Mitch Barneck, MS2, and the fight to end catheter-born infections

July 28, 2014

Mitch Barneck, MS2As a second year medical student with a background in bioengineering, Mitch Barneck has already seen first hand the power of collaborative innovation. While an undergraduate bioengineering student at the University of Utah, Barneck and his student colleagues developed a bacteria-killing catheter, called the LIGHT LINE Catheter™, that uses high-intensity narrow spectrum light to sterilize the indwelling catheter site.

The co-creators have garnered multiple awards ranging from Best Engineering Award at the 2012 Bench to Bedside Medical Device Design Competition to First Place, Global Champion at the 2014 International Business Model Competition. In total, Barneck and his colleagues have won cash awards of more than $95,000 for their innovation. Their company, Veritas Medical, LLC has already filed a utility patent for the technology and plans to use their winnings for continued validation and testing. 

Light Line catheterSpeaking about his medical school education, Barneck said, “OHSU has provided me with a solid foundation for expanding the scope of Light Line.” He notes that the collaborative environment at OHSU helps support his entrepreneurial dreams: “Many of my instructors have been very willing to discuss their experiences and direct me to additional resources. Being able to utilize the knowledge and understanding of experienced physicians and scientists has been extremely advantageous as we continue the project.”

According to the World Health Organization, the price of catheter-related bloodstream infections is high – a single infection alone can rack up $56,000 in health care costs and up to 25 percent of patients with these infections may die. Patients who do survive face additional complications and extended hospital stays. One small step at a time, Barneck and his colleagues hope to contribute to a solution that makes these losses a thing of the past.

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