2014-12-05 15:00:50 UTC

Technological Innovation Seeks to Help Patients with Chronic Liver Disease

Bethesda, MD (Dec. 5, 2014) — The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation is pleased to announce that Ashish Nimgaonkar, MBBS, MTech, MS, from John Hopkins University, has received the inaugural AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology & Innovation Award. This award is graciously supported by a grant from Boston Scientific, a leading innovator of medical solutions.

“Dr. Nimgaonkar’s research represents a potential breakthrough in the treatment of patients with chronic liver disease,” said Martin Brotman, MD, AGAF, chair, AGA Research Foundation. “The AGA Research Foundation is proud to support Dr. Nimgaonkar as he works to enhance this technology and bring it one step closer to clinical practice.”

Dr. Nimgaonkar’s research focuses on developing technology to manage patients with refractory ascites — a condition in which fluid builds up in the abdomen. This fluid accumulation eventually becomes resistant to medical therapy and the only definitive treatment at this stage is liver transplantation, which is limited due to organ availability. Patients with refractory ascites experience considerable deterioration in quality of life from abdominal discomfort and difficulty breathing. The only option for them is removal of this fluid every few weeks in a hospital or clinical setting. Dr. Nimgaonkar and his colleagues have developed a wireless implantable shunt technology to pull the fluid from the peritoneal space into the stomach. With this approach, patients can manage their fluid drainage needs at home — significantly improving their quality of life, as well as reducing the cost of care associated with frequent hospital visits.

Dr. Nimgaonkar and colleagues have demonstrated proof-of-concept for this approach in animal models and built shunt prototypes. The AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology & Innovation Award will enable Dr. Nimgaonkar to continue to refine and test this newly developed technology.

“This award enables young investigators to develop their research careers and ensures that their valuable time is spent researching unique and novel technology for clinical care,” said David Pierce, senior vice president and president, endoscopy, Boston Scientific. “We are pleased to support this project and wish Dr. Nimgaonkar much success in his endeavors.” 

The AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology & Innovation Award provides Dr. Nimgaonkar with $180,000 over two years — ensuring that a major proportion of his time is protected for research.

AGA announced its partnership with Boston Scientific in September 2013. In addition to funding this award, Boston Scientific’s grant provides ongoing support to AGA’s central initiatives in technology and research, including the AGA Center for GI Innovation and Technology, the annual AGA Technology Summit, and the AGA Research Foundation Corporate Roundtable.

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.

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About the AGA Research Foundation

The AGA Research Foundation, formerly known as the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition, is the cornerstone of AGA’s effort to expand digestive disease research funding. Since 1984, the AGA, through its foundations, has provided more than $40 million in research grants to more than 770 scientists. The AGA Research Foundation serves as a bridge to the future of research in gastroenterology and hepatology by providing critical funding to advance the careers of young researchers between the end of training and the establishment of credentials that earn National Institutes of Health grants. Learn more about the AGA Research Foundation or make a contribution at www.gastro.org/foundation.

About Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific transforms lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. As a global medical technology leader for more than 30 years, Boston Scientific advances science for life by providing a broad range of high performance solutions that address unmet patient needs and reduce the cost of healthcare. For more information, visit www.bostonscientific.com and connect on Twitter and Facebook.