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$10,000 ISSAC Award for Innovation Presented to MIT PhD

LEXINGTON, Mass., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Heejin Lee, an MIT PhD and scientist, was awarded the prestigious 2009 IAI Award for his work on a silicone-based combination product recently launched by TARIS Biomedical.

The ISSAC Award for Innovation recognizes and promotes the achievements of biomedical scientists, designers, engineers and other researchers involved in the development of silicone-based combination products. Combination products are a new FDA defined category of implantable medical devices that release drugs into the body in a controlled manner. Combination products represent a new and rapidly expanding area of life-saving and life-enhancing technology.

The award-winning device is designed to function like a pump, using osmotic pressure to release drugs into the bladder. The size of the device, which is made with silicone and nickel alloy wire, is about that of a paper clip and shaped like a pretzel. The device is inserted in a short catheter-based procedure in a doctor's office. Once implanted, the system is designed to deliver drugs into the bladder for a specific period of time. The device is removed by conventional, non-surgical procedures after a few weeks. The technology is based on research performed by internationally renowned MIT scientists Michael Cima and Robert Langer.

Bladder diseases affect 50 million people in the U.S. alone, and delivering drugs to the bladder is tricky business. The current options include oral tablets, which must travel through the body to get to the bladder and can cause side effects in other organs. Some bladder diseases are treated with individual infusions or injections of a drug. But there are limits to how much of the drugs can be pumped into the body in one sitting, and patients typically must return to their doctor for each dose. A combination product delivers drugs directly to the bladder, in controlled amounts over a defined period of time, which represents a leap forward from the limitations of the current treatment options.

About TARIS Biomedical

TARIS Biomedical Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company with deep expertise in therapeutics and drug-delivery convergence products. For more information, visit .

About ISSAC Medical

ISSAC Medical is the world's premier manufacturer of silicone-based drug-eluting products and medical devices. The company provides a full range of services, including fabrication, assembly, packaging, and sterilization of silicone-based medical devices and device components. For more information, visit


ISSAC Award winner Heejin Lee is presented with a check for $10,000; Left to right: Cheryl Elkins (VP Taris), Heejin Lee, Christine Bunt (COO Taris), and Rob Grant (ISSAC Medical)


    Paul Mazelin, Marketing Director
    Specialty Silicone Fabricators

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