Medtech News: Freezing Off Tumors and More
June 28, 2021
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by Snigdh Baunthiyal

Israeli company develops technology to kill cancerous tumors
An Israeli medtech device company IceCure has developed a new technology called ProSense which has proven to be extremely effective in treating women with breast cancer. Breast cancer kills around 700,000 people every year and has overtaken lung cancer to become the most common cancer, according to WHO.

 ProSense destroys tumors using cryotherapy technology. The device uses a probe that is inserted into the tumor and freezes it by lowering its temperature, leaving the healthy tissue around it while alternating between freezing and thawing the specific area of the tumor. Duration of treatment ranged from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the location and size of the tumor. Treatment does not require a surgical incision or involve scarring. The company has posted its results of the trial which began in 2014 and enrolled and treated 194 patients 55 years of age or older. 2.06% (4 patients) experienced a cancer recurrence. US Food and Drug Administration has called the medtech support a ‘breakthrough device’.

New Device Taps Brain Signals And Helps Stroke Patients Regain Hand Function

The Food And Drug Administration has authorized a device called IpsiHand, which helps patients recovering from a stroke restore their disabled hand. IpsiHand uses signals from the uninjured side of a patient’s brain to help rewire circuits controlling the hand, wrist and arm. The device can be used at home.

Its system consists of a headset that analyses brain signals, a tablet computer, and a robotic exoskeleton worn over the wrist and hand. The most interesting find of this device is that it is helping people who are no longer getting better with traditional rehabilitation.
A stroke occurs when normal blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Brain cells obtain oxygen and nutrients from regular blood circulation, so when there is a blockage of blood flow to the brain caused by a clot (an ischemic stroke) or excessive bleeding in the brain due to a ruptured blood vessel (a hemorrhagic stroke), the brain cells can die from a lack of blood and oxygen

The inspiration for this medtech device came from patients who complained they could imagine moving their hands but their hands wouldn’t respond. Usually, the brain and body follow what’s known as a contralateral model, where the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. So the team behind the new device discovered that control signals were also present on the ipsilateral side – the same side of the brain as the limb being controlled. The FDA granted the device ‘Breakthrough Device’ designation to expedite the review process.

Univ. of Washington and Sana researchers use gene editing to prep stem cells for heart repair

Researchers working on repairing damaged heart cells have had a breakthrough. The University of Washington and Sana Biotechnology, a Seattle-based company got together to overcome the challenge.

Engineered stem cells were derived from human embryonic stem cells, and coaxed in a petri dish to produce heart muscle cells. These heart cells were implanted into pigs via open heart surgery or a catheter. The result was an even heartbeat, with no engraftment arrhythmia, which has been the major barrier in altered cells.

In another case, scientists at the Allen Institute for Cell Science published a new study in  Cell Systems, which takes a close look at cardiac muscle cells derived from stem cells.

“This paints a broader picture of our cells. If someone wants to really understand and characterize a cell’s state, we found that having both of these types of information can be complementary,” said Kaytlyn Gerbin, a scientist at the Allen Institute for Cell Science in a statement. The findings provide a fine-tooth analysis of cell state, which may guide future experiments on cardiac muscle and other cell types.

Radiation drug may improve survival rates for prostate cancer, study shows

Doctors are reporting improved survival in men with advanced prostate cancer from an experimental drug that delivers radiation directly to tumor cells. The study tested an emerging class of medicine called radiopharmaceuticals, drugs that deliver radiation directly to cancer cells. The drug in this case is a molecule that contains two parts: a tracker and a cancer-killing payload. Trillions of these molecules hunt down cancer cells, latching onto protein receptors on the cell membrane. The payload emits radiation, which hits the tumor cells within its range. Radioactivity can reduce blood cell production, which can lead to anemia and clotting problems for patients. In the study, 53% of the patients had serious side effects compared to 38% of patients in the comparison group. Both groups were allowed to get other treatments. Medtech advnacement in cancer detection is helping save many lives.

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