20 Highlights of MD&M West

Brian Buntz and Chris Newmarker

The massive MD&M West conference and exposition is expanding its offerings even more for this year’s event, which runs from February 10 to 13 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.

On top of the conference sessions and exposition, there will be 30 two-hour Learning Labs allowing MD&M West attendees to gain quick-hit access to information on medical device-related subjects ranging from lightweight robotics to breakthroughs in cardiovascular devices and engineering.

Thousands are expected to attend this year's MD&M West, which runs from February 10 to 13 in Anaheim, CA.

The cardiovascular devices and engineering lab, for example, takes place at 11:00 a.m. on February 12 and is chaired by Karen May-Newman, PhD, director of the bioengineering program at San Diego State University. 

Dave Mitchell, manager of franchise operations at Cordis, will discuss the Adriot guide catheter, and May-Newman will describe the biomechanics of the heart following left-ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation. Additional experts will join in for a discussion of the latest cardio device innovations.

May-Newman recently discussed a range of cardiovascular device subjects with MPMN. Here’s what she said about LVADs

MPMN: What are the major advances with LVADs? What are the design challenges with that?


May-Newman: One of the biggest advances with LVADs happened a few years ago, and that is the shift from pulsatile pumps that are designed like the heart to continuous flow pumps that are designed like mini-turbines.

The difference between those two is that the pulsatile pump usually has a large chamber that is getting bigger and smaller like the heart does. It has valves, one for inflow and one for outflow, that allows it to push in one direction when you’re applying pressure. With those devices, the way the device function allows for the surface of the device that’s contacted with the blood to be covered with a cell-like surface. … It’s the same type of remodeling the body does for blood vessel replacement. It tries to coat the surface with something that looks nonforeign. They were able to design a pulsatile device, but you had a completely covered blood contacting surface, which made it really nice and friendly to the blood. So the blood didn’t form clots as much.

The new design is like a turbine. It has a rotor inside that spins. It has velocity. It’s magnetically levitated, so there aren’t a lot of obstruction to flow. But it requires that the surfaces remain clean. They don’t get that tissue covering. This imparts a lot of the higher shear stress to the blood, which activates platelets to some degree. Plus, it has a highly foreign surface exposed to the blood which also activates platelets. Generally speaking, these type of pumps … require anticoagulant usage, while the pulsatile pumps didn’t require them. With anticoagulants comes another challenge, which is bleeding. A lot of these patients with the non-pulsatile pumps develop GI bleeding or bleeding in other capillary beds.

There is this whole blood management required with these non-pulsatile pumps. But they’re smaller. Certainly from an engineering standpoint they will last longer by the way they are designed. Their power consumption is lower. But they introduce this whole problem with your blood. …

MPMN: Any chance this challenge could be overcome soon?

May-Newman: People are trying different things. There is no clear path forward.

With blood contacting devices, it’s complicated. Blood is a really complicated fluid that responds in ways we cannot always predict based on the tools we have.

It’s one of the things that I think the FDA is really interested in right now, to figure out a way to predict blood clotting in the context of medical devices.

Interested in talking with more experts such as May-Newman in the Learning Labs or other MD&M West events? Here are more highlights from this year’s show:

Day One | February 10

  1. Keynotes on Consumerization and Innovation­, 9:00 a.m. MD&M West will kick off on Monday, Februay 10 with a pair of conference keynotes. (The exposition will begin on the following day.) The first keynote is dedicated to the influence of consumer electronics on the medical device space.  That topic will be analyzed by Peter Tippett, MD, chief medical officer and vice president of innovation incubator at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Immediately following Tippett's keynote will be a talk titled "A new era in innovation: 10 reasons why you should be thinking about pediatrics" from Yaniv Bar-Cohen, MD, who is the co-director of the Southern California Center for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP) and associate professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles associated with the Keck School of Medicine at USC. 
  2. Stacey Chang
    IDEO's Stacey Chang
    IDEO Explores Design Thinking, 10:00 a.m. Representatives from famed design firm IDEO will provide advice on how to brainstorm and address product design challenges. The interactive presentation will be lead by IDEO's Stacey Chang, associate partner and director, health and wellness and Brian Mason, lead of medical products group. 
  3. Rating and Evaluating Vendors and Suppliers, 10:10 a.m. Jonathan M. Lewis, principle of Advanced Biomedical Consulting will lead a workshop dedicated to finding the outsourcing firms that are best for your business. Lewis will review a range of evaluation methods including evaluation forms, surveys, and system metrics used to rank outsourcers.
  4. Unlocking Value Through Effective Supplier Relationship Management, 11:00 a.m. Christine Bynarowicz, advanced supplier development sourcing manager at Covidien, picks up where the above workshop left off: supplier relationship management. Bynarowicz will provide advice on how your firm and your suppliers can work together as true partners. 
  5. Peer-to-peer Benchmarking on Supplier Management Best Practices, 1:45 p.m. Medtech industry analyst Venkat Rajan at Frost & Sullivan will deliver a talk that complements the material discussed in supplier management track of the conference. 


Day Two | February 11

  1. Center Stage. The Center Stage program will debut at this year's MD&M West. Held on the tradeshow floor, the free Center Stage program will feature everything from product teardowns to discussions of cutting-edge technology.  Topics to be featured on the stage include a 10:35 a.m. discussion of how cyber-physical systems are driving the next industrial revolution by James Truchard; President, CEO and Co-Founder; National Instruments. Other topics to be covered on the stage include 3D printing and a 2:40 p.m. session on DIY implants by Rich Lee, who implanted sound-transmitted magnets into his ears. Lee decided to implant the devices after he began to gradually lose his eyesight. The implants allow him to echo-locate, Lee says, enabling him to navigate in a manner similar to a bat. 
  2. The Entrepreneurial Journey, 9:00 a.m. The second day of the MD&M West conference track will kick off with a keynote from Rudy Mazzocchi, the CEO of Elenza, which has developed the first electronic autofocal Intraocular lens. Mazzocchi, who holds more than 50 patents, also founded the medical device company Microvena in 1989. Nine years after the company was founded, it was valued between $170–185 million.
  3. Absorbable Polymers for Drug Delivery, 10:10 a.m. From sutures to drug-eluting stents, absorbable polymers are being used for an array of medical device applications. In this presentation, Vipul Davé, PhD, a senior engineering fellow at Johnson & Johnson, will examine the application of bioabsorbable polymers for drug delivery. 
  4. Conference VIP Exhibition Tour.  Conference attendees can participate in an exclusive guided tour on the trade show floor, which will showcase new breakthroughs related to polymer technology. 
  5. Golden Mousetraps, 5:15 p.m. This awards program was designed to identify innovators in a range of manufacturing sectors. The winners of the awards will be announced at 5:15 p.m. in the Anaheim Marriott Ballroom.


Day Three | February 12

  1. Keynote with a Health Network's Point of View, 9:00 a.m. Yan Chow is director of innovation and advanced technology at Kaiser Permanente. Chow is working with Kaiser, the nation’s largest integrated not-for-profit healthcare network, to reboot how healthcare is delivered and explore new ways to use technology to address vexing healthcare problems. Chow oversees Kaiser's Oakland, CA–based Garfield Innovation Center, which serves as a proving ground for futuristic healthcare technology and new care delivery strategies.
  2. Learning Lab: Advanced Application of Sensors in Medical Devices, 9:00 a.m. Chaired by Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group, this Learning Lab explores the newest sensing technologies for implantable devices.
  3. Center Stage: Panel Discussion with Finalists. From the Medical Manufacturer of the Year Awards, 11:30 a.m. Gain insights from some executives from some of the most cutting edge medical manufacturers around, including Robert J. Greenberg, MD and PhD, president and CEO of Second Sight Medical Products Inc.; and Jay Pierce, president and CEO of OrthoSensor Inc. Second Sight has developed the world's first FDA-approved bionic eye while OrthoSensor develops smart orthopedic devices.
  4. Learning Lab: Medical Apps and Mobile Monitoring, 1:00 p.m. Medgadget blogger and Osmosis-cofounder Shiv Gaglani chairs a Learning Lab exploring opportunities and challenges for wearable and monitoring technologies in medical applications. Nelson Laboratories provides a range of life-cycle microbiology testing services for life science applications.
  5. Nelson Laboratories Classroom. Led by Nelson Laboratories, this will be a full day classroom focusing on ethylene oxide and radiation sterilization, packaging testing, and cleaning validations for single use and reusable medical devices. 


Day Four | February 13

  1. Keynote Address, The Power Behind Big Data, 9:00 a.m. Hear from Shahid Shah, the “Healthcare IT Guy,” software analyst, and former CTO of CareFusion.
  2. Center Stage: Bionic nanomaterials, 10:40 a.m. Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ), is exploring innovations at the interface of nanotechnology, biology, and energy. McAlpine, for example, has employed 3-D printing technology to produce a bionic ear—an invention that combines both tissue and electronics. He is also investigating the use of technology to harvest power from human motion.

  3. Learning Lab: New Technologies to Modernize the Factory Floor, 11 a.m. Chaired by Paul Selzer, principal calibration engineer at Baxter Bioscience , this Learning Lab will explore how to integrate wireless into automation on the factory floor. Wireless technology has not been rampantly employed due to security issues such as wireless signals not being secure and the possibility of electromagnetic interference with critical stations in a plant. But such issues are now being resolved. 
  4. Learning Labs: Practical Applications of Lightweight Robotics, 1:00 p.m. When are lightweight robots a good fit for automating a manufacturing process? Scott Melton, regional sales manager a Fanuc America West, chairs a Learning Lab that explores this question, as well as the future of robotics in medical device manufacturing. Other experts include Matt Bolton, director of production at SparkFun; Edward Mullen, national sales manager at Universal Robotics; and Frank Langro, director of marketing and product management at Festo Corp.
  5. Developing Novel Materials for Medical Devices, 1:45 p.m. Thomas Dietrich, CEO of IVAM, scrutinizes novel material developments and applications, and considers what future materials device designers would watch out for. Dietrich will also explore the challenges involved when integrating a new material into an existing product.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of MPMN and Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker. Brian Buntz is the editor-in-chief of MPMN and Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz