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College of Medicine innovators design durable treatment solution for hydrocephalus patients

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine are developing a new technology that could lessen the risks associated with current shunts on the market that are used to treat normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), a disease that results when too much cerebrospinal fluid accumulates around the brain. The condition affects approximately 750,000 Americans, typically those over 65 years old.

Hydrocephalus shunts have the highest failure rate of any medical device implanted today, with 40% failing by the end of year one and 98% failing by the end of 10 years. Barry Fell, a consultant for the Surgical Innovation Group in the Department of Surgery, is president and co-founder of Cranial Devices, Inc., which is developing HydroFix, a technology that hopes to provide a durable treatment solution for NPH patients.

“There are many long-held medical perceptions regarding treatments for a variety of ailments people experience,” said Fell. “And many are appropriate for good reasons, but new advancements truly need to be considered by referring physicians because of their efficacy and resulting positive outcome for patients.”

Fell, Dr. Randy Haluck, Dr. Elias Rizk and Dr. Sprague Hazard from the College of Medicine collaborated to develop the HydroFix technology. Fell and Haluck co-founded Cranial Devices Inc. and took first place at the 2021 Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference Tech Tournament. Penn State Center for Medical Innovation has supported this project.

The inventors and faculty named above may hold intellectual property rights and equity interest in companies and products as mentioned above.

Read the full story in Penn State News

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