July 20, 2024

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Pediatric Consortium Offers $150K in Grants to Tackle Youth Substance Use Disorder with Innovative Medical Devices

Pediatric Consortium Offers $150K in Grants to Tackle Youth Substance Use Disorder with Innovative Medical Devices

The Alliance for Pediatric Device Innovation (APDI), led by Children’s National Hospital and funded by the FDA, has announced $150,000 in grants to develop medical devices for youth substance use disorder. This initiative addresses the urgent need for innovative solutions as new data highlights a growing crisis among adolescents.

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In a major initiative aimed at combating youth substance use disorder, the Alliance for Pediatric Device Innovation (APDI), led by Children’s National Hospital and funded by the FDA, has announced the availability of $150,000 in grants to foster the development of medical devices specifically designed for adolescents. This funding opportunity comes at a critical time, as recent data highlights the urgent need for targeted solutions to address the growing crisis of drug misuse among young people.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 3.6 million U.S. youth aged 12 to 17 used illicit drugs in 2022. Alarmingly, an average of 22 youth aged 12 to 18 died each week from an overdose during that same period. Many of these adolescents did not display the usual warning signs of substance use, underscoring the necessity for innovative diagnostic and treatment technologies tailored to this age group.

“Tragically, drug overdose is now the third leading cause of death among adolescents and, to improve
outcomes, we need medical technologies that are specifically designed for the youth,” said Dr. Kolaleh Eskandanian, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National and APDI principal investigator and program director. “Teens and tweens are enthusiastic users of technology. We believe that the time is right for new health technology solutions that can save lives and improve the health of our young people.”

The APDI is calling for proposals that align with the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse’s (NACDA) newly approved concept, “Promoting Medical Device Development for Youth Affected by Drug Addiction and Substance Misuse.” This concept highlights potential funding opportunities from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), with APDI providing early support through grant funding and comprehensive support services throughout the medical device product lifecycle.

Targeted Innovations for Youth

Dr. Eskandanian elaborated on the types of innovations APDI seeks to attract, emphasizing the need for pediatric-specific solutions. These include:

  • AI-Based Algorithms: Tools that collect, integrate, analyze, and visualize data related to the diagnosis or treatment of drug misuse and addiction in youth.
  • Digital Therapeutics: Stand-alone or add-on digital interventions focused on behavioral health to diagnose, treat, prevent, and mitigate substance misuse.
  • Wearable Technologies: Devices intended to detect, diagnose, and treat opioid-induced respiratory depression at the point of need.
  • Therapeutic Devices: Innovations such as neuromodulation to improve substance use disorder (SUD) treatment outcomes and prevent recurrence.

Many medical devices are primarily designed for adults, which limits their usability and acceptance among adolescents. Additionally, existing algorithms are often based on adult data, making them less effective for younger populations.

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Bridging the Gap in Pediatric Medical Devices

APDI’s initiative aims to bridge this gap by bringing more effective pediatric medical devices to market. This effort is crucial given the alarming rate of harm caused by substance misuse and addiction among young people and their families.

“Our goal is to bring more effective pediatric medical devices to market to address the alarming rate of
harm substance misuse and addiction is creating for young people and their families,” says Dr.
Eskandanian. “Since this is an area of focus for NIDA, we see an opportunity to help create a pipeline of
qualified companies that can apply for NIDA follow-on funding.”

How to Apply

Innovators interested in applying for the APDI grant funding can learn more and submit their proposals by visiting innovate4kids.org. The application deadline is July 30, 2024.

APDI, part of the FDA’s Pediatric Device Consortia grant program, collaborates with leading institutions including Johns Hopkins University, CIMIT at Mass General Brigham, Tufts Medical Center, MedStar Health Research Institute, MedTech Color, and OrthoPediatrics Corp.

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About Children’s National Hospital

Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., was established in 1870 to help every child grow up stronger. Today, it is the No. 5 children’s hospital in the nation and ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus opened in 2021, a first-of-its-kind pediatric hub dedicated to developing new and better ways to care for kids. Children’s National has been designated three times in a row as a Magnet ®  hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty care locations in the D.C. metropolitan area, including Maryland and Virginia. Children’s National is home to the Children’s National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. As a non-profit, Children’s National relies on generous donors to help ensure that every child receives the care they need.