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Latest From Bob Kronemyer
Start-Up Spotlight: Innovative Cardiovascular Solutions Hopes To Win Regulatory Nod For Embolic Protector For TAVR
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is performed routinely using devices providing protection from stroke as standard of care. However, cerebral embolic protection devices currently available do not capture and remove emboli from all three vessels leading to the brain. The Emblok Embolic Protection System from Innovative Cardiovascular Solutions (ICS) has developed an embolic filter designed to protect all three cerebral vessels during TAVR and remove debris from the entire circulatory system.
Liquid biopsy is a rapidly developing noninvasive technology for the early detection of cancer. Multiple companies have entered clinical testing, using mostly blood to detect circulating tumor cells and/or circulating tumor DNA. But urine and even cerebral spinal fluid are promising liquids too. Regardless of the fluid, testing costs a fraction of a traditional, invasive tissue biopsy and offers much quicker results.
A new hearing aid lets users enjoy the full range of normal hearing frequencies, activated by a contact lens on the eardrum. The hearing aid from Earlens Corp. also provides audio gain without feedback. In October, the company completed an $87m round of financing, which will help launch its next-generation hearing aid, which employs magnetic induction for further hearing refinement.
Although certainly not a given, many researchers and companies are pursing the eventual goal of bioprinting human organs, starting with the three-dimensional printing of a structure that has cellular function. If organ function via bioprinting becomes a reality for the skin, bone, lung, liver, eye and/or kidney, among other potential organs, the market opportunity could be in the billions. But challenges, including cost and ethics, stand in the way of this milestone in regenerative medicine.
In an effort to make cardiac imaging more accessible and to lead to more appropriate diagnosis of cardiac disease, Bay Labs Inc. is developing software algorithms designed to allow echocardiography to be performed by non-specialists in echo, including medical providers such as nurses and physician assistants. The backbone of the technology is artificial intelligence (AI), specifically deep-learning algorithms.
Robotic pill technology, which is already being used for diagnostic purposes, will likely be embraced for the oral delivery of biologic drugs as well. Biologic therapies currently require injections in most cases, but some are exploring specialized robotic pills as a pain-free approach that could increase convenience and compliance, and thus efficacy, of medicines. Several established companies and research centers are working on both diagnostic and biologic therapeutic applications of pill-based technologies.