Dr Graham Foster, Technical Director, Calon Cardio-Technology Ltd.
“We’re developing a novel heart assist pump for treating people with advanced heart failure. Our research is ground-breaking, because currently patients with advanced heart failure have a life expectancy of approximately a year and they have a very poor quality of life. This heart pump will give those patients the opportunity for many years of good quality life.
“When we’re trying to simulate the flow of the blood inside the device, the computing issues we have are essentially a lack of computing power leading to a very long cycle time for each simulation. Typically with a standard desktop computer, just running one case can take up to a week, whereas with access to high performance computing that process can be shrunk to less than a day - even a few hours. High performance computing is important to our research, because without it the cycle time of the simulations would be far too slow and it would take many, many months to get a good insight into the flow in the pump, whereas with high performance computing that timescale can be shrunk to a few days so we can iterate the design much more quickly.
“HPC Wales has allowed us to optimise the design of the pump and reduce the damage to the blood caused by the pump and we’ve already gone through two design iterations using computational simulation provided by HPC Wales.
“Our research could impact on people’s lives simply by extending the life of people who would otherwise have a very short life expectancy from advanced heart failure. Currently the primary treatment option is heart transplants, but that therapy is severely limited by the availability of transplant hearts.
“HPC Wales has invested in the software needed to simulate a device like this and also provided the high performance computing hardware itself which is something we wouldn’t otherwise have had access to.
“High performance computing has allowed us to gain a huge insight into the inner workings of the pump and allowed us to properly understand the fluid flow within the device and then enabled us to iterate the design and arrive at an improved pump in a much shorter timeframe than would have been otherwise possible through trial and error.
“HPC Wales has allowed us to access high performance computing without actually have to have high performance computing experts employed by our company, so it’s made the whole process seamless and easy.
“In the future, we hope that Calon will be a well-established manufacturer and supplier of heart assist devices, not just within Wales but globally.
“Our research will benefit the economy of Wales by creating a large export opportunity for Wales and also a significant employment opportunity, with many high skilled jobs being created by both the development and the production of the device.”
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