As new treatment modalities emerge to meet unique patient and societal needs, we’re no longer operating under a “business as usual” mentality where patients simply pop a pill or receive an injection. Modalities like personalized medicine, gene therapies, and novel delivery mechanisms are paving the way for an innovative new era in device design.

On May 10, Product Creation Studio will host a hybrid DeviceConnect event with Life Science Washington: “Novel Delivery Mechanisms for Modern Medicine.” CTO Scott Thielman will moderate a panel of experts in novel drug delivery, with topics ranging across RNA vaccines, gene therapies, and global health. We hope you’ll join us in person or online to network, converse, and learn from our panelists from Watershed Therapeutics, UW, Orlance, and PATH. Learn more and register.

In the meantime, here are some thoughts on emerging areas that are ripe for design thinking and user-centered innovations. 

Gene Therapies

For new modality genetic therapies, there are multiple steps in the process where user-centered design and engineering can have an impact:

  1. Collection or extraction of cells from a patient
  2. Management, logistics, processing
  3. Re-introduction of modified cells back into the patient

A user-centered design approach will ease the process for the patients and technicians while device engineers develop automated processing systems and novel delivery mechanisms to target the location of the cells within the body.

For example, Product Creation Studio worked with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to devise a better way to protect biopsy samples. “Medtech engineers frequently help medical researchers translate their ideas for better disease treatment into marketable medical devices. These translational projects are rich in opportunities for medical device developers to have an impact on very meaningful programs,” Scott Thielman, CTO of Product Creation Studio, said. Read more.

RNA Vaccine Delivery

Nucleic acid vaccines present similar design opportunities for targeted delivery of therapies that stimulate a systemic or localized immune response. There is a similar process needed in vaccine delivery to a community:

  1. Collect and identify the pathogen
  2. Develop and manufacture a new and effective vaccine candidate
  3. Introduce this to the subjects to slow future infections

Another example is Product Creation Studio’s work with Orlance to develop novel gene gun technology for vaccine delivery. “Vaccine delivery is suddenly a hot topic in bioscience and healthcare,” Scott Thielman said in an article for MD+DI. “At Product Creation Studio, we’ve had a front-row seat to influential research in this field. While we are not experts in vaccines or microbiology, we do know a thing or two about user-centered design applied to drug delivery and other healthcare workflows. We often support innovative researchers as they translate their discoveries into products with a commercial vision. I realized that stories from this type of work might be interesting to other medical device experts. While these projects are not without challenges, who wouldn’t want to support visionary efforts with a huge potential impact on healthcare? I decided to share some of our stories with the hope that they will be instructive for others involved with scientific translational work.”

Within each of these processes, there are design challenges around workflow, processing, and delivery. Ultimately there may be ways to completely automate the processes to lower costs and speed therapies to patients that need them. 

At Product Creation Studio, we’re excited to be a part of designing a future for modern medicine that will deliver targeted therapies, novel vaccines, and a longer and better life for many patients. Please get in touch if we can help you!