The E-Team is creating PlastEco, a low-cost thatch-roofing product made from discarded plastic bottles. Using plastic strips instead of natural materials means a longer lasting, more energy efficient roof, and puts into use plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
The team has a close working relationship with Fundacion Maquipucuna, an Ecuadorian NGO; several groups of students have visited Ecuador to work with FM in developing PlastEco and other products (work supported in part by an NCIIA Sustainable Vision grant). The ultimate goal of the PlastEco project is to create micro-enterprises in Ecuador based around the technology, with the revenues supporting FM’s work in environmental conservation and poverty alleviation.
Despite a number of advances in cancer detection technologies, the development of clinically validated, blood-based cancer biomarkers remains an unmet challenge for many common cancers. Better markers would lead to earlier detection, saving lives and cutting down on hospital costs. A new method, the DNA Integrity Assay (DIA) has the potential to accurately discriminate cancerous cells from normal cells for a wide range of cancers, but its clinical acceptance has been limited due to the complexity of the test, sampling errors, and the high cost of the materials, instruments and highly trained personnel needed to run it.
This E-Team is developing a new DIA testing method called smDIA (single molecule assessment of DNA integrity), which has the potential to eliminate errors and reduce the costs associated with the traditional DIA approach. In this method, a patient’s DNA sample (blood, stool, etc.) is transported by a microfluidic device through a sheet of laser beams (Cylindrical Illumination Confocal Spectroscopy), enabling direct analysis of the patient's DNA integrity in a rapid, uniform manner.
A popular alternative to incubator care for premature infants in developing areas is kangaroo mother care (KMC), a technique in which the infant if kept in a frog-like position on the caregiver’s chest at all times, allowing the caregiver to monitor the infant. While KMC is accepted as an alternative to incubator care by the World Health Organization, premature infants remain at risk for apnea while the caregiver is sleeping and therefore unable to detect an apnea episode. Most apnea detectors do not work with the KMC system.
This E-Team is developing a low-cost, KMC-compatible apnea detection system. The team formed in response to a request from the Karl Bremer Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa for a KMC-compatible apnea monitor and is based on previous coursework over the past two semesters. The device detects apnea by monitoring the typical adbonimal movements of a premature infant while breathing. If there is no breathing for a stretch of time, indicating an apnea episode, the device sets off an alarm. The device is attached to the abdomen using a gentle, double-sided hydrogel adhesive pad that is disposable and replaceable.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 5.5 million healthcare workers (pharmacists, nurses, technicians, and others) are exposed to toxic chemotherapy pharmaceuticals in the workplace. NIOSH confirms the health risks from these exposures include cancers, liver/kidney damage, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, and congenital malformations. Independent research shows current products fall short in addressing all the market needs, with many users complaining current devices are: ineffective at eliminating exposure, difficult to use, error-prone, inefficient, and costly.
This E-Team, incorporated as J & J Solutions, is an emerging medical device company that has developed innovative technology to optimize safety, increase efficiency, and reduce the cost of preparing and administering chemotherapy pharmaceuticals. Hospital pharmacies and oncology clinics create a $500 million U.S. market potential, with a current market opportunity near $100 million and growing over 20% annually. The Company has pending patents, working product, proven technology, strong management, and commitments from cancer centers across the country.
A team of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students showcased MineWerks — a groundbreaking, patent-pending detection system that can sense the presence of many dangerous compounds from a distance at the March Madness for the Mind exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on March 21. Read more about MineWerks here.