Esophageal Stent

Region: Kenya
Purdue Collaborator: Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering

The Challenge: 

“Kenya has one of the highest incidence rates of esophageal cancer in the world with a rate of 17.6 per 100,000.” [2] That means there are 9,463 Kenyan patients per year. This is four times higher than the incidence rate in the US. [3]. The cancer is often only noticed toward the later stages allowing only for palliative care (restoring esophageal patency). Therefore, patients usually have no or improper treatments, which leads to higher death rates and suffering more during their end-of-life care. [2].

A low-cost solution to restoring esophageal patency and, thus, quality of life for patients with terminal cancer does not yet exist. Currently the average Kenyan has the option of depleting their savings for a proper stent or they resort to improper treatments.

The Purdue Innovation

Our model aims to reduce the cost of the esophageal stent to less than $10 USD. This is accomplished by manufacturing the stent with a low-cost material that can be procured in Eastern Africa. This allows for the device to be easily manufactured locally to contribute to their economy and provide a stable supply of quality low-cost stents.

[1] Fully Covered & Partially Covered Esophageal Stents - Micro-Tech Endoscopy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2022, from

[2] Odera, J. O., Odera, E., Githang'a, J., Walong, E. O., Li, F., Xiong, Z., & Chen, X. L. (2017). Esophageal cancer in Kenya. American journal of digestive disease. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from,100%2C000%20%5B1%2C%202%5D.

[3] What is the incidence of esophageal cancer in the US? Latest Medical News, Clinical Trials, Guidelines - Today on Medscape. (2020, April 28). Retrieved January 27, 2022, from

The Partners

Purdue University, Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya

Investigator Names

  • Andrew Brightman (BME)
  • Aaron Lottes (BME)
  • L.J. Smith and T.A. Carr, IU School of Medicine and AMPATH Gastroenterology
  • John Githaiga, Moi University, School of Engineering
  • Fatma Some, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH)