• This Week’s Most Popular Headlines

    Medtronic and Medtronic-related news dominated the headlines this week. Not long after William Hawkins retired as the med giant’s CEO, privately held Immucor announced that he has been hired as that company’s new CEO. Also in Medtronic news, the company announced results from its Tailored Treatment of Permanent Atrial Fibrillation clinical trial, the first randomized study comparing the company’s phased RF ablation system with the use of antiarrhythmic drugs and direct-current cardioversion....
  • Fraunhofer Scientists Invent Microlenses Suitable for 3-D Minimally Invasive Endoscopy

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS; Duisburg, Germany) have developed an image sensor that transmits perfect 3-D images from inside the body thanks to the use of microlenses. The new technology will improve doctors' ability to perform surgery using endoscopic techniques.Fraunhofer microsenses capture two beams of light, enabling them to produce 3-D endoscopic images in minimally invasive surgeries. (Photo courtesy of Fraunhofer IMS)Together...
  • Lipid Biosensor Could Eventually Be Used to Treat Diseases

    Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have developed a biosensor that measures membrane lipid levels, paving the way for new techniques of treating disease. Created by Wonhwa Cho, UIC professor of chemistry, and his coworkers, the technology is based on a method of modifying proteins to fluoresce so that they can act as sensors to measure lipid levels."Lipid molecules on cell membranes can act as switches that turn on or off protein-protein interactions affecting all...
  • Smartphone-Based Ultrasound: The New Medical Imaging Paradigm

    Taking a cue from the success of GE's Vscan handheld visualization tool and the burgeoning interest in mobile health, Mobisante (Redmond, WA) has introduced what it trumpets as the world's first smartphone-based ultrasound imaging system. This trend-setting product may just represent the future of ultrasound, but it also raises larger questions about mobile health.Although the device received FDA clearance back in February, the MobiUS SP1 system just hit the market following delays attributed...
  • Weekly Vitals: FDA Gets Slammed, Fights Back

    While FDA is always a controversial subject in the medical device industry, the organization seemed to be taking hits and trying to fight back all week long. Venture capitalists took their complaints of dysfunction at FDA to Capitol Hill this week, for example. Then, an inflammatory opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, titled "How the FDA Could Cost You Your Life," decried the disparity in medical device approval times between the United States and Europe, essentially blaming FDA for lost...
  • Innovator Steve Jobs: The Apple of the Medical Device Industry's Eye

    Just a day after the FDA Commissioner released a set of steps that can be taken to drive biomedical innovation, one of the most well-known consumer device innovators of our time, Steve Jobs, has passed away. Jobs undeniably had a profound effect on the consumer electronics industry; however, the impact of his pioneering innovations reached far beyond gadgets for listening to music or tablet computers. They changed the way we, as a society, communicate, the manner in which we obtain or exchange...
  • Direct-Extrusion Technology Takes the Heat off Combination Products

    Foster Corp.'s direct-extrusion process reduces heat and shear history in the manufacture of combination products, improving the stability of both the polymer and the drug.Traditionally, combination polymer products have been extruded from pellets before being converted into such shapes as films for mucosal and transdermal patches and rods for implantable drug-delivery applications. The problem with this method is that the heat associated with dual processing steps can degrade the polymer or...
  • Qmed Daily’s Hottest Clicks of the Week

    It’s been a busy week at Qmed Daily, topped off by a Puerto Rican family’s lawsuit alleging that drug and medical device manufacturer Baxter International contaminated the family’s property with radioactive cobalt and other potentially hazardous materials. Also topping Qmed’s charts this week was Boston Scientific’s announcement that it received a favorable court ruling affirming that its NIR stent did not infringe Johnson & Johnson's Fischell patent. Click on the links below for other hot...
  • Pediatric Device Design is No Child's Play

    While baby boomers are reaping the benefits of modern medicine and advanced medical device technology, babies and children are suffering from a lack of innovative pediatric device designs. If the children are our future, medical device designers better start focusing on how to better cater to this vastly underserved market and make sure that the future is a bright and healthy one.FDA, at least, is trying to promote pediatric device design. It announced this week that it was awarding three...
  • A PEEK into the Future of Hip Implant Bearing Surfaces

    While metal-on-metal bearing surface combinations are quickly becoming the present-day pariah of hip implants, polyethylene experienced similar skepticism in regards to its use in total joint arthroplasty in the 1990s. From that polyethylene backlash, however, a slow-moving, but promising, exploration of PEEK as a bearing surface material was born and continues to progress, potentially paving the way for next-generation hip implants.PEEK, which got its start in the aerospace industry as a...
  • How Ions May Cause Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants to Go Bad

    From the recalls last of the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR XL acetabular system and the ASR hip resurfacing system to FDA's recent order that all metal-on-metal hip implant manufacturers conduct postmarket surveillance studies, the flood of news stories detailing problems with metal-on-metal hip implants seems unstoppable. And it's affecting Not just DePuy, but Stryker Corp., Zimmer Holdings Inc., and Biomet Inc. as well. Just last week, the Qmed Daily—echoing an earlier report in the New York Times—...
  • Cutting Touch Screen and Solar Costs With Copper Nanowire Film

    With the use of mobile devices with touch screen displays on the rise, engineers have been trying to find lower-cost alternatives to the expensive indium tin oxide (ITO) films currently used to connect pixels in electronic screens. At Duke University (Durham, NC), researchers have developed a technique to organize copper atoms in water, resulting in long, thin, non-clumped nanowires that can be transformed onto transparent conductive films. In addition to touch screens on tablets and handheld...
  • Weekly Vitals: Sony Buys Micronics, Exclusive AdvaMed Coverage, and More

    This week in medical device industry news, Sony announces that it has purchased Redmond, WA–based Micronics for an undisclosed amount. Micronics specializes in developing portable devices that can be used to perform tests on body fluids such as blood and saliva. Also, at the AdvaMed Medtech Conference, held September 26–28, topics ranged from the importance of innovation, FDA reform, and exports to the Affordable Care Act, opportunities in India, and the pros and cons of the contract...
  • 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—...