Year: 2009-10

Company: Kinetic Concepts Inc.

Liaison(s): Eric Tan, George Hutchinson

Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (KCI), founded in 1976 by Dr. Jim Leininger, is a medical device company focused on the development and distribution of patient care systems. Though initially focused upon therapeutic support systems, KCI has since expanded into general active healing solutions—becoming the first company to commercialize Negative Pressure Wound Therapy upon the introduction of the ActiV.A.C.® System in 1995. KCI also has expanded recently into regenerative medicine, with the acquisition of LifeCell in 2008. The primary goal of this project was to enhance the clinical utility of the ActiV.A.C.® System (primarily used in the home care market) by first developing a method to sample wound fluid, and second, to achieve a time series collection of wound fluid. An engineering-driven effort was performed to explore different opportunities to automate sampling and to conceptualize potential models brainstormed by the team during the initial phase of the project. Additionally, laboratory-based experiments were performed to study the stability of biomarkers important for diagnosing wound healing status in the ActiV.A.C.® System. Finally, a condensed literature and patent review was performed which provided an analysis of potentially useful biomarkers and patents. Our prototype and the accompanying biomarker analysis provided KCI with options under evaluation for enhancing the ActiV.A.C.® System. Eventually, multi-sampling capabilities will increase the understanding of wound progression and drive better-informed therapeutic decisions.