Lawson Health Research Institute First in World to Use New Device for Feeding Tube Insertion

A team of clinician researchers form Lawson Health Research Institute have partnered with medical device company CoapTech LLC to study a new method of feeding tube insertion. The study is assessing the safety and efficacy of a new device called the PUMA-G System with 25 patients at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). The new method may offer improved patient safety and experience while providing cost savings to the health care system.

Pioneering the New Device at Lawson Health Research Institute

In October 2018, a team led by Dr. Derek Cool, Lawson Associate Scientist, was the first in the world to use the device for feeding tube insertion.

Feeding tubes are needed by those who cannot maintain adequate nutrition through the mouth. They can be very important to the treatment and recovery of conditions such as cancer, stroke and trauma. Sonny McGlone, a 76-year-old man from Sarnia, Ontario, was the first to participate in the clinical trial. He was being treated with radiation therapy for head and neck cancer and relied on a feeding tube to eat.

“I had seven weeks of radiation which killed my taste buds. I couldn’t swallow or eat and I was rapidly losing weight,” explains Sonny. “I was pleasantly surprised by the feeding tube procedure. While the tube was obviously inconvenient, it was a life saver.”

Improving Patient Safety While Reducing the Cost of Health Services

The insertion of a feeding tube is conventionally guided by x-ray imaging or endoscopy, a procedure that uses a camera and light to visualize the stomach. These methods require use of specialized imaging suites that are critically needed by many patients. The time and resources required in these suites can be costly to the health care system.

The PUMA-G System provides a new method of feeding tube insertion that lowers the risk of puncturing other organs in the process and can be performed at a patient’s bedside. The device uses a magnetic balloon that is fed through a patient’s mouth and guided to the stomach with an external magnet. The balloon is inflated with water and ultrasound guides the treating physician as they insert a needle through the stomach and into the balloon. The balloon catches a wire that is then pulled back up and out the mouth as the balloon is removed. A feeding tube can then be pushed back down over the wire and safely out the stomach.


Dr. Derek Cool, Lawson Associate Scientist, Study Lead

“This new method is already showing promise as being safe, effective and efficient. It allows feeding tubes to be inserted at the patient’s bedside and reduces the demand on specialized imaging suites,” says Dr. Derek Cool, who is also an Interventional Radiologist at LHSC. “This could be especially important for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). They can benefit from the safety of that environment without being moved.”

Read more on this clinical trial from Lawson Health Research Institute here.

Industry is Choosing Ontario

This partnership between Lawson Health Research Institute and CoapTech LLC is just one example of the numerous industry-sponsored trials in Ontario advancing innovative therapies. Ontario is among the top ten largest clinical trials jurisdictions in North America, and is home to Canada’s largest concentration of hospitals, research institutes, contract research organizations and trial sites. With over 3,800 open clinical trials, more than 2,200 biotechnology, medical device and digital health companies and a diverse population of more than 13 million people, Ontario and is a preferred destination for clinical trials.

Are you interested in conducting your next clinical trial in Ontario? Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO) can help. CTO’s Trial Site Network enables industry to connect directly with Ontario’s agile, efficient and high-performing clinical trial sites. Through the Network, CTO can provide any company looking to conduct a clinical trial or validation study in Ontario with a warm introduction to clinical trial research personnel representing more than 150 research institutions, hospitals and trials sites across Ontario.

Dr. Derek Cool explains the new method of feeding tube insertion and the benefits it could provide.

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