What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
Thanks to this programme we have been able to start an applied research line that would have been impossible to tackle without this kind of support. ATTRACT has provided agile and result-oriented funding, which has enabled our research group to validate our hypotheses and develop an early prototype of the intended system.The funding made possible:
- the acquisition of the equipment needed to perform the initial experiments,
- hiring a full time engineer and the professional resources for the project, and
- the set-up of a dissemination and technology transfer plan.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Our project is strongly conditioned by its own multidisciplinary field –applied physics and engineering in neurosurgery– and goal, to develop a totally new device for preventive, non-invasive cleaning of the implanted shunts in patients of hydrocephalus. This objective has forced us to experiment creative ways to develop a prototype from conceptual design to computerised 3D simulations to physical lab models and phantoms to tests in cadaveric models under specific conditions.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
When the prototype is finished our plans are oriented to start the industrialisation process until the device is converted in a commercial product. This process includes the evaluation of efficacy and safety, tests in real patients, and the optimisation of the design.
To accomplish these plans, in addition to the current collaboration between the Universidad de Sevilla, University Hospital “Virgen del Rocío” and the Technological Corporation of Andalusia, in Spain, we consider to explore an alliance with an industrial partner, liable to provide both financial support and expertise in product development. We would like to reach a cooperative research agreement that would allow to complete the development of the device, fulfilling all the requirements regarding production, certifications and distribution. We think that this project would lead to a successful commercial product, as this device covers a very important gap for patients of hydrocephalus, whose life quality would be notably improved.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
ATTRACT has given us the chance to face the riskiest, most uncertain phase of our project, from the conceptual idea to an initial proof of concept and an early prototype. It is an agile, dynamic programme, with a –much appreciated– reduced administrative load, that also provides an excellent opportunity for dissemination and to showcase our results.