Medical Tech 

Nanoparticle lung vaccine protects against HIV, herpes

Scientists have created a type of nanoparticle that they say can effectively deliver vaccines to the lungs, protecting against numerous infectious diseases. This is according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say the nanoparticle vaccine could help protect againstinfluenza and other respiratory diseases, as well as prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus. The scientists note that many viruses and bacteria infect humans through mucosal surfaces, such as those in the lungs. Therefore, they wanted to develop vaccines that are…

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Medical Tech 

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins

Ultrasound imaging is used around the world to help visualize developing babies and diagnose diseases. Sound waves bounce off the tissues, revealing their different densities and shapes. The next step in ultrasound technology is to image not just anatomy, but specific cells and molecules deeper in the body, such as those associated with tumors or bacteria in our gut.   A new study from Caltech outlines how protein engineering techniques might help achieve this milestone. The researchers engineered protein-shelled nanostructures called gas vesicles — which reflect sound waves — to…

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New diagnostic instrument sees deeper into the ear

A new device developed by researchers at MIT and a physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center could greatly improve doctors’ ability to accurately diagnose ear infections. That could drastically reduce the estimated 2 million cases per year in the United States where such infections are incorrectly diagnosed and unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed. Such overprescriptions are considered a major cause of antibiotic resistance.   The new device, whose design is still being refined by the team, is expected ultimately to look and function very much like existing otoscopes, the devices most…

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Medical Tech 

Remote Controlled Microbots for Medical Uses Inside Body

Researchers at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have developed a technique for building “mobile micromachines” inspired by origami that can be controlled and powered remotely using magnets. The goal is to eventually use the technology to create diagnostic and therapeutic devices that can travel through the body and perform specific actions, reaching areas and doing tasks that are difficult with existing techniques. The investigators’ approach allows for a wide variety of tiny robots that change shapes in different ways and respond…

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Medical Tech 

E. coli: The ideal transport vehicle for next-gen vaccines?

Most people recoil at the thought of ingesting E. coli. But what if the headline-grabbing bacteria could be used to fight disease? Researchers experimenting with harmless strains of E. coli — yes, the majority of E. coli are safe and important to healthy human digestion — are working toward that goal. They have developed an E. coli-based transport capsule designed to help next-generation vaccines do a more efficient and effective job than today’s immunizations. The research, described in a study published today (July 1) in the journalScience Advances, highlights the capsule’s…

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Medical Tech 

Robotic rectum helps doctors get a feel for prostate exams

Prostate exams aren’t exactly an enjoyable experience, but if you ever need one, you’ll want the doctor to know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, the procedure is difficult for med students to learn, thanks to the internal nature of the examination and a lack of willing test subjects. Scientists at Imperial College London wanted to solve that problem by developing a robotic rectum that recreates the feel of the real thing and even provides haptic feedback. The cheek-clench-inducing procedure involves a doctor snapping on a glove and probing a man’s back…

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Medical Tech 

Magnetic nanoparticles could stop blood clot-caused strokes

By loading magnetic nanoparticles with drugs and dressing them in biochemical camouflage, Houston Methodist researchers say they can destroy blood clots 100 to 1,000 times faster than a commonly used clot-busting technique. The finding, reported in Advanced Functional Materials (early online), is based on experiments in human blood and mouse clotting models. If the drug delivery system performs similarly well in planned human clinical trials, it could mean a major step forward in the prevention of strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, and other dire circumstances where clots — if not quickly busted…

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New diagnostic instrument sees deeper into the ear

A new device developed by researchers at MIT and a physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center could greatly improve doctors’ ability to accurately diagnose ear infections. That could drastically reduce the estimated 2 million cases per year in the United States where such infections are incorrectly diagnosed and unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed. Such overprescriptions are considered a major cause of antibiotic resistance.   The new device, whose design is still being refined by the team, is expected ultimately to look and function very much like existing otoscopes, the devices most…

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Medical Tech 

Proteins team up to turn on T cells

The fates of various cells in our bodies–whether they become skin or another type of tissue, for example–are controlled by genetic switches. In a new study, Caltech scientists investigate the switch for T cells, which are immune cells produced in the thymus that destroy virus-infected cells and cancers. The researchers wanted to know how cells make the choice to become T cells. “We already know which genetic switch directs cells to commit to becoming T cells, but we wanted to figure out what enables that switch to be turned on,”…

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Medical Tech 

Microneedle painlessly monitors drug levels without the need to draw blood

Microneedle technology has been around for years, and we’ve seen vaccines andmedication administered via the technique, which uses tiny needles to break only the upper layer of the patient’s skin. Now, the pain-free tech is being used for something a little different, with researchers creating a device capable of monitoring patient drug levels – something that usually requires the drawing of blood. The development of the new system was a joint effort between the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland. It consists of a small patch…

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