Although the smart instruments are absolutely indispensable and life-saving, there have been few to no innovations in the last 10 years due to the often low production volumes. The request for instruments with better functionality from clinics is correspondingly high. The EU Position-II project offers a unique solution to this problem.
In the project, 43 European companies and research institutions are working under the coordination of Phillips to establish a distributed pilot line for smart catheters and implants. In the process, the partners want to realize five demonstrators that will show the potential for innovation in existing markets or lay the foundation for opening up new markets.
As part of the project, a Fraunhofer EMFT research team is working with its partners alphaSIP, Ciber, Cicautxo, Philips, Johnson Matthey, Universidad Zaragoza, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Fundación Centro de Cirugía de Mínima Invasión Jesús Usón to develop a cell therapy catheter that transports stem cells into dead heart muscle tissue.
The core of the catheter is a dosing unit that pumps the cells through the catheter into the heart without the pressure in the heart and the added fluidic backpressure affecting the accuracy of the dosing. This task is to be performed by an inur 5x5x0.8 mm³ piezoelectric micromembrane pump developed at Fraunhofer EMFT. For the application in cardiac catheters, the scientists have adapted the pump chamber and optimized the piezo assembly to achieve the required pressure and flow.