The Institute for Pediatric Innovation, working with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, has been awarded a $340,000 grant from Philips Healthcare to pursue the development of an adhesive system tailored for use in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Research has shown a need for developmentally friendly adhesives for premature babies, due to the fragile nature of their skin.

“Philips is committed to working with leading institutions in the development of developmentally friendly products and solutions for premature babies and their caregivers,” said Bill Thompson, general manager of Philips Children’s Medical Ventures, a provider of products and educational services that support developmental care for premature infants. “This project is important to Philips because finding a solution to a fundamental problem affecting some of the most vulnerable patients has the potential to help improve and save lives.”

The development efforts will be led by Jeffrey Karp, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Karp leads a team of 30 researchers working at the interface of material science, biology, engineering and medicine, and has experience in working with advanced medical adhesive materials. In particular, one of his medical adhesive technologies was recognized in 2009 by Popular Mechanics as one of the “Top 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs that Will Change Medicine.”

Karp says that “neonatal patients represent an underserved population and our proposed solution will bring better care to the expanding population of premature infants.” Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, which operates in Missouri and Kansas, will lend clinical support to the development process by having two NICU clinical specialists advise the researchers as they develop this new medical device.

“This product will be very important in the field of neonatal care,” said Dr. Howard Kilbride, chief of Neonatology, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. “It will have the potential for significant use in most NICUs and will help to significantly reduce an important clinical challenge that we now face.”

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