Synthetic cornea offers performance on par with cadaver cornea after two years: A small (n=10) Phase 1 study published in Science Translational Medicine last week showed that synthetic corneas performed as well as cadaver harvested corneas over a 24-month followup. The paper’s authors wrote, "The biosynthetic implants remained stably integrated and avascular for 24 months after surgery, without the need for long-term use of the steroid immunosuppression that is required for traditional allotransplantation. […] Vision at 24 months improved from preoperative values in six patients." While there are enough cadaver corneas to go around in the US — some are exported as well — they require immunosuppresion and the rest of the world, for various reasons, does not have as ready a supply. The study was an international effort, with the collagen produced by FibroGen Inc. in the US, shaped into corneas by University of Ottawa Eye Institute in Canada and implanted into patients in Sweden.
Pocket-sized CPR-assistance device with Analog Devices’ iMEMS: Analog Devices Inc. (NYSE:ADI), a developer and manufacturer of MEMS and digital signal processing technologies based in Norwood, Mass, announced that its high performance iMEMS accelerometer enables Chelmsford, Mass.-based Zoll Medical‘s (NSDQ:ZOLL) new palm-sized PocketCPR device to measure the rate and depth of chest compressions administered by rescuers. If you’ve been living in the woods and still don’t know, PocketCPR is a $149 CPR assistance device that has a chronometer and voice output to guide users in performing CPR correctly. As MedGadget has reported before, Zoll Medical also offers its technology via software for Apple’s (NSDQ:AAPL) iPhone, which provides essentially the same service, by using iPhone’s built-in accelerometer to perform the measurements.
Engineering polymer surfaces to promote stem cell growth: A Massachusetts Institute of Technology research team, with help from English and Korean scientists, has identified a synthetic material that is effective in promoting the growth of pluripotent stem cells on its surface. Using this new technology, scientists should hopefully be able to overcome the challenge of farming enough stem cells for effective research and future therapeutic needs.
DNA-based artificial nose senses organic vapors: Stanford scientists are using the backbones of DNA and specialty fluorescent molecules to detect organic compounds in vapor. The technique relies on replacing traditional DNA nucleobases with one of seven fluorescent molecules developed at Stanford University. These new nucleobases change color in the presence of certain organic compounds, providing an indication of what this new "nose" is sensing. A team lead by Florent Samain, a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry, used DNA synthesis techniques to generate a library of all 2,401 possible ways that the seven substitute molecules could be combined in a string of four units. The team then screened all the possible combinations for sensitivity to four different test substances — as vapors — that differed significantly in their structural and electronic properties. Samain published an article about the study in Angewandte Chemie.
A weekly roundup of new developments in medical technology, by MedGadget.com.