What is CI3M [Interview][Transcript]

Guest: Dr. Emilio Sacristan
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Emilio Sacristan is Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering , Director and Founder of the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research, CI3M, at the UAM-Iztapalapa in Mexico City. He is also an active entrepreneur seeking to translate medical innovations to the market, having served as founder/CEO/CSO of Enviva Corp. (MA), Innovamedica (Mexico), Abdeo Medical (Mexico and CA), Critical Perfusion Inc. (CA), and currently serves as Chief Science Officer of Nervive, Inc. He holds a B.S. in EE and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Dr. Emilio Sacristan, Director and Founder of the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research, CI3M, talks about what it is and it’s mission to enable translational research in the field of medical technology.


Health Professional Radio

Neal Howard: Hello you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. In studio today with us is Dr. Emilio Sacristan, professor of electrical and biomedical engineering at the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research in Mexico. How are you doing today doctor?

Dr. Emilio Sacristan: Very well, thank you. It’s nice to be here.

Neal: Thank you so much for joining us today. You are the director and founder of the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research. Could you tell us a bit about what exactly is your background, how did you begin your electronic engineering career? And what prompted you to found this center?

Dr. Sacristan: Well I’m a biomedical engineer. I’ve been a researcher in biomedical engineering in my career and I have been involved with developing new technologies for medicine. And also I’ve been involved with doing translation work where we’re trying to not only do the research but pend off of the development of the technology to companies and often times that is done through the creation of medical startups and also partnerships with hospitals and institutes of medical research. And often times it also involves other parties like government, ministries of health, capital foundations, different kinds of businesses, manufacturing companies, etc. It’s pretty a complicated process, getting all the interest lined up to really get a technology from the laboratory to actual clinical use. And I was one of the primary movers for us to create the center which would be a place for all these actors could collaborate in getting technologies through testing, through development, through teaching. And all the different steps that technologies have to go through before they can actually get into the clinical setting.

N: Now does your company in your lab, are you just in a continuous mode of identifying problems from your perspective and then working on technology to address those problems? Or are you getting for lack of a better term orders or research orders from different organizations or hospitals or specialists because they’ve identified a problem and want you to address it or is there a mixture of both?

S: It’s all of the above, yes. We’re a national, federally funded national laboratory which means we get part of our funding directly from the Mexican federal government. And we also get a support from affiliated universities which we collaborate. And we offer services, research services and clinical services to anybody that calls us or walks through the door. At any one point in time we have about 30 research projects going on coming from all over the place, some are internally generated, some come from hospitals, doctors, some come from industry. They reach out to us to help them develop a product, validate a product, get help with regulatory process, do testing, product testing…

N: Uh huh.

S: Do clinical research or any of those. And even part of the stuff we do is teaching programs. For example we coordinate with doctors that are working with a new technology, we organize seminars or certificate programs to train hospital personnel, doctors, technicians, engineers, what they need to know about the new technology because that’s often a big road block to getting a technology into clinical setting – is that if you don’t train the people how to use it, how to operate it or how to maintain, then it becomes a big road block to implementing it in a clinical setting.

N: Now with so many countries and organizations wanting to get their hands on new technologies to further their medical endeavors, is your government the only one that contributes to your research or do you reach out to other nations in order to get some help or some backing?

S: Well the laboratory is largely self-funding. We charge any user that comes to our center, service fee for whatever usage of the laboratory space or if they’re using MRI scans or CT scans or printing on our 3D printers or whatever service they’re using we charge a fee for the use of the services. And that largely covers all our cost. On top of that we get a regular support from the federal government to grow on buying new equipment and expand and to stay very current in the cutting edge of technology.

N: How involved are you with university students as far as doctors who are being trained now there in Mexico?

S: Oh well, that’s a big part of what we do. At any point in time we have about 30 students doing research projects at our center. They can be undergraduates or mostly graduates students. A lot of them are PhD students doing research projects but we also have some post docs affiliate with one or several universities doing some research projects at our lab. And then we also have regularly scheduled courses and continued education programs, where we’ll have technicians from hospitals or doctors or engineers come to take several week long course on one technology or another.

N: Does your staff tend to travel quite a bit, or do you require the people that are gonna use your lab to actually come in or do you take say equipment to different locations in order for them to work on it and charge them a fee as well?

S: Yes, we do. Well we don’t really loan or rent our equipment but we do take for example we’re running a large clinical trial right now and we pack up on our equipment take it to the hospital where we’re doing testing on a clinical population. And we’ll have our own engineers there gathering data and supervising and when the trial’s over will get our equipment back. And of course that is a clinical trial that is being sponsored by the industries so in all of cost are being paid for, that’s one of the services that we provide. We run several different types of clinical trials and we have monitoring services that comply with FDA and good clinical practices.

N: Now as we wrap up this segment doctor, I’d like to ask you where can our listeners get more information about you and about your organization?

N: Well we have a web page www.ci3m.mx in fact I think you can reach it just by ci3m.mx. I’m afraid that our English version of this page is being maintained right now because we’ve found that there were a lot of spelling and other English translation mistakes so we’re having it all … but they should be up and running soon. If anybody listens to this and can’t get the English page, I’d ask them to try again in a couple weeks.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio today talking with Dr. Emilio Sacristan, professor electrical and biomedical engineering at the National Center for Medical Instrumentation and Imaging Research. And we’ve been here talking about their mission to enable translational research in a field of medical technology. It’s been a great talking with you today doctor.

S: Thank you very much.

N: Thank you. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.