Home > Latest News > Work on ‘Smart Sutures’ gets underway

Work on ‘Smart Sutures’ gets underway

Interactive workshops are being held this month to take forward the biotechnology concept chosen by the HTC Foundation ‘Dragon’s Den’ in December.

Six multidisciplinary student teams presented their innovative concepts for biotechnology to address the problem of anastomotic leak (the most significant complication after colorectal surgery) to a panel of ‘dragons’ on December 4. The HTCF committee and the panel chose ‘Smart Sutures’ as the concept to take forward during 2016.

Junior doctor and Leeds Medical School graduate, Stephen Chapman, who sits on the HTFC steering committee, said: “The dragons were particularly fiery, putting the students under fierce scrutiny, but they dealt with their questions well and the pitches sparked much debate and discussion. While all the ideas were good, Smart Sutures was finally chosen as it was felt it was the most feasible and had the most scope for innovation.”

The idea of smart sutures is to use a traditional technology with an added benefit. Sutures are used to bring two edges of skin, fat or muscle together, but through the use of ‘Smart’ technology, these could be functionalised to detect or prevent anastomotic leak.

Students are now taking this idea forward and developing it in a series of five interactive workshops during February to April. The first of these (Smart Beginnings) took place on February 4 and introduced the group to the ‘Smart Sutures’ concept. Guest surgeons delivered interactive talks, as well as a novelty suture taster session. The second workshop (Entry to Market) took place on February 12 and introduced the group to the essentials of market analysis and patent laws.

Interactive workshops are being held this month to take forward the biotechnology concept chosen by the HTC Foundation ‘Dragon’s Den’ in December.

“Hands-on experience and fun interactive learning are the main ingredients to these eagerly awaited workshops, which have gained far more interest than we had expected,” said Stephen.

Other workshops taking place during February and March will see students actually design and develop their ideas for the ‘Smart Sutures’ concept. All students with an interest in healthcare biotechnology are welcome at these workshops, whether or not they’ve attended previous HTCF events. The sessions are themed around key areas of innovation and development, reflecting the underlying educational principles of HTCF.

The final concept will be presented at the NIHR HTC national conference in Autumn 2016.