tech

3D-Bioprinting Technology Produces Blood Vessels in Monkeys

3d-bioprinting is not a new concept, as we have seen in previous articles on Almost Docs. This fascinating technology has opened up countless possibilities, especially pertaining to the future of medicine. So far, bioprinting has successfully produced medical models, prosthetic parts, heart valves, and even organs. Now, this technology is able to produce something even more intricate: blood vessels.     In 2015, Chinese biotechnology company Revotek released a 3d-bioprinter that fabricates blood vessels using a bio-ink made from stem cells. Just before the close of 2016, Kang Yujian, chief scientist and CEO of Revotek, announced the first successful transplant of bioprinted blood vessels into the abdominal aortas of 30 rhesus monkeys.   As shown in the video below, this technology allows researchers to produce new layers of cells to fuse with the old ones. In just a month, the newly created cells had completely blended in.   Video: Source   All monkeys have survived thus far and the 3d-printed biomaterial has achieved regeneration of the endothelial and muscle cells that compose authentic blood vessels. The success of this experiment could one day have far reaching implications for the nearly two billion patients with cardiovascular disease.   Featured Image:...

Disease Diagnosis Via Breathalyzers?

By Janet Taylor A new instrument has recently been developed to diagnose disease in a non-invasive, cost effective manner. Based on the idea of the breathalyzers used to identify and quantify alcohol consumption, this device would allow for specific programmable disease detection in still healthy individuals. Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are expressed by the body when pathologic processes occur.   By linking the exhalation of these chemicals to specific diseases, physicians will be able to diagnose disease in the early stages based on both presence and quantities exhaled and possibly identify individuals who are at high risk for development of specific diseases.   Figure 1. Schematic representation of the concept and design of the study. It involved collection of breath samples from 1404 subjects in 14 departments in nine clinical centers in five different countries (Israel, France, USA, Latvia, and China). The population included 591 healthy controls and 813 patients diagnosed with one of 17 different diseases: lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, gastric cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, idiopathic Parkinson’s, atypical Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and chronic kidney disease. One breath sample obtained from each subject was analyzed with the artificially intelligent nanoarray for disease diagnosis and classification, and a second was analyzed with GC-MS for exploring its chemical composition....

Hackable Medical Devices

By Colin Son   As we become more and more reliant on active, implanted biotechnology the opportunities for malicious manipulation of such rise. The hacking of medical devices isn’t a new threat. I’ve commented on it, as have publications more prominent than this blog. The issue has taken on enough of intellectual seriousness that it has prompted the creation of a multi-institutional center, the Medical Device Security Center. In 2008 that group published a method of wirelessly accessing information from some models of pacemakers and then injecting active attacks to change the performance of the pacemakers. After publication they presented the same at Defcon.   At the Black Hat Conference last year an independent researcher presented a theoretical method of wirelessly changing the serum glucose readings of an implanted diabetic pump.   An attacker could intercept wireless signals and then broadcast a stronger signal to change the blood-sugar level readout on an insulin pump so that the person wearing the pump would adjust their insulin dosage. If done repeatedly, it could kill a person. Radcliffe suggested scenarios where an attacker could be within a couple hundred feet of a victim, like being on the same airplane or on the same hospital floor, and then launch a wireless attack against the medical device. He added that with a powerful enough antenna, the malicious party could launch an attack from up to a half mile away....

Millennials, Back At It Again: Changing The Healthcare Industry

The term “millennials” is in no shortage these days, referring to the generation reaching young adulthood around the millennium. With just a simple Google search, you can find thousands of articles about millennials, usually involving social media, job hopping, or the “me” generation.   There is no doubt that times are changing and, apparently, millennials have a large part in that shift. Well, I should say technology is the real catalyst for the change and with a rising technology-obsessed generation, several industries are seeing some major impacts. Just a few examples include the food, retail, entertainment, and banking industries. Less human interaction, more transparent sourcing, and a desire for more rapid transactions are just some of the characteristics involved in the shift throughout these industries.   So, why is this relevant for med students? You guessed it. Millennials are changing the healthcare industry too.   Even though many medical students today may even be part of the millennial generation, it is important to know how your industry could be changing around you. Here are some ways that millennials may impact the healthcare industry.   Image: Source   1. Skepticism of Pharmaceutical Industry As pharmaceutical companies become more and more transparent, Americans are becoming more skeptical over the drugs they are promoting. According to a recent SERMO poll, “millennials [are] more likely to challenge doctor recommendations [and] more comfortable discussing healthcare costs.” This generation is less likely...

The Cast that will Make You Want to Break a Bone

Breaking a bone sucks. Not only can you never use that line, “Nope, never broken anything, not me, no sir” anymore but also…it hurts.   Picture the scene: you are dribbling down the basketball court. Defender on your left, defender on your right. “Nope, can’t catch me. Not with my lightening speed and agility,” you think. Then bam, you trip. Over your own two feet. No one is going to believe that there was an unpredictable branch sticking out of the shiny, waxed basketball court, by the way. Fall to the floor, wrist first. Ouch.   If you’re like me the story goes more like this: I’m getting in the shower, all pumped to use my brand new shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. It’s the little things in life that get me by. Ok, in the shower now…shampoo in hand. Shampoo in hair. Whew, things are getting serious – I’m rocking this shower. Then bam, I slip and fall…out of the shower. Fall to the floor, wrist first. Ouch.   So now not only are you stuck with this excruciatingly painful injury (and excruciatingly embarrassing story, at that) but you are also going to rock a circa-7th-grade green (neon pink if you’re a cool kid like me) cast for the next 6 weeks. No worries though, you have the choice of either plaster or fiberglass! Mmmm…I just love how...

Medical TEDx Talks Worth Watching #4

Can 3D printing really be the rebirth of current medical practice? Although it sounds like a futuristic pipedream, 3D printing is actually more within reach than you’d think. Technology has come a very long way, even in just the last few decades.     4. 3D printing & medical applications – Carsten Engel The field of biomedical engineering has offered some of the most ground-breaking advancements to medicine. 3D printing is one such development that marks a turning point for customizable, patient-centered care. The printer can use various materials, such as metal, ceramic, even biodegradable materials, to recreate highly complex objects.   So far, 3D printing has been used for several applications in the medical field from printing bones to hearing aids. One of the most noteworthy features of this technology is its ability to customize the output, which lends itself to creating patient-specific solutions. This is just one of the huge advantages of using 3D printing within the medical field, as Carsten Engel discusses in his Talk.   Some other advantages include reducing surgery time, rehearsing surgery before going into the operating room, and providing a solution when there is no other solution. Engel also touches on some of the fascinating progress made in the area and what it could do for the medical field as we move into the future.   Video: Source   Engel brings up a...

Forget About Seat Belts, Self-Driving Cars Will Save Millions

Brad Templeton, Board Member, Foresight Nanotech Institute, explains the next great medical revolution, the self-driving car. Car accidents are the 7th leading cause of death in the US, but the advent of self-driving technology would significantly reduce the number of hospitalizations due to automobile accidents. Read more about Brad Templeton. Filmed at FutureMed, in February 2013, at Singularity...