Enabling Angioplasty-Ready “Smart” Stents to Detect In-Stent Restenosis and Occlusion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kenichi Takahata, Ph.D., P.Eng. Associate Professor Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Faculty of Applied Science University of British Columbia Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Dr. Takahata

Kenichi Takahata, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Associate Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Faculty of Applied Science
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this technology and study? 

Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of mortality globally. One of the most common and proven treatments for CVD is stenting. Millions of stents are implanted annually worldwide. However, the most common complication called in-stent restenosis, re-narrowing of stented arteries, still poses a significant risk to patients.

To address the current lack of diagnostic technology to detect restenosis at its early stage, we are developing “smart” stents equipped with microscale sensors and wireless interface to enable continuous monitoring of restenosis through the implanted stent. This electrically active stent functions as a radio-frequency wireless pressure transducer to track local hemodynamic changes upon a re-narrowing condition. We have reported a new smart stent that has been engineered to fulfill clinical needs for the implant, including its applicability to current stenting procedure and tools, while offering self-sensing and wireless communication functions upon implantation.

The stent here has been designed to function not only as a typical mechanical scaffold but also as an electrical inductor or antenna. To construct the device, the custom-designed implantable capacitive pressure sensor chip, which we developed using medical-grade stainless steel, are laser-microwelded on the inductive antenna stent, or “stentenna”, made of the same alloy. This forms a resonant circuit with the stentenna, whose resonant frequency represents the local blood pressure applied to the device and can be wirelessly interrogated using an external antenna placed on the skin.

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Watson for Clinical Trial Matching Increases Enrollment in Breast Cancer Trials

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexandra Urman, MPH Clinical Research Manager Clinical Development IBM Watson Health 

Alexandra Urman

Alexandra Urman, MPH
Clinical Research Manager
Clinical Development
IBM Watson Health 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: Cancer statistics show only 3-5% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials although up to 20% may be eligible.

Dr. Tufia Hadad, a medical Oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota sought to address this issue and spearheaded a project conducted at the Rochester facility in collaboration with IBM Watson Health. The objective was to determine if the use of cognitive computing increased clinical trial enrollment and screening efficiency in the breast cancer clinic.

Watson for Clinical Trial Matching (CTM) is a cognitive system which utilizes natural language processing to derive patient and tumor attributes from unstructured text in the electronic health record that can be further used to match a patient to complex eligibility criteria in trial protocols.

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Virtual Reality Improves Recall

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

University of Maryland researchers conducted one of the first in-depth analyses on whether people recall information better through virtual reality, as opposed to desktop computers. Credit: John T. Consoli / University of Maryland

A picture of Eric Krokos, UMIACS graduate student, using the EEG Headset while on the computer.

Eric Krokos
5th-year Ph.D. student in computer science
Augmentarium visualization lab

augmentarium.umiacs.umd.edu
University of Maryland 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: I am interested in exploring the use of virtual and augmented reality in high-impact areas like education, medicine, and high-proficiency training. For VR and AR to excel as a learning tool, we felt there needed to be a baseline study on whether people would perceive information better, and thus learn better, in an immersive, virtual environment as opposed to viewing information on a two-dimensional desktop monitor or handheld device.

Our comprehensive user-study showed initial results that people are able to recall information using virtual reality—there was an 8.8 percent improvement in recall ability from our study participants using VR. Continue reading

Blackcurrant Extract Developed As New Natural Hair Dye

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Richard S. Blackburn

Dr. Blackburn

Dr. Richard S. Blackburn
BSc (Leeds), PhD (Leeds), CCol FSDC
Associate Professor in Coloration Technology
Head of Sustainable Materials Research Group
University of Leeds

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: I’ve been working with my colleague Professor Chris Rayner at The University of Leeds for over 10 years in the field of anthocyanins, which are pigments that provide colour to most berries, flowers, and many other fruits and vegetables. We have developed techniques to isolate these compounds from food waste, characterise the chemistry of the extracts, and use these natural pigments in various applications. In this work, anthocyanins extracted from blackcurrant waste created during the manufacture of blackcurrant cordial (Ribena) have for the first time been used in an effective new hair dyeing technology.

Why hair dyeing? The global hair coloration industry is worth more than $10 billion a year, with the number of people colouring their hair in professional salons and at home on the increase, but some of the ingredients found in commonly-used synthetic hair dyes, are known irritants and can trigger severe allergic reactions. There is also much debate about whether these ingredients also cause cancer. Dyes that some may consider ‘natural’ – such as those including henna – usually escape scrutiny when it comes to health concerns, but the main natural colorant in henna is lawsone, which the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety states is toxic. What is more, it is thought up to 95% of all dyes end up washed down the drain; their effect on the environment is unknown.

Because of issues and concerns around conventional dyes, we wanted to develop sustainable, biodegradable alternatives using green chemistry processes that minimise potential risks to health and offer consumers a different option.

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Developing a Pill That Mimics Effects of Gastric Bypass Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeff Karp B.Eng. PhD. Professor of Medicine Center for Nanomedicine and Division of Engineering in Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston MA

Prof. Karp

Jeff Karp B.Eng. PhD.
Professor of Medicine
Center for Nanomedicine and Division of Engineering in Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston MA

MedicalResearch.com: How would you briefly explain the most important findings and conclusions of this study to a non-expert?

  • The type-2 diabetes (T2D) epidemic will affect over 642 million people worldwide by 2040. As a result, diabetes costs the US healthcare over $174 billion dollars annually and is the leading cause of blindness, amputations, renal failure, and poor cardiovascular outcomes. Recently, bariatric surgery, bypassing stomach and intestine from the food stream, has shown promising results and shown to be superior to pharmaceuticals in managing T2D. However, the risks of surgery along with permanent changes to gastrointestinal anatomy deters many suitable patients from surgery, with less than 1-2% of Americans who qualify for weight loss surgery actually undergoing the procedure. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a safe, non-invasive and effective treatment for wider diabetic patient population.
  • We envisioned a pill that a patient can take before a meal that transiently coats the gut to replicate the effects of surgery. During the past 8 years, we’ve been working on this idea and have developed a safe gut-coating material that can potentially mimic the beneficial effects of gastric bypass procedures in the form a pill.
  • LuCI can be activated in any part of gastrointestinal tract (e.g. stomach, duodenum, intestine, colon) to form a temporary physical barrier that isolates that part of gastrointestinal tract. In our pre-clinical models, LuCI coated the duodenum to modulate glucose responses in oral glucose tolerance tests.
  • These beneficial effect are observed without any evidence of systemic absorption of the drug.
  • We believe that LuCI could be a new therapeutic approach for T2D that is based on Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, but is safer, associated with significantly less complications, and thus can potentially help a wide T2D patient population.
  • In a separate set of studies, we also showed that luCi allows delivery of certain proteins and drugs, which would normally be degraded by the gastric acid, to the GI tract, protecting it from gastric acid digestion and prolonging their luminal exposure.

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Painless Laser Reduces Sweating in Axillary Hyperhidrosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bruce E. Katz, M.D.  Clinical Professor Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Director, Juva Skin & Laser Center Past Director, Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Clinic Mt Sinai Hospital New York, N.Y. 10022

Dr. Katz

Bruce E. Katz, M.D. 
Clinical Professor
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai
Director, Juva Skin & Laser Center
Past Director, Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Clinic
Mt Sinai Hospital
New York, N.Y. 10022 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Axillary hyperhidrosis  is estimated to affect 1.4% of the U.S. population.  Newer treatments such as microwave technology, botulinum toxin injections and lasers have emerged as effective methods.

In this pilot study we examine the use of a non-invasive 1060nm diode laser, SculpSure,  for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis. SculpSure focuses energy at the level of the sweat glands so we believed it would work for hyperhidrosis. After two SculpSure treatments, there was a long lasting resolution of hyperhidrosis.

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airRx App Improves Physicians’ Ability To Manage In-Flight Emergencies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Raymond E. Bertino, MD
airRx lead developer and
Clinical Professor of Radiology and Surgery at UICOMP

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the airRX app and study?

Response: With increasing air travel, in-flight medical emergencies have increased and physicians on commercial airline flights are routinely asked to volunteer assistance. A study presented this week at the annual meeting of The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) examined physician performance during practice simulations of in-flight medical emergencies with use of a smartphone app, airRx.

In the unique study, cases based on commonly occurring in-flight medical emergencies were portrayed in a mockup of the airline cabin setting. Actors portrayed patients, family members, seat neighbors and flight attendants. Resident physicians in non-emergency specialties were asked to assist as if they were volunteering in actual medical emergencies.

The study utilized airRx, the mobile app developed to help physicians and other medical personnel volunteering during in-flight medical events. The airRx app enables healthcare professionals to access 23 scenarios of the most common medical emergencies, with concise treatment algorithms and reference information to help evaluate and treat the patient.  Continue reading

Automated Bone Scan Index Correlates with Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew J. Armstrong, MD ScM FACP Associate Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology Associate Director for Clinical Research in Genitourinary Oncology Duke Cancer Institute Divisions of Medical Oncology and Urology Duke University

Dr. Armstrong

Andrew J. Armstrong, MD ScM FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Associate Director for Clinical Research in Genitourinary Oncology
Duke Cancer Institute
Divisions of Medical Oncology and Urology
Duke University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Men with prostate cancer commonly develop bone metastases and undergo nuclear medicine bone scans. However, these scans are non-quantitative, and disease burden has been challenging to assess over time and to relate to clinical outcomes.

We developed a software program and measurement called the automated bone scan index that essentially reads a standard of care nuclear bone scan, provides a quantitative metric, and demonstrate in a phase 3 trial that this aBSI is highly associated with clinical outcomes including survival, time to symptomatic progression, and prostate cancer specific survival.

We accomplished this within a prospective phase 3 international trial of men with metastatic hormone resistant prostate cancer who were followed over a long period of time.  All bone scans were read and measured using the aBSI at baseline, and we found that the aBSI was highly prognostic.  This work validates prior smaller phase 2 BSI studies, and demonstrates both the feasibility and clinical utility for incorporating the aBSI into clinical practice to provide this important prognostic information to patients and providers.

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Can a Pill Plus Infrared Light Replace Mammograms?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Greg Thurber, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan 

Dr. Thurber

Greg Thurber, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Most current disease screening strategies rely on either blood tests, where the physician can obtain information on specific disease molecules but has no idea where they originated in the body, or anatomical imaging, where the physician can see changes in the structure of tissues but doesn’t have any molecular information. We wanted to develop a method that could provide both molecular information and an image of where these molecules were located. We know from decades of research in cancer that this is a molecular disease, so providing molecular information to the physician will help improve detection and diagnosis. Breast cancer screening provides an excellent opportunity to apply this approach to improve detection. Currently, estimates indicate that we are overspending $4 billion per year on the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer because we cannot accurately determine which patients need treatment and which can be safely monitored with no intervention. Despite this problem with overdiagnosis, however, screening saves lives…we simply need a better way.

Molecular imaging has the capability of providing both molecular information and the location within the body. However, most of these techniques are expensive and use ionizing radiation, meaning there is a small risk of actually causing cancer. This is not acceptable for screening large numbers of otherwise healthy patients. To avoid this risk and provide a safe, inexpensive, and relatively easy method for patients to undergo screening, we decided to develop near-infrared fluorescent imaging agents that can be taken as a pill. The goal is for the patient to simply take a pill a day or two before their visit, and then the physician shines near-infrared light on the breast tissue to detect tumors where they ‘light up’ by giving off a different color of light.

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Solar Powered Oxygen Could Fill Critical Gap in Underserved Areas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Hawkes MD PhD Adjunct Professor Assistant Professor  Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine School of Public Health University of Alberta

Dr. Hawkes

Michael Hawkes MD PhD
Adjunct Professor
Assistant Professor
Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine
School of Public Health
University of Alberta

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • Pneumonia is the leading cause of mortality in children globally.
  • Oxygen is an essential therapy for children with hypoxemic pneumonia, but is not available in many resource-limited and rural areas.
  • Our innovation, solar powered oxygen delivery, harnesses freely available sun and air to delivery oxygen to patients independent of grid electricity.
  • We performed a randomized controlled trial of solar powered oxygen delivery, compared to standard oxygen delivery using compressed oxygen cylinders in children with hypoxemia hospitalized at two centres in Uganda.
  • Solar powered oxygen was non-inferior to cylinder oxygen with respect to clinical outcomes, and offers advantages in terms of reliability, simplicity, and cost.

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Artificial Pancreas Reduces Hypoglycemia in Type 1 Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Apostolos Tsapas

Dr. Tsapas

Apostolos Tsapas, MD PhD MSc(Oxon)
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director of the Second Medical Department | Aristotle University Thessalonik
Cruddas Link Fellow
Harris Manchester College
University of Oxford  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Artificial pancreas treatment, also referred to as closed loop glucose control, is an emerging treatment option combining a pump and continuous glucose monitoring with a control algorithm to deliver insulin (and potentially glucagon) in a glucose responsive manner. Compared with insulin pumps or sensor augmented pumps, artificial pancreas use can reduce the burden for patients by automatically adjusting the amount of insulin entering the body on the basis of sensor glucose levels. The US Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the first artificial pancreas system for use by people with type 1 diabetes over 14 years of age, based on a safety outpatient study.

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Smartphone App Bests Clinical Assessment of Blood Flow

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin Hibbert MD PhD FRCPCz Interventional Cardiologist Clinician Scientist and Assistant Professor CAPITAL Research Group Vascular Biology and Experimental Medicine Laboratory University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Dr. Benjamin Hibbert

Benjamin Hibbert MD PhD FRCPCz
Interventional Cardiologist
Clinician Scientist and Assistant Professor
CAPITAL Research Group
Vascular Biology and Experimental Medicine Laboratory
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: When we designed the study in 2014 we were routinely using the modified allen’s test (MAT) to screen patients for transradial access for coronary angiography and PCI. We all had iPhones and we started using the HeartRate monitoring application as a photoplethysmograph. Quite quickly we found that using the application was simple, worked well and because we always had our iPhone with us we tended to use it more often. That being said – we wanted to test it in a scientifically rigorous method and thus we elected to perform an RCT to evaluate it’s diagnostic accuracy.

smart app measures blood flowThe current study is the first to use the photoplethysmographic capabilities of smartphones to assess blood flow – in this case in the hand to assess for blockages in arteries before accessing them for a procedure. The hand is supplied by two arteries – the radial artery and the ulnar artery. In many cases in medicine we use the radial artery, whether it be placing a catheter to monitor blood pressure, as a method of getting to the heart for angioplasty and in coronary artery bypass grafting it is removed and used as a bypass to restore blood flow to the heart. In many instances doctors assess the patency of the ulnar artery to decided if they are going to use the radial artery for a procedure – the concept being that if the ulnar is compromised and we use the radial then the hand can develop complications from not enough blood flow. To determine if a patient is eligible doctors would use a bedside physical exam test called the modified Allen’s test in which they occlude both arteries to cause the hand to turn white. They then release pressure on the ulnar letting blood only pass through this vessel to see if the hand turns pink. However, there is a lot of variability in what doctors consider to be abnormal and determining if the test is positive can depend on numerous factors including skin tone, the amount of pressure applied and the size of the vessels. Continue reading

Neural Prosthetic Improved Short Term Memory Coding and Recall

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert E. Hampson, PhD Professor, Physiology & Pharmacology School of Medicine Wake Forest

Dr. Hampson

Robert E. Hampson, PhD
Professor, Physiology & Pharmacology
School of Medicine
Wake Forest

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are many diseases and injuries that affect human memory, and many types of memory deficits, from inability to recall stored memories to the inability to make new memories.  We focused on problems with making new memories, and identifying the brain activity associated with those memories.  We found that we could identify when the brain formed “codes” for new memory, and when those codes were incorrect or faulty.  By identifying what both “strong” and “weak” naturally occurring codes should be, we influence the process to strengthen the weak codes, resulting in better memory.

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Single-Dose LipiFlow® Treatment Relieves Dry Eye Symptoms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Caroline A. Blackie, OD PhD FAAO Medical Director, Dry Eye Johnson & Johnson Vision

Dr. Caroline Blackie

Dr. Caroline A. Blackie, OD PhD FAAO
Medical Director, Dry Eye
Johnson & Johnson Vision

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for these studies? Would you briefly explain the problem of dry eye, how common it is and why it is difficult to treat? 

Response: Dry eye disease is a condition where the eyelids and/or the tear film are unable to protect the ocular surface from the negative effects of desiccating stress. If left untreated, a vicious cycle ensues resulting in a broad spectrum of sequelae, including ocular discomfort and compromised vision. The result is partial or pervasive reduced quality of life for the individual along with a significant economic burden on our society. Conversely, when the ocular surface is healthy, patients feel better, see better and live better.

Meibomian gland health is essential for ocular surface health. Meibomian glands secrete the oils necessary to protect the ocular surface from the negative effects of desiccating stress. Predictably, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a leading cause of dry eye disease. MGD is almost always the result of thickened and stagnated gland secretions. These stagnated secretions obstruct and/or limit the flow of functional oil into the tear film. MGD is the most common form of dry eye disease and is also known as evaporative dry eye. While management of dry eye in general can be complex, the management of MGD affords a relatively straightforward approach, which is to improve meibomian gland function by treating obstruction.

Dry eye disease is pretty common – more than 340 million people suffer from it globally. Short-term management of dry eye involves improving signs and symptoms of the condition, including the use of tear supplementation and reducing ocular surface inflammation.

Long-term dry eye management requires that the cause (or causes) of the condition is also diagnosed and treated. That cause is often MGD, and MGD can be successfully managed with LipiFlow®.  Continue reading

Machine Learning Enhances Ability To Predict Survival From Brain Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lee Cooper, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Emory University School of Medicine - Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Cooper

Lee Cooper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Emory University School of Medicine – Georgia Institute of Technology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Gliomas are a form of brain tumor that are often ultimately fatal, but patients diagnosed with glioma may survive as few as 6 months to 10 or more years. Prognosis is an important determinant in selecting treatment, that can range from simply monitoring the disease to surgical removal followed by radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Recent genomic studies have significantly improved our ability to predict how rapidly a patient’s disease will progress, however a significant part of this determination still relies on the visual microscopic evaluation of the tissues by a neuropathologist. The neuropathologist assigns a grade that is used to further refine the prognosis determined by genomic testing.

We developed a predictive algorithm to perform accurate and repeatable microscopic evaluation of glioma brain tumors. This algorithm learns the relationships between visual patterns presented in the brain tumor tissue removed from a patient brain and the duration of that patient’s survival beyond diagnosis. The algorithm was demonstrated to accurately predict survival, and when combining images of histology with genomics into a single predictive framework, the algorithm was slightly more accurate than models based on the predictions of human pathologists. We were also able to identify that the algorithm learns to recognize some of the same tissue features used by pathologists in evaluating brain tumors, and to appreciate their prognostic relevance. Continue reading