Connecticut Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief Awarded $1 Million to Advance Development of New, Innovative Treatment for Esophageal Atresia

For Immediate Release: November 28, 2018
Media Contact:

Monica Buchanan, Director, Communications

Hartford, CT—Connecticut Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief was recently awarded a $1 million grant to advance her work with a biotechnology company that develops bioengineered organ implants to treat life-threatening conditions of the esophagus.  The grant funding by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will support Biostage’s development of its Cellspan™ Esophageal Implant (CEI) for treatment of neonatal esophageal atresia and the research Christine Finck, MD, is doing with the implant in her Connecticut lab.

“Our hospital is committed to translating this novel technology to the clinic to address esophageal atresia in children,” said Dr. Finck, Surgeon-in-Chief, Connecticut Children’s. “There is a tremendous unmet medical need for children suffering with esophageal atresia in the United States and across the world.  This technology has the potential to dramatically improve their care and condition. This grant supports scientific rigor as we optimize and get ready for FDA submission.”

Researchers estimate that esophageal atresia affects about 1 in 4,300 pregnancies in the United States each year. In most cases, the upper esophagus abruptly ends and does not connect with the lower esophagus and stomach. It is a serious and potentially life threatening condition.

Dr. Finck’s research is showing considerable hope for a cure that would improve a patient’s quality of life. Through her work, the Biostage scaffold would be personalized using a patient’s own stem cells and used to replace the segments of the patient’s esophagus that are missing or damaged.

“There is a tremendous un-met medical need in children suffering from esophageal atresia. Children born with a gap between their upper and lower esophagus face multiple complications and a reduced quality of life. Biostage’s Cellframe™ technology has the potential to be a transforming alternative for these kids where there currently exists no standard of care,” said Jim McGorry, CEO of Biostage. “Our scientific advisory board, comprised of esteemed pediatric surgeons, and now the NIH believe our technology provides a novel approach to treating these underserved kids. Biostage has been granted orphan designation in esophageal atresia and continues to work with the FDA and our investigators in advancing our technology to the clinic.”

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