• Want Medical Diagnostic Devices? Try Carbon Nanotubes!

    A carbon nanotube treated with a capture agent—shown in yellow—can bind with and detect a target protein—shown in purple. This process changes the electrical resistance, enabling the creation of a sensor. (Graphic courtesy of Oregon State University)Relying on carbon nanotubes, researchers at Oregon State University (OSU; Corvallis) are increasing the speed of biological sensors. By nearly tripling the speed of prototype nanobiosensors, the new technology could further contribute to what...
  • Spider Silk Found To Have High Heat Conductivity

    Xinwei Wang, Guoqing Liu, and Xiaopeng Huang, left to right, show the instruments they used to study the thermal conductivity of spider silk. Image: Bob Elbert/Iowa State University.Xinwei Wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University, and his research team recently discovered that spider silk---particularly the draglines that anchor webs in place---conducts heat better than most materials. Spider silk even conducts heat better than silicon, aluminum, and...
  • Weekly Vitals: Obama Vs. Romney in Fight for Medtech Industry, Impact of the Device Tax, and More

    When it comes to politics, everyone seems to have an opinion. Capitalizing on this truism, our colleagues at the Medtech Issues in the 2012 Election Year site cornered some attendees at the MD&M West trade show last month to get a feel for industry professionals' political leanings. Furthermore, more than 800 respondents have weighed in on the site's poll this week that poses the question of which presidential candidate is best for the medical device industry. At this point, it looks like...
  • Electronics Based on Oxide Thin Films Could Further Medical Device R&D

    Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh) have developed what they say are the first functional oxide thin films that can be used efficiently in electronics, paving the way for new high-power devices and smart sensors. And because oxides are more inert than other materials used in electronic applications and therefore biocompatible, the new technology could also eventually find its way into medical device applications.Functional electronic devices require the use of...
  • Fast-Bonding, Self-Healing Hydrogel Has Potential Suture, Drug-Delivery Applications

    A new self-healing hydrogel material developed by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) binds in seconds and forms a bond that is strong enough to withstand repeated stretching. In the medical device realm, the material could potentially be used in a range of applications, including medical sutures and as an adhesive to heal stomach perforations or for controlled drug delivery to ulcers.Three hydrogel pieces welded together demonstrate the ability of UC San...
  • Weekly Vitals: Tawdry Details About Stryker CEO's Resignation, Hip Implants Showed Early Warning Signs, and More

    While medical device industry leaders' love lives aren't usually a part of our coverage on Medtech Pulse, we admit we (and everyone else) were intrigued by the Wall Street Journal's article this week positing that Stryker CEO Stephen MacMillan's abrupt resignation last month was tied to some titillating gossip. The WSJ reported that MacMillan's resignation—which was attributed publicly to "family reasons"— came on the heels of board members learning of MacMillan's affair with an ex-employee...
  • Medtronic Brings Realization of Artificial Pancreas One Step Closer

    Late last year, I reported that many experts would be willing to place bets on the efficacy of an artificial pancreas to treat diabetes...if only FDA would permit it. Then, FDA published draft guidance on the artificial pancreas, eliciting guarded optimism among industry experts that the FDA's move could finally represent the first step toward making this technology available in the United States.Now, Medtronic claims that is has taken the next step in the direction of developing an artificial...
  • Device Hacking Continues: Medtronic, Others 'Lacked Foresight'

    Medtronic and other medical device manufacturers may have been lulled into a false sense of security as the headline-grabbing insulin pump hacking controversy began to die down in recent months. But hacker Barnaby Jack plans to push the issue of medical device security vulnerabilities right back into the spotlight at the RSA security conference this week where he will demonstrate the ability to remotely launch a lethal attack against an insulin pump user. This mounting pressure from high-...
  • "Rainbow Polymer" Could Be Used for Biomed Imaging, Disease Detection

    A rainbow-colored grating, about 25 millimeters wide, under sunlight. Enlarged microscope images show the graded surface, with the black bars indicating a length of 10 microns. Image: University of BuffaloUniversity at Buffalo (UB) reports that engineers at the school have developed a one-step, low-cost method for fabricating a polymer that, when viewed from a single perspective, is rainbow-colored, reflecting many wavelengths of light. Used as a light filter, this material could form the basis...
  • Rensselaer Researchers Develop Postsurgery Orthopedic Implant Sensor

    Used to perform in vivo monitoring of orthopedic surgery sites, a sensor developed by Rensselaer researchers can be attached to a range of orthopedic implants.An implantable sensor developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) can transmit data wirelessly from the site of a recent orthopedic surgery. Developed by Eric Ledet, an assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering, the sensor can provide surgeons with detailed, real-time information from the...
  • Weekly Vitals: J&J's Weldon Out, Medtronic Expects Trouble in 2013, and More

    The industry was abuzz this week as the news spread that J&J's CEO, Bill Weldon, would be retiring in April. Although he is set to remain as chairman of the board, Weldon's retirement comes on the heels of a slew of product recalls that have continued to cast the powerhouse company in an increasingly negative light. And, of course, everyone seemed to have something to say about Weldon's turbulent tenure at J&J. In other news, Medtronic announced that the impending device tax would...
  • Quality Issues in Asia, Shortage of Suppliers Impact Medical Device Batteries

    Although battery-powered external medical devices have been around for some time, novel new wearable drug-delivery systems, surgical power tools, monitoring systems, and powered prosthetics and orthotics, for example, have inundated the market during the past decade. But with the increasing variety of these innovative new systems comes several new battery-related failure-analysis challenges with which medical device manufacturers must now contend, Quinn Horn, senior managing engineer at...
  • Wireless, Self-Propelled Medical Implant on the Horizon

    Prototype of Stanford's wireless, self-propelled chip measures 3 mm wide x 4 mm long. (Photo by Steve Fyffe)Researchers at Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA) have developed a wireless, self-propelled miniature medical implant that can perform controlled movements in blood. Led by Ada Poon, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, the team is developing a class of medical devices that can be implanted or injected into the human body and powered using electromagnetic radio waves instead...
  • Synthetic Silk Created for Wound-Care Applications

    Close-up view of synthetic beads-on-a-thread. Image: The University of AkronScientists at the University of Akron have developed a novel synthetic material similar to a specific kind of silk spun by an orb spider, according to a university press release. The web design is known as BOAS (beads on a string) because it resembles beads arranged in a circular pattern on a string. The beads are glue droplets. The replication of this design can potentially be used to make strong and flexible sutures...
  • Pressure Mounts to Rid IV Products of PVC, DEHP

    Last month, West Coast managed healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente announced that it would no longer purchase IV bags or tubing that contain PVC or the plasticizer DEHP. Although the move away from PVC- and DEHP-containing IV products has been picking up momentum in recent years, Kaiser's proclamation is another sign of the definitive phasing out of the materials. To gain some insight, MPMN spoke with Kathy Kovalic, director of marketing, drug delivery & fluid therapy, at B. Braun Medical...
  • Weekly Vitals: MD&M West Highlights, MDUFA Hearings Get Heated, and More

    The movers and shakers of the medical device industry convened this past week in Anaheim, CA, for the annual MD&M West exhibition and conferences. In addition to new product launches and endless sourcing options, the event offered up significant networking opportunities and valuable education in the form of conference sessions and Innovation Briefs presentations. Read about some of the highlights from MD&M West in our weekly roundup below. Plus, make sure to check back in with us next...
  • Medtech Trends and Technologies at MD&M West

    From materials and machines to syringes and software, MD&M West has it all. Compared with the shows that took place during the deepest, darkest days of the Great Recession, this year's medtech event to end all medtech events is taking place in the midst of greater, if guarded, optimism.And as the technological needs of the medical device community change, some companies are finding increasing receptivity among manufacturers to look...
  • Four Production Release Recommendations for New Medical Products

    During his presentation, "The Importance of Design and Material Selection for Successful Medical Devices," at MD&M West this week, Phil Anthony, president of product design and development consulting firm Design Integrity Inc. (Chicago), shared four important production release recommendations for new medical products. "I like to see all of these steps taken for all new products because it allows you to learn what you did well and what you could potentially improve upon, and then apply...
  • Exploding Microcapsule Material Developed for Drug Delivery

    Structure of a microcapsule and tumor-triggered explosion of the microcapsule. A) Structure of microcapsules, B) microcapsules host drugs at pH 7.4, C) Schiff's base cleaves at low pH site, D) increased pressure causes the microcapsule to swell, E) exploding of the microcapsule, F) uptake of drugs released from exploding microcapsules by cancerous cell, and G) apoptosis of tumor cells. Image: Dr. Xian-Zheng Zhang, Wuhan University/Nanowerk.com. For a nano- or microscale drug-carrier system to...
  • Mimicking Natural Sensors, Scientists Create Highly Precise Biosensors

    By creating biosensors with rationally tuned dynamic ranges, scientists from UCSB and the University of Rome Tor Vergata have developed a DNA-detecting biosensor that could eventually help improve medical diagnostic applications. (Photo by Rod Rolle)Based on strategies that organisms have evolved over billions of years for monitoring their surroundings, chemists at UC Santa Barbara and the University of Rome Tor Vergata have developed a DNA-detecting biosensor that could eventually help improve...