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Neurosurgery. 2013 Jan;72 Suppl 1:182-92. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318270cfec.

Developing a new model for the invention and translation of neurotechnologies in academic neurosurgery.

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Department of Neurological Surgery and Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.



There is currently an acceleration of new scientific and technical capabilities that create new opportunities for academic neurosurgery. To engage these changing dynamics, the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology (CINT) was created on the premise that successful innovation of device-related ideas relies on collaboration between multiple disciplines. The CINT has created a unique model that integrates scientific, medical, engineering, and legal/business experts to participate in the continuum from idea generation to translation.


To detail the method by which this model has been implemented in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis and the experience that has been accrued thus far.


The workflow is structured to enable cross-disciplinary interaction, both intramurally and extramurally between academia and industry. This involves a structured method for generating, evaluating, and prototyping promising device concepts. The process begins with the "invention session," which consists of a structured exchange between inventors from diverse technical and medical backgrounds. Successful ideas, which pass a separate triage mechanism, are then sent to industry-sponsored multidisciplinary fellowships to create functioning prototypes.


After 3 years, the CINT has engaged 32 clinical and nonclinical inventors, resulting in 47 ideas, 16 fellowships, and 12 patents, for which 7 have been licensed to industry. Financial models project that if commercially successful, device sales could have a notable impact on departmental revenue.


The CINT is a model that supports an integrated approach from the time an idea is created through its translational development. To date, the approach has been successful in creating numerous concepts that have led to industry licenses. In the long term, this model will create a novel revenue stream to support the academic neurosurgical mission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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