University of Texas Health Science Center receives $200.000 AT&T grant to fund development of nano-sized pressure sensor prototype

San Antonio 30 August 2006The AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., has awarded a $200.000 grant to support the University of Texas Health Science Center's (UTHSC) Janey Briscoe Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research in its goal of developing a new medical device. The grant will specifically fund research programmes to develop an implantable intravascular biosensor that will monitor health and disease progression in humans.


The nano-sized pressure sensor will monitor pressure within the cardiovascular system and blood flow, while transmitting the information to a data collection module worn by the patient; likely within a wristwatch-like device. The external device will then transmit the data to a central remote monitoring station where it can be viewed in real time by health care providers, giving them insight into potential irregularities in the heart.

Former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. has donated more than $3 million to the Janey Briscoe Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research in honour of his wife, who died in 2000 of cardiovascular disease. Mrs. Briscoe lived almost two years after a major heart attack because of the excellent care she received from faculty cardiologists at the Health Science Center. The Janey Briscoe Center is under the direction of distinguished cardiology researcher Steven R. Bailey, M.D., professor of medicine at the Health Science Center, and offers everything from patient care to research and studies at the molecular level. The centre was created to build upon the expertise of scientists in San Antonio, as well as address special South Texas vulnerabilities to heart disease - the no. 1 killer in the United States, specifically among Hispanics.

"The partnership between UTHSC and the AT&T Foundation is a model for the vision and use of technology that will pave the way for the future and provide a better method of early detection of heart disease and other life-threatening complications", stated Dr. Stephen R. Bailey, M.D., director of the Janey Briscoe Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research.

"Combining our strengths allows us to continue to explore even more innovative ways to help improve the nation's health and decrease health care costs to society", stated state senator Leticia Van de Putte. "The Janey Briscoe Center is well-positioned to bring the latest technology and research to Texas health care professionals and patients", stated state senator and chair of Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Technologies and Economic Development, Kyle Janek. "This grant is an investment that will benefit our communities for years to come."

"Few things are as important to our communities as good health care", stated state senator Judith Zaffirini. "This grant will help ensure that doctors and patients alike benefit from advanced technology in medical care."

"We want to thank Senators Janek, Van de Putte and Zaffirini for the work they have put forth in supporting this initiative to bring modern technology and medicine together, right here in San Antonio", stated John T. Montford, AT&T senior vice president, Western region legislative and regulatory affairs. "Helping to decrease health care costs is an important aspect of AT&T's future, and we are happy to support a technology that has the potential to benefit the many Americans who are affected by this terrible disease every year."

The event featured an animation depicting the biosensor's monitoring capacity. Nanotechnology allows the device to be less energy-demanding, easier to implant within the cardiovascular system and more sensitive than current micro- or macro-sensors. The $200.000 grant fulfils the AT&T Foundation's goal to support initiatives that integrate technology into service delivery.

AT&T Inc. is one of the world's largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as United States providers of high speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the no. 1 United States wireless services provider with 57,3 million wireless customers.

The AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programmes that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The new AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country. The new AT&T Foundation combines more than 40 years and $1,7 billion of philanthropic commitment to communities across the United States.

Leslie Versweyveld

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