MIT researchers have developed a way to replace complex, expensive medical imaging equipment with much less expensive consumer equipment and a little bit of fancy math. The technique uses technology like the Microsoft Kinect paired with sophisticated mathematical modeling to perform the same tasks as a US$100,000 lab microscope.
For the first time, scientists have successfully grown vocal cords in the lab, with tests showing the engineered tissue to be functional, with the ability to transmit sound. While the research is just the first step on a long path towards clinical use, the results are very promising, providing a solid basis for future study.
Cardiologists have used Google Glass to unblock a coronary artery in a 49-year-old male. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the artery were loaded onto a custom application and displayed through the augmented reality headset during the procedure, better allowing physicians to guide a catheter to the clogged up area.
Today, measuring a patient's heart and breathing rates typically requires applying some sort of sensors directly to the skin, but new technology invented at MIT uses an ingestible sensor to monitor heart beats and respiration from inside the gastrointestinal tract.
Enlisting the body's naturally produced T cells to fight off cancer is an immunotherapy technique that has shown early promise in clinical trials. But one limitation is that these cells generally lack the firepower to do the job on their own, meaning they need to be modified and reintroduced to the bloodstream to have a real impact. Researchers may now have discovered a more efficient way forward, with the development of a T cell-loaded biogel that can be injected directly into the tumor for a more targeted, less laborious approach to immunotherapy.
Nebulizers aren't anything new – I remember using a big, bulky electric one 25 years ago to help my tiny three-year-old body breathe during asthma attacks. But a new prototype nebulizer developed at RMIT in Melbourne is designed to fit comfortably in your hand and deliver much higher doses of medicine per minute than current nebulizers. The researchers behind the device say it could replace inhalers and injections for people with conditions such as asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes.
In an effort to find an accurate and easy method of detecting and locating cancers, negating the need for invasive cell tissue sampling, researchers from Umeå University in Sweden have developed a new blood test that looks at blood platelets in just a single drop of blood to identify cancer. Results of the method are very promising, with a 96 percent identification accuracy.
Removing tumors from the inner ear can be a tricky business, with surgeons often having to remove a large amount of bone to safely complete procedures. Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute have created a new tool, likened to a robotic worm, that is designed to revolutionize the process, while lowering the physical impact of the surgery on the patient.
In what is being touted as the most complex and complete face transplant ever performed, a crew of medicos at New York University's (NYU) Langone Medical Center has replaced the entire face of 41-year-old Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter who suffered catastrophic burns while on duty in 2001. The team replaced Patrick's scalp, ears and ear canals, parts of bone in the chin and cheeks, and his entire nose. He also received new eyelids and the muscles that control them.
According to the World Health Organization, somewhere between 130 and 150 million people around the globe suffer from chronic hepatitis C infection. As the virus is usually asymptomatic it can go undetected in its early stages, giving rise to complications such as liver damage and cirrhosis. Screening for the virus is possible, but is neither straightforward nor widely accessible, as it involves taking a blood sample and two separate lab tests. But researchers have now developed a one-step test that can detect hepatitis C using only a urine sample, promising to boost the availability of diagnosis and efforts to curb the virus around the world.