Duke GI MEDx Pilot Project Awards Announced

MEDx and the Gastroenterology division have announced the winners of the 2018 Duke GI MEDx pilot project research grants. These pilot projects provide $20,000 in funding and address disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Matt Kappus, M.D., Michael Lynch, Ph.D., and Chauncy Handran, M.D.

Novel Enzymatic Liver Pump for the Treatment and Prevention of Hepatic Encephalopathy

This project aims to develop an enzyme pump to actively monitor blood ammonia levels and help patients with liver disease and hepatic encephalopathy maintain stable blood ammonia concentration. The pump will be modeled after a commonplace insulin pump and will serve both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes by providing the correct dose of enzymes directly into the portal vein via catheter based on measured blood ammonia levels. The team will also conduct an in vivo study with an animal subject to measure the effectiveness of the enzymatic treatment in a biological setting.

David Leiman, M.D., Amit Patel, M.D., Xiling Shen, Ph.D., and Brad Barth

Wireless pH and Impedance Monitoring: A One Stop Shop for Diagnosing Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects about 15 percent of the population and can cause severe and even life-threatening conditions like Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Investigators for this project will develop a novel device that is a one-stop-shop for diagnosing GERD. They will first develop a wired prototype featuring a pH sensor, impedance electrodes and embedded strain gage. After troubleshooting the device and testing it in a pig esophagus, they will then develop a wireless device with a complete deployment mechanism that they will test in pigs. The team expects to record pH, impedance and muscle activity wirelessly in a single, minimally-invasive device that will be passed in the stool, thus eliminating the need for a follow-up procedure by a clinician to remove the device.