• Weekly Vitals: Boston Scientific Has a Worldly View, Who's Making Money in Medtech, and More

    Boston Scientific's interim CEO offered up some insight this week on the medtech giant's corporate strategy as it looks to build on momentum gained from recent acquisitions, FDA approvals, and positive Q1 earnings. Hank Kucheman chatted with the Boston Herald in an exclusive interview this week about Boston Sci's "rejuvenated, revitalized product pipeline and a three-pronged strategy for global expansion." In other news, statistics were released on medical device engineering salaries. Find out...
  • Ceramics Nanotechnology Enables Development of Disease-Detecting Breathalyzer

    Breathalyzer technologies designed for diagnostic functions have generated a great deal of interest in recent years, promising detection of everything from cancer to the onset of an asthma attack from one sample breath. Now, a research team at Stony Brook University (New York), with support from the National Science Foundation, has developed a nanotechnology-based single breath disease diagnostics breathalyzer that it hopes could someday provide patients with an affordable means of managing...
  • Minimally Invasive Device Market Poised for Continued Growth

    Minimally invasive devices and surgical tools have flooded the market in recent years in response to the surging demand for medical devices and procedures that can reduce risk, trauma, and recovery time for patients. In light of the overwhelming success of such medical devices, the global minimally invasive surgical market was estimated at $23 billion in 2011 with an approximate annual growth rate of 8% during the next five years, according to a report by global market research and consulting...
  • Researchers Develop Hip New Hip Implant Material Combination

    A new hip implant developed by Fraunhofer researchers combines a PEEK hip socket and a ceramic femoral head. (Photo courtesy of Fraunhofer IPA)The problems associated with metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants are familiar to millions, including medical device industry experts, patients, and personal-injury law firms. For example, MoM implants based on cobalt-chromium alloys are thought to release elevated ion levels into the body that spread through the blood and lymph systems, causing...
  • Tufts Researchers Create Strong Silk Bone-Repair Scaffolds

    Biomedical engineers at Tufts University (Medford, MA) have demonstrated the first all-polymeric bone scaffold repair material that is fully biodegradable and can provide significant mechanical support. Employing micron-sized silk fibers to reinforce a silk matrix, the new technology could possibly improve how bones and other tissues are repaired following accidents or diseases.As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition, the Tufts researchers were...
  • Wireless Medical Devices Are Poised to Cut the Cord

    The May issue of Medical Product Manufacturing News (MPMN) will be publishing an article on the growing ability of medical device designers and manufacturers to incorporate sensors with wireless connectivity into a range of medical devices, from ECGs to pulse oximeters. This capability represents an important step forward for the medical device manufacturing industry because it enables physicians and patients alike to dispense with cords and cables, which get in the way of medical care and...
  • Tracking and Transparency: The Keys to Improving Medical Device Quality

    Nora IluriQmed has partnered with Clarimed to provide DeviceMatters, providing access to and analysis of medical device approval specifics, postmarket safety performance, and typical failure modes. The intention of the partnership is to help medical device professionals to better understand the regulatory and medical device landscape. Qmed/MPMN editors recently spoke with Nora Iluri, founder and CEO of Clarimed and DeviceMatters, on the current spike in adverse events, industry reporting...
  • Ontario, Canada: Taking Medical Device Manufacturing to a Higher Level

    Tofy Mussivand and a colleague inspect a microfluidics device used for cell electroporation and lysis. (Photo courtesy of MDI2)Last week, I conducted an interview with Tofy Mussivand, director and CEO of the Medical Devices Innovation Institute (MDI2) at the University of Ottawa. The purpose of the conversation was to inform my Regional Focus article on Ontario scheduled for the May issue of Medical Product Manufacturing News (MPMN). However, readers may enjoy a sneak preview of Mussivand’s...
  • Serious Adverse Events Triple in Three Years: Is Risk or Reporting to Blame?

    By Nora Iluri, founder and CEO, Clarimed and DeviceMattersDoubling during the past three years, more than 400,000 medical device adverse event reports were submitted to FDA in 2011, according to healthcare rating agency DeviceMatters. Perhaps even more shocking, however, is the 45% annual growth rate and more than 50,000 reported serious patient outcomes—defined as hospitalization or worse—associated with medical device malfunctions or defects in 2011. But is this rapid rise in recent...
  • New MIT Coating Could Help Reduce Orthopedic Implant Failure

    Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles are incorporated into multilayer coatings for faster bone tissue growth. (Image courtesy of the Paula Hammond Lab at MIT)Everyone gets older, but different medical conditions affect people at different ages. For the huge cohort of baby boomers, orthopedic maladies associated with such parts of the body as hips and knees pose a particular challenge. But at the medical device design and manufacturing end of the spectrum, such orthopedic conditions represent a...
  • Weekly Vitals: St. Jude Down in Q1, FDA Rips European Approval System, and More

    St. Jude reported an unsurprising 9% drop in Q1 earnings this week attributed to weak heart-rhythm sales in the wake of image woes and skepticism following the Riata lead recall in December. Also this week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an interesting story highlighting FDA's view of Europe's medical device approval process while medical device hacking once again nabbed headlines. Read these and other top stories of the week in our weekly roundup below.St. Jude Profit Falls on Weak Heart-...
  • Treating Cancer Using Protein-Synthesizing Nanoparticles

    Nanoparticles can produce proteins when ultraviolet light is shone on them. In this case, a green fluorescent protein was used. (Image by Avi Schroeder)The development of new drug-delivery platforms, especially those for treating cancers, has long been a major goal of the medical device industry. Now,  researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) have developed a nanoparticle that can synthesize proteins on demand. After the particles reach their designated...
  • Legos Form Building Blocks of Automated Process for Making Synthetic Bone

    Engineering researchers at the University of Cambridge (UK) have turned playtime into productivity. In a burst of creativity, the team employed Lego robotics to build a simple, inexpensive robot that effectively automates processing of synthetic bone.Using hydroxyapatite-gelatin composites, the engineers are developing synthetic bone that boasts low energy costs in addition to closely resembling real human tissue. But achieving such a material can be labor intensive and rather tedious,...
  • Federal Scrutiny of Implant Hacking Continues: Is Increased Regulation on the Horizon?

    There was a time when the mere suggestion of hacking or some sort of intentional security breach of a software-controlled medical implant would be laughable. But no one's laughing now—not Medtronic or other medical device manufacturers, not government officials, and especially not patients. As the issue of medical device security continues to gain prominence, officials are now zeroing in on this emerging threat to patient safety and peace of mind. And with the Information Security and Privacy...
  • Magnetic Test Could Help Improve Reliability of Medical Electronic Devices

    The magnetically actuated peel test developed by Georgia Tech researchers tests the stresses to which microelectronic chips are subjected. (Image courtesy of Greg Ostrowicki and Suresh Sitaraman)Engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta) are exploiting the force generated by magnetic repulsion in an effort to develop a new technique for measuring the adhesion strength between thin films of materials used in microelectronic devices, photovoltaic cells, and...
  • Weekly Vitals: St. Jude Continues 'Scorched-Earth' Tactic on Lead Controversy

    St. Jude continued on what The New York Times described as 'a scorched-earth defense of its policies and products' this week in regards to an escalating controversy surrounding its recalled Riata defibrillator leads. But it may not quite be having the effect the company was hoping for. Results from a MPMN Medtech Pulse poll, for example, show that St. Jude is doing damage to its public image, although Medtronic and a prominent cardiologist/researcher aren't exactly coming out of the ordeal...
  • Modeling Future Robots on the Sea Lamprey

    Researchers in the UK and the United States are modeling a disease-detecting microrobot on the sea lamprey. (Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Fishery Commission)A tiny prototype robot—dubbed 'Cyberplasm'—is being developed by scientists in the UK and United States. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the device is being designed to mimic key functions of the sea lamprey, a creature found primarily in the...
  • Finalists Selected for 2012 Medical Design Excellence Awards

    Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI) announced the finalists in the 2012 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) competition in its April print issue. The award ceremony, which will take place on May 23, will also honor Thomas Fogarty with the 2012 MDEA Lifetime Achievement Award. Holding 150 patents on surgical instruments, Fogarty invented the Aneurx stent graft, now a Medtronic-branded product. He has also published roughly 180 scientific articles and textbook chapters on topics of...
  • St. Jude vs. Medtronic: Who's Winning the War Over Defibrillator Leads?

    The gloves are off and no one's pulling any punches in the bitter battle currently underway over defibrillator leads. A study conducted by prominent cardiologist Robert Hauser and his colleagues aimed at assessing deaths associated with St. Jude Medical's recalled Riata leads and comparing the numbers to Medtronic's Quattro Secure leads served as the catalyst for the verbal assault. But the two medical device giants quickly escalated the situation, lashing out at each other in a series of...
  • Nanobubbles Could Aid in Cancer Treatment

    Scientists from Rice University (Houston), the MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston), and Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) are developing new methods to inject drugs and genetic payloads directly into cancer cells. By delivering chemotherapy drugs using light-harvesting nanoparticles to convert laser energy into “plasmonic nanobubbles,” 30 times more cancer cells could be killed than by using traditional drug treatment. These nanobubbles could also enable clinicians to use less than one-tenth...