Have a heart - there is good news for those with a weak one.
The School of Medical Research and Technology (SMRT) of IIT Kanpur has announced the launch of Hridyantra, a challenge-based programme to develop an advanced artificial heart, also called Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), for patients with end-stage heart failure.
According to an official statement, a LVAD or artificial heart is a pump used in patients with end-stage heart failure as a bridge while awaiting a heart transplant or as a destination therapy for those unable to go in for a transplant.
It is an implantable battery-operated, mechanical pump, which helps the left ventricle (main pumping chamber of the heart) pump blood to the rest of the body.
The programme has been launched in collaboration with India's leading hospitals and will be steered by a team of innovators with relevant experience selected under the mentorship of a task force comprising industry experts, the institute said in the statement.
IIT-K director Prof Abhay Karandikar said: "The programme that provides an innovative platform for enterprising problem solvers will not only enrich the health ecosystem of the country, but will also lead the way in interdisciplinary biomedical research and innovation. This is also a step towards realising the vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) by supporting indigenous talent with critical research and development support."
Prof S Ganesh, deputy director of IIT Kanpur and in-charge of SMRT said: "The execution of this unique competition-based programme will commence with the deployment of a multi-disciplinary team of fellows who will undergo clinical immersion at Narayana Health Hospitals for understanding the clinical nuances associated with cardiac surgery. Upon its completion, the fellows will move to IIT Kanpur to begin the product development process."
The deputy director said so far LVADs have to be imported and are very expensive. The aim of the initiative is to bring down the cost through indigenous technology without compromising on the quality.
The challenge to develop India's first LVAD system will be open to basic sciences, medical and engineering graduates or graduates of any stream with relevant experience.
Selected candidates will receive a fellowship and a milestone-based ownership in the commercial entity once the LVAD is successfully commercialised and launched.
The project is seed-funded by Padma awardee Sudha Murthy and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
IIT-Kanpur has created a task force that includes engineering faculty members from IIT Kanpur, industry experts from the USA and clinical experts from Narayana Health, All India Institute of Medical Sciences-Delhi, Apollo, Fortis Healthcare, Medanta, KIMS and UN Mehta Heart Institute to train the selected fellows on developing the artificial heart.
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