Invention of the Year Award winners at UCC

8 Apr 2011

A new system for the treatment of lung cancer and a nanoelectronics invention which will enable the further miniaturisation of microchips have jointly won the University College Cork (UCC) Invention of the Year Award.

Dr Scott Monaghan and Dr Ian Povey, Tyndall National Research Institute (UCC), have developed a new capacitor insulator material, which allows increased charge storage density (the quantity of electric charges or currents that can be accommodated on a microchip). 

It also minimises the leakage of these charges within key components of micro and nanoelectronics circuitry. This will enable the circuitry within a microchip to become even smaller and allow for further combinations of analog and digital systems on the same chip. 

The precise material and system being used by the inventors is still rated ‘top secret’ within the university, however, the invention will have an ultimate market application in the further miniaturisation of portable communications devices together with reduced power consumption and extended battery life. 

Lung Laparoscopic Electroporation Electrode

Declan Soden and John Hinchion, principal investigators at the Cork Cancer Research Centre at UCC, have invented an innovative new laparoscopic device for the non-invasive treatment of lung cancer.

The Lung Laparoscopic Electroporation Electrode device is a laparoscopic system that delivers, in a targeted manner, an electrical field to tumour tissue. An electrical field is generated around the tumour which opens microscopic pores within the cancerous cells, a process known as electroporation. 

With these microscopic pores opened, a cytotoxic cell-killing drug is delivered directly into the cancerous cells. The drug absorption occurs only in the area that has been electroporated (ie, when the cell pores are opened using electrodes) and the treatment is directly targeted into the cancerous cells in the tumour, leaving surrounding healthy tissues unaffected. 

The UCC medical device will now undergo clinical trials to prove its effectiveness. 

Other inventions shortlisted in the UCC competition included: a controlled drug delivery system for illnesses including Crohns disease and stomach cancer; intelligent software systems for the evaluation of customer service quality in contact centres; the use of nanotechnology in the development of new drugs; and a software technology that helps retailers to evaluate and extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables.

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