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Award for Innovative Abstract in Pediatric Surgery Presented at American Pediatric Surgical Association Annual Meeting

June 07, 2012

Washington, DC—The second annual Sheikh Zayed Institute Award for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery was presented during the Annual Meeting of the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) to a multi-disciplinary team of surgeons, engineers, and innovators in the Department of Pediatric Surgery, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Medical Innovation Center at the University of Michigan. They received the award for their work on a prototype isolation bed for pediatric neuroblastoma patients undergoing treatment with a targeted radioactive particle called metaiodobenzyguanidne (MIBG). The bed is designed to protect professional caregivers and families from the side effects of MIBG treatment, while creating a child-friendly isolation that provides the child with safe interaction and electronic distractions from treatment.

The award was given at the 43rd Annual Meeting of APSA and is sponsored by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center. It recognizes the most innovative abstract presented at the Innovation Session of the Annual Meeting, as determined by an appointed APSA review committee.

Neuroblastoma is one of the most deadly types of pediatric cancer, with a cure rate of only 25 to 30 percent in children older than 18 months of age. MIBG is one of the only treatments shown to reduce tumor burden and induce remission, however, it has a primary side effect: the children emit radiation for a few days following treatment. Reducing radiation exposure for both professional caregivers and for families taking care of these very ill children presents a challenge. The team designed a portable unit that is placed around the child’s bed to create a shield to prevent unnecessary exposure. The unit provides this physical shield so parents and staff can be in closer physical proximity to the child, and also safely removes potentially radioactive body fluids and other materials. Additionally, the system harnesses the latest video-gaming technology to track and monitor patient status, while simultaneously providing an entertainment system for the child.

“This project represents the major challenges encountered in all pediatric device development,” said Sabina Siddiqui, MD, a pediatric surgical critical care fellow at the University of Michigan Department of Surgery, who presented the team’s work at the APSA meeting. “Like many pediatric diseases, neuroblastoma affects such a small population of children that there will never be a solid business case to take on design and development. Instead, at present, the centers that provide treatment have been forced to improvise solutions. Support from grants and awards such as Sheikh Zayed Institute Award for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery will make it possible for us to move from prototype stages to a final tangible product for all the patients and families who need it.”

The design was created by a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, engineers, and many others including:

  • Sabina Siddiqui, MD - University of Michigan Department of Surgery, Section of Pediatric Surgery, Fellow ’11-’12 and Medical Innovation Center , Fellow ’10-’11
  • U. Sean Vance, AIA - University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Assistant Professor
  • Laura L. McCormick, PhD - University of Michigan, Medical Innovation Center, Fellow ’10-’11
  • Douglas Mullen, PhD - University of Michigan, Medical Innovation Center, Fellow ’10-’11
  • Hannah J. Hensel, MBA - University of Michigan, Medical Innovation Center, Fellow ’10-’11
  • Gregory A. Yanik, MD - University of Michigan Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology, Professor
  • James D. Geiger, MD - University of Michigan Department of Surgery, Section of Pediatric Surgery, Professor

“This abstract shows the true spirit of pediatric innovation—a clearly identified unmet need, a multi-disciplinary team who designs a concept looking at all angles, and a laser focus on addressing not only the physical needs of a patient with cancer, but also the unique psychosocial needs of our youngest patients,” said Anthony Sandler, MD, Senior Vice President for the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care at Children’s National and Principal Investigator in the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

“The American Pediatric Surgery Association was delighted to present the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Institute Award for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery,” said Robert Shamberger, MD, the Immediate Past President of APSA. “This award is a joint effort of APSA and the Sheikh Zayed Institute to stimulate the performance and development of truly innovative and 'cutting edge' developments which will have a significant impact on our pediatric patients. This year's recipient was selected from a very competitive group of candidates who presented their work in San Antonio.”

The American Pediatric Surgical Association seeks to ensure optimal pediatric surgical care of patients and their families, to promote excellence in the field, and to foster a vibrant and viable community of pediatric surgeons. The Sheikh Zayed Institute Award for Innovation in Pediatric Surgery was created as part of a historic gift for pediatric surgical innovation given by the government of Abu Dhabi on behalf of the country’s people to Children’s National Medical Center. That gift of $150 million founded the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, which expands the research of Children’s National through multidisciplinary approaches that aim to make pediatric surgery more precise, less invasive, and pain free.

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Contact: Jennifer Stinebiser, 202-476-4500.

About Children's National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has served the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is one of the nation’s Top 5 pediatric hospitals and, for a second straight year, is ranked No. 1 in newborn care, as well as ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. It has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area, including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is the seventh-highest NIH-funded pediatric institution in the nation. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. 

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