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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Sep 30, 2016

Robotic surgery tech provides users with a sense of touch

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

A new system called HeroSurg, developed by researchers at Deakin and Harvard Universities, is set to increase what surgeons can achieve via robotic surgery, using a haptic feedback system to provide a sense of touch. It also brings other improvements over existing tech, such as collision avoidance, to make robotic surgery safer and more accurate.

Robotic surgery, wherein human-controlled robots perform delicate surgical tasks, has been around for a while. One great example of the tech is the da Vinci robotic surgical system from Intuitive Surgical – a setup made up of numerous robotic arms, a console to operate the instruments, and an imaging system that shows the surgeon what’s happening in real time. In 2008, Professor Suren Krishnan, a member of the team behind HeroSurg, became the first surgeon to perform ear, throat and nose operations using the da Vinci robotic surgical system.

Since then, we’ve seen numerous breakthroughs, including improvements to the original da Vinci system, and other robots emerging capable of achieving impressive tasks, such as performing surgery on a beating heart, or successfully stitching soft tissue.

Sep 29, 2016

ReadCoor will commercialize the Wyss Institute’s (FISSEQ) fluorescent in situ RNA sequencing technology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, engineering, neuroscience

Boston-based startup completes $23 million Series A financing to leverage novel imaging platform of gene locations towards gaining diagnostic insights and delivering therapeutics for cancer, immuno-oncology, infectious diseases, neurological and neuromuscular diseases, brain function and cognitive disorders

BOSTON—()—ReadCoor, Inc., today announced completion of an oversubscribed $23 million Series A financing round and its concurrent launch from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. ReadCoor will commercialize the Wyss Institute’s FISSEQ (fluorescent in situ sequencing) technology.

Sep 29, 2016

Nanosensors help understand how tumors will respond to therapies

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering, health

MIT researchers have designed nanosensors that can profile tumors and may yield insight into how they will respond to certain therapies. The system is based on levels of enzymes called proteases, which cancer cells use to remodel their surroundings.

Once adapted for humans, this type of sensor could be used to determine how aggressive a tumor is and help doctors choose the best treatment, says Sangeeta Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

“This approach is exciting because people are developing therapies that are protease-activated,” Bhatia says. “Ideally you’d like to be able to stratify patients based on their protease activity and identify which ones would be good candidates for these therapies.”

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Sep 29, 2016

Promising biomaterial to build better bones with 3D printing

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, engineering

A Northwestern Engineering research team has developed a 3D printable ink that produces a synthetic bone implant that rapidly induces bone regeneration and growth. This hyperelastic “bone” material, whose shape can be easily customized, one day could be especially useful for the treatment of bone defects in children.

Bone implantation surgery is never an easy process, but it is particularly painful and complicated for children. With both adults and children, often times bone is harvested from elsewhere in the body to replace the missing bone, which can lead to other complications and pain. Metallic implants are sometimes used, but this is not a permanent fix for growing children.

“Adults have more options when it comes to implants,” said Ramille N. Shah, who led the research. “Pediatric patients do not. If you give them a permanent implant, you have to do more surgeries in the future as they grow. They might face years of difficulty.”

Sep 29, 2016

FDA clears first-ever artificial pancreas for automated insulin delivery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Monitoring blood-glucose levels and injecting insulin to keep them in a safe range is a never-ending headache for sufferers of type 1 diabetes. A number of research projects have made promising steps recently to promise easier ways of doing things, and now this type of convenience is set to move out of the lab and into the real-world. For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a so-called artificial pancreas designed to both monitor and inject insulin automatically, requiring minimal input from the user.

In a healthy person, beta cells in the pancreas secrete vital insulin, which in turn regulates blood-sugar levels. But for sufferers of type 1 diabetes, this process breaks down along the way, requiring them to administer finger-prick blood tests to keep tabs on their insulin levels and inject the hormone as required.

For years, scientists have been exploring better ways to keep the condition in check. These have included implanting beta cells, tracking glucose levels through contact lenses and ways insulin can be delivered via a capsule rather than a needle. But perhaps the most attractive solution is what is known as a closed-loop system, which seeks to automate both monitoring and administration of insulin to dramatically reduce the burden on the user.

Sep 29, 2016

Fund Medical Research to End Age-Related Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, life extension, transportation

Please sign this petition to the NIH to help get more funding for aging research.


Every year about two million Americans die of illnesses doctors cannot cure. Cancer afflicts 50% of men and 30% of women. Five hundred and ninety five thousand Americans will die of cancer this year. Millions get heart diseases, strokes, etc. Every year 1,612,552 Americans die of the top 8 illnesses that doctors are unable to cure. Over a 30-year period, 48,376,560 United States citizens will die of the top 8 illnesses. Let us not forget other disabling and potentially curable illnesses. How much is it worth to save them? We have the resources and opportunity to cure age-related disease.

History has shown that medical research actually saves money. We now spend three trillion two hundred billion dollars yearly for health care. The health care expenditures will increase as our population grows with more senior citizens.

Continue reading “Fund Medical Research to End Age-Related Disease” »

Sep 27, 2016

Researchers May Have Found A Possible Cure For Crohn’s Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health

Crohn’s Disease is a legendarily difficult disease to not only identify but to treat or cure. The disease affects the intestines and digestive tract, stemming from bacteria in those areas building up and leading to serious side effects. It affects more than half a million people in the United States and is brutal – with the possibility of diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, ulcers, malnutrition, and eventually colon cancer, liver disease or osteoporosis.

Treatment is limited, with the current best options being medicine to limit inflammation and prevent symptoms. There is no complete cure, only efforts to make life as comfortable and normal as possible for those afflicted. Without a specific target at which to aim some sort of treatment, the options for permanently reducing or removing symptoms and health risks are few and far between. Before now, the only thing scientists thought they knew about the disease’s cause was that E Coli was involved.

However, recent studies have led researches to believe that they have narrowed down other bacteria that contributes to the onset and ongoing symptoms of Crohn’s. Experts at the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (wow, is that a mouthful!) think they have pinpointed two additional bacterial strains that contribute to the disease. They studied a cross section of people – those with the disease, those with the disease whose family members did not have it, and those without it – to attempt to identify common details in their biological tests. Such a diverse group of subjects is required not only due to the importance of adhering to the scientific method but because Crohn’s can be caused by genetics and environmental factors.

Sep 27, 2016

For Instant Biomanufacturing, Just Add Water

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Freeze-dried cellular components can be rehydrated to enable on-demand, portable biomanufacturing.

Sep 27, 2016

First ‘three person baby’ born using new method

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The five-month-old boy has the usual DNA from his mum and dad, plus a tiny bit of genetic code from a donor.

US doctors took the unprecedented step to ensure the baby boy would be free of a genetic condition that his Jordanian mother carries in her genes.

Sep 27, 2016

World’s First Baby Born With DNA From Three Parents

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, transhumanism

In a world first, a baby has been born with DNA from three biological parents.

Five-month-old Abrahim Hassan’s Jordanian parents, Ibtisam Shaban and Mahmoud Hassan, were treated by a U.S. team based in Mexico using a controversial technique that allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, the New Scientist reports.

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