University of Michigan

Magnetic Ventures

University of Michigan, 2009 - $16,700

Artificial knee and hip replacement surgeries are common today, with the majority of the implants using a plastic-on-metal joint interface. Unfortunately, plastic-on-metal joints are only temporary solutions, as most implants last 10-15 years before needing a second surgery to replace the worn device. This E-Team, incorporated as Magnetic Ventures, is looking to help joint replacements last longer with the Magnetically Assisted Artificial Joint, a patent-pending technology that lowers the contact stress at the joint interface through the use of magnets. The technology operates on a similar conceptual basis as MagLev trains, which utilize electromagnetic forces to lower friction between the train and track; as a MagLev track experiences a constant load from the train, the magnetic field needed to lift the train is constant. The team’s device uses an elastic material to control the distance between magnets in the joints and adjust the magnetic force; as the force in the joint increases, the magnets are pushed closer together, lowering the interface force and decreasing friction in the joint. The team has written a business plan, won several local business plan competitions, and developed and patented a prototype. With NCIIA funding they will test biocompatible elastic materials that would be used in their device, analyze various arrangements of magnets, and develop their network.

NovaPatch

University of Michigan, 2008 - $16,710

This E-Team is developing the NovaPatch, a new drug delivery patch that will enable the transmission of "macromolecule" drugs (such as insulin, protein and vaccines) through the skin. Currently, passive diffusion patches are used to deliver fewer than twenty types of drugs because existing skin patches do not work for macromolecule drugs. NovaPatch will enable diffusion of large molecule drugs by temporarily opening windows in the walls of the skin to increase skin permeability, effectively enabling the drugs to reach the body. The process is pain-free and invisible to the eye.

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