Office for Technology Commercialization

Repair of Central Airway Collapse

Technology #20180242

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Roy Cho, MD, MHA
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine
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Doug Devens, PhD
Innovation Fellow, Medical Device Center
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Felix Landaeta, M.Sc.
Innovation Fellow, Medical Device Center
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Managed By
Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed

Central Airway Collapse Repair Method

A new method to repair collapsed central airways (trachea and main bronchi) includes inserting a prosthesis that mitigates some of the current stents used to open the airway. The method also applies radiofrequency energy to remodel the muscles of the trachea.

Limitations of Current Central Airway Therapies

While inherited central airway collapse is relatively rare condition found in children, it is becoming more recognized as an acquired condition among adults and is especially common among asthma and/or COPD patients. Central airway collapse can further exacerbate these conditions, increasing odds of hospitalization due to respiratory difficulties.

Current therapies are limited and have many drawbacks:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems are difficult to use and are immobile, requiring the patient to remain stationary.
  • Metal and silicone stents need frequent bronchoscopic checks to ensure they have not migrated or broken and if granulomatous tissue develops, permanent placement of stents is not allowed except in terminal cases.
  • Surgery can stabilize the tracheal lumen and improve quality of life, but perioperative surgical mortality remains at 5-6%, even on carefully selected patients.
  • An experimental means of stabilizing the posterior membrane with a laser has been developed but is only in feasibility testing and lasers have various safety and usability risks.


  • Repairs collapse of the central airway (trachea and main bronchi)


  • Treating central airway collapse

Phase of Development - Concept

Interested in Licensing?
The University relies on industry partners to scale up technologies to large enough production capacity for commercial purposes. The license is available for this technology and would be for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the issued patents. Please contact Kevin Nickels to share your business needs and technical interest in this technology and if you are interested in licensing the technology for further research and development.