Made in the Berkshires: Special effects wizardry makes medical models. The Berkshire Eagle

Lisa Chamberlain, the vice president/managing partner of The Chamberlain Group, stands next to Surgical Sam, an elastic replica of a 14-month child the
(photo by Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle)

“…. Eric and Lisa Chamberlain, the husband and wife team who make their home in Stockbridge, founded the business in 1999. In fact, their company had a Hollywood beginning — like, right out of the movies — after adapting techniques they learned creating special effects for the film industry.

The Chamberlain Group works with more than 100 medical device companies and teaching and working hospitals that include Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and Columbia and Stanford universities.

It’s unusual work. They have competitors, but the Chamberlains created a business genre basically from scratch. Thus, The Chamberlain Group’s 23 employees, which include the couple’s daughter, Halli, a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts graduate, come from diverse backgrounds.”

It’s a testament to their perceptive leadership and very fine-tuned marketing forces and strategy…. They went from a locally based business to a national reputation and now an international reputation. That’s a trajectory that we’ve hoped for many businesses to have here.

Keith Girouard, Regional Director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, Pittsfield, MA

>> Photo Gallery

>> Full Article

Repeat Practice Yields Repeated Success for TSDA Bootcamp 2016

CHAPEL HILL, NC

The Chamberlain Group Contributes to TSDA Bootcamp
for 7th Consecutive Year and Overwhelming Success

“The TSDA achieved its goal of providing incoming residents with an experiential foundation and hands-on practice in basic cardiothoracic operating skills so that they are better prepared to enter the CT surgery operating room at their home programs. The Chamberlain Group’s role as an equipment supplier and exhibitor was essential to the program’s overwhelming success, and its support is deeply appreciated.”

Students from 40 different residency programs participated in the TSDA Bootcamp, a four day intensive introduction to the fundamentals of cardiothoracic surgery. These sessions allowed residents one-on-one interactions with highly dedicated faculty from across the country. Use of simulators for both the cardiac and thoracic sessions provided a platform for skills assessment, initial training, and a basis for ongoing deliberate practice. TSDA Boot Camp Program Directors this year included Drs. George Hicks, James Fann, Richard Feins, Jon Nesbitt, and Nahush Mokadam.

Visit the TSDA website for details on this year’s Boot Camp courses and more photos of the event.

Chamberlain Group Receives AIM “Massachusetts Next Century” Award

aim-lord-and-chamberlains_crIn recognition of their contributions to the region’s economy The Chamberlain Group received a Next Century Award from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Lisa and Eric Chamberlain joined other local area industry leaders at a reception at Interprint Inc., Pittsfield MA.

“AIM created the Next Century Award to honor the accomplishments of companies and individuals creating a new era of economic opportunity for the people of Massachusetts. These remarkable people and institutions – world leaders in their fields – inspire the rest of us by exemplifying the intelligence, hard work and dedication to success that has built our commonwealth,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.

chamberlain-lobby

>> Full Berkshire Eagle Article — Berkshire Business That Are Aiming High

> Full AIM Press Release “AIM Honors 16 Companies & Individuals with Next Century Awards”

“How does a group of high-end visual effects professionals working in movies and television end up improving the quality of medical care for millions of people?

If you’re The Chamberlain Group in Great Barrington, you use your visual effects wizardry to make mimetic organs for surgical and interventional training.

Chamberlain’s life-like organs are used in the sophisticated simulation labs that medical schools, hospitals and medical device makers employ to train surgeons. The company’s mission is to “bring practice to the practice of medicine.”

The Chamberlain Group’s products are sold to more than 150 medical-device manufacturers and teaching institutions in 50 countries, including Russia and India, Asia and the Middle East, and in virtually all 50 states domestically. Their client list includes Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Cleveland Clinic, Lahey Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic, and NASA.

Berkshire Business Quarterly magazine said, “The Chamberlain Group’s design ingenuity has been a breakthrough for the medical community. Models look, weigh, and feel just like real living tissue and provide a better training device than a cadaver, animal, or lesser-realized product would.”

Eric and Lisa Chamberlain launched The Chamberlain Group in 1999 after working for New York design firms that made miniature models and special visual effects for films ranging from Gandhi, Tootsie, and The Big Chill to Ghostbusters, Predator and Woody Allen’s Zelig. Medical schools and device manufacturers were beginning to move away from cadavers and animals in their training programs and the Chamberlains saw opportunity in the burgeoning simulation business.

It was a textbook case of nimble entrepreneurs adapting skills from one industry to a seemingly unrelated one. The result is a thriving enterprise with 23 employees working in an 8,500-square-foot design and manufacturing facility.”

 

 

Overcoming Hurdles to High Tech Success in the Berkshires

The Berkshire Edge

Lack of broadband, training, transportation pose challenges for high-tech Berkshire firm

by Heather Bellow

Democratic state Senate candidate Adam Hinds visited The Chamberlain Group recently and spoke with Lisa Chamberlain to learn more about the challenges facing high tech businesses based in Berkshire County. Continue reading “Overcoming Hurdles to High Tech Success in the Berkshires”

The Chamberlain Group Wins “Exporter of the Year” Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Massachusetts and North East Region Offices

BOSTON – The Small Business Administration (SBA) has named The Chamberlain Group the 2016 Exporter of the Year for Massachusetts and New England.

“Lisa and Eric Chamberlain are saving lives with the products they create in the medical simulation industry,” said Robert Nelson, SBA Massachusetts District Director. “By working with the MSBDC and Massachusetts Export Center, they are connecting with new customers all over the globe and establishing an international distribution network throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Mexico.” read more

20160512_SBA New England award Exporter of 2016_0006_1adj

Thank you for the honor of representing the Commonwealth and the region as your exporter of the year honoree. We were delighted to be nominated and to have been chosen for recognition.

I’ve been thinking about exporting – and it strikes me that it’s very much like another international endeavor – travel. When we decide to take our product to an international market, we encounter many of the same things we do when we travel internationally – different languages, different cultures, new customs, new expectations. It’s a little odd at first, and sometimes a little intimidating, but if we are fortunate, both in travel and exporting, these are eye opening moments that expand our world and our world view. They broaden us. They broaden our employees. They broaden our businesses. They give us the opportunity to bring what we have to offer to a new market that may not have known what we produce was available or even possible.

And as with all good travel, a great guide helps. So I would like to thank Sue Mongue of the MSBDC and Ann Pieroway and her colleagues of the Massachusetts Exporting Center for their steady and steadfast guidance of The Chamberlain Group on our adventure into the unknown. Ann, your support has been unwavering and most deeply appreciated.

Thank you.

—Lisa Chamberlain, VP/Managing Partner

Artificial Patients, Real Learning. The New York Times, Health

By Karen Weintraub

“BOSTON — The patient’s blood pressure had reportedly crashed in the ambulance; a gunshot wound had damaged the heart. In the operating room, a medical resident, Dr. Dan Hashimoto, slid a knife into the patient’s chest and sliced horizontally, from the sternum across the torso.

He thrust his hand into the gash, grasped the beating heart and squeezed

>> Full Article

Surgical Sam Helps Train Boston Children’s Hospital Surgeons

article-1

By Jon Christian
Globe Correspondent

In an operating theater deep in Boston Children’s Hospital, surrounded by state-of-the-art medical equipment, a surgical team is on the brink of losing a young patient. Their goal was to locate and repair a perforation in the bowel, but something’s gone wrong: The liver is bleeding uncontrollably, and if they can’t staunch the source, the patient’s chances are grim.
Someone calls a code blue, indicating cardiac arrest, and a crash cart appears as a heart monitor reaches a fever pitch. And then, just as suddenly, Dr. Peter Weinstock interrupts and a startling calm replaces the crisis atmosphere.

“OK, guys, we’re going to pause right now,” Weinstock called out to the surgical team. “We’re going to head back to do our last debriefing.”

Weinstock is director of Boston Children Hospital’s Simulator Program, and his current “baby’’ on the operating table is a sophisticated medical mannequin that provides surgical teams with an immersive training environment.

The child-sized mannequin is named Surgical Sam. Under its skin, which surgeons cut into with real scalpels, are facsimile bones, organs, and fluids made from plastic and other synthetic materials that approximate human tissues and liquids. Like a real child, Sam breathes and has a heartbeat, and, if you nick an artery, bleeds synthetic red blood. ►link to full article.

►PDF of Article.

Surgical Sam, A Beating-Heart Mannequin, Takes the Stage

We often see medical magic in Hollywood, but it’s not often we see Hollywood magic brought into medicine. Now, Boston Children’s Hospital’s Simulator Program and special-effects collaborators at The Chamberlain Group (TCG) have done just that.

Simulation has become a key component in team training, crisis management, surgical practice and other medical training activities. With simulation, medical teams can add to and hone their skills in an environment where people can make mistakes without risking patient harm—”practicing before game time,” says Boston Children’s critical care specialist Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD, who runs the Simulator Program.

Mannequins are a key part of simulation, and Weinstock’s team, working together with companies, designers and engineers, has developed eerily lifelike ones that can bleed and “respond” to interventions based on computer commands from a technician.

But there are some things Weinstock’s mannequins haven’t been able to capture up to now, like the movements of a beating heart.

That’s where TCG and a new mannequin called Surgical Sam come in.

From “bullet time” to training time

Founded by husband-and-wife team Eric and Lisa Chamberlain, TCG got its start in the movie business, designing special effects such as the iconic “bullet time” effect from “The Matrix.” But more than a decade ago, the Great Barrington, Mass.-based company saw an opportunity to shift from cinematic special effects to medical training and simulation.

“A medical company had heard that we were really good at making scale models,” recalls Lisa Chamberlain, the company’s managing partner. “We knew nothing about medicine or medical training but were interested in the intellectual challenge of it.”

Today, the company uses its special effects know-how to develop and manufacture high-fidelity medical training tools—hearts, blood vessels, internal organs, limbs, etc.—that mimic the touch, feel and resilience of actual tissues. Many of their products form the cornerstone of training and product development programs for hundreds of hospitals and device manufacturers.

Giving a mannequin a beating heart

Three years ago, Weinstock met the Chamberlains at a medical simulation conference. “I saw an adult beating-heart trainer they had developed and asked whether they would want to partner on the development of a pediatric beating-heart training mannequin,” Weinstock says.

The TCG team began working with Weinstock, cardiac surgeon Francis Fynn-Thompson, MD, and trauma surgeon David Mooney, MD, MPH, to design and create Sam, a pneumatically-powered, fully operable modular medical trainer. Fynn-Thompson helped guide the development of Sam’s life-sized “heart,” which accurately mimics the beating motions of a healthy heart, as you can see here:

At a technician’s command, Sam’s heart can also replicate abnormal motions that a surgeon might see in a child. It’s construction also affords surgeons the opportunity to practice heart surgery, cannulation, suturing and other techniques.

Sam, who was formally unveiled in April at a meeting of the International Pediatric Simulation Society in Vienna, Austria, is the first pediatric beating-heart simulator on the market. In addition, thanks to Mooney’s input, Sam’s abdominal cavity accurately reflects the anatomy of a child’s intestines and other organs, including a bleeding liver, affording pediatric surgeons the opportunity to practice realistic abdominal surgical scenarios, like this:

The technology built into Sam adds a new level of physical reality to simulation. “A lot of simulation is computer-based, where a team reacts to data or readouts, and many mannequins are designed to blink or breathe,” says Chamberlain “But with Sam we have built a host of simulation capabilities that allow technicians to cue up physical events like releasing blood into a body cavity or perforating a bowel, organ changes that the team must respond to.

“We can program Sam for just about any scenario for which there is data,” she adds.
Both Chamberlain and Weinstock see lots of potential for expanding Sam’s capabilities with plug-and-play adaptors for other surgical specialties, such as orthopedics and general surgery. They also see Sam’s broader potential for scenario-based clinical training, which is why TCG is now actively marketing Sam to other institutions.

“This partnership between The Chamberlain Group and Boston Children’s represents a way for us to leverage our clinical knowledge and simulation expertise to the benefit of patients everywhere,” says Raj Khunkhun, a licensing manager with the hospital’s Technology and Innovation Development Office.
“Simulation is becoming one of the most rapidly growing fields in medicine now,” Weinstock adds. “Sam is a significant advance in making pediatric simulation as realistic as possible and adds a new dimension to clinical and team training in some of our most high-stakes areas—the operating rooms.”

– Written by: Tom Ulrich

Full Article

Chamberlain Group’s developments highlighted in MEdSim Magazine

“Chamberlain Group’s Devices in Development” MEdSim Magazine Editor Marty Kauchak provides insights on three training products in development at the Chamberlain Group.

“The Chamberlain Group’s trainer portfolio continues to expand. Of special interest to the community are three products either in development or in the early stages of production….

>>Full article here.

The New York Times: Chamberlain Group Announces New Uterine Robotic Surgery Training Device

Published: April 21, 2009
Reflects Robust Growth of Client Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci(R) System

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., April 21 /PRNewswire/ — The Chamberlain Group, producers of anatomically accurate surgical trainers, today announced their new Uterine Robotic Surgery Trainer.

The trainer is a lifelike, full-scale model of the human uterus and vaginal canal. It is composed of Chamberlain’s proprietary polymer that looks and feels like living tissue, has appropriate elasticity and can be cut and sutured.

The Uterine Trainer has a replaceable uterus which permits unlimited practice. Chamberlain Group co-founder Lisa Chamberlain noted that while the trainer is primarily designed for robotic skill training, it may also be utilized for any abdominal approach training including laparoscopy. Highly accurate, mimetic tissue anatomical trainers provide a more realistic and costeffective alternative to traditional training in the operating room, with animals, or with cadavers.

Physicians using the new Uterine Trainer may practice robotic skills used in myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroid tumors), hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and sacrocolpopexy (correcting vaginal vault prolapse). Following a practice myomectomy using the trainer, the physician may perform a colpotomy (separating the uterus from the vagina) which is a skill performed during a hysterectomy. The remaining vaginal canal may then be affixed to mesh and a sacrocolpopexy performed by attaching the mesh to the available sacral tissue.

According to Ms. Chamberlain, the Uterine Trainer was developed in direct response to the company’s client, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG), a recognized pioneer and leader in robotic surgery, for training on their da Vinci(R) Surgical System. In robotic surgery physicians use computer-assisted surgical instrumentation yielding greater precision, dexterity and control, the sum of which enables enhanced patient safety, reduced blood loss, less post-operative pain and discomfort, less risk of infection, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and less scarring. Growth of hysterectomy procedures using the da Vinci(R) Surgical System is forecast at 150% per year and medical analysts estimate that approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the US alone.

About The Chamberlain Group

Founded in 1999, The Chamberlain Group is the worldwide leader in the development of a broad range of custom anatomically accurate surgical trainers that capture the consistency and response of living tissue. The models are used for cardiothoracic, vascular, general and gastrointestinal, reproductive, urological, and pulmonary training.

The Chamberlain Group works with more than 150 leading medical device manufacturers and teaching institutions in 40 countries. The company is based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. www.thecgroup.com

About Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical leads the development and commercialization of robotic technology designed to extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery. Intuitive’s products can provide surgeons with all the clinical and technical capabilities of traditional open surgery while enabling them to operate through tiny incisions.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci(R) Surgical System combines a high definition 3D visualization for the surgeon along with the ability to precisely maneuver an endoscope, and a variety of articulating EndoWrist(R) Instruments using three or four robotic arms. All of this combined with an intuitive, ergonomic interface enables breakthrough surgical capabilities.

Intuitive Surgical(R) da Vinci(R), da Vinci(R)S, and EndoWrist(R) are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Contacts:
The Chamberlain Group
Lisa Chamberlain
Vice President/Managing Partner
413 528 7744
lisa@thecgroup.com

Original Article from: http://markets.on.nytimes.com

Xconomy | Boston: From Movie Sets to Operating Rooms, Chamberlain Group Turns Special Effects Biz into Healthcare Winner

April 13, 2009
Life Sciences, Devices, Surgery
From Movie Sets to Operating Rooms, Chamberlain Group Turns Special Effects Biz into Healthcare Winner
Ryan McBride 4/13/09

Before computer animation took hold of the movie industry, spaceships, exploding cities, dislodged body parts, and other scene-stealing special effects were crafted by highly skilled model makers. But after decades spent in entertainment, Lisa and Eric Chamberlain have taken their skills in the entertainment and special effects businesses and applied them to provide realistic anatomical models of human organs and tissues for the medical market.

In fact, the wife-and-husband team are running a growing western Massachusetts company, The Chamberlain Group, which counts among its customers medical devices powerhouses Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) and Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) as well as respected teaching hospitals like Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The firm, which serves the medical market exclusively, deftly blends traditional model-making techniques with advances in imaging and computer-graphics technology to make models for surgical training and product demonstrations.

Take the company’s sinus trainer, which consists of a head and neck model with replaceable sinuses. Entellus Medical, a Maple Grove, MN, medical devices firm, began using the models last summer to train surgeons how to use its catheter-based surgical tool for treating chronic sinusitis.

“It’s extremely real in terms of the sinus anatomy,” says Dick Cassidy, vice president of sales at Entellus. Training with the surgical models takes about an hour in the surgeon’s office—much cheaper and more convenient than flying surgeons from around the country to be trained on the device in a central lab with real human cadavers, he notes.

How is it done? The Chamberlain Group, which began making surgical models in the late 1990s, has perfected a technique that melds art and science, Lisa Chamberlain, vice president of the company, explains. Computed tomography (CT) scans of living subjects provide images of human organs with precise dimensions. The company then uses haptics technology—which enables digital models to be made with a touch-sensitive controller—to craft 3-D models of the organs. Those digital models are made into 3-D molds with special printing machines.

Here’s where the artistic part comes in. The firm uses proprietary combinations of silicon and polymers to create lifelike human tissues. By using varying ratios of silicon and polymer, the firm’s artists can control the elasticity, firmness, and other characteristics of the faux human tissues.

The company’s wares range from simple model replacement veins to complex organs like its impressive beating heart (see the lifelike model beating away in this video clip). The beating heart, which has been sold to customers such as Medtronic, has fake muscle tissue that expands when air pressure from an electric-powered pump is applied to an expandable mesh material inside of the tissue. The firm has even patented the beating heart model, Lisa Chamberlain says.

The Chamberlains’ transition from special effects to surgical models couldn’t have been scripted. The couple, who met while working for New York-based special effects company R/GA in the early 1980s, had previously worked on action movies such as Event Horizon and The Matrix. (Eric Chamberlain, a former head of physical effects at R/GA, led the design and construction of an array of some 120 cameras used to film action scenes in The Matrix.) Lisa Chamberlain, who was trained at Yale School of Drama, worked on the production side of the business.

But as the special effects business shifted to computer-animated effects, the Chamberlains sought new markets for their services, company spokesman Edward Agne told me. Lisa Chamberlain says that the she and her husband decided to move full on into the medical market after attending a Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting in 2000, where they saw that many medical devices firms there were using anatomical models they had made for another distributor.

“We thought, maybe there’s something here,” Chamberlain says.

The company, founded in 1999, now employs about 20 people at its facility in Great Barrington, where it designs, builds, and ships surgical and anatomical simulacra to customers in 40 countries worldwide. Not a bad model to follow.

Original Article from: xconomy.com

NewsRX.com: Chamberlain Group Announces Two New Robotic Surgery Training Devices for Client Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci System

The Chamberlain Group, producers of anatomically accurate surgical trainers, announced two new robotic surgery training devices: a comprehensive Uterine Robotic Surgery Trainer and the next generation of its Robotic System Skills Kit, a modular tool for practicing basic skills in robotic surgery.

According to Lisa Chamberlain, The Chamberlain Group’s co-founder, the Uterine Trainer is a lifelike, full-scale model of the human uterus and vaginal canal. It is composed of Chamberlain’s proprietary polymer that looks and feels like living tissue, has appropriate elasticity and can be cut and sutured.
Physicians using the new Uterine Trainer may practice robotic skills used in myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroid tumors), hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and sacrocolpopexy (correcting vaginal vault prolapse). Ms. Chamberlain pointed out that following a practice myomectomy using the trainer, the physician may perform a colpotomy (separating the uterus from the vagina) which is a skill performed during a hysterectomy. The remaining vaginal canal may then be affixed to mesh and a sacrocolpopexy performed by attaching the mesh to the available sacral tissue.

The Uterine Trainer has a replaceable uterus which permits unlimited practice. Ms. Chamberlain noted that while the trainer is primarily designed for robotic skill training, it may also be utilized for any abdominal approach training including laparoscopy.

Trainers Developed for Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci® Surgical System

According to Ms. Chamberlain, both the Uterine Trainer and the Robotic System Skills Kit were developed in direct response to the company’s client, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Nasdaq:ISRG), a recognized pioneer and leader in robotic surgery, for training on their da Vinci® Surgical System. Industry analysts estimate that over 1,000 da Vinci Systems will be installed in hospitals worldwide by the end of 2008 and that demand is expected to increase.

In robotic surgery physicians use computer-assisted surgical instrumentation yielding greater precision, dexterity and control, the sum of which enables enhanced patient safety, reduced blood loss, less post-operative pain and discomfort, less risk of infection, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and less scarring . da Vinci® Prostatectomy is the #1 choice for treatment of localized prostate cancer* in the United States and medical experts predict that it will soon become the standard of care for hysterectomy. Growth of hysterectomy procedures using the da Vinci® Surgical System is forecast at 150% per year.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci® Surgical System provides surgeons with the ability to control instruments with the damping of natural tremors in the surgeon’s hand, the ability to safely manipulate very delicate tissues and a three-dimensional, magnified view of the surgical field all through minimally invasive ports in the body.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical Systems are used by many physicians within urology, gynecology, cardiothoracic surgery, and general surgery . Medical analysts estimate that approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the US alone.

Robotic System Skills Kit Trains On Surgical Skills

The Robotic System Skills Kit is comprised of four different components, each designed to help surgeons practice a specific skill utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System.

The Chamberlain kit includes a Manipulation Skills Set, designed to practice dexterity in handling robotic surgical instruments and manipulating small structures; a Dissection Skills Pod to practice skills by moving through superficial tissue layers to expose deeper vessels; a Suturing Skills Pod designed to practice skills by closure of linear defects; and a Transection Skills Model that enhances skills by carefully cutting within very narrow, defined boundaries.

Chamberlain’s Broad Range of Surgical and Procedure Models

The Chamberlain Group designs and builds models for a broad range of surgical and interventional procedures including cardiothoracic, general and gastrointestinal, reproductive and urological and vascular applications. In addition to Intuitive, Chamberlain provides custom surgical and training models to over 150 medical device manufacturers and hospitals and offers over 500 products it has created and markets.

Ms. Chamberlain pointed out there is a growing demand for better training methods across all types of surgical and interventional procedures and that major hospitals are building surgical simulation laboratories. Highly accurate, mimetic tissue anatomical trainers provide a more realistic and cost-effective alternative to traditional training in the operating room, with animals, or with cadavers, thus reducing patient risk and health care costs.

In addition to training surgeons on robotic skills, the materials are also used to train novice resident surgeons learning basic skills.

About The Chamberlain Group

The Chamberlain Group, based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is the worldwide leader in the development of custom anatomical surgical trainers. Founded in 1999, the company designs and manufactures anatomically accurate medical models that capture the consistency and response of living tissue. These models provide the best alternative to animals and cadavers for demonstrating medical devices and teaching new procedures. The Chamberlain Group’s models are used for cardiothoracic, vascular, general and gastrointestinal, reproductive, urological, and pulmonary training. The company currently works with more than 150 leading medical device manufacturers and teaching institutions in 40 countries. www.thecgroup.com

About Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical leads the development and commercialization of robotic technology designed to extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to broadest possible base of patients. Intuitive’s products can provide surgeons with all the clinical and technical capabilities of traditional open surgery while enabling them to operate through tiny incisions.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci® Surgical System combines a high definition 3D visualization for the surgeon along with the ability to precisely maneuver an endoscope, and a variety of articulating EndoWrist® Instruments using three or four robotic arms. All of this combined with an intuitive, ergonomic interface enables breakthrough surgical capabilities.

By integrating computer-enhanced technology with surgeons’ technical skills, Intuitive Surgical believes that the da Vinci® Surgical System enables surgeons to perform better surgery in a manner never before experienced. The da Vinci® Surgical System seamlessly and directly translates the surgeon’s natural hand, wrist and finger movements on instrument controls at the Surgeon’s Console outside the patient’s body into corresponding micro-movements of the instrument tips positioned inside the patient through tiny incisions, or ports.

Intuitive Surgical® da Vinci®, da Vinci®S, and EndoWrist® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Contacts:

The Chamberlain Group

Lisa Chamberlain
Vice President/Managing Partner
413 528 7744
lisa@thecgroup.com

Media
David Carriere
413 243 6767
david@davidcarriere.org

Intuitive Surgical Inc.

Nora Distefano
Market Development Specialist
408 523 2199
Cell: 408 594 4100
Nora.distefano@intuisurg.com

Original Article from: http://www.newsrx.com

Mass High Tech – The Journal of New England Technology: Chamberlain Group and Baystate Medical Land Organ Grant

Friday, October 31, 2008
By Bridget Botelho, Special to Mass High Tech

Realistic-looking human tissue is in demand this time of year, not only to stage gruesome scenes at haunted houses but for a more practical reason; to give medical students and residents something to practice on.

Great Barrington-based The Chamberlain Group designs and manufactures artificial body parts that replicate the feel, structure, physiology and response to a surgeon’s scalpel blade of human body tissue, complete with accompanying body fluids.

The Chamberlain Group is integrating their realistic anatomical models into a new surgical training project, called the Tactility Learning System, designed in partnership with Springfield-based Baystate Medical Center. The system includes an anatomical model — in this first case, a bowel — along with a curriculum written by Baystate, surgical instruments and other learning resources that will be used by medical students and residents for surgical practice.

In support of this training project, the John Adams Innovation Institute presented a $150,000 grant to Baystate Medical Center and The Chamberlain Group this week.

“The Tactility (Learning System) is the first in what we hope will be a series brought to market for repeatable, affordable surgical training at the residency level,” said Chamberlain Group co-founder and principal Lisa Chamberlain. “This level of training will soon become part of the mainstream medical community.”

The Chamberlain Group’s founders got their start in 1982 creating special effects for movies at R/Greenberg Associates in New York, creating things like space ships and doing technical effects, but had never created body parts, Chamberlain said. Their resume includes Superman, Predator I and II, Tootsie, Ghostbusters, The Matrix and many other films.

Eventually, when computerized special effects started squeezing them out of that industry, they were asked to try creating realistic medical models.

“We became known for our modeling, so we were approached by someone in the medical device field, but we had no medical background, so we had to learn all about human anatomy and surgical training,” Chamberlain said.

The challenge to come up with life-like anatomical models was all theirs, since no one else was doing it, Chamberlain said.

Since then, The Chamberlain Group has developed its own proprietary materials for creating life-like models and has patented its beating heart, which is used by surgeons to practice suturing and bypass surgery. The firm offers about 500 medical models, ranging in price from $10 to $7,500, and sells them to medical device companies, medical schools and training hospitals in nearly every state and in 40 countries.

Chamberlain said the business is growing quickly because of problems with the traditional training tools — cadavers, animals, or live people.

“There are problems with using cadavers and animals — they are perishable, they are expensive, they require a tremendous amount of clean up and are unappealing for lots of obvious reasons. Also, they can’t be used again and again,” Chamberlain said.

“We are constantly being contacted by labs across the country, asking us what we offer. There is a market for this, because we as patients want to make sure the surgeon who works on us has the fullest range of experience they can possibly have.”

Original Article: http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2008/10/27/weekly7-Chamberlain-Group-and-Baystate-Medical-land-organ-grant.html

Wall Street Journal Health Blog: Be Still My Fake, Beating Heart

June 17, 2008, 11:55 am
Posted by Heather Won Tesoriero

In the quaint New England town of Great Barrington, Mass., there’s a group of kindly folks who spend their days churning out body parts– from colons to bladders to beating hearts.
Sounds like a Stephen King story or maybe even a slasher flick, we know. But this is for real. The town in the Berkshire Hills is home to the Chamberlain Group, a company that makes lifelike models to train doctors.

The company does have its roots in Hollywood, though. The founders and chief engineers got their start in parts doing special effects work for films including “The Matrix,” “Eraser,” and “Judge Dredd.”
The move into medical education came in 1997, when Johnson & Johnson asked Chamberlain to create a model for training people how to harvest leg veins for use in bypass surgery.

The call came at a good time. Company co-founder Lisa Chamberlain says. “opportunities in film production were becoming more limited because of computer-generated” images. She and her husband Eric discovered they relished the challenge of making models for surgeons because they had to be even more realistic than those used in films. “We got hooked,” she says.

The market for synthetic body parts and training models is growing as training programs turn to technology to enhance learning that has relied on cadavers and animals for generations. Now the company is a supplier to Boston Scientific, Medtronic and the Cleveland Clinic.

What sets Chamberlain apart, the company says, is its lifelike body tissue, made from special polymers. We haven’t dissected anything since a frog in high school biology lab, but we were struck by the company’s beating heart trainer, which sells for $5,000 or more depending on options. Coronary arteries for the heart are sold in packs of ten, allowing would-be surgeons to practice on vessels at $12 a pop. Click here for more info on the heart, and click on the video to see it in action.

The next frontier: the Chamberlain Group is partnering with Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., to sell training systems, starting with bowel surgery. Baystate will provide the curriculum and Chamberlain will provide the parts.

Original Article: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/?s=chamberlain

BostonHerald.com: Giving Effects New Life is Lisa Chamberlain’s Model

Friday, December 1, 2006
By Helen Graves/Feature

Lisa Chamberlain can tell you that when one door closes and another one opens, the new perspective can be much greater than ever imagined.

That’s how it is with The Chamberlain Group, a leading supplier of medical models that are anatomically correct – down to the feel of the tissue.

Chamberlain founded the company with her husband Eric. She’s the managing partner, taking care of the business side. He’s president, heading up the design development team.
The models, which range from a patented beating heart to a colonoscopy trainer, are used by medical device companies, teaching hospitals and general hospital residencies.

They’re excellent for demonstrating new medical devices, sending out with the sales force that trained on them, developing new medical device products, and teaching physicians and residents new procedures.
Formally started in 1999 and based in Great Barrington, The Chamberlain Group’s models today are used worldwide in more than 49 countries. The company employs a highly specialized team of 15. Revenues have consistently grown in double digits year after year.

Boston Scientific, Medtronic, NASA, Intuitive Surgical and Edwards Lifesciences are just a very few of the clients that rely on expertly fashioned features in cardiothoracic, vascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, orthopedic, urological and reproductive and other surgical specialties.
Hospitals and universities include Lahey Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and German Heart Center Munich, as well as Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins and UCLA Medical Center.

The scene was set for the new door and the broader opportunity when the visual effects company Chamberlain and her husband were working for was bought out and relocated to California. They didn’t want to go, so close that door.

A medical device marketer, who saw opportunity in surgical training for the quality of work they were concocting for movies like The Matrix and Eraser, called to see if they’d be interested in making models for him. So the new door opens a bit – they worked for him for a year and a half, in the background filling out the orders he took.

The door swung wide open when the marketer returned to his former work and the Chamberlains started The Chamberlain Group with two others on board. Although it didn’t quite feel so full of possibility at that time.

“We hadn’t been doing any front-of-house, to use a theater term, so we had no presence as a company in the market and we had no knowledge of the medical device market whatsoever,” Chamberlain says.
“We thought we would combine some of our movie and TV work and do some of this medical work, but we were very intrigued by this medical work and had an idea that it could be developed into a real business.”

Calls coming in on the 800 phone number, which the marketer left them, asking for models for an upcoming cardiothoracic medical meeting intrigued them further. They scoped out the meeting for competition and found that, basically, there was none.

“There were more of our models that had been sold previously than anyone else’s,” Chamberlain says. “We looked around and said, ‘Boy, is there opportunity here.’”

Chamberlain had never done sales or run her own company. Her closest brush with entrepreneurship was licking the envelopes on the outgoing bills for her father’s business.

A theater management major at Yale Drama School, Chamberlain interned and then stayed on at visual effects house R/Greenberg Associates in New York City. She happened to meet Eric there, but after six years went on to a post-production video house, eventually becoming a VP and general manager overseeing 85 people.

After 13 years in New York, Chamberlain moved to Lenox to work on feature films with many of the people she new from R/Greenberg, Eric included. “We had known each other for 24 years. We got together as a couple about 10 years ago, working for the effects company.”

To write the business plan, the Chamberlains took advantage of the UMass MBA program and worked with a student who made their plan her independent project – a plan that would win the five-college area competition.

Meanwhile, Chamberlain attended the university’s series of entrepreneurship classes that were open to the public. She also used the Massachusetts Small Business Center’s expertise and resources extensively.

“So now we had a business plan, an idea of the potential market, at least in the cardiothoracic area, and a few products, and we just started doggedly pursuing it.”

Chamberlain began calling some of the names on the business cards collected at the medical meeting, and with each contact grew the business. Then word of mouth took over and work came in on its own.

“It really was a ‘necessity being the mother of invention’ situation,” she says. “We were desperate for work and the market was desperate for products.”

Since there were models on the market for the more straight-forward kinds of demonstrations, The Chamberlain Group focused on the more complicated medical interventions, replacing the chicken breasts used in cardiothoracic demos, for example.

They take special orders to devise models for specific interventions, and they also supply customers with existing models. Parts are reusable: Blood vessels can be taken out and new ones sewn in for bypass graft practice; “skin” can be sutured, stapled and opened again. And each of the body parts is exactingly correct.

“Fatty tissue doesn’t feel the same as muscular tissue, “Chamberlain says. “We call ourselves an art and technology company because both contribute significantly to the excellence of our products.”
What Chamberlain has drawn from her past management experience is running projects like a producer, thinking about how much things should cost and how to make a profit on them, looking at the bigger picture and planning for the long-term.

Her biggest challenge, she says, has been finding the right people, so she’s drawn on the smart but somewhat quirky colleagues out of her past to take on roles that require an unusual combination of skills.

Chamberlain laughs when asked if the company was bootstrapped – “painful bootstrap,” she replies, “but I don’t think there’s any other kind.” The constant anxiety over the company’s continued success goes with the entrepreneurship territory, she believes, and it’s what gives this entrepreneur her edge.

Although she still attends medical meetings and tradeshows, Chamberlain has never hired a sales force or done any marketing other than direct contact. She is, however, about to embark on an awareness campaign to reach higher up the decision ladder within the companies The Chamberlain Group already contacts.

“We want to pop up one more level in our client base to the people who have more global decision-making ability for their companies. For example, we’re working for a Johnson & Johnson surgical division now and clearly not all who work for J&J know about us. If they did” – and here is where the new door’s grander view again comes into play – “what we’ve found out is, they’d use us.”

Original Article from: http://www.bostonherald.com