“Covergel” recognized by the MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences
The Covergel project to develop an innovative hydrogel applicable by endoscope has been recognized as the best project in the third Edition of the IDEA2 Global, an international mentoring programme developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Covergel was chosen from the 15 teams participating in the 2018 edition.
The researchers have developed a family of hydrogels to resolves unmet needs in digestive endoscopes to avoid complications in resection in therapeutic colonoscopies such as perforations and bleeding. The Translational Endoscopy Group, made up of members of the Digestive Endoscope Service at the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (HUGTP) led by Dr. Vicente Lorenzo-Zúñiga, who also leads this project together with Dr Ramon Bartolí-solé.
During six months a group of international experts have accompanied the researchers in a process of mentoring and advice; considering the business from the scientific, economic and product development angles. The result of this training is a much more evolved presentation of the project, which takes into account all the elements learned on the way and this is the product that has been chosen by a panel of experts, who evaluated Covergel as the best project this year.
"Our time at MIT has made us reconsider the focus of the project and concentrate on one product to solve a particular problem, such as delimiting the group of patients who can benefit" explains Dr. Bartolí. Of all the tools that the programme offers, Bartolí underlines that, "above all, we have new communication tools to know how to adapt our message depending on who we are addressing, this is very useful in the next phase of seeking investors and developing the product."
Participation in the mentoring project has been possible thanks to the prior selection of the project by the Spanish Foundation for Innovation and Future Health (FIPSE).
Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that permits the diagnosis of problems of the gastrointestinal, respiratory or urinary tract by inserting an endoscope through a natural orifice. The advances in endoscopic medicine have led to the use of the endoscope as a therapeutic tool for some of these problems, such as the elimination of polyps and early stage tumours, although there can be post-operative complications (perforations and haemorrhages). Covergel is a new hydrogel that is applied directly to lesions in the mucous membrane using the endoscope, it is able to protect the lesion as it were a shield and promote tissue healing.