Support from Europe for the Artificial Heart Pump Project for Children

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Koç University Faculty of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department academic staff member Prof. Dr. Kerem Pekkan has been awarded the “ERC Proof of Concept” support from the European Research Council (ERC).

Prof. Dr. Pekkan aims to develop and produce an artificial heart pump to be used in right heart failure in children with a support fund of 150 thousand euros received as part of the "Production of Artificial Heart Pump for Children" project. Within the scope of the project, the focus will be on children with Fontan heart disease, which is known to the public as blue child disease.

Supporting the best researchers and groundbreaking projects in Europe, European Research Council (ERC), Koç University Faculty of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department Lecturer Prof. Dr. Kerem Pekkan provided 150 thousand euro funds to be used in the "Production of Artificial Heart Pump for Children" project. With the project, it is aimed to make the treatment widespread by producing the heart pump, which is still priced between 80-120 thousand dollars, at a much lower price.

Noting that the duration of the fund received from ERC is 18 months, Prof. Dr. With this resource, Kerem Pekkan will produce an artificial heart pump to be used primarily in the right heart failure of pediatric Fontan patients. The project, led by Koç University, will collaborate with Acıbadem University, Istanbul Mehmet Akif Ersoy Heart Hospital and Istanbul Bilgi University.

Providing information about the project, Prof. Dr. Kerem Pekkan said, “In the project, there is the discovery of a heart pump, which will only have a tribune that does not require electricity and control. The most important difference of this heart pump is the lack of an engine. Therefore, there are no cables or connections that enter and exit the body. Artificial hearts currently used in the clinic can be supplied at high prices of up to 80-120 thousand dollars per patient. In addition, cables entering and exiting the body restrict the movement of the patient. In the project, we aim to solve these problems very economically by using a new blood tribune. We will need additional financial support to allow the pump to reach the patient bed after completing the animal experiments. We expect the support of all institutions and anyone who wants to make a significant social impact on the lives of our patients who really need this product.

Noting that the development of artificial heart pumps continues all over the world, Prof. Dr. Kerem Pekkan, “Prof. Dr. İsmail Lazoğlu and Prof. Dr. Özlem Yalçın is doing important work in this field. I especially work with pediatric heart patients. Another inventor of the production of artificial heart pumps for children is Acıbadem University Heart Surgery Prof. Dr. Rıza Türköz. Unfortunately, the development of pacemakers for children has faced great difficulties in the world. Currently, there is a product called Berlin Heart that can only be used by patients, their prices are very high. In our project, since there is no motor, we have the chance to produce the artificial pump very cheaply and specially for the patient. The newly established advanced production infrastructure of our Koç University Translational Medicine Research Center (KUTTAM) is a very important resource for this project. The pre-commercialization program and budget for the products of the researchers, who are only the ERC project, are very limited compared to the targeted medical device.

providing support to the most original and innovative scientific research, Europe's most prestigious and well-known scientific institutions in the field of European Research Council (ERC) funds from Turkey so far in 2012 was awarded 31 prestigious projects. 17 of these funds were received by Koç University faculty members. Currently, 12 of the projects receiving ERC funding are carried out within Koç University. From Turkey to support the PoC until now a total of five times two projects being carried out by academics at KU. Of these five PoC supports, Prof. Dr. Kerem Pekkan bought it.

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