Innovative adhesive for the effective removal of kidney stone fragments
Dr. Ingo Grunwald
Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Material Research (IFAM), Bremen
Recipient: Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Material Research (IFAM)
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.09.2014 - 31.03.2018, 1.998.323 Euro)
Recipient: Purenum GmbH
Funding: GO-Bio Phase II (01.10.2018 bis 31.03.2021, 1.493.612 Euro)
In Germany, approximately 750,000 treatment cases based on kidney stones are documented every year. Around 400,000 of these will involve endoscopic procedures – almost twice as many as the case figures for strokes or heart attacks. At the same time, the economic ill-effects are high, with approximately 5.8 million working days missed every year as a result of kidney stone related diseases.
A major problem in the overall picture is the fragments of kidney stones that arise during endoscopic laser therapy or shockwave therapy, and which to date cannot be reliably removed. As a consequence, the risk of new formation of kidney stones is a far higher. Experts estimate that in more than half of cases, the kidney stones will return within five years after the procedure.
This is the starting point of the GO-Bio project ‘mediNiK’. To remove the problematic residues, Ingo Grunwald and his team at the Fraunhofer IFAM in Bremen have developed a biocompatible medical adhesive for use in the kidney stone therapy. Thereby, the unique feature of the invention is its selective adhesive qualities. Throughout, the researchers are working closely with the Department of Urology of the University of Freiburg (Martin Schönthaler and Arkadiusz Miernik). The aim is to bring the new product to market maturity within the next four to five years.
A great advantage of mediNiK medical technology is that the adhesive application can be integrated into previous endoscopic surgical procedures without the need for new tools or additional process steps. The selective adhesive properties ensure that any stone fragments remaining in the kidney adhere to one another without sticking to renal tissue or the endoscope. This results in elastic lumps that can be straightforwardly removed using standard extraction instruments. The technique makes it possible for the first time to safely remove all kidney stone fragments.
In the meantime, the project team has founded the company Purenum GmbH in 2018 and successfully qualified for a second GO-Bio funding phase. In this funding phase, the mediNiK system is to be validated in depth, simplified further if necessary and tested in humans for the first time. Another focus of the project is the development of an adhesive system ("mediArK") for the treatment of multiple bone fractures.