• Qmed Daily's Hottest Clicks of the Week

    Topping the charts this week at Qmed Daily, Medtronic was awarded $101 million in a patent suit against NuVasive based on the claim that NuVasive's CoRoent XL implants, MaXcess II and III retractors, and Helix and Helix mini anterior cervical plates infringe three Medtronic patents. In other news, an engineer's wife, prompted by the death of her husband, develops the CADence cardio device, and Sapheon receives CE mark approval for its varicose vein closure system.Jury Awards Medtronic $101...
  • Controlling Silicon Evaporation in Graphene Production Could Benefit High-Performance Electronics

    Medtech Pulse has frequently covered advances in graphene technology, dealing with processing flaws that can degrade the material's electrical properties and the development of inverter prototype for developing graphene transistors. Now, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta) have provided details of their confinement controlled sublimation technique for growing high-quality layers of epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide wafers. The technique relies on...
  • Vacuum-Like Microfluidic Device Assists in Cellular Exploration

    For the first time, researchers have fabricated microfluidic quadropoles — a tiny device that acts as a microscopic jet vacuum cleaner — in a lab setting, creating a tool that may be used to study a variety of cellular processes such as cancer cell formation. Quadropoles are paired objects, with two positive and two negative objects arranged in a square, which create a force field between them. Magnetic quadropoles focus beams of charged particles in particle accelerators, and electrostatic...
  • Biology-Inspired Coating Shows Promise for Catheters

    Drawing inspiration from the pitcher plant in nature, researchers at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) have developed a material that they claim repels almost any type of liquid, including blood, even when exposed to harsh conditions. This latest breakthrough in the field of biomimetics could someday be employed in biomedical fluid handling and as a coating for catheters and other medical tubing.This schematic illustrates the manufacture of the Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surface (SLIPS)....
  • Proton-Based Transistor Could Eventually Be Used to Monitor Biological Processes

    Based on the understanding that electronic devices send information using electrons while all living things send signals and perform work using ions or protons, materials scientists at the University of Washington (UW; Seattle) have built a transistor that uses protons, creating a key component for devices that can communicate directly with living things. The study is published in the interdisciplinary journal Nature Communications.An illustration of the UW proton transistor (a) shows the...
  • Weekly Vitals: Boston Sci Top Dog in Spotlight, Vaginal Mesh Controversy Continues, and More

    For the second week in a row, Boston Scientific's soon-to-be top dog, Michael Mahoney, was in the spotlight as news about his impressive pay package and non-compete agreement from J&J surfaced. News of the generous (read: astronomical) pay package offered to Mahoney spread like wildfire when it was revealed that it was worth more than $20 million and included a $100,000 corporate aircraft perk, a $1.5 million signing bonus, and $90,000 in legal reimbursements related to employment...
  • Multiuniversity Effort to Study Soft Matter

    A multiuniversity research project involving scientists from North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh, NC), Duke University (Durham, NC), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC) will study soft matter, a branch of materials science with tissue implant and other biomedical applications.Soft matter describes such states of matter as foams, gels, polymers, or emulsions. They are typically created by combining smaller particles—...
  • A Case of Mistaken Identity: Do You Know What Material You're Using for Your Medical Device?

    The ISO 10993-18 standard for chemical characterization of materials is an essential guideline for evaluating the overall safety and biocompatibility of a medical device and its associated materials. But one critical component of the standard is often overlooked, according to David Albert, senior scientist and chief chemist at NAMSA.In a presentation at the MEDevice Forum in San Diego last week, Albert stated that the standards document "presents to be a framework for the identification of the...
  • Seaweed Could be Next Binder in Lithium-Ion Batteries

    Researchers have identified a new binder material that could eventually increase the energy storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries and also eliminate the use of the toxic compounds that are currently used for manufacturing the batteries' components. The binder is a critical component for suspending silicon or graphite particles in a battery. These particles actively interact with the electrolyte that provides battery power.Known as alginate, the new binder material is extracted from brown...
  • Weekly Vitals: Boston Sci CEO Pick Raises Eyebrows, The Future of the Medical Device Industry, and More

    Boston Scientific raised a lot of eyebrows in the medical device industry this week when it announced that Michael Mahoney, current worldwide chairman of the medical device and diagnostics group of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), will assume the role of president in October and CEO in November. In the wake of this news, speculation abounds as to whether or not Mahoney's departure from J&J was amicable. The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog, for instance, wonders, "So, will Mahoney, a...
  • Crystal Delivers Accurate Temperature Readings in Challenging Environments

    Crystals have properties that researchers have discovered make them suitable to be used as highly accurate temperature gauges. Birefringence splits light through a crystal into two separate rays, and the size of the effect increases or decreases in proportion to the temperature of the crystal. But changes in the thickness and orientation of the crystal compromise the temperature-measuring ability, making them expensive to manufacture and unsuitable for use in situations where vibrations could...
  • AMSilk, Fraunhofer Poised to Develop Spin Process for Spider Silk

    AMSilk (Martinsried, Germany) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP; Potsdam-Golm, Germany) are developing a novel spin process for making high-performance fibers from AMSilk’s spider silk proteins. A spin-off from the Technische Universität München, AMSilk claims to be the first company capable of delivering sufficient quantities of spider silk material for applications development.Produced by combining biotechnology with an industrial production platform, AMSilk's...
  • When It Comes to Materials Suppliers, Does Size Matter?

    At the MEDevice Forum in San Diego this week, Len Czuba, president of design and development firm Czuba Enterprises, opined that, when it comes to biomaterials suppliers, bigger is better. It’s not an issue of competency, Czuba notes, but rather one of quality control.“It’s important to work with as large a company as you can get away with because of their quality control systems,” Czuba states. “If a company is making 20,000 or 40,000 pounds a week [of materials], sometimes their quality...
  • Materials Characterization: Differentiating Leachables and Extractables

    When it comes to materials characterization, many people in the medical device industry tend to confuse leachables and extractables or use the terms interchangeably, David Albert, senior scientist and chief chemist at NAMSA, observed during a presentation at the MEDevice Forum in San Diego this week. And while it’s understandable to do so, Albert notes, each term has a distinct meaning that is important to grasp. “Extractables are chemical additives and byproducts extracted from devices or...
  • Medical Diagnoses Via Computer? Elementary, My Dear Watson!

    Everyone will remember Watson, the IBM computer that bettered Jeopardy champions earlier this year. But not satisfied merely to formulate questions based on answers, Watson is at it again. Now, the computer is being recruited by WellPoint, the largest medical insurer in the United States, to diagnose medical conditions and recommend treatments within seconds. The system, according to the Los Angeles Times, will be initiated at several cancer centers next year.While the computer can scan...
  • Learn About Intellectual Property Considerations During Medical Product Development

    Intellectual property is often one of a medical device company's most valuable assets. With this in mind, Qmed and MD+DI will host a Webcast intended to educate attendees on how to avoid common pitfalls that could lead to accidental loss of intellectual property rights and how to efficiently integrate a patent strategy into their product-development plan. Presented by Andrew I. Kimmel, partner at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, the "Intellectual Property Considerations During Product...
  • Weekly Vitals: 'Innovation' Wins Buzz Word of the Week, Medtronic CEO Painted as Savior of Devices, and More

    While 'innovation' is a term that is used ad nauseum in the medical device industry (we're guilty at MPMN, too), it seemed to be unavoidable this week, plastered in seemingly every big headline. Among the top stories of the week was an article that examined the regulatory trials and tribulations of a handheld medical device designed for spotting melanoma. The regulatory woes of the device maker were used to illustrate a larger debate in the medical device industry that centers on whether FDA is...
  • Inverter Prototype Brings Researchers Closer to Developing Graphene Transistors

    Graphene, a sheet of carbon one atom thick, has been studied for its potential use in electronics, and was initially identified as a material that could replace silicon and make devices faster and easier to manufacture. However, it was discovered that graphene has no “band gap,” a trait critical to digital transistors storing binary codes which allows the signal to be turned on and off, so its digital applications appeared to be limited. But researchers at Purdue University (West Lafayette,...
  • Defining Medical Device Innovation in a Global Arena

    The term medical device innovation means different things to different people. In the United States and other developed nations, it is typically marked by cutting-edge technology or a revolutionary design. But the same term has an entirely different definition based on very distinct needs in low- and middle-income markets. A recent piece in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) titled "Health Technologies and Innovation in the Global Health Arena" offers an interesting perspective on the...
  • Incorporating Design Elements from Consumer Electronics to Promote Usability

    One of the most salient trends in medical device design is undoubtedly the influence of consumer electronics and the rising demand from end-users for sleeker, more user-friendly products. The catch, of course—other than the stringent regulatory environment—is that the pace of product development in the medical device industry differs vastly from that of the consumer electronics realm. But every medical device design doesn't have to be on par with the iPad; sometimes incorporating just one or a...