Our renowned consulting services often extend into the field of biotechnology and subsequently, we thought it would be a good idea to give our viewers an overview of recent advancements and strides in the industry- as it is of the utmost importance to us and our clients.

Digital Medicine

Proteus Biomedical recently engineered sensors that track medication use by recording when the user takes the drugs. This California-based institute created a system in which microchips emit high-frequency electrical currents that are logged by users on the skin. The data from the system gets transported to a computer which can provide analytics. “To really improve pharmaceuticals, we need to do what is now common in every other industry—embed digital technology into existing products and network them,” says David O’Reilly, their senior vice president of corporate development.

 

Smart Arms

Vanderbilt University scientist Michael Goldfarb reinvented smart arms by defying the notion that they had to be powered via battery which was often awkward and hefty. Instead, his creation is allowed to obtain power via rocket fuel. Goldfarb’s prosthetic arm can lift 20 pounds—three to four times more than current prosthetics, because of a pencil-size version of the mono-propellant rocket-motor system used to maneuver the space shuttle in orbit. 

 

Mobile Dialysis

More than 15 million adults in America have kidney disease which inhibits the kidney being able to perform processes like filtering fluid, creating hormones and more. Many Americans used dialysis to combat this. Xcorporeal recently created an artificial kidney which can clean blood constantly and on the go, combating the idea that one has to wait in time-consuming dialysis clinics to be able to participate in daily life (as many Americans currently do). The machine is very modern- automated, easily transportable and easy to carry. 

 

Nerve Regeneration

Once the spinal chord has been injured it is almost impossible for nerve fibers to grow around it because scar tissue gets in the way- that is, until recently. A device developed at Northwestern University eliminates that impediment. Injected as a liquid, this gel self-assembles into a scaffold of nanofibers. Peptides expressed in the fibers tell stem cells that would normally form scar tissue to produce cells to encourage the creation of new nerves. Then the scaffold allows new axons to be created. 

 

Technological Contact Lenses

Glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness, develops when pressure builds inside the eye and damages retinal cells. Contact lenses that contain conductive wires that monitor pressure within the eyes of at-risk people were recently innovated at UC Davis. The lenses then relay information to a device worn by the patient and transmit info to computer systems. Future lenses may also automatically dispense drugs in response to pressure changes which will help doctors better understand the causes of the disease.

 

Spit Test

Forget biopsies- a device designed by researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles detects oral cancer from a single drop of saliva. Proteins that are associated with cancer cells react with dyes on the sensor, emitting light that can be detected with a microscope. Engineers have noted that the same principle could be applied to make saliva-based diagnostic tests for many diseases.