A gift from a California company aided in the research of vein treatment methods led by Dr. Sinjae Hyun, associate professor of biomedical engineering. Hyun used the equipment to develop a new medical device, which he will present this summer to his research collaborators and the company.
This spring, VNUS Medical Technologies Inc. of San Jose, Calif., gave Mercer and Hyun three radiofrequency generators and a number of disposable endovenous catheters used in the treatment of varicose veins. The gift amounted to more than $97,000 and allowed Hyun, with several students, to develop a new automatic retraction system for the catheters. The equipment was first used this spring by a group of Hyun’s students for their senior design project. As part of the project, the three students developed a piece of equipment to mechanically withdraw the catheter that destroys the varicose veins.
The senior design project team of Courtney Maxey, Lindsey Hobdy and Crystal Condra, all 2008 graduates, worked on the initial design. Hyun and biomedical students Rob Vines and Matthew Bradley worked to perfect it in conjunction with one of his research collaborators, Kenneth Harper, M.D., of Vein Associates of the South. Hyun and another student are now working to test the efficacy of the device and gather the results. Hyun said he hopes to have the device ready for presentation at the 2009 Summer Bioengineering Conference.
“We’re very happy to have received this gift. It gave my students a great hands-on learning opportunity and a chance to work on true biomedical engineering project,” said Hyun. “In addition, it has helped Dr. Harper and I to advance our research in varicose vein treatment.”
Hyun said that his students have been invaluable to his work, and that they have gained invaluable experience as well through the project.
“This has been an opportunity for students to help advance my research as well as build on their skills and I’m grateful to VNUS for the opportunity they have provided us,” Hyun said.
The new device will remove the catheter from the varicose vein automatically, rather than by hand, as it is currently done. Hyun said that he is likely to present his new medical device in the next several weeks and hopes Dr. Harper and VNUS are interested in the new design.
“It has been a good collaboration between Dr. Harper and me, and in this project, he has helped me to gather test data on this new device,” Dr. Hyun said. “With this data, I should be able to present a full report to the company by summer.”
VNUS said that the gift was important to it as well, giving an affiliated researcher the tools to do high-level research that could one day advance its company.
“VNUS is pleased to support the work of Dr. Sinjae Hyun and the biomedical engineering program at Mercer University,” said Brady Esch, director of marketing development and product integration with VNUS. “When I heard of Dr. Hyun's interest in developing a student project concerning treatment of venous disease with our radiofrequency catheters, I immediately saw the merits of combining student learning with an avenue for development of technology. VNUS is a committed leader in the development of medical devices, and we also support the development of future engineers and scientists that may someday add to the ranks of medical device companies like our own.”