Technology to help patients with chronic liver disease

Graphic: Stomach, liver and intestines

The wireless implantable shunt technology developed by Dr. Nimgaonker and his colleagues pulls fluid from the peritoneal space into the stomach; © 3drenderings

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation is pleased to announce that Ashish Nimgaonkar, MBBS, MTech, MS, from John Hopkins University, has received the inaugural AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology & Innovation Award. This award is graciously supported by a grant from Boston Scientific, a leading innovator of medical solutions.

"Dr. Nimgaonkar's research represents a potential breakthrough in the treatment of patients with chronic liver disease," said Martin Brotman, MD, AGAF, chair, AGA Research Foundation. "The AGA Research Foundation is proud to support Dr. Nimgaonkar as he works to enhance this technology and bring it one step closer to clinical practice."

Nimgaonkar's research focuses on developing technology to manage patients with refractory ascites - a condition in which fluid builds up in the abdomen. This fluid accumulation eventually becomes resistant to medical therapy and the only definitive treatment at this stage is liver transplantation, which is limited due to organ availability. Patients with refractory ascites experience considerable deterioration in quality of life from abdominal discomfort and difficulty breathing. The only option for them is removal of this fluid every few weeks in a hospital or clinical setting. Nimgaonkar and his colleagues have developed a wireless implantable shunt technology to pull the fluid from the peritoneal space into the stomach. With this approach, patients can manage their fluid drainage needs at home - significantly improving their quality of life, as well as reducing the cost of care associated with frequent hospital visits.

Nimgaonkar and colleagues have demonstrated proof-of-concept for this approach in animal models and built shunt prototypes. The AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology & Innovation Award will enable Nimgaonkar to continue to refine and test this newly developed technology.

"This award enables young investigators to develop their research careers and ensures that their valuable time is spent researching unique and novel technology for clinical care," said David Pierce, senior vice president and president, endoscopy, Boston Scientific. "We are pleased to support this project and wish Nimgaonkar much success in his endeavors."

The AGA-Boston Scientific Career Development Technology & Innovation Award provides Dr. Nimgaonkar with $180,000 over two years - ensuring that a major proportion of his time is protected for research.; Source: American Gastroenterological Association