ENDOVAC™ – a pioneering endoscopic surgical device
Each year, around 2,800 people in the UK experience a hole in their upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These holes may occur on their own; arise from problems such as stomach ulcers; or be caused through surgery or other medical interventions. The presence of a hole allows leakage of gastrointestinal contents into the body which quickly leads to infection – a serious medical emergency that can be fatal if not treated.
In the past, the standard treatment for these holes has been surgery, but this can often be unsuccessful. More recently surgeons have developed an alternative treatment strategy for this problem called Endoluminal Vacuum Therapy (EVT). However, this treatment still requires multiple technically difficult procedures under general anaesthesia in an operating theatre.
This novel technology, currently in development, is a ground-breaking progression of EVT that allows easier delivery of treatment without the need for general anaesthesia, meaning the procedure does not need to be performed in an operating theatre. ENDOVAC™ makes EVT safer, quicker, easier and cheaper, and importantly is far less traumatic for patients. It will also enable patients to be mobile during treatment, unlike standard EVT, where patients are often confined to their hospital beds.
ENDOVAC™ was invented by a team led by Mr Andrew Hindmarsh, Consultant Oesophagogastric Surgeon at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and including researchers based at the University of Cambridge.
HEE has collaborated closely with ENDOVAC™ during the early phases of development, including filing the original patent application and helping to secure proof of concept funding through the Medtech Accelerator. ENDOVAC™ is also backed by a £1.2m grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which has a number of regional specialist partners including HEE, the Hospital, the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit and Suffolk-based JEB Technologies Ltd.
In 2019, HEE’s technology development partner Medovate secured the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and sell this ground-breaking surgical innovation. Medovate’s role will now be to attain regulatory approval and clinical evaluation, with a view to market launch thereafter.