New Kidney Stone Weapon Wins Honors for VP

Life Sciences Venture Firm Presents First ‘Proof of Concept’ Award for Invention

June 19, 2008

A technology that promises kidney stone sufferers a more pain-free future  has brought honor and a prestigious prize to  the UT Dallas vice president for research.

Dr. Bruce Gnade and co-recipient Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu, associate professor for urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, received the new “Opportunity Texas Proof-of-Concept” award this week from Emergent Technologies Inc.

The team’s  “StoneMag Kidney Stone Magnetic Retrieval System” homes in on and eradicates small fragments of kidney stones that remain in the body after a stone has been fragmented with sound waves.

Market potential was a top criterion for selecting the award winners, and the invention is expected to be a major player in the $1 billion urology device market. 

Gnade accepted the award at the International Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference in San Diego. Austin-based Emergent Technologies presents the award as part of the company’s work with the UT System.  

“From a research standpoint, our StoneMag System offered interesting scientific questions to study and solve,” said Gnade, who is also a professor of materials science and engineering, and chemistry.

“Looking at the concept for development and production, we knew this affordable, less-invasive procedure offered something the medical community could readily embrace,” Gnade said. “This award is a great confirmation that we were on the right track with both the science and its implementation.”

“At least half of the people who suffer from kidney stones will face a reoccurrence—as any fragments left behind can be the ‘seeds’ that grow into larger stones,” said co-inventor Cadeddu, who holds the Ralph C. Smith M.D. Distinguished Chair in Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery at UT Southwestern.

 “The goal is that StoneMag will leave virtually no kidney stone particles behind for the body to regrow,” Cadeddu said. “That gives patients peace of mind, and it might mean they never have to face the pain of another kidney stone.”

Gnade and Cadeddu collaborated with co-inventors Margaret Pearle, M.D., Ph.D. of UT Southwestern, and Stacey McLeroy, a UT Dallas materials science and engineering doctoral student.  Their technique magnetizes the fragmented stones so they can be collected and scooped out with magnetic, specialized surgical instruments.

The award offers a check for $25,000 and another $25,000 for technology commercialization services that Emergent Technologies can provide. Gnade expects to use the award partly to modify existing kidney stone retrieval tools and to speed up the commercialization process of the StoneMag system.


Media contacts: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, Brandon.Webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Bruce Gnade
“We knew this affordable, less-invasive procedure offered something the medical community could readily embrace,” said Dr. Bruce Gnade, the UT Dallas vice president for research.
Award presentation ceremony

Celebrating the award are (from left): Phil Wilson, Texas secretary of state; Thomas A. Harlan, ETI's president and CEO; Dr. Bruce Gnade, UT Dallas vice president for research; and Grant Gibson, ETI vice president of market development.

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