but at sites where ordering laboratory studies are not normally available, such as on cruise ships, in nursing homes, or in the military.

2. GI endoscopy capture, storage and sharing

Matthew Z. Schwartz, the cofounder of Virgo Surgical Video Solutions, Inc., presented the company’s automated method of capturing videos taken during colonoscopy. Relative to existing products that “require complicated formatting and time-consuming setup for each procedure recording,” the plug-and-play system developed at Virgo “works with any existing endoscopy system that has a video output.” The videos are designed for cloud storage.

3. New NG tube addresses aspiration risk

Pulmonary aspiration, along with symptomatic gastric reflux, is a common clinical challenge in intubated patients on a feeding tube, but a novel nasogastric (NG) tube equipped with a dual balloon system is designed to solve this problem, according to Talal Sharaiha, MD, the founder of Aspisafe Solutions. Of the two balloons, one serves as an anchor and sits in the esophagus. The other serves as an anti-aspiration reservoir and sits in the stomach. The anti-aspiration balloon, inflated after it is inserted in the stomach, blocks reflux of gastric contents. Contending that there is a large market for this device, Dr. Sharaiha said, “having a feeding tube in intubated patients that prevents gastric reflux and aspiration will dramatically reduce complications and likely help reduce length of ventilation time, ICU time, and length of hospitals stay.”

4. Virtual tape measure for colonoscopy measures polyp size

Avishay Sidlesky, founder of VTM Technologies, Ltd, presented a “virtual tape measure” dependent on an endoscopic laser to estimate polyp size. “Employing dedicated software that analyzes the laser curves in the endoscopic image, the system enables reporting of the size of lesions, diameter and profile of polyps, longitudinal cross-section of lumens and more,” Mr. Sidlesky reported, specifying that the tool can be used alone or integrated into third party endoscopes. He believes applications can eventually be developed for a variety of endoscopic procedures in addition to colonoscopy.

5. New device treats esophageal cancers with electroporation

There are a variety of tools to treat upper GI cancers endoscopically, including with radiofrequency ablation, cryotechnology, and photodynamic therapy, but morbidity rates are high, according to Declan Soden, founder of Mirai Medical. He described the attributes of a new technology based on electroporation in which electrical pulses painlessly target neoplastic tissue while preserving adjacent healthy tissue. He said that the treatment is performed in a matter of minutes on an outpatient basis.

Hear from our 2018 winner Chang-Hee Kim and his NIH study collaborator Wendy Henderson, PhD:

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