This website details the conception, research, building, and testing our group performed in a semester-long project in the Fall 2012 MSCI 311 course at Rice University taught by Dr. Enrique Barrera. In the course, the team was presented with the challenge of solving a problem in materials science by coming up with a novel idea and creating a demonstrable prototype of the group's solution. The constraints of the project included:
- Working within a budget of $2,000
- Building and testing the prototype by the end of one semester
The Idea and Justification
The team chose to create a novel method of chest wall reconstruction. With over 226,000 new cases of lung cancer in 2012 alone, many requiring invasive surgery, chest wall reconstruction is an all too common occurrence. However, none of the current methods appropriately meet all the requirements of the task. As reported by the Oxford Journal in 2010, "At present, no choice is perfect and concerns regarding infection, chest wall instability, and tissue in-growth persist."
In the Current Methods tab, the 3 currently-used methods of chest wall reconstruction are described, and their shortcomings are explained. These shortcomings paved the way for our team's work and what we hoped to accomplish with the C.R.O.S.S. System.
Involvement with Dr. Vaporciyan
Throughout the project, the team was in communication with Dr. Ara Vaporciyan of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Ara A. Vaporciyan, M.D., Professor of Surgery, is a board certified General and Thoracic Surgeon. After receiving his undergraduate and M.D. degree at the University of Michigan Medical School, Dr. Vaporciyan began his General Surgical residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. During his residency he took an additional 2 years to complete a research fellowship under Dr. Peter Ward in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan. His cardiothoracic training was obtained at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center/Texas Heart Institute combined fellowship.
Clinically, Dr. Vaporciyan is involved in the care of all patients with thoracic malignancies. In addition to operations on the lung, esophagus, mediastinum and chest wall, Dr. Vaporciyan has a particular interest in tumors involving cardiac and vascular structures. His contribution in these areas is exemplified by the fact that almost a third of his cases are performed assisting other surgeons in other disciplines when they are faced with tumors that involve vascular structures.