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The Lead

Freshly squeezed vaccines

May 22, 2015 7:23 am | by Kevin Leonardi, Koch Institute | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have shown that they can use a microfluidic cell-squeezing device to introduce specific antigens inside the immune system’s B cells, providing a new approach to developing and implementing antigen-presenting cell vaccines.

Device captures rare circulating tumor cell clusters

May 21, 2015 7:41 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

The latest version of a microfluidic device for capturing rare circulating tumor cells is the...

Performance-enhancing wearable hydration sensor provides immediate feedback

May 20, 2015 11:26 am | by University of Strathclyde | News | Comments

A wearable device will provide real-time data analysis of fluid loss during exercise to enhance...

Using a new laser process to custom shape optical fibers

May 19, 2015 11:24 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Modern medicine relies on optical fibers to cauterize unhealthy veins in a minimally invasive...

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The device holds a key advantage over traditional surgical tools by way of its ability to quickly transform from a bending, flexible instrument into a stiff and rigid one. Courtesy of Tommaso Ranzani

Octopus arm inspires future surgical tool

May 19, 2015 11:08 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A robotic arm that can bend, stretch and squeeze through cluttered environments has been created by a group of researchers from Italy. Inspired by the eight arms of an octopus, the device has been specifically designed for surgical operations to enable surgeons to easily access remote, confined regions of the body and, once there, manipulate soft organs without damaging them.

Designing better medical implants

May 19, 2015 7:51 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Biomedical devices that can be implanted in the body for drug delivery, tissue engineering or sensing can help improve treatment for many diseases. However, such devices are often susceptible to attack by the immune system, which can render them useless. A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has come up with a way to reduce that immune-system rejection.

Sounding out scaffolds for eardrum replacement

May 7, 2015 10:18 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has created tiny, complex scaffolds that mimic the intricate network of collagen fibers that form the human eardrum. It is hoped the scaffolds can be used to replace eardrums when they become severely damaged, reducing the need for patients to have their own tissue used in reconstruction surgery.

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Thermometer-like device could help diagnose heart attacks

May 6, 2015 10:33 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Diagnosing a heart attack can require multiple tests using expensive equipment. But not everyone has access to such techniques, especially in remote or low-income areas. Now scientists have developed a simple, thermometer-like device that could help doctors diagnose heart attacks with minimal materials and cost. The report on their approach appears in Analytical Chemistry.

Practical gel that simply “clicks” for biomedical applications

May 1, 2015 10:17 am | by Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

If you opt to wear soft contact lenses, chances are you are using hydrogels on a daily basis. Made up of polymer chains that are able to absorb water, hydrogels used in contacts are flexible and allow oxygen to pass through the lenses, keeping eyes healthy. Hydrogels can be up to 99% water and as a result are similar in composition to human tissues.

Cellular sensing platform supports next-gen bioscience, biotech applications

May 1, 2015 8:25 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a novel cellular sensing platform that promises to expand the use of semiconductor technology in the development of next-generation bioscience and biotech applications. The research proposes and demonstrates the world’s first multi-modality cellular sensor arranged in a standard low-cost CMOS process.

Students use smarts for damaged hearts

April 30, 2015 8:23 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

A smartphone app created by students at Rice Univ. may someday serve as the ultimate remote to help control the flow of blood through human hearts. The Flowtastic team of Rice senior engineering students created a combined software-hardware interface that works with an Android app to monitor and even control a high-tech pump that resides in the aorta and regulates the flow of blood.

Happily ever after

April 21, 2015 8:20 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

Fastening protein-based medical treatments to nanoparticles isn't easy. With arduous chemistry, scientists can do it. But like a doomed marriage, the fragile binding that holds them together often separates. This problem, which has limited how doctors can use proteins to treat serious disease, may soon change.

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Deadline Extended for 2015 R&D 100 Award Entries

April 20, 2015 1:53 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | News | Comments

The editors of R&D Magazine have announced a deadline extension for the 2015 R&D 100 Awards entry process until May 18, 2015. The R&D 100 Awards have a 50 plus year history of awarding the 100 most technologically significant products of the year.

New tactic targets brain tumors

April 20, 2015 11:41 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Drugs that target insulin pathways to slow or stop the growth of brain tumors are going in the right direction, but appear to be on the wrong track, according to new research. Through detailed computer models and experiments on two distinct glioblastoma cell types, the researchers have found reason to believe therapies that attack the insulin signaling pathway thought to influence tumor development have had mixed results in trials.

Making injections less painful

April 15, 2015 10:45 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

If the Rice Univ. freshman engineering design team Comfortably Numb has it their way, children will be less fearful and feel less pain when they go to the doctor’s office for a shot. The trio of freshmen has created a device to ease the pain of an injection. Their device numbs the skin prior to a shot by producing a rapid chemical reaction to cool the patient’s skin.

Office inkjet printer could produce simple tool to identify infectious diseases

April 7, 2015 12:03 pm | by Michelle Donovan, McMaster Univ. | News | Comments

Consumers are one step closer to benefiting from packaging that could give simple text warnings when food is contaminated with deadly pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, and patients could soon receive real-time diagnoses of infections such as C. difficile right in their doctors' offices, saving critical time and trips to the lab.

Sound separates cancer cells from blood samples

April 7, 2015 8:26 am | by A’ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Separating circulating cancer cells from blood cells for diagnostic, prognostic and treatment purposes may become much easier using an acoustic separation method and an inexpensive, disposable chip, according to a team of engineers from Penn State Univ.

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How do you feel? Video of your face may tell all

April 7, 2015 7:42 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers are developing a highly accurate, touch-free system that uses a video camera to monitor patients’ vital signs just by looking at their faces. The technique isn’t new, but engineering researchers in Rice’s Scalable Health Initiative are making it work under conditions that have so far stumped earlier systems.

Calico licenses technology from acclaimed UCSF laboratory

April 2, 2015 3:27 pm | by USCF | News | Comments

Calico, a company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase understanding of the biology that controls human lifespan, and UC San Francisco have partnered on an innovative project to develop potential therapies for cognitive decline.

Prototype nanoneedles generate new blood vessels in mice

March 30, 2015 11:20 am | by Imperial College London | News | Comments

Scientists have developed tiny nanoneedles that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice. The researchers, from Imperial College London and Houston Methodist Research Institute, hope their nanoneedle technique could ultimately help damaged organs and nerves to repair themselves and help transplanted organs to thrive.

Catching and releasing tiny molecules

March 23, 2015 1:47 pm | by Paul Karoff, Harvard Univ. | News | Comments

Employing an ingenious microfluidic design that combines chemical and mechanical properties, a team of Harvard Univ. scientists has demonstrated a new way of detecting and extracting biomolecules from fluid mixtures. The approach requires fewer steps, uses less energy, and achieves better performance than several techniques currently in use and could lead to better technologies for medical diagnostics and chemical purification.

Spot treatment

March 19, 2015 1:41 pm | by Sonia Fernandez, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | News | Comments

Acne, a scourge of adolescence, may be about to meet its ultra-high-tech match. By using a combination of ultrasound, gold-covered particles and lasers, researchers from Univ. of California, Santa Barbara and Sebacia have developed a targeted therapy that could potentially lessen the frequency and intensity of breakouts, relieving acne sufferers the discomfort and stress of dealing with severe and recurring pimples.

Minimal device maximizes macula imaging

March 18, 2015 7:49 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

A smart and simple method developed at Rice Univ. to image a patient’s eye could help monitor eye health and spot signs of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, especially in developing nations. The patient-operated, portable device invented at Rice is called mobileVision. It can be paired with a smartphone to give clinicians finely detailed images of the macula, without artificially dilating the pupil.

“Smart bandage” detects bed sores before they are visible

March 17, 2015 2:23 pm | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Videos | Comments

Engineers at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, are developing a new type of bandage that does far more than stanch the bleeding from a paper cut or scraped knee. Thanks to advances in flexible electronics, the researchers have created a new “smart bandage” that uses electrical currents to detect early tissue damage from pressure ulcers, or bedsores, before they can be seen by human eyes, and while recovery is still possible.

Additive manufacturing could greatly improve diabetes management

March 17, 2015 8:55 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Engineers at Oregon State Univ. have used additive manufacturing to create an improved type of glucose sensor for patients with Type 1diabetes, part of a system that should work better, cost less and be more comfortable for the patient. A key advance is use of electrohydrodynamic jet, or “e-jet” printing, to make the sensor.

Study calls heart imaging into question for mild chest pain

March 14, 2015 2:05 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

A big federal study finds that people who see a doctor for chest pain have no less risk of suffering a heart attack, dying or being hospitalized later if they are checked with a fancy newer type of CT scan rather than a simple treadmill test or other older exam. CT scans, a type of x-ray that gives a very detailed look at heart arteries, have been used for about a decade without evidence they are better or worse than older tests.

Necklace can help track food intake

March 13, 2015 11:05 am | by Bill Kisliuk, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Videos | Comments

A sophisticated necklace developed by researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles, can monitor food and drink intake, which could help wearers track and improve their dietary habits. The inventors of the WearSens device say it could help battle obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other problems related to nutrition.

Magnetic brain stimulation

March 13, 2015 7:54 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles: a technique allowing direct stimulation of neurons, which could be an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases, without the need for implants or external connections.

FDA wants more info on scopes linked to "superbug" outbreaks

March 12, 2015 8:05 pm | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Federal health officials are stepping up their oversight of medical scopes linked to potentially fatal "superbug" outbreaks. The Food and Drug Administration released stricter guidelines for manufacturers of reusable medical instruments, including specialized endoscopes used in about a half-million U.S. medical procedures each year.

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