For the design of Sympfiny, a multi-particulate medicine delivery system for children the company HS Design was subsidized with 50000 $.

 

Every parent knows that administering medicine to children can be very difficult. The main problem is the awful taste of most medicine. In order to solve the taste problem HS Design offers a high-tech solution with its Sympfiny Design.

 

The Sympfiny multi-particulate drug system, delivers medicine not in liquid form but as solid coated microspheres, dissolving in the stomach. In this manner children do not having to deal with the bad taste. The solid drug form offers other problems however. The drug particles can stick together when damp or static, or when being dry some part of the particles can escape through small openings in a pack or satchel. This can lead to inaccurate dose delivery.

 

Using the same technique for multi-particulate dry powder as for liquid oral medicine, Sympfiny is the new drug-delivery solution. According to Michael Quinn, director of engineering at HS Design, the design of the Sympfiny device is based on the ‘syringe and bottle’ format. The protective bottle stores the multi-particles and the syringe is for dosing.

 

Solid multi-particulate drugs are also more easy to deliver to children in rural or remote settings in developing countries. The multi-particulate formulation makes medication more easy to store and no water is required for administering the drugs.

 

After Pfizer and the Institute for Pediatric Innovation worked together in creating the new solid drug formulation technology, it required a different drug delivery system to ensure accurate dosing. The Sympfiny dispensing device was designed ensuring usability, accuracy, and protection of the drug.

 

At BIOMEDevice Boston, the largest medtech event in New England, the delivery device was selected as one of two winners by Innovation Prize Tour participants. During an open challenge from the Institute of Pediatric Innovation and Pfizer the HS dispensing device design won a $ 50,000 grant.

 

Autonomic Technologies (ATI), a Californian based company has developed a device for electronic administration of aspirin. With this device patients can administer and control the remote to deliver low-level electrical stimulation for pain relief themselves.

By stimulation of the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) nerve cluster the device lingers pain from headache disorders including tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. The implant is placed in the upper gum area. With a quite simple procedure the device is inserted causing minimal invasiveness and side effects for the patient.

The permanent implant connects with the SPG bundle of nerves. At the first sign of a headache, the patient can hold the hand-held remote control device on the cheek near the implanted device.

When pressing the remote, the nerve cells are slightly stimulated by an electrical charge blocking the pain signals to the brain.  The patient completely controls the device. It can be turned on and off as needed.

Worldwide headache disorders are ranking in third position in causing losing years because of disability. Headache disorders pose an important societal, personal and financial burden. Symptoms such as throbbing pain, dizziness and nausea cause problems in work, family and social life and diminish the quality of life.

The commonly used treatments, such as local anesthetics (xylocaine, lidocaine), analgesics (ibuprofen, aspirin), oxygen therapy, octreotide, phenergan for nausea, sumatriptan and dihydroergotamine intent to lower the severity and number of attacks.

No health restrictions have to be considered with the electronic aspirin and it can be implanted into anyone. The device can be used safely by people with heart disease, high blood pressure or allergies.

According to a clinical study by ATI about electronical aspirin, 68% of patients treated with the device encountered serious improvement. Of these patients 65% experienced no headache disorder anymore within three months.

Electronic aspirin is a renewed technology and still under clinical development, awaiting approval by the FDA. It could possibly become a permanent solution for headache disorders in future.

 

It is a present-day way of pain relief in society where electronics seem to control a big part of life.

According to a new study, most patients took fewer pain medication after the implantation of a spinal cord Stimulation device. In this study funded by St. Jude Medical their Prodigy Spinal Cord Stimulation System showed that it is effective in treating chronic pain. After receiving the spinal cord stimulation device, the opioid use remained stable or was less than before.

 

The results lead the researchers to suggest spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to be preferred by physicians over more painkiller prescription for patients whose pain over time got worse. Obstructing pain messages traveling from the nerves to the brain, the small battery-powered transmitters provide signals through electrical wire implanted beside the spinal cord.

The opioid use from 5476 patients with SCS were compared to before and after implantation of the device. One year after implant, the study showed that of the patients continuing SCS therapy, 93% had lower everyday morphine-equivalent doses compared to patients who had their SCS device removed.

 

Principal researcher and neurosurgeon Ashwini Sharan, stated that patients had an enormous increase in their narcotic use one year before the implant. With the persons continuing with the SCS the dose decreased again afterwards tot the level of before the medication rise.

 

Unbelievable as it is, the relationship between pain relief narcotics and the implants has never been studied before. The researchers were unaware of which manufacturers’ SCS devices had been implanted in the patients. No funding is provided for further study

 

According to Sharan, Spinal Cord Stimulation is the last hope because after almost doubling the narcotic dosage within one year, the detachment off this dose takes much lost time.

The cost of a one year morphine prescription is normally $5,000 to which the costs of the side effects have to be added. A spinal cord stimulator averagely cost up to 4 times as much in 2015, depending on the model.

 

Hospitals tend to choose using the newer models and Sharan says to implant around 300 devices per year, including SCS. According to him he tries to emphasize the distinction between features and function of a device when addressing physicians.

 

 

In order to help surgeons perform image-guided open and minimal-invasive spinal surgery, Royal Philips works on an surgical navigation technology based on augmented-reality.

According to a company statement, the technology is significant for cranial and trauma surgeries, pediatric spine surgery, and thoracic spine fusion surgery in adults. Because the thoracic spine is located in the mid- to upper part of the back, the vertebrae are smaller than that of the lower lumbar spine. This makes thoracic fusion surgery more difficult and risky for the surrounding nerves and tissue.

In a preclinical study, more accuracy in placing screws in spines of cadavers, was obtained by neurosurgeons using augmented reality. The accuracy rate of pedicle screw placement in thoracic cadavers’ spines versus freehand placement was increased from 64% to 85% according to the study result.

Less complications are implied by better accuracy according to the business leader of image-guided therapy systems at the company located in Amsterdam.

Since the release of Google Glass in 2013, surgical applications for augmented and virtual reality have gained attention. A London surgeon and the co-inventor of a VR company used the low-cost VR system Google Cardboard to livestream a procedure removing a colon tumor from a patient in April 2016.

In order to add its latest technology, for clinical trials scheduled at about 10 global testing sites, together with its existing low-dose X-ray systems, Philips will need regulatory approval. After full approval by FDA and EU, Philips can expand its use to countless hospitals around the world.

To image the surface of the patient a high-resolution optical camera is placed on a flat X-ray device. The technology constructs a 3D augmented reality vision of the internal and external anatomy, by combining the internal 3D X-ray view and the external camera view. This actual 3D image of the spine of the patient improves procedure planning, surgical tool navigation, accuracy of the implant, and reduces procedure time.

Especially in cranial surgery the technology could be useful, because of brain shape change after releasing the pressure in opening of the cranium. This makes actual images more important than pre-surgical MRI or CT scan images.

 

Because of the extensive experience in the field of designing image guiding systems Philips needs to tailor them to specific procedures. Starting with spinal surgery, fine tuning the system for trauma surgery will follow, and in the future there is the possibility of the system assisting in brain surgery.

 

 

 

  

Friday the 19. May the first patient was treated using the high-field MR-guided linear accelerator (MR-Linac) at the University Medical Center (UMC) in Utrecht/Netherlands. This latest radiotherapy device provide accurate and actual visual images enabling precise irradiation with minimal damage to surrounding tissue even in case of a moving tumor while treating.

 

This MR-Linac system, installed by Elektra and Royal Philips, is emerging as a promising appliance in the field of oncology, for locating and quantifying the tumor tissue, for planning the appropriate therapy, for treatment guidance and therapy evaluation.

 

According to The Netherlands Cancer Institute, precise and correct dose of radiation is potentially reducing side effects of radiation sessions and improves the quality of life, and ultimately regulating the radiation dose increases tumor control ability. 

 

By combining a MRI device and a radiation device, cancer patients would need less radiation because of the greater effectiveness of the radiation. A further great advantage is that less healthy surrounding tissue is affected by the radiation.

 

The new device, developed by some Utrecht professors, is currently being tested on people for the first time, after its development period of 18 years.  Groundbreaking the experts call this new device and it is expected to be used in hospitals and cancer centers and clinics on a word-wide scale in future.  Showing crystal clear images during the treatment, the device can accurately irradiate the tumor, even when moving while the patient is breathing for instance. In this way the treatment can be adjusted to the patient while being in the device. The irradiation times can be lowered so the patient does not have to spend so much time at the hospital.

 The experimental irradiation method is currently applied to five patients with bone tumors. When this radiation turns out to be successful, patients with tumors in the abdomen or pelvis are next to receive the treatment.

  

FDA approval was just granted for a new device combining a digital stethoscope and electrocardiogram for home use. This gadget that patients can use at home to automatically alert them and the physicians of aggravated cardiac functions. By developing machine-learning algorithms, in future also a suspected decline in the heart activity is detected.

The handheld device, called the Eko Duo, contains a smartphone app for wireless transmission of heart noise and electrical activity to a specialist as a warning for heart problems.

The stethoscope intensifies heart sounds up to 60 times, contains four digital audio filters and has an enclosed noise reduction. The electrocardiogram (ECG) is to be connected by two electrodes, patients can select between using the 50 Hz or 60 Hz primary filter.

Berkeley’s Eko Duo is a monitoring and warning device for possible heart failure and atrial fibrillation. It detects possible problems, but this doesn’t mean, it could not give a false alarm. According to the company, doctors can use the Eko Duo at the bed or in medical telecommunication consultations with other clinicians.

In developing machine-learning algorithms Eko expects to combine this with Duo to automatically alert care teams and patients of presumed decrease in heart function.

As studies have shown that approximately one quarter of the patients with heart failure are readmitted to hospital within 1 month and half are readmitted within 6 months it’s obvious that cardiac failure cause extremely high costs for the countries.

Cardiologists consider the device as a great way to gather electrocardiographic findings and heart sounds in a user-friendly manner. It may supply cardiologists with data and information from patients concerning the heart sounds that they couldn’t detect by ears in the past.

 It is planned to start studies focussed on valvular heart disease, to see if it’s possible to develop an algorithm to reliable recognize of patients with serious valvular disease versus those without. Specialists see a great potential for future development.