• Self-Assembling Nanorope Mimics Natural Biomaterials

    A nanoscale rope with the capacity to braid itself, as shown in this atomic force microscopy image, could eventually be used in such applications as drug-delivery vehicles.Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab; Berkeley, CA) have coaxed polymers to braid themselves into nanoscale ropes that approach the structural complexity of biological materials. Their work is part of the push to develop self-assembling nanoscale materials that...
  • Nanostructured Synthetic Polymers Promote Cell Growth

    A laser-based technology developed by an international, multidisciplinary team of scientists has facilitated the creation of novel nanostructured synthetic polymers. Optimized for promoting cell growth, the materials could help to advance reconstructive surgery and improve treatment of burn victims.When treating severe burn victims through surgical intervention, a lack of sufficient skin to graft on especially damaged areas may necessitate growth of new skin from the patient's own cells. This...
  • Using Hydrogels to Grow Blood Vessels in the Lab

    Time-lapse image shows how two types of cells tagged with fluorescent dyes organize themselves into a functioning capillary network within 72 hours.Recently, Medtech Pulse reported on research conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health on the use of hydrogels for developing 3-D tissue scaffolds. Hot on the heels of this news, researchers from Rice University (Houston) and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM; Houston) claim to have found a...
  • Liquid Pistons May Pave the Way for Next-Gen Drug Delivery, Imaging, and Lab-on-a-Chip Applications

    Liquid pistons can act as a liquid resonator, a pump, or as a camera. Image: Rensselaer Polytechnic.Liquid pistons could be exploited to develop a range of next-generation medical applications that include microdisplacement pumps, liquid switches, implantable eye lenses, imaging systems, and advanced drug-delivery platforms. The pistons are tunable, scalable, and suffer no wear and tear. “It is possible to make mechanical pumps that are small enough for use in lab-on-a-chip...
  • Metallic Glass Pushes the Envelope of Damage Tolerance

    Metallic glass rods demonstrate strength and toughness. Image: CaltechAn alloy composed of palladium, silver, and several other metalloids has demonstrated a combination of strength and toughness that has not previously been achieved, according to its developers. The damage-tolerant metallic glass could someday be employed in dental and other biomedical implants."Strength and toughness are actually very different, almost mutually exclusive," says Marios Demetriou, a senior research fellow...
  • Partnership Targets Orthopedic Meshes and Scaffolds

    DSM Dyneema (Urmond, Netherlands) has announced that it is forming a partnership with Proxy Biomedical (Cleveland). The alliance encourages further research and production of ExtreMESH, a durable surgical mesh made from DSM’s Dyneema Purity polyethylene fiber technology.   “With new access to Proxy Biomedical’s proven expertise in high-performance materials research, development, and manufacturing, our ability to help those needing tissue repair or regeneration is expanding,” remarks...
  • High-Temperature Spin-Field-Effect Transistor Could Help Measure Blood-Sugar Levels

    An international team of researchers has combined the spin-helix state and anomalous Hall effect to produce a realistic spin-field-effect transistor (FET) that is operable at high temperatures and features an AND-gate logic device. Because the transistor can directly convert polarization of light into electric voltage signals, it could potentially be employed down the line in such applications as blood-sugar-level measurement in patients and various sensors.Miniaturization has demanded the...
  • NIST/NIH Researchers Hope to Engineer Tissue Scaffolds Using Hydrogels

    Measuring approximately 1 × 6 cm, hydrogel scaffolds used to culture bone cells show that bone mineralization depends on the stiffness of the gel. Deposited minerals are denser at the bottoms of the gradient gels, which are progressively stiffer from top to bottom. Color has been added for emphasis.A research team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, MD) is using hydrogels to develop 3-D tissue...
  • Survey Says: Medical Device Manufacturers View 2011 with 'Cautious Optimism'

    Things may be looking up. Emergo Group (Austin, TX), a global regulatory consulting firm for the medical device industry, released its 2011 Medical Device Industry Outlook today. Based on a survey of medical device professionals, the report describes the tone of the industry as cautiously optimistic. Results indicated that close to 75% of respondents expect overall sales to increase in the coming year and almost 70% have a somewhat to very positive outlook for the industry in 2011. Other...
  • Fabricating Bacteria-Resistant Polymers Using Carbon Dioxide

    Researchers are now impregnating plastics with compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) in a process that could lead to new applications, including bacteria-resistant polycarbonate. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT are testing how carbon dioxide can be used to impregnate plastics. At a temperature of 30.1°C and a pressure of 73.8 bar, CO2 goes into a supercritical state that gives the gas solvent-like properties. In this state, it can be...
  • Supplier of Micromachined Products to Move into New Facility

    Resonetics LLC has announced that it will relocate in spring 2011 from its current Nashua, NH, facility to a significantly larger facility a short distance away. The new facility has a 50% larger footprint than the current space, much of which will be allocated to the manufacture of medical device components and to related services. The company also plans to double again by 2012 and has reserved surrounding space to ensure expansion.“It is especially rewarding to our employees that Resonetics...
  • Medical Device Industry Outlook for 2011: Better Than Last Year

    We ushered in a new year and bid a fond farewell to 2010. So, now what? Now is the time for surveys to abound and for experts to come out of the woodwork and weigh in on the medical device industry's prospects in 2011. For your reference, MPMN has consolidated some of these prognostications into a brief industry outlook cheat sheet. Let the speculation begin!Growth on the Horizon. Analysts at Kalorama Information forecast that the global medical device market will exceed $300 billion in 2011,...
  • Copolymers Mimic Extracellular Matrix of Bone for Enhanced Tissue Scaffolds

    Optimized for use in tissue scaffolds, copolymers developed by researchers at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering mimic the mechanical properties, surface chemistry, and porosity of the extracellular matrix of human bone. As a result, these characteristics of the material could potentially encourage more successful tissue formation on the scaffolds.To achieve these desirable characteristics, the researchers modified the biocompatible, biodegradable material...
  • New Standard Targets Potentially Fatal Tube Misconnections

    MPMN does not generally cover medical device standards, but a newly adopted standard from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI; Arlington, VA) is bound to have a direct and vital impact on manufacturers of connectors—not to mention patients and hospitals.Designated as ANSI/AAMI/ISO 80369-1, the new international standard—the first in a series of seven to deal with connectors—seeks to reduce tubing misconnections among different types of medical devices. Directed...
  • New Sensing Technology Could Lead to Breathalyzer Breakthrough

    A sensor technology based on micron-size polymer particles coated with metal oxide nanoparticles can detect biomarkers in a person's breath in real time.Researchers at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) have developed a technology that could eventually be used to detect biomarkers in a person's respiration in real time. Detecting biomarkers offers insights into a patient's health, indicating the possible...
  • Semiconductor Companies Could Bring Fab Ideas to Medical Device Industry

    Semiconductor company TI offers analog front ends suitable for portable ECG and EEG systems, among other products.In recent weeks, I found myself speaking with several semiconductor companies for various upcoming projects. And there was an unmistakable common theme: Diversification is key and the medical device industry is one of the markets in which semiconductor companies want to be.The story of when and why many semiconductor companies set their sights on the medical device industry tends to...
  • 'Electronic Glue' Allows for Low-Cost Optical Sensing for Lab-on-a-Chip Applications

    Shrink Nanotechnologies Inc. (Carlsbad, CA) has licensed an 'electronic glue' from the University of Chicago to facilitate the cost-effective fabrication of printed optical sensors from semiconductor nanocrystals. The ability to develop low-cost printed sensing technologies could, in turn, enable the development of new low-cost diagnostic tools.Semiconductor nanocrystals show potential for demonstrating better optical sensitivity with lower production costs than conventional optical sensing...
  • Acetal-Compatible Antimicrobial Solution Fights Infection

    With the intent of reducing the chances for risky and costly hospital-acquired infections, Microban International (Huntersville, NC) has developed an antimicrobial technology that is compatible with acetal. The company reports a better than 4-log reduction of a range of organisms using its standard, enhanced, and human-serum-based testing protocols.Identified by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) as devices of concern, catheters are especially prone to biofilm...
  • Cogmedix Opens Class 4–Compliant Laser Facility

    Cogmedix (Worcester, MA) has registered a Class 4 laser facility compliant with the requirements of American National Standards Institute Z136 Guidelines and 105 CMR 121.000. The contract manufacturer is opening the dedicated facility for integrating lasers into a variety of medical products, including diagnostic and imaging systems, skin-treatment processes, ophthalmic assessment and surgical procedures, and surgical equipment such as that used to remove kidney stones.The company has met the...
  • Imec Develops Process Flow for Biocompatible Packaging of Medical Implants

    (a) Chip encasulation, and (b and c) possible basic concept of an implantable system.Imec (Leuven, Belgium) has derived a process flow concept for the packaging of medical implants that meets miniaturization, biocompatibility, and safety requirements. The proposed solution is an alternative to the rigid packages currently in use that tend to enhance foreign-body reactions. Biocompatibility considerations include the package's chemical, shape, and mechanical properties, while safety requirements...