Posts Tagged ‘Hospital’

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GORE EXCLUDER AAA Endoprosthesis receives CE Mark

GORE EXCLUDER AAA Endoprosthesis receives CE Mark

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore) has received CE Mark (Conformité Européenne) for the new large diameter 35 mm trunk-ipsilateral leg and 36 mm aortic extender components of the GORE® EXCLUDER® AAA Endoprosthesis. The new components provide physicians with a proven and durable endovascular option to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in patients with an infrarenal aortic inner neck diameter range of 30 to 32 mm, which expands the overall treatment range to 19-32 mm.

The new large diameter components represent the first products in Gore’s innovative portfolio to reduce access vessel requirements. Compatible with an 18 Fr GORE® DrySeal Sheath, the new 35 mm trunk-ipsilateral leg and 36 mm aortic extender represent one of the lowest profiles for treating infrarenal aortic necks measuring up to 32 mm in diameter.

“Having a wide range of sizing options available for various anatomies simplifies the decision making for interventionalists. This new size allows more patients with large aortic neck diameters to benefit from endovascular treatment,” said Dr. Mo Hamady, Consultant Interventional Radiologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, London.

The GORE EXCLUDER AAA Endoprosthesis is an endovascular stent-graft that seals off the aneurysm and creates a new path for blood flow. The device is inserted through a small incision in the patient’s leg using a catheter-based delivery technique. Once the physician has positioned the graft in the diseased aorta, the GORE® C3® Delivery System uniquely and intuitively enables repositioning of the stent-graft. The ability to reposition the device may minimize complications that could occur if the graft needs to be moved after the initial deployment.

“By expanding our sizing options to include larger anatomies, Gore now offers a complete range of sizes to treat differing anatomies with the preferred infrarenal placement,” said Ryan Takeuchi, Gore Aortic Business Leader. “Gore strives to provide superior performance through design. Our extended AAA sizing portfolio and innovative delivery solution simplifies the EVAR procedure for physicians and patients alike.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121203/GORE-EXCLUDER-AAA-Endoprosthesis-receives-CE-Mark.aspx

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Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina installs Toshiba’s 16-channel Titan 1.5T system

Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina installs Toshiba’s 16-channel Titan 1.5T system

Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minn., improved its advanced imaging capabilities and patient comfort by installing the first 16-channel Vantage TitanTM 1.5T scalable system from Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. Fairview will use the system for all general MR exams, as well as breast and cardiac imaging, and expand its capabilities by offering prostate imaging to patients.

“Toshiba’s 16-channel Titan 1.5T will enable us to offer more services to our patients and explore new ways of imaging,” said Judy Sager, director, Radiology, Fairview Health Services. “For instance, we plan to utilize the system to visualize CSF bulk flow without contrast to improve diagnoses of CSF disorders non-invasively.”

The 16-channel Titan 1.5T offers patient-friendly features, including a 71 cm bore and feet first exams to reduce claustrophobia. Toshiba’s exclusive Pianissimo™ noise-reduction technology, advanced non-contrast imaging, integrated coils and intuitive M-Power user interface make the system easier to use for the clinician and more comfortable for the patient.

“The 1.5T MR series offers hospitals like Fairview the option to invest in a scalable MR system that meets their clinical needs today, with the opportunity to easily upgrade as their needs change in the future,” said Stuart Clarkson, director, MR Business Unit, Toshiba. “Titan 1.5T improves comfort and compliance, resulting in faster exams and improved patient satisfaction.”

Fairview also utilizes a Toshiba AquilionTM ONE dynamic volume CT and an earlier version of the Vantage Titan 1.5T MR.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121203/Fairview-Southdale-Hospital-in-Edina-installs-Toshibas-16-channel-Titan-15T-system.aspx

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CareFusion announces new products to help improve medication safety

CareFusion announces new products to help improve medication safety

Today at the 2012 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Meeting & Exhibition, CareFusion Corp. (NYSE: CFN), a leading, global medical technology company, announced multiple new products that are designed to help improve medication safety.

“Our enterprise-wide approach to medication safety extends beyond device hardware to provide valuable information that helps improve safety and workflow efficiency,” said Tom Leonard, president of Medical Systems at CareFusion. “Never in our history have we had stronger or more innovative technologies to help clinicians keep patients safe and help lower hospital costs.”

New offerings being showcased at CareFusion booth #1949 include:

Pyxis® ES platform (Pyxis® Anesthesia ES system, Pyxis MedStation® ES system, Pyxis® Enterprise Server)

Pyxis® Anesthesia ES system with Pyxis Enterprise Server: The Pyxis Anesthesia ES system is the newest offering available on the Pyxis ES platform, following last year’s introduction of the Pyxis MedStation® ES system. This innovative solution extends the value of the Pyxis ES Platform to the operating room (OR) and procedural areas for a single hospital or across a health system. Powered by the Pyxis Enterprise Server, the Pyxis Anesthesia ES system offers the same innovative centralized system management and enterprise-wide capabilities as the Pyxis MedStation ES system, including enhanced formulary and user management for pharmacy and improved system management for information technology (IT) departments. Redesigned from the ground up, Pyxis Anesthesia ES system provides simple, safe patient-centric workflows and security enhancements that promote hospital compliance efforts and help protect patients, anesthesia providers and pharmacy personnel.

Pyxis MedStation® ES system with Pyxis Enterprise Server: Introduced in 2011, this new system features centralized system management capabilities not previously seen in other medication management systems. New integration capabilities with existing hospital systems provide one system formulary and enhanced user management across the health system. The system also provides patient-centric clinical workflow efficiencies with an improved user interface that provides comprehensive medication information in one place.

Pyxis® Anesthesia system 4000: Built with identical hardware as the Pyxis Anesthesia ES system, this new dispensing system automates medication management in the operating room and procedural areas and helps maximize medication security and storage capacity with an advanced biometric access system and a variety of drawer types—including a new controlled access drawer for larger high-risk medications like propofol. The system electronically captures information on medication removals, wastes and charges, reducing time-consuming manual tasks. Because it uses identical hardware as the Pyxis Anesthesia ES system, the Pyxis Anesthesia system 4000 provides the foundation for future migration to the Pyxis ES platform.

Alaris® Infusion Viewer for Pharmacy Logistics: This web-based dashboard is capable of showing near real-time status of all infusions across a hospital or health system that is using the Alaris® System with the Alaris Pump and/or Alaris Syringe Modules. The Alaris Infusion Viewer for Pharmacy Logistics uses data that is wirelessly transmitted from the pumps to display if infusions are currently infusing, stopped or completed. It can also show how much time remains and the amount of medication volume that is left to be infused into the patient. Additionally, the new system can display which pumps have a current Guardrails® soft alert violation, to streamline alert reviews. Pharmacy Logistics is the first application released on the Alaris Infusion Viewer technology platform.

Full-Height CUBIE® Pocket: Available for both the Pyxis MedStation ES system and Pyxis MedStation 4000 system, the full-height CUBIE pocket leverages the same demonstrated best-practice benefits of half-height CUBIE pockets, but increases storage capacity for larger medications such as pre-filled syringes, vials and IV bags. This maximizes the availability of medications and reduces the time nurses spend gathering medication, while also increasing the security of high-risk and high-alert medications.

Rowa Vmax[1]: A robotic compact storage and dispensing system that is appropriate for a hospital’s central pharmacy as an efficient stock-management solution. The Rowa Vmax is a one-stop storage system that houses fast- and slow-moving medication, narcotics, temperature controlled items and other unique medication types. It uses barcode-based secure technology and dispenses medication within 8 to 12 seconds. The Rowa Vmax helps clinicians improve medication safety and streamline the administrative processes of the medication management. It can optimize a hospital’s medication inventory through transparent real-time data, which helps minimize the risk of dispensing errors, prevent stock outs and free-up time for patient care activities.

Interoperability Solutions: CareFusion has created a variety of interoperability solutions with other health IT systems to help streamline dispensing, administration and documentation of medication. The company will showcase how the Pyxis MedStation® system and Alaris devices share data with point of care technologies and electronic medical records to improve medication safety and workflow efficiency.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121203/CareFusion-announces-new-products-to-help-improve-medication-safety.aspx

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Atonomics announces important milestone in Troponin I assay on new Atolyzer system

Atonomics announces important milestone in Troponin I assay on new Atolyzer system

Atonomics A/S announced today that it has achieved an important milestone related to a defined set of performance criteria for a Troponin I assay on the new Atolyzer® system.

Since entering an equity investment agreement with Beckman Coulter in May of last year to advance the Atolyzer® within cardiac testing, the company has worked diligently to deliver relevant Troponin I performance data.

“We are pleased to achieve this milestone,” said Thomas Warthoe, Atonomics’ CEO. “Troponin I is one of the most difficult assays to transfer to a near-patient system and still deliver data that are comparable to what the physicians get from the central laboratory; we believe the Atolyzer® has the potential to allow physicians in the future to continue to safely implement data from a near patient system.”

“We expect that this recent and significant achievement will generate appropriate interest from Industry in order to reach the full potential of the Atolyzer® platform,” said Ashok Dhanrajgir, Chairman of Atonomics board of directors and senior partner with Inventages Venture Capital

Atonomics’ majority shareholders are Inventages Venture Capital, Sunstone Capital, NeuroSearch A/S, and Beckman Coulter.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121126/Atonomics-announces-important-milestone-in-Troponin-I-assay-on-new-Atolyzer-system.aspx

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BSD-2000 Hyperthermia System purchased by Cancer Treatment Centers of America

BSD-2000 Hyperthermia System purchased by Cancer Treatment Centers of America

BSD Medical Corporation (NASDAQ: BSDM) (Company or BSD) (www.BSDMedical.com), a leading provider of medical systems that utilize targeted heat therapy to treat cancer, announced today that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center (WRMC), located in Goodyear, Arizona, has purchased a BSD-2000 Hyperthermia System (BSD-2000). WRMC serves the Western United States, including the major metropolitan areas of Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland and Albuquerque. This will be the eighth BSD Hyperthermia system purchased by CTCA®.

“offering the very best in cancer care.”

WRMC is a state-of-the-art, all-digital cancer hospital that provides advanced cancer treatments, world-class technologies and integrative therapies under one roof. The 213,000-square-foot facility is located on a 25-acre site, which is part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Like the other CTCA cancer hospitals, WRMC provides the most advanced therapeutic resources in cancer treatment (http://www.cancercenter.com/western-hospital/about-western/history.cfm).

CTCA is a network of hospitals and one of the premier providers of cancer care in the world. CTCA physicians specialize in treating many types of cancer, including complex and advanced stage cases. CTCA is committed to revolutionizing cancer care by providing the most advanced and effective cancer treatments and integrative therapies available in order to treat the cancer and improve the patient’s treatment experience and quality of life. The CTCA hospitals were recently recognized by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as “offering the very best in cancer care.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121126/BSD-2000-Hyperthermia-System-purchased-by-Cancer-Treatment-Centers-of-America.aspx

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UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

Systems to improve patient rehabilitation, methods that help detect diseases, and smart biomaterials for optimising treatments—scientific advances in the field of biomedical engineering are unstoppable. A number of leading UPC teams are carrying out research aimed at harnessing technology to improve people’s health.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Optimising treatment and rehabilitation of the people it affects and improving their quality of life is the goal of Joan Cabestany and Andreu Català, researchers at the Technical Research Centre for Dependency Care and Autonomous Living (CETpD) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC).

The two engineers are heading up a European project known as REMPARK (Personal Health Device for the Remote and Autonomous Management of Parkinson’s Disease), which has a budget of €4.73 million. The objective is to develop a pioneering wearable monitoring system that can be used to identify and quantify, in real time and with high reliability, the motor status of Parkinson’s patients during their everyday lives. The system will act automatically—though always under medical supervision—in response to the situations that are most incapacitating for patients, intervening in the least invasive and most effective way possible. Other participants in this ambitious project coordinated by the UPC include the Teknon Medical Centre, Telefónica R&D, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, and a number of research centres and companies based in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.

The system being developed consists of two elements: a bracelet equipped with a sensor for measuring tremor in patients and a smart device the size of a mobile phone, which is worn at the waist on a belt made of biocompatible material. The device is equipped with a set of sensors and has the capacity to process and wirelessly transmit all the information collected and processed.

When a gait-freezing episode occurs, the REMPARK system will act to synchronise the patient’s movements. This will be achieved by means of auditory, visual or haptic (touch-related) cueing devices, a pump for regulated subcutaneous drug delivery, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. “The device will make it possible to quantify the effects of a drug in a particular patient and adjust the dose accordingly,” says Joan Cabestany, stressing that REMPARK is “a personalised system that adapts to each person’s needs.”

For the first time in Europe, REMPARK will be tested on a hundred patients in their homes. “We want to use the technology to give Parkinson’s patients back their confidence, which is gradually eroded by the disease,” says Andreu Català. The project “will reduce the number of hospitalisations and improve patient treatment and rehabilitation,” adds the researcher, who works at the Vilanova i la Geltrú Campus.

Stress-free cells

The REMPARK project is set to run until 2015, but others are yielding results that are about to hit the market. This was clear at the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition, which was held in Boston (Massachusetts, United States) last June.

The UPC presented a number of patents at the event, including an automatic method for introducing substances such as drugs and DNA into cells (transfection). The method, known as in vitro electroporation, is more efficient and economical than existing approaches.

The technique, which is applied manually, is commonly used in gene therapy, cell-based therapies, and tumour treatment by electrochemotherapy. Cells are detached from the bottom of the plates where they are grown and put into suspension, i.e. into a mixture. They are then placed in a special cuvette with aluminium electrodes on its sides. The cuvette is loaded into a device (an electroporator) that creates a high-intensity electric field across the cells, causing the pores in the cell membrane to open. Substances can then be introduced through these pores.

The new system simplifies and automates this process. A microelectrode assembly is introduced directly into the culture plate and placed at a distance of 10 ìm (10 millionths of a metre) from the cells. A 20 V electric field is then applied (in the conventional process a 500 V field is used). The lower voltage reduces the cost of the devices used to carry out these biotechnological processes and subjects the cells to less stress. The low cost of the microelectrodes also makes it possible to produce single-use electroporators. This patent was developed by researcher Ramon Bragós and doctoral student Tomàs Garcia, who are attached to the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), in collaboration with a team at the University of Barcelona (UB).

The UPC is also contributing to major advances in the development of medical devices and diagnostic imaging. The UPC’s Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering (IOC) and the Pulmonology Research Group of Bellvitge Hospital’s Institute for Biomedical Research have developed a virtual bronchoscopy system that improves the diagnosis of lung cancer. The technology provides doctors with information that enables them to decide with more confidence whether an actual bronchoscopy is necessary or not. This helps minimise risk and discomfort for patients.

The system is based on images provided by a virtual bronchoscopy using 2D computed tomography images. The novel feature of the system is that it takes into account the geometry and kinematic constraints of the bronchoscope.

The device is designed so that a pulmonologist can virtually navigate through a patient’s airways and simulate the movements that will later be executed when a flexible bronchoscope is used to perform the examination. It is a useful tool that facilitates “very realistic planning of the most feasible path from the trachea to peripheral pulmonary lesions,” says Jan Rosell, the researcher who carried out the project together with Paolo Cabras and Alexander Pérez, who also work with the IOC. “Doctors can also use the device to determine whether the end of the bronchoscope will reach a lesion, or, if not, how close it can be manoeuvred and what technique will need to be used to obtain a biopsy sample,” Rosell adds.

In addition to pursuing advances in diagnostic imaging, molecular biology and telemedicine, UPC researchers are also doing innovative work in another area of interest: metabolomics, the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites. It is in this field that another CREB team has patented an innovative software tool. The advanced program, based on a new algorithm, helps medical professionals make more accurate, automated predictions in disease diagnosis and drug screening.

Developed by Àlex Perera and Francesc Fernández in collaboration with researchers with the University of Barcelona’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science, the tool improves detection of biomarkers, the biological markers used to detect diseases.

Another advantage of the software is that it reduces prediction error in metabolomic analysis and testing (used to examine the small organic molecules in biological systems). Metabolomic analyses are based on biological samples of urine or blood, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Making predictions in this area is complex because it requires analysis of extensive data obtained from individual samples, but it is of vital importance in evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs, for example.

New test for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that accounts for the most morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disease and many scientific challenges remain to be tackled. Daniel López Codina and Clara Prats of the UPC’s Discrete Modelling and Simulation of Biological Systems group have carried out research in this field in collaboration with a team at the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation.

The two teams have patented a new method that offers a fast, easy and reliable way to determine the virulence (ability to produce disease) of Koch’s bacillus. The technique allows specialists to make more accurate diagnoses.

López Codina’s team observed the tuberculosis bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in an in vitro culture and looked at the way it grows by forming clumps. Given the difficulty of applying conventional microbiological methods with this type of culture, the researchers used an alternative approach: microscopy and analysis with image processing techniques. “This is the first time we’ve been able to use a culture to observe two different strains of the bacterial parasite and the existence of a correlation between the characteristic clumping pattern and the virulence of the disease,” said the researcher.

The results have created a new business opportunity for companies involved in biomedical imaging and diagnostic testing.

Projects like these highlight the huge potential of engineering and medicine to continue delivering solutions that improve people’s quality of life.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/UPC-teams-conduct-research-in-biomedical-engineering-to-improve-peoples-health.aspx

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DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

An estimated 500 million people become infected with malaria each year. The disease is often lethal – particularly in tropical developing countries with insufficient health care services. The infected suffer from a high fever. As this is also the case with other germs, however, it is important to conduct a rapid and precise analysis to determine the cause of the disease for a successful therapy. A team of researchers aims to develop a rapid test of this kind within the context of the project DiscoGnosis. Launched in November 2012, the project will receive three million euros in funding from the European Union and is being coordinated by the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg.

DiscoGnosis stands for “disc-shaped point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnosis” – a device that looks similar to a DVD player. Its purpose will be to purify patients’ blood samples and detect all relevant fever-causing germs in a single step. The institutions responsible for the project want to develop an inexpensive method for determining whether a person with fever has malaria or not. Studies have shown that 30 to 40 percent of patients being treated for malaria are actually suffering from typhus or dengue fever.

Each disc will be intended for one use only and will be capable of making a reliable diagnosis automatically with the help of integrated biochemical analytical processes. The innovation thus has the potential to bring modern diagnostics to countries and regions with poor infrastructure and improve the health care of entire populations. Ultimately, it could serve as a shield to stop the spread of malaria in Europe, which is currently being exacerbated by climate change.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/DiscoGnosis-project-aims-to-develop-rapid-malaria-test.aspx

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UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

Systems to improve patient rehabilitation, methods that help detect diseases, and smart biomaterials for optimising treatments—scientific advances in the field of biomedical engineering are unstoppable. A number of leading UPC teams are carrying out research aimed at harnessing technology to improve people’s health.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Optimising treatment and rehabilitation of the people it affects and improving their quality of life is the goal of Joan Cabestany and Andreu Català, researchers at the Technical Research Centre for Dependency Care and Autonomous Living (CETpD) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC).

The two engineers are heading up a European project known as REMPARK (Personal Health Device for the Remote and Autonomous Management of Parkinson’s Disease), which has a budget of €4.73 million. The objective is to develop a pioneering wearable monitoring system that can be used to identify and quantify, in real time and with high reliability, the motor status of Parkinson’s patients during their everyday lives. The system will act automatically—though always under medical supervision—in response to the situations that are most incapacitating for patients, intervening in the least invasive and most effective way possible. Other participants in this ambitious project coordinated by the UPC include the Teknon Medical Centre, Telefónica R&D, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, and a number of research centres and companies based in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.

The system being developed consists of two elements: a bracelet equipped with a sensor for measuring tremor in patients and a smart device the size of a mobile phone, which is worn at the waist on a belt made of biocompatible material. The device is equipped with a set of sensors and has the capacity to process and wirelessly transmit all the information collected and processed.

When a gait-freezing episode occurs, the REMPARK system will act to synchronise the patient’s movements. This will be achieved by means of auditory, visual or haptic (touch-related) cueing devices, a pump for regulated subcutaneous drug delivery, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. “The device will make it possible to quantify the effects of a drug in a particular patient and adjust the dose accordingly,” says Joan Cabestany, stressing that REMPARK is “a personalised system that adapts to each person’s needs.”

For the first time in Europe, REMPARK will be tested on a hundred patients in their homes. “We want to use the technology to give Parkinson’s patients back their confidence, which is gradually eroded by the disease,” says Andreu Català. The project “will reduce the number of hospitalisations and improve patient treatment and rehabilitation,” adds the researcher, who works at the Vilanova i la Geltrú Campus.

Stress-free cells

The REMPARK project is set to run until 2015, but others are yielding results that are about to hit the market. This was clear at the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition, which was held in Boston (Massachusetts, United States) last June.

The UPC presented a number of patents at the event, including an automatic method for introducing substances such as drugs and DNA into cells (transfection). The method, known as in vitro electroporation, is more efficient and economical than existing approaches.

The technique, which is applied manually, is commonly used in gene therapy, cell-based therapies, and tumour treatment by electrochemotherapy. Cells are detached from the bottom of the plates where they are grown and put into suspension, i.e. into a mixture. They are then placed in a special cuvette with aluminium electrodes on its sides. The cuvette is loaded into a device (an electroporator) that creates a high-intensity electric field across the cells, causing the pores in the cell membrane to open. Substances can then be introduced through these pores.

The new system simplifies and automates this process. A microelectrode assembly is introduced directly into the culture plate and placed at a distance of 10 ìm (10 millionths of a metre) from the cells. A 20 V electric field is then applied (in the conventional process a 500 V field is used). The lower voltage reduces the cost of the devices used to carry out these biotechnological processes and subjects the cells to less stress. The low cost of the microelectrodes also makes it possible to produce single-use electroporators. This patent was developed by researcher Ramon Bragós and doctoral student Tomàs Garcia, who are attached to the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), in collaboration with a team at the University of Barcelona (UB).

The UPC is also contributing to major advances in the development of medical devices and diagnostic imaging. The UPC’s Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering (IOC) and the Pulmonology Research Group of Bellvitge Hospital’s Institute for Biomedical Research have developed a virtual bronchoscopy system that improves the diagnosis of lung cancer. The technology provides doctors with information that enables them to decide with more confidence whether an actual bronchoscopy is necessary or not. This helps minimise risk and discomfort for patients.

The system is based on images provided by a virtual bronchoscopy using 2D computed tomography images. The novel feature of the system is that it takes into account the geometry and kinematic constraints of the bronchoscope.

The device is designed so that a pulmonologist can virtually navigate through a patient’s airways and simulate the movements that will later be executed when a flexible bronchoscope is used to perform the examination. It is a useful tool that facilitates “very realistic planning of the most feasible path from the trachea to peripheral pulmonary lesions,” says Jan Rosell, the researcher who carried out the project together with Paolo Cabras and Alexander Pérez, who also work with the IOC. “Doctors can also use the device to determine whether the end of the bronchoscope will reach a lesion, or, if not, how close it can be manoeuvred and what technique will need to be used to obtain a biopsy sample,” Rosell adds.

In addition to pursuing advances in diagnostic imaging, molecular biology and telemedicine, UPC researchers are also doing innovative work in another area of interest: metabolomics, the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites. It is in this field that another CREB team has patented an innovative software tool. The advanced program, based on a new algorithm, helps medical professionals make more accurate, automated predictions in disease diagnosis and drug screening.

Developed by Àlex Perera and Francesc Fernández in collaboration with researchers with the University of Barcelona’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science, the tool improves detection of biomarkers, the biological markers used to detect diseases.

Another advantage of the software is that it reduces prediction error in metabolomic analysis and testing (used to examine the small organic molecules in biological systems). Metabolomic analyses are based on biological samples of urine or blood, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Making predictions in this area is complex because it requires analysis of extensive data obtained from individual samples, but it is of vital importance in evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs, for example.

New test for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that accounts for the most morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disease and many scientific challenges remain to be tackled. Daniel López Codina and Clara Prats of the UPC’s Discrete Modelling and Simulation of Biological Systems group have carried out research in this field in collaboration with a team at the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation.

The two teams have patented a new method that offers a fast, easy and reliable way to determine the virulence (ability to produce disease) of Koch’s bacillus. The technique allows specialists to make more accurate diagnoses.

López Codina’s team observed the tuberculosis bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in an in vitro culture and looked at the way it grows by forming clumps. Given the difficulty of applying conventional microbiological methods with this type of culture, the researchers used an alternative approach: microscopy and analysis with image processing techniques. “This is the first time we’ve been able to use a culture to observe two different strains of the bacterial parasite and the existence of a correlation between the characteristic clumping pattern and the virulence of the disease,” said the researcher.

The results have created a new business opportunity for companies involved in biomedical imaging and diagnostic testing.

Projects like these highlight the huge potential of engineering and medicine to continue delivering solutions that improve people’s quality of life.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/UPC-teams-conduct-research-in-biomedical-engineering-to-improve-peoples-health.aspx

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New approach could help orthopaedic surgeons better deal with battlefield injuries

New approach could help orthopaedic surgeons better deal with battlefield injuries

Bones are resilient and heal well after most fractures. But in cases of traumatic injury, in which big pieces of bone are missing, healing is much more difficult, if not impossible. These so-called “large segmental defects” are a major clinical problem, and orthopaedic surgeons struggle to treat them, especially among the military in places like Afghanistan.

Now research led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) offers surgeons a new approach. Described on-line in today’s issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the results confirm that the bone healing process of large segmental defects is exquisitely sensitive to its mechanical environment and suggests that “reverse dynamization,” a straightforward and inexpensive process, could help speed healing of these traumatic injuries.

“Bones are greatly influenced by their mechanical environment, which is why casts, rods, plates and screws are typically used to heal fractures – with a great deal of success,” explains senior author Christopher Evans PhD, Director of the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies at BIDMC. “But until now, no one has examined the relevance of the mechanical environment to the healing of large segmental bone defects.”

According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), these injuries are one of the most demanding surgical challenges faced by orthopaedic trauma surgeons. Often as large as 20 centimeters in length, large segmental defects can be complicated by regional soft-tissue loss, reduced vascularity, regional scarring and infection. The AAOS notes that an increased number of missions being conducted on foot in Afghanistan has led to an increase in this type of combat blast injury.

Changing levels of stiffness during bone healing is known as “dynamization.” During standard dynamization, bone is first held rigidly in place by a mechanical intervention, or fixation device. Once healing has begun, the stiff rigidity is loosened to allow movement. “An ‘external fixator’ is placed on the outside of the skin and usually has a ‘cross-bar’ that determines the level of rigidity and can be adjusted to allow more or less motion,” explains Evans, who is also the Maurice Edmond Mueller Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Evans and his colleagues thought that how firmly or loosely injured bone is held together by mechanical interventions -casts, rods, plates and screws – could impact these large segmental bone defects, just as it does for more minor fractures — but with one big difference. The scientists changed stiffness levels in the opposite order — hence, “reverse dynamization.”

“Our laboratory has a lot of experience with a rat model of segmental defect healing, and we noticed that during the healing process, the defect first fills with cartilage, and then the cartilage turns to bone,” says Evans. Technically known as “endochondral ossification” this process is well documented to occur in fracture healing. ‘We knew from other previous work that the early formation of cartilage is helped when mechanical fixation is loose. We also knew that a subsequent increase in fixator stiffness would provide the rigidity needed for the ingrowth of blood vessels and other aspects of healing.” Evans and his coauthors hypothesized that a period of loose “fixation” followed by a period of stiffened “fixation” would accelerate healing of large segmental defects. “If bones are allowed to move slightly, cartilage will form in the defect,” he adds. “If the area is then held rigidly in place, the new cartilage will then turn to bone.”

The team constructed external fixators capable of providing varying degrees of stiffness during the healing process. By implanting a growth factor called bone morphogenetic protein-2 on a collagen sponge, the scientists initiated healing of segmental defects in the femurs of 60 rats. Groups of the animals were then allowed to heal with either low-, medium-, or high-stiffness fixators. Healing also took place under conditions of reverse dynamization, in which the stiffness levels were changed from low to high after a period of two weeks. After eight weeks, the researchers assessed healing using various measures including radiographs, microscopic analyses, and mechanical tests.

The investigators found that when they looked only at unchanging stiffness, the low-stiffness fixator produced the best healing; however, by comparison, the reverse dynamization provided considerable improvement, leading to a marked acceleration in the healing process by all tests. Also, notes Evans, the bone mineral content and bone area of the defects healed by reverse dynamization were closer to normal, and the healed bone had greater mechanical strength.

“Our study confirms the exquisite sensitivity of bone healing to its mechanical environment,” he notes. The next step, says Evans, will be to see if this therapy works in large animals, while also gathering more information about the biological mechanisms that are at play. But, he adds, moving these findings into a clinical setting should be relatively straightforward. “The nice thing about this approach is that it’s simple and could be rapidly translated to human use if our proposed large-animal studies are successful. The regulatory hurdles should be minor.” Furthermore, he adds, reverse dynamization might also be applicable to other situations for which bone healing is problematic. “Sometimes in smokers or individuals with diabetes, fractures heal poorly,” he notes, adding that the same can be true when an infection is present.

Reverse dynamization is also an attractive option in terms of cost. “Often, strategies devised in the lab to solve clinical problems are far too complex and expensive to be translated into meaningful clinical use,” notes study coauthor Mark Vrahas, MD, Chief of the Harvard Orthopaedic Trauma Service. “But if the promise of this strategy holds out, it will be inexpensive enough to be used even in developing countries, where the burden of severe injuries are particularly high.”

source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/New-approach-could-help-orthopaedic-surgeons-better-deal-with-battlefield-injuries.aspx

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DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

An estimated 500 million people become infected with malaria each year. The disease is often lethal – particularly in tropical developing countries with insufficient health care services. The infected suffer from a high fever. As this is also the case with other germs, however, it is important to conduct a rapid and precise analysis to determine the cause of the disease for a successful therapy. A team of researchers aims to develop a rapid test of this kind within the context of the project DiscoGnosis. Launched in November 2012, the project will receive three million euros in funding from the European Union and is being coordinated by the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg.

DiscoGnosis stands for “disc-shaped point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnosis” – a device that looks similar to a DVD player. Its purpose will be to purify patients’ blood samples and detect all relevant fever-causing germs in a single step. The institutions responsible for the project want to develop an inexpensive method for determining whether a person with fever has malaria or not. Studies have shown that 30 to 40 percent of patients being treated for malaria are actually suffering from typhus or dengue fever.

Each disc will be intended for one use only and will be capable of making a reliable diagnosis automatically with the help of integrated biochemical analytical processes. The innovation thus has the potential to bring modern diagnostics to countries and regions with poor infrastructure and improve the health care of entire populations. Ultimately, it could serve as a shield to stop the spread of malaria in Europe, which is currently being exacerbated by climate change.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/DiscoGnosis-project-aims-to-develop-rapid-malaria-test.aspx

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