From providing better outcomes for kidney failure patients to improving wound treatment and addressing blood shortages, life-saving innovation is at the heart of medical device companies in Maryland. Three of those companies, Relavo, Sisu Global Health and Medcura, are among Maryland’s Future 20 companies, announced in November. Below, we highlight the significant challenges these companies are solving through their innovation.
Relavo enables safer in-home dialysis treatment
The challenge: Traditionally, patients suffering kidney failure have two options for treatment. They can receive dialysis treatment in a center, which requires 15-20 hours per week receiving treatment outside of the home. In-home dialysis is an option for some, and offers more freedom, better patient outcomes and higher patient satisfaction, but has risks. Fewer than 10 percent of patients receive in-home treatment, because of the risk of associated peritonitis, occurring in more than 30 percent of patients each year.
Relavo’s solution: Seeing the need for a more efficient and safer way to receive dialysis treatment, a team of undergraduate biomedical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University developed a self-disinfecting connection device, called PeritoneX, which prevents infection and enables patients to receive safer care. The student founders formed Relavo to help bring their innovation to life. As a result of Relavo’s innovation, more patients will be able to experience the benefits of in-home treatment and dialysis clinics will reduce infection expenditures.
Medcura products help keep blood where it’s supposed to be
The challenge: Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma. So when a laceration or other injury happens, stopping the bleed is a top priority.
Medcura’s solution: With Medcura, a University of Maryland spin-off, bleeding management is more attainable. The company transforms highly abundant natural materials into advanced wound treatment and bleeding management products. The products come in easy-to-apply and versatile formats including: bandages, gels and foams. The products rapidly stop bleeding and produce barriers that keep blood where it is supposed to be (inside the patient), and bugs, dirt and other pathogens outside the wound or incision.
Sisu Global Health’s products respond to a chronic global blood shortage
The challenge: The world faces a blood shortage of more than a million units of donor blood per year. Lack of access to blood is a key contributor to unnecessary deaths from trauma. However, an individual’s own blood can save them through the process of autotransfusion. For cases of internal bleeding, autotransfusion captures, filters, and re-transfuses a patient's own blood. Although the process of autotransfusion is common in the U.S. and Europe, the standard equipment is not suitable for use in emerging markets, military, or humanitarian settings.
Sisu’s solution: Sisu Global Health’s Hemafuse is a handheld, mechanical device for intraoperative autotransfusion of blood collected from an internal hemorrhage, meant to replace or augment donor blood in emergency situations. The device provides an option for clinicians to salvage and recycle a patient’s own blood in cases of internal bleeding. This immediate access to blood can shorten the wait time to perform surgery, increase hospital efficiency, and provide access to blood where there may be no other option.
Home to the FDA, NIH, and a bevvy of other resources for biohealth companies, Maryland continues to be one of the leading bio clusters in the nation. Learn more about biohealth in Maryland.