U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry Announce .5 Million for Cutting-edge Medical Research at WPI

Contact: Michel Mershon/McGovern, 202-225-6101
Mike Spahn/Kennedy, 202-224-2633
Tony Wyche/Kerry, 202-224-4159
Pat Samson/WPI, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - September 25, 2003 - U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) today announced congressional approval of $1.5 million to the Center for Untethered Healthcare at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Bioengineering Institute for further research, development and design of devices to support the healthcare and medical combat needs of our uniformed men and women.

Today's announcement brings the total amount of federal funding earmarked by Rep. McGovern, Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Kerry to the untethered healthcare project to $3.5 million, and will further contribute to the success of the Gateway Park initiative. The Gateway Park collaboration is intended to create jobs, enhance economic development, and revitalize an underutilized area of the city.

The funds announced today are included in the FY 2004 Defense Department appropriations bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and Senate today. The President is expected to sign the bill.

WPI is engaged in work to meet the medical needs of deployed military personnel, especially under battlefield conditions. This "untethered" medicine will allow personnel to receive diagnostic and monitoring services from doctors thousands of miles away. In addition to battlefield work, other applications might include supporting emergency response teams here in the United States - for homeland security, for civilian disaster relief and for the involvement of military personnel emergency and humanitarian crises.

The products developed will bring current applications, breakthroughs and developments in nanotechnology, cellular processes, imaging and molecular biology together with those in telecommunications and information technology in order to yield practical combat medical support solutions.

WPI is working in coordination with officials at the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and with officials at Fort Detrick and the U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technologies Research Center.

"WPI is doing extraordinary work in the field of untethered medicine, and I'm pleased we were able to secure this funding," Rep. McGovern said. "We must do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of our military personnel, especially when they are deployed in harm's way. Through advancements in technology, we will be able to bring the most cutting-edge medical care to remote and forbidding locales, like Afghanistan and Iraq. These funds are also important for the success of the Gateway Park project, which will continue to be one of my top economic development priorities."

"In the past, we lost far too many US servicemembers when they risked their lives to retrieve their comrades who had already perished," Sen. Kennedy said. "The Center's work will help us in the future to monitor the vital signs of the servicemembers in the field so that we can both reduce casualties to their rescuers and provide care to those injured. I commend WPI for their excellent work in this important field, and I'm grateful we were able to work together to secure the funding to continue this cutting edge research."

"WPI has amassed such a distinguished national research reputation for good reason - they stay on the cutting edge and they get results," Sen. Kerry said. "This funding will allow WPI to develop new healthcare products that could someday save the lives of the men and women of our armed forces."

"This grant - which will fund valuable research and product development in combat medical support - signals the beginning of an important and strategic new relationship between WPI and the Department of Defense," said WPI President Edward Alton Parrish. "We are honored to have been chosen for this work and we look forward to developing medical device and medical communications solutions for America and our soldiers. None of this would be possible without the vision of our senators and our congressman."

About WPI

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have an opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well-rounded, with the confidence, interpersonal skills and commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.