Consortium seeks proposals for clinical/technical research


The Center for Innovative Minimally Invasive Therapy (CIMIT) is offering research funding and seminars to encourage development of minimally invasive approaches in targeted clinical areas.

CIMIT was pioneered by its director, Professor John Parrish of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and is a consortium of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Draper Laboratories and MIT. The CIMIT consortium combines clinical and technological excellence to develop concepts in minimally invasive therapy that improve the quality and lower the cost of health care delivery.

HST is working on several fronts to provide opportunities for MIT faculty to learn more about medical challenges being addressed by CIMIT and how they might participate in addressing those problems. CIMIT has identified five clinical focus areas (CFAs) around which toorganize promising projects and drive its research agenda: cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, trauma and critical care, and new initiatives.

There are nine Advanced Technology Teams whose purpose is to support development of a portfolio of technologies. They are providing an evolving stream of novel clinical practices that enhance minimally invasive diagnostics and therapies. Some of the technologies earmarked for study include:

  • ������������������Laser and visualization equipment designed for use in cardiovascular procedures to reduce the chance of vessel wall injury and the likelihood of vessel reocclusion
  • Nonsurgical cancer detection and therapeutic techniques to increase survival rates and reduce disfigurement commonly associated with traditional cancer therapies
  • ������������������New stroke assessment tools and therapeutic interventions to potentially allow for full recovery.

To begin to build interdisciplinary research efforts and to strongly encourage participation by MIT faculty, CIMIT and HST are offering seminars planned for spring 1999 and funding opportunities outlined below:

Seminar series -- This series for the MIT community hosted by CIMIT faculty will focus on examination and discussion of areas of research opportunities in CIMIT. The objective will be to enhance the knowledge base of seminar participants, highlight areas of R&D opportunities in CIMIT, and provide a collaborative forum for students, faculty and researchers from all the members of the CIMIT consortium.

Pilot studies -- These funds are available to faculty from the consortium to conduct pilot studies that assess the feasibility of new technologies or concepts with potential application to minimally invasive therapy and diagnosis. Deadline for these proposals are December 15 and June 15.

Research fellowships -- these funds are available to MD or PhD postdoctoral fellows to foster collaborative interdisciplinary research in minimally invasive therapy. Applications are accepted for review twice per year by April 30 and August 31.

Faculty awards -- these funds, available to candidates who hold faculty appointments at one of the consortium institutions, aim to foster collaborative interdisciplinary research and development in minimally invasive therapy. Preliminary applications are due November 18, 1998 and April 30, 1999.

"I believe CIMIT offers a unique opportunity for MIT faculty and students to join with industry and the hospitals to make advances in medicine," said HST co-director Professor Martha Gray. President Charles M. Vest concurred, saying, "I see biomedical opportunities for MIT's technological skills and resources as a most promising area for expanding our impact on the national agenda. Our many research collaborations with MGH and other Partners HealthCare institutions have been fruitful and support our educational mission as well as our research and development ambitions."

More information on the program and awards, including application requirements, can be requested by e-mail at cimit@mit.edu from Terrill Gadde in the HST office (Rm E25-519, x3-9635), from Professors Martha Gray at mgray@mit.edu and Elazer Edelman at edelman@mit.edu, or from the CIMIT web page. Regular updates on new opportunities will be provided by e-mail. Those wishing to be added to this mailing list should send their e-mail address to cimit@mit.edu.

Faculty and students with interests or ideas in this area -- even those with no experience in biology or medicine -- are strongly encouraged to contact CIMIT.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 28, 1998.


Topics: Health sciences and technology

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