08 november 2017

CILcare, CBSET and Draper to test new device for hearing loss

Clinical research organisation CILcare and non-profit translational research institute CBSET have partnered with technology development firm Charles Stark Draper Laboratory to assess a new intracochlear drug delivery (ICDD) device for the treatment of congenital and degenerative hearing loss.

Developed by Draper, the ICDD device maintains an accurate and constant volume of the inner ear fluid, facilitated by its infuse-withdraw cycles.

The device is designed to ensure precise and direct administration of an intracochlear drug with effective distribution of each dose and without causing damage to sensitive hearing structures.

The organisations intend to evaluate the device using CILcare’s preclinical models for hearing loss with operational support from CBSET’s facility for preclinical research and development.

CILcare CEO Célia Belline said: “The alliance between CILcare, the world’s leading services company in ear disorders and Draper’s expertise in biomedical solutions, will allow us to develop a new generation of treatments to cure hearing loss.

“The intracochlear drug delivery device is revolutionising the treatment of inner ear diseases by circumventing the tissue permeation barriers that have long hampered the development of pharmacotherapies for hearing disorders.”

CILcare is currently working towards bolstering the partnership and testing the device with drug candidates by forming an industry consortium of biopharmaceutical firms that develop compounds related to the therapeutic area.

The primary focus of the consortium is to provide the partnered firms with proof-of-concept data on the ICDD’s efficacy for delivering their compounds in animal models, before proceeding to human clinical trials.

08 november 2017

UK researchers develop medical devices to fight antibiotic resistance

Researchers from the University of Birmingham in the UK have developed two new medical devices to fight against antibiotic resistance by preventing the inappropriate use of antibiotics.

The device by the university’s spinout Linear Diagnostics is designed to test for bacteria and antibiotic resistance with a single sample, while the GFC Diagnostics’ device, Safetube, uses a test to identify antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria.

Both the devices have been selected for the Longitude Prize competition and will be presented at the ‘Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives’ exhibition at the Science Museum in London.

Launched in 2014, the competition provides £10m funding for an affordable, accurate, fast and easy-to-use diagnostic test that would help save antibiotics for future generations.

The Linear Diagnostics’ device is developed to use polarised light for measuring the alignment of detector molecules, which are known to lose alignment upon attachment to a target such as bacteria or antibiotic resistance genes from the bacteria.

Intended to aid early diagnosis, the device will check the prescribed antibiotic to ensure that the medicine is not resistant to the bacteria.

The device is expected to be trialled next year as an anti-microbial resistant urinary tract infections (UTIs) detector at hospitals and general practitioner (GP) surgeries in the country.

GFC’s Safetube uses the firm’s DNA hybridisation technology, Microscreen, for quick detection of the bacterial genes associated with the resistance to antibiotics.

Scheduled to be evaluated on clinical samples next month, the device’s end result is a colour change, making it suitable for use in various situations.

07 november 2017

UK researchers develop genetic test to predict oesophageal cancer

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK have developed a new genetic test that may help diagnose oesophageal cancer up to eight years before symptoms appear.

Upon analysis of tissue samples from patients with Barrett’s oesophagus, the researchers retrospectively identified predictive genetic markers in 94% of people who later went on to develop early signs of the disease.

The makers were detected in samples obtained during endoscopies for Barrett’s oesophagus over 15 years, several years before symptoms appeared.

To develop the test, researchers compared markers of 45 patients who developed early signs of the cancer with 45 of those who did not.

Designed to closely monitor early signs of disease development in people with high-risk genetic patterns, the test is intended to enable effective treatment by diagnosing the cancer early.

The test could also potentially decrease the number of endoscopies that majority of people at low risk had to undergo for the detection of oesophageal cancer.

University of Cambridge MRC Cancer Unit researcher professor Rebecca Fitzgerald said: “Many people with oesophageal cancer are diagnosed when their disease has already spread and is harder to treat.

“Testing for these new markers during regular checks could help identify people who have a high chance of developing oesophageal cancer.”

The researchers intend to evaluate the test in clinical trials to determine its ability for early diagnosis of the cancer.

In addition to identification, the test is expected to help in better understanding of the disease, predict its development and aid in the development of new treatments.

07 november 2017

Australian researchers to develop wearable sensor technologies

A research team from Australian National University (ANU) is set to develop wearable sensor technologies such as bracelets.

Selected to receive up to $10m through the university’s $50m ANU Grand Challenge Scheme, the five-year research project aims to aid early detection of diseases and allow people to better manage their conditions.

The team includes more than 60 immunologists, engineers, physicists, chemists and health service experts from across ANU.

ANU Research School of Engineering Nanotechnology Research Laboratory associate professor Dr Antonio Tricoli said that the next-generation wearable sensors will use nanotechnology and electronics to collect essential health information even during normal daily activities.

The collected information is intended to help in understanding disease development before it happens, along with monitoring and management of existing conditions.

ANU Medical School Immunology department professor Matthew Cook said: “There’s been tremendous progress in medicine over the past 100 years, but we’re still left with this problem of chronic diseases that require long-term management.”

Cook further added that the combination of wearable sensor technology and genomics could benefit in gaining better insights into the mechanism of a disease, which could potentially lead to early diagnosis and effective treatment.

ANU Research School of Population Health researcher said: “The most important part of implementing this technology is that we work with patients, carers and their families, and with health services and policymakers, from the very beginning so that we can translate this knowledge into practice effectively.”

03 november 2017

​​​​​​​New early blood test could potentially predict miscarriage risk

A new blood test by Laboratory for Reproductive Medicine and Immunology in San Francisco, US, is reportedly designed to predict the risk of miscarriage or premature birth when performed during the early first trimester of pregnancy.

Researchers found that microRNA molecules present in the placental bed blood cells of the uterus during pregnancy could be linked to serious birth complications even before the appearance of symptoms.

The team analysed 160 births to evaluate the ability of the molecules to predict premature birth, pre-eclampsia and miscarriage, reported BBC.

While the results indicated approximately 90% accuracy for the prediction of miscarriage and late pre-eclampsia, it was 89% accurate for premature birth before 34 weeks.

The findings were presented at the American Association of Reproductive Medicine annual congress held in Texas, US.

It is expected that, in combination with additional established screening methods, the blood test screening for microRNA cells, could aid in the management of the pre-eclampsia and premature birth risk with medical intervention.

According to researchers, the test is in the preliminary stage and requires further research and study.

University of Manchester clinical embryology and stem cell biology professor Daniel Brison was quoted by BBC as saying: “Although the results might seem exciting and cutting edge, there is, unfortunately, a high risk of them being wrong.

“We’d need larger follow-up studies to be sure whether these results are valid.”

03 november 2017

US researchers find inexpensive method to upgrade 2D ultrasound

Researchers from Duke and Stanford Universities in the US have developed a new clip-on device that upgrades a standard two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound with three-dimensional (3D) imaging capabilities.

The device features a $10 microchip that is common to smartphones and 3D-printed materials and is designed to allow a 2D ultrasound machine to capture 3D images of infants’ brains while the baby is held in a parent’s arms.

The quality of the images obtained through the new technique is said to be similar to those of MRI or CT scans.

Duke University School of Medicine emergency physician Joshua Broder said: “With 2D technology, you see a visual slice of an organ, but without any context, you may mistake it for another part, or mistake one disease process or injury for another.

“These are all problems that can be solved with the added orientation and holistic context of 3D technology.

“Gaining that ability at an incredibly low cost by taking existing machines and upgrading them seemed like the best solution to us.”

Border and his team designed the new device to track the exact orientation of an ultrasound probe while imaging. They later put all the images together as a whole in three dimensions.

A prototype developed by the researchers has a 3D-printed harness that would snap on to the probe to securely attach the microchip, which tracks the position.

In a study conducted as part of the device’s ongoing clinical trials, physicians were reported to be able to image infants’ heads within seconds by using a normal ultrasound probe upgraded with the 3D conversion kit.

It is expected that the trials will support commercialisation of the clip-on device in two years, with plans to further refine the technology to perform additional 3D ultrasound activities such as the ability to capture a heart in motion.

02 november 2017

One Drop and Fitbit to offer care management tools for diabetes

Digital diabetes care platform One Drop has entered a multi-part collaboration to provide data-driven care management tools to the diabetes community through Fitbit’s wearable data.

The partnership will initially see the incorporation of increased access to Fitbit data into the One Drop | Mobile app to deliver better insights on the impact of physical activity on blood glucose management.

The data will be further integrated into One Drop reports to enable use by physicians, One Drop | Experts and One Drop | Professional users to make personalised and informed decisions on care.

One Drop users can sync Fitbit intraday data to their One Drop accounts for optimised integration of data from all Fitbit devices throughout the day, eliminating the need for manual tracking.

One Drop CEO and founder Jeff Dachis said: “We strive to provide our community with the most comprehensive set of data and tools to manage their diabetes or prediabetes.

“By integrating Fitbit data and creating an app for Fitbit Ionic, we will be able to provide our users and their healthcare providers with more data and deeper insights to better manage their diabetes.”

In addition to its data from 500 million user-generated health data points, One Drop also intends to analyse Fitbit data in order to obtain the information required to improve health outcomes.

The firm is planning to develop an app for Fitbit Ionic, a new smartwatch, which will use the Fitbit software development kit (SDK) to keep track of the user’s self-care data, as well as offer easy view data-driven insights and statistics from One Drop.

08 november 2017

Owens and Minor to buy Halyard Health’s surgical business for $710m

Owens and Minor has entered a definitive agreement to purchase Halyard Health’s surgical and infection prevention (S&IP) business for a cash consideration of around $710m.

The complementary business is expected to boost Owens and Minor’s global business and product portfolio, while it will expand the presence of its network to additional markets and channels.

The acquisition will also add new skill sets, resources and capabilities required to support growth initiatives of the firm.

Owens and Minor chairman, president and CEO Cody Phipps said: “Halyard’s S&IP business is a market leader in the prevention of healthcare-associated infections, and its portfolio of products and services is highly complementary to the innovative solutions we currently provide to our customers.

“In today’s rapidly changing healthcare industry, Owens and Minor is taking aggressive steps to strengthen and diversify our business model, and this transaction supports and enhances our ability to execute our strategy and provides significant opportunities for growth.”

S&IP provides medical supplies and solutions to prevent infections associated with healthcare throughout acute care and non-acute care segments.

The business includes a variety of surgical and infection prevention products such as sterilisation wraps, surgical drapes and gowns, facial protection, protective apparel and medical exam gloves across various brands, including Aeroblue, Aerochrome, Lavender, Sterling, One-Step, Quick Check, and Smart-Fold.

The business also comprises manufacturing network, new product pipeline and global sales force with direct channel access to markets.

Subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of next year.

Owens and Minor estimates that the transaction would fetch about $1bn in revenues upon completion.

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