Between textiles and medicine a finer mesh is being woven creating a tighter cross-border net for both sectors. Orthopedic braces, bandages, implants and other medical textiles are at the center of one of the most innovative medical applications today. DIMETEX (DIspositive MEdical TExtiles) is the first cross-border program to strengthen this sector and create a mesh that will allow the Wallonia – Northern France Euroregion to become a market leader in the rapidly developing medical textile sector.
Much like the three musketeers, they are a team of four that have united their strengths to bring forward the emerging medical textile industry of tomorrow: Centexbel ( Center of Expertise in textile for the Belgian industry ), Up-Tex (textile competitiveness cluster in Nord-Pas-de-Calais), Eurasanté (development agency for the medical/ healthcare sector -Nord-Pas-de-Calais), and the CETI (European Centre for Innovative Textiles -Roubaix).
The brotherly team of four have spun together 380 companies, a pool of 350 researchers and a cluster of clinicians and health professionals: a first in the region! Launched in late 2008, Centexbel and its partners have woven a “bio-textile” canvas to strengthen and promote the competitiveness of the medical textile sector through the help of this program supported by Interreg and the Wallonia Region.
By uniting the players in the medical and textile sectors on both sides of the border, the DIMETEX team has seen sixteen projects emerge, and helped in the creation of two start-ups (Skinoo and Nanosurg). Noting among these projects, the collaboration of the Medi-Line Company(Liège) with CHRU (Lille University Hospital) to assist in the development of an orthopedic cooling brace. Other projects focused around “smart” innovative solutions for conditions such as the diabetic foot and cardiac implants.
Although very labor intensive, these results have been what have led partners through the implementation of three market studies, six workshops and three days of topic-specific meetings. In addition to this program, even if it’s official end is announced for late 2013, this interlaced mesh will continue to strengthen in the years to come thanks to the close-knit relationship between Centexbel and its partners.
Some examples of what has developed through this program so far:
• Varoderm has been helped in their Oeko-Tex labeling as well as with further development in
new functionalities for their contention socks.
• Medi-Line, in collaboration with CHRU (Lille) and Centexbel is in development of a new
orthopaedic cooling brace.
• Skinoo has received expertise from Centexbel to create its innovative product to prevent
cracked nipples and infection during breastfeeding.
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