• Why Medtech Needs to Change or Die

    Smaller firms may fare better than conglomerates in a changing marketplace, according to Ernst & Young’s annual medical device industry report. Nancy CrottiMedtech companies that don’t embrace consumer empowerment and smart technology may be left behind the rest of an evolving sector.That’s the word from "Pulse of the Industry," Ernst & Young’s annual sizing up of the medtech business. Making an effective device alone just won’t cut it without the added value of data or connectivity,...
  • Philips Gets App-Based Ultrasound Into More Places

    Introduced last year, the Lumify will now include cardiac, abdominal, OB/GYN, and trauma exam pre-sets.Nancy CrottiRoyal Philips has won FDA clearance to use a cardiac transducer with its app-based Lumify ultrasound wand, and as with previous indications of Lumify it will be available by subscription.Lumify, which runs off an app on a tablet, will now include cardiac, abdominal including lung, OB/GYN, and trauma exam pre-sets, according to a statement by the company.The pocket-sized and...
  • CDC: Heart Surgery Device Has Problems

    Contaminated OR devices may have harmed open-heart surgery patients in the U.S and Europe, according to the CDC in the U.S.Nancy CrottiThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning healthcare providers and patients about the potential risk of infection from heater-cooler devices used during open heart surgery.The Stockert 3T heater-cooler devices made by LivaNova PLC might have been contaminated during manufacturing, which could put patients at risk for life-threatening...
  • Medtronic Is Latest Hit With PTFE Problems

    The new recall involves 84,278 devices that have PTFE coatings.Chris NewmarkerSurface Solutions Group, which has been raising the alarm about PTFE coating problems in recent years, previously provided Qmed with this photo of wires with flaking PTFE coatings. Medtronic announced Friday that its is engaging in a recall involving a host of products with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coatings that could separate from delivery wire or stylets.PTFE particles that enter the bloodstream pose...
  • This Device Could Lead to Better Cancer Treatments

    A new technique developed by researchers at MIT can test tumors for drug susceptibility by measuring how cancer drugs affect the growth rate of cancerous tumors in single cells.Kristopher SturgisWhen it comes to cancer treatment, selecting cancer drugs can oftentimes be a process of trial and error. There can be drugs that work for some patients that may not help others, while other drugs may be rendered ineffective by tumors that grow resistant. In an effort to help develop treatments tailored...
  • How to Bioprint Kidney Tissue

    Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute constructed a functional 3-D renal architecture that contains living human epithelial cells, and can recapitulate a small, critical function of the human kidney.Kristopher SturgisResearchers from the Wyss Institute at Harvard have used 3-D bioprinting technologies to create a functional renal structure, the latest step in efforts to engineer human tissues and organs that can mimic native functions. Such tissues and organs could be used in drug screening,...
  • 3M, Verily, IBM, Siemens Are All Into Population Health Management

    They all see value in value-based care, announcing major partnerships in the field. Chris Newmarker Some major partnerships have been announced this week around development new population health management technology. Google's sister health technolgoy company Verily has announced a partnership with 3M's 3M Health Information Systems business. And IBM and Siemens Healthineers have inked their own global alliance in the field. “Together, with 3M's know-how and deep expertise...
  • Which Medtech Field Is the Most Satisfying?

    The answer appears to reflect the state of flux the medical device industry is presently in. Chris NewmarkerAbbott spent roughly 15 years developing Absorb. (Image courtesy of Abbott Labs)The field where medical device workers are the most satisfied also happens to be the one that is not entirely a medical device field, according to a Qmed analysis of data from MD+DI’s Medtech Salary Survey 2016. (Download a copy of the full report here.)Nearly 39% of engineers,...
  • This Is How You 3-D Print Stents

    Customized implantable medical devices continue to advance—this time with flexible, 3-D printed stents designed for each patient’s specific needs.Joyce LairdMedical technology is pushing the 3-D printing envelope at the Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering, where researchers have created biodegradable stents customized to fit a specific patient’s body using 3D technology.Stents are designed using various metals. While available off the shelf in many sizes, perfect fit is always an issue...
  • Activity Trackers? Studies Say Not That Useful

    Cash incentives helped motivate some, but motivation slipped after the money ran out.Nancy CrottiA couple of medical studies have called into question the health benefits of wearable fitness devices.One of the studies, by the University of Pittsburgh, found that these wearables “are not reliable tools for weight loss,” according to a university statement. The other study, conducted by Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, found that activity trackers are unlikely to help people become more...
  • St. Jude Medical Has a Major ICD Recall

    Hundreds of thousands of devices are affected by the recall. Worse, the underlying problem may not be exclusive to St. Jude Medical. Nancy CrottiEarly depletion of lithium batteries in some St. Jude Medical implantable cardioverter defibrillators has resulted in two patient deaths and prompted a recall by the company.The batteries can run out within 24 hours of the devices’ low-battery alert, according to a company statement. The actual number of devices with premature battery depletion is...
  • Improving the Artificial Pancreas: Is This the Way to Do It?

    A Canadian research team is examining the use of pramlintide in conjunction with insulin on the artificial-pancreas platform, with the goal of further improving blood glucose management for type 1 diabetics. Maureen KingsleyMedtronic recently announced FDA approval of the MiniMed 670G insulin pump, a first-of-its-kind “artificial pancreas” that both monitors blood glucose levels and provides appropriate basal insulin doses in Type 1 diabetes patients. Now the...
  • New Skull Implant Could Provide Therapy for Brain Disorders

    Scientists in California and Mexico have developed a novel transparent skull implant that could enable laser-based treatments for brain disorders.Kristopher SturgisA new collaboration of researchers known as “The Window To The Brain” research team has developed a new transparent skull implant that will allow for patients suffering from certain brain disorders to receive laser-based treatments to the brain. The technology would enable laser-based treatments without the need for a craniotomy, a...
  • How to Hack the Brain

    OpenBCI in Brooklyn took an open source approach to its 3-D printed headset, which allows users' brains to interact with software.Qmed Staff A 2-year-old partnership company in Brooklyn called OpenBCI has created an open source 3-D printed ectroencephalogram headset to aid in others' exploration of the interface between mind and machine. "What we’re doing at OpenBCI is establishing a set of tools to allow other individuals to embark on this journey inward," OpenBCI's co-founder Conor...
  • Is Stryker Facing More Hip Implant Trouble?

    The Australian government has issued a warning about cobalt-chromium femoral heads manufactured before 2011. Is a U.S. recall announcement next?Nancy CrottiThe Australian government has issued a hazard alert about possible adverse events associated with a Stryker hip replacement part.Some U.S. law firms have written posts online regarding the Australian warning about Stryker Orthopaedics’ LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral heads, which is used in a metal-on-polyethylene hip implant system. A lawyer...
  • Organovo Wants to Get Bioprinted Liver Tissue Into People

    The bioprinting company says it plans a formal preclinical development program for 3-D bioprinted human liver tissue that could be transplanted into patients.Chris NewmarkerOrganovo officials within three to five years would like to submit an investigational new drug application to FDA for therapeutic bioprinted liver tissue, the San Diego–based company announced this week. The move comes two and a half years after Organovo started delivering 3-D bioprinted liver tissue for use in...
  • New Ultrasound Technique Could Wake Coma Patients

    The ultrasound treatment brought a 25-year-old brain injury patient back to full consciousness. Kristopher SturgisA new study out of UCLA has shown promise with ultrasound techniques that use sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the brain’s central core for processing information, known as the thalamus. The procedure, known as low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation, has potential as a therapy to help coma patients awake from comas and recover from serious brain trauma.The...
  • Theranos Laying Off Hundreds of Workers

    The embattled company is engaging in a major pivot, shutting down its clinical labs to focus on its desktop miniLab platform. Chris NewmarkerTheranos will shutter its clinical labs and Theranos Wellness Centers—a move that will affect about 340 workers in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania, CEO Elizabeth Holmes announced in an open letter posted on the company's website this week. The move is a major shift for Theranos as well as Holmes, who once touted a vision of reliable, fast...
  • Automated Robot Can Beat Surgeon at Stitching

        Researchers at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC, have taught a robot how to perform delicate suturing better than a human surgeon. MIT Technology Review reports that the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot stitched a live pig’s intestine together with a needle and thread, using an advanced 3-D imaging system and “very precise force sensing to apply stitches with submillimeter precision.” The automated system outperformed its inventors at Children’s...
  • A 3-D Printed Robot Made Entirely of Soft Materials

        Wrap your measly human arms (and brain) around this one: Researchersat Harvard University’s Wyss Institute designed an octopus-inspired, soft, autonomous robot powered by chemical reactions controlled by microfluidics. A reaction inside the robot can transform a small amount of hydrogen peroxide into a large amount of gas, which then flows into the octobot’s arms to inflate them.  3-D printing was a crucial component of the design process, as it allowed the researchers...