Weekend Rounds: Q&A tells Aastrom Biosciences’ challenges

Here were some of the top stories at MedCity News this week: • Tim Mayleben had a front-row seat as a board member to the shaky period two years ago when stem cell company Aastrom Biosciences was clinging to survival. Now, he’s in the driver’s seat as things are looking up for the publicly traded […]

Here were some of the top stories at MedCity News this week:

Tim Mayleben had a front-row seat as a board member to the shaky period two years ago when stem cell company Aastrom Biosciences was clinging to survival. Now, he’s in the driver’s seat as things are looking up for the publicly traded biotech firm. Mayleben, who’s sat on Aastrom’s board since 2005, took over as chief executive in December. He spoke with MedCity News about how the company’s technology works and what he learned watching up close as Aastrom teetered on the brink of collapse.

•   The National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Roderic Pettigrew urged medical device makers to do more with less at this year’s Design of Medical Devices conference at the University of Minnesota. Pettigrew, the director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, argued that new technology was essential to cost control — a good balance to former U.S. Senator Dave Durenberger who the day before decried “the medical arms race” and declared that the country should instead “encourage lifestyle changes.”

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•   MedCity News Minnesota Bureau Chief Thomas Lee felt a bit uncomfortable Tuesday sitting on a panel of venture capitalists and engineers judging the “Three-in-Five” competition at the University of Minnesota’s Design of Medical Devices conference. Lee gave an adult circumcision device his top score. The technology, developed at the University of Michigan, is a disposable cage-like device that protects and supports the tip of the penis during circumcision. The team wants to market the adjustable, low-cost device to third world countries in sub-Saharan Africa where circumcision is not only a traditional male rite of passage, but also a clinically proven way to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

•   The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron has landed three medical innovators to head its centers for medical device development, integrated health care education and community health improvement. Brian L. Davis has been appointed vice president of the Medical Device Development Center, which provides a resource for companies and researchers to design, test, synthesize and make new materials and discover health care applications for biomaterials that create products and jobs. Dr. Michael G. Holder Jr. has been appointed vice president of the Center for Simulation and Integrated Healthcare Education, which is establishing a nationally recognized model for simulation-based education and training programs. And Janine E. Janosky, has been appointed vice president of the Center for Community Health Improvement.

•   Last winter as the country bickered over death panels, Tea Parties and socialized medicine, a woman quietly observed life in Austin, Minnesota. She visited community centers, hung out with pastors and interviewed workers at Hormel, Austin’s main employer and maker of SPAM. What that cultural anthropologist at Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation found is the basis for perhaps the most ambitious attempt to design a new health care model not just for Minnesota, but the rest of the country. Mayo, based nearby in Rochester, Minnesota, is currently conducting a bold three-year experiment to determine whether an integrated community-based health care system can produce healthier citizens.

. The center’s facilities, staff and services will serve as a central resource for simulation training in clinical skills.Holder is an emerging leader in the use of simulation to improve patient safety, medical and health education, and health care delivery, according to the institute. He had been director of medical education and an attending physician in pediatric emergency medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital, one of the institute’s founding members.

In 2007, Holder created Akron Children’s simulation laboratory to help health professionals with educational technology, curriculum development, competency assessment and crisis resource management skills training. He also is associate dean of clinical education at NEOUCOM, and is a member of the institutions Pediatric Council and Diversity Council.

Prior to Akron Children’s, Holder was a staff member at the National Cancer Institute and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Janine E. Janosky, has been appointed vice president of the Center for Community Health Improvement. This center is constructing and coordinating an infrastructure for community-based research. It’s also investigating and implementing processes for increased quality and effectiveness of the delivery of community-based medical care, with an emphasis upon the medically underserved in the Akron region. And it’s developing a national integrated health and wellness model.

Janosky is expert at attracting research money and achieving health initiatives that impact communities. Most recently, she was the vice provost for research at Central Michigan University where she led its technology transfer and commercialization efforts. Janosky’s unit created more than 15 companies and increased external grants and contracts by more than 20 percent, among other accomplishments.

Prior to joining Central Michigan, Janosky was executive director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Center for Primary Care Community-Based Research, which she created. The center provided clinical and community-based research, preventive and medical services, and education and training opportunities for physicians, health care professionals and students.

Mary Vanac

Mary Vanac is co-founder of MedCity News and serves as its vice president and Ohio bureau chief.

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