Posted on May 13, 2016

In a search for new ways to attack pressure ulcers – a persistent, £2 billion-plus (stg) problem throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom — Bruin Biometrics LLC (BBI, LLC), a developer of innovative sensor-based diagnostic products, and RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) announced today that they have agreed to undertake a number of collaborative projects that will employ BBI’s proprietary bioimpedance technology, the SEM Scanner, for the early detection and prevention of pressure ulcers.

Pictured (l-r) is Dr Tom O’Connor, Prof Zena Moore and Dr Declan Patton of the RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery
The research programme aims to explore bioimpedance science as a novel methodology for the early detection and monitoring of pressure ulcer development. It seeks to radically alter the progression of the disease while contributing to the biological understanding of pressure ulcer development, the underlying pathophysiology and biomarkers, such as sub-epidermal moisture (SEM). The ultimate aim is to prevent pressure ulcers and reduce the prevalence of this persistent public health problem.

In order to maximize the collaborative nature of these projects and accelerate translation into the clinic, the partnership includes several educational grants designed to support a series of research projects with the SEM Scanner to be conducted by RCSI’s School of Nursing & Midwifery under the direction of Professor Zena Moore, Head of the RCSI School of Nursing and Midwifery, Dr. Declan Patton, Senior Lecturer and Director of Nursing & Midwifery Research and Dr. Tom O’Connor, Director of the School’s Academic Affairs.

Planned studies will explore the use of BBI’sin vivo bioimpedance device across a variety of patient settings (acute care, community care and home care). The data will assess the impact of real-time tissue health data on clinicians’ ability to introduce targeted pressure ulcer prevention strategies and ultimately improve clinical effectiveness and patient outcomes. These results have the potential to fundamentally shift the current standard of care for pressure ulcer prevention.

“This collaboration will harness BBI’s expertise in bio-sensors and bioimpedance and RCSI’s expertise in research and clinical patient care,” said Professor Zena Moore. “This engagement is another example of how RCSI can bring together the best of industry, academia and the clinical community to improve healthcare outcomes for patients in Ireland and beyond.”

“RCSI and BBI share a vision of transforming care for patients with pressure ulcers, so we can precisely detect earlier and, with targeted interventions, reverse the progression of damage to ultimately prevent pressure ulcers from occurring. This research will improve our understanding of the cascade of biological events leading to pressure ulcer development, and how to use that knowledge to diagnose and intervene earlier and more effectively than we can today,” said Colin Priestley, EMEA Managing Director for BBI.

“Today’s healthcare research involves a wide array of disciplines. At RCSI, we focus on harnessing cross-disciplinary approaches and fostering collaboration between RCSI researchers and faculty and industry to address needs for medical research. We are excited to expand our collaborative relationship with BBI, whose SEM Scanner represents an opportunity for dramatic improvement over today’s standards of care. Through this engagement, we hope to address one of the toughest medical challenges and public health issues – pressure ulcers – which is costing health services over £2 billion per year,” said Dr. Declan Patton.

About Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers are a common medical problem that can lead to pain, disfigurement, infection and death. Also known as bedsores, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers are an area of localized damage to the skin and underlying tissue – usually around an area of bony prominence, such as the sacrum, coccyx, heels, and hips – that results from pressure involving shear and/or friction. Across Europe and the United States, it is estimated that 18%-25% of patients in both acute care and long-term care settings suffer from pressure ulcers, disproportionately impacting the elderly and patients with limited mobility. There are some 2.5 million pressure ulcer cases annually in the European Union, and nearly 500,000 in the United Kingdom, which spends £2.1bn, or 4% of the NHS budget, on the condition. In the U.S., some 2.5 million Americans develop pressure ulcers annually in acute care facilities, and 60,000 Americans die annually from pressure ulcer complications such as cancer, sepsis, cellulitis, and MRSA.

RCSI is ranked 46th in the world for ‘International Outlook’ and #251 – 300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.

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