Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Medication

Artist's rendering of synthetic platelets that mimic, and outperform, natural platelets (I...

The skin is the body's first line of defense against infection. And when this barrier is broken, or an internal organ is ruptured, it is the process of coagulation, or clotting, which relies largely on blood cells called platelets, that seals the breach and stems the flow of blood. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have now synthesized nanoparticles that mimic the form and function of platelets, but can do more than just accelerate the body's natural healing processes.  Read More

A batch of exVive3D three-dimensional liver models (Photo: Organovo)

When a medication enters the bloodstream, it ends up being concentrated in the liver – after all, one of the organ's main functions is to cleanse the blood. This means that if a drug is going to have an adverse effect on any part of the body, chances are it will be the liver. It would seem to follow, therefore, that if a pharmaceutical company wanted to test the safety of its products, it would be nice to have some miniature human livers on which to experiment – which is just what San Diego-based biotech firm Organovo is about to start selling.  Read More

Clinical trials are set to begin in 2015 on the potential of a common blood pressure drug ...

A study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has shown that verapamil, a drug widely used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and migraine headaches, is able to completely reverse diabetes in animal models. The UAB team will now move onto clinical trials to see if the same results are repeated in humans.  Read More

The Memo Box system provides reminders for users to take their medication

While forgetting to take the trash out might irritate your better half, forgetting to take your medication could have far more serious consequences. Memo Box is a device designed to replace the familiar plastic seven-day pill boxes that works in conjunction with a smartphone app to ensure you and your loved ones take prescribed medication at the right time, and in the right dose.  Read More

An existing overdose-treatment drug is now being tested in nasal spray form (Photo: Shutte...

Heroin overdoses are typically treated using injections of a medication that resuscitates the victim. That's fine if paramedics are doing it, but not everyone feels comfortable giving someone else a needle. That's why scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are developing a nasal spray that does the job.  Read More

Diagram of the capsule releasing its pharmaceutical payload into the intestinal lining (Im...

MIT, working together with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has pioneered a method of drug distribution with the potential to dispense with traditional subcutaneous injections. The system uses a small capsule coated with microneedles in order to administer medicines directly into the lining of the intestine.  Read More

Emulate's lung-on-chip, seen here, is lined with human lung and blood vessel cells

The search for more efficient tests of pharmaceuticals without animal models is taking a stride forward, with a new technology being developed in the US called Organs-on-Chips. The new miniature platform and software, which mimic the mechanical and molecular characteristics of human organs, were developed by bioengineers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.  Read More

The work-loop assay, with its heart tissue visible at center

When scientists want to find out how a new medication will affect the cardiovascular system, the traditional way of doing so is via animal or human trials. This takes time, can be potentially harmful to the test subjects, and doesn't always deliver conclusive results. Thanks to a device created at Coventry University in the UK, however, the testing process may soon be quicker, safer and more reliable.  Read More

Modified red blood cells could be put to work, delivering more than just oxygen

Although several studies are currently exploring the use of man-made nanoparticles for delivering medication to targeted areas of the body, care must be taken to ensure that those particles don't cause adverse reactions when introduced to the bloodstream. Scientists at the MIT-affiliated Whitehead Institute, however, are taking a different approach to the same basic concept. They've developed a method of attaching chemical payloads to red blood cells.  Read More

Purdue's prototype machine prints the exact doses of medication a patient requires (Photo:...

It can be tricky to take exactly one fourths of a pill or the specific dose of prescribed medication, which is why researchers at Purdue University have come up with a way to print the proper dosage that a patient requires. Their prototype uses inkjet printing technology and a predictive mathematical model that calculates exactly how much medicine the patients needs and prints out the precise doses into tablets or films.  Read More

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