CTSI Annual Pilot Awards to Improve the Conduct of Research

An Open Proposal Opportunity

Promoting Translational Research in the Medical Device and Tissue Engineering Fields

Proposal Status: 


In principle, this is an absolutely terrific initiative. Similar strategies have been very successful at other institutions. To be maximally effective, this initiative also needs to recognize and protect the considerable intellectual property that will be involved.

Yes, that is definitely our plan. We have extensive experience working with the Office of Technology Management to submit technology disclosures and patent applications. Thank you for your comment.

Can you describe how this program would be differentiated from the T1 Catalyst program in Devices?

From reading the T1 translational catalyst program for devices, it sounds like it typically concentrates on models that have “some significant validation of the approach in preclinical models”. We would focus on be working with faculty that are mainly in the idea phase of development. In addition, we would work with clinicians that do not have laboratory space to even test their ideas. They would also need our bioengineering expertise to help them design a device and/or formulate an appropriate experiment. Our goal is to work with the faculty to get them preliminary results that would enable them to apply to funds like the T1 translational catalyst program.

I also wanted to emphasize that the projects would include industry partnerships to both develop new industry-initiated technologies and translate UCSF-initiated ideas.

Can you give us some examples of projects that you have shepherded over the last few years? Sounds like you rely on transitioning to grants. Where have these come from? Do they cover the costs of the current center?

The IRC conducts other research besides translational projects including comparative effectiveness research. Yes, our projects cover the costs of the center. The projects are either UCSF-initiated (through internal or other small funds) or industry-initiated (industry-sponsored). Sometimes they transition into larger grants or larger industry contracts. There are several projects that I cannot disclose but below are some examples that I am allowed to discuss: UCSF-Initiated Translational Research: Researchers at in the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery have developed a novel technique to evaluate the rotational stability of the knee. This technique is valuable to diagnose patients (e.g. rate and distinguish injuries of the ACL, meniscus and other knee structures), assess clinical outcomes, and optimize surgical treatment. Dr. Brian Feeley, a sports medicine and knee surgeon, is collaborating with Dr. Jeffrey Lotz, Director of the IRC, and Ph.D. candidate , Mark Sena, to develop this device. They have since filed a provisional patent for this device which can objectively quantify knee stability. A CTSI T1 award application to develop this approach is currently under review. Industry-Initiated Translational Research: Relievant MedSystems, Inc. (www.relievant.com/company.html) was formed around licensed UCSF technology amongst other assets. The technology was developed through a collaboration between Dr. Jeffrey Lotz and Chris Diederich, originally under research contracts with Johnson & Johnson. Initial clinical trials for a device to treat chronic low back pain were initiated OUS. Currently, the company is conducting an IDE pivotal clinical trial in the US.

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