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April 25, 2014
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate researcher awarded $50K grant from special SUNY fund to develop medical device

Gary Nieman, associate professor of surgery and senior research scientist at Upstate Medical University, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) to develop a Minimally-invasive Infusion and Suction Therapy (MIST), a novel medical device that removes harmful abdominal fluid buildup caused by trauma, sepsis, or burns.

Nieman’s grant award, announced by the governor’s office April 21, is one of five TAF grants awarded to researchers at SUNY institutions to aid in the development of the next generation of life-saving technologies. The TAF accelerates the development and commercialization of innovations created by SUNY students, faculty and staff.

“By investing in our researchers, we are ensuring that SUNY continues to lead the way with cutting-edge advancements in medicine. I congratulate the award recipients and look forward to seeing their work help change the face of modern medicine,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In his proposal, Nieman said the project addresses the lack of an effective treatment for both intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome, deadly conditions caused by blunt abdominal trauma, burns, hemorrahagic shock, massive fluid resuscitation or sepsis. In these patients, the body’s response to the primary disease state causes a buildup of inflammatory fluids in the abdomen, which causes organs to fail.

The device under development in Nieman’s lab is a small plastic cylinder made from biocompatible materials designed to be inserted into the peritoneal cavity using laparoscopic surgery to remove the inflammatory fluids and to treat the organs in the cavity with medication. The device, Nieman said, will allow early intervention to prevent buildup of fluids and pressure from developing into abdominal compartment syndrome that has a 60 to 80 percent mortality rate, and will significantly reduce the incidence, morbidity and mortality of this life-threatening syndrome.

Nieman holds five patents stemming from his innovative research. In addition to his faculty post, Nieman serves as director of Upstate’s Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care Laboratory, which focuses on finding new ways to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, ventilator-induced lung injury and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, including abdominal compartment syndrome.

“Through the Technology Accelerator Fund, we are able to support promising research projects at their onset, giving SUNY scientists the seed funding they need to progress their work and ultimately see it through the commercialization process,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

Caption: Gary Nieman, associate professor of surgery and senior research scientist, will use the grant funding to develop a novel medical device that removes harmful abdominal fluid buildup caused by trauma, sepsis, or burns.

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