November’s top stories: University of Oxford research, Edwards Lifesciences $340m acquisition

University of Oxford research links brain activity with force of physical action, and Edwards Lifesciences will buy Valtech Cardio for $340m. Medicaldevice-network.com wraps-up the key headlines from November, 2016.


University of Oxford researchers find brain activity linked to force of physical actions

Researchers from the University of Oxford demonstrated a link between activities in nerve clusters and the force generated in a physical action which will pave the way for development of better devices for paralysed patients.

Coordinated patterns of electrical activity in the basal ganglia, the clusters of nerve cells in the brain, predicted the amount of force generated in the voluntary physical actions which the nerve cells control such as making a fist or raising a leg.

While examining patients, receiving deep brain stimulation which is a surgical procedure to treat some neurological symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the researchers identified a link between the electrical fields generated in the nerve clusters of the basal ganglia and the gripping force the patient produced.

Edwards Lifesciences to acquire Valtech Cardio for $340m

Edwards Lifesciences agreed to acquire Valtech Cardio, an Israeli developer of the Cardioband System for transcatheter repair of the mitral and tricuspid valves, for $340m.

Additionally, Edwards' board of directors has approved a new share repurchase programme to buy $1bn of the company's outstanding common shares.

The Cardioband System characterises Valtech's product porfolio, which is a reconstruction implant, similar to a surgical annuloplasty mitral valve repair device, with a transcatheter approach.

MHRA to conduct market surveillance of medical devices in Europe

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will conduct surveillance on the safety and functionality of medical devices used in households across Europe.

The effort is a part of a project termed as Joint Action on Market Surveillance of Medical Devices, launched officially by MHRA on 19 October this year.

MHRA director of medical devices John Wilkinson said: “We are pleased to be leading this important activity and look forward to working with our colleagues across the EU in delivering improvements to reinforce market surveillance.”

UK approves new non-invasive screening test for pregnant women

A new non-invasive prenatal test for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes has been approved in the UK.

The test has been approved in response to clinical recommendations done by experts at the UK National Screening Committee.

The additional test will serve as a safer alternative to the invasive diagnostic test advised to women which identifies chromosomal syndromes such as Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes developed by the foetus.

Reliq Health Technologies begins enrollment for pilot study with NHS England

Canada-based Reliq Health Technologies started patient enrolment at Imperial College Hospital London for a pilot study of its remote patient monitoring and care collaboration solution with the National Health Service (NHS) England.

Reliq's digital health solution is designed to offer a fully automated virtual hospital ward in the patient's home, offering real-time tracking of patients' vital signs, medication adherence, and movements within the home.

The Health platform issues audible alerts and reminders directed to the patients to collect their vitals, take their medications and perform prescribed rehab or fitness activities, thereby promoting proactive self-care.

New research project to use ultrasound scanner for cardiac function assessment of monochorionic twins

The University of Bristol’s Clinical Research and Imaging Centre (CRICBristol) and St Michael’s Hospital revealed a two-year research project to identify the cardiac function of monochorionic twins with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) using ultrasound scanner.

Monochorionic twins are twins who share the same placenta and are currently enlisted as a much higher higher risk group of twins to be afflicted with TTTS than those with separate placentas.

TTTS is a morbid condition caused by the presence of unidirectional, intertwin, vascular anastomoses on the placenta causing a haemodynamic imbalance between the twins.

VIB and Ghent researchers design familial mediterranean fever diagnosis tool

FMF is a genetic disease commonly occurring among Mediterranean populations triggering symptoms like inflammation, fever, severe pain and if left untreated can lead to kidney failure.

The immunological assay allows selective identification of FMF patients among patients suffering from other autoinflammatory diseases and healthy individuals, based on the differential inflammasome activation response of their blood monocytes.

It detects changes in the body’s immune reaction to pyrin, an inflammasome adaptor mutated in FMF.

Drexel University researchers receives NIH grant to test wound-healing portable device

Drexel University researchers received a grant from The National Institutes of Health (NIH) to test a battery-powered wearable device to heal wounds.

The research team will use the $3m grant to conduct clinical trial of the device by monitoring blood flow in the wound tissue and also to determine that how nutrition and inflammation affect healing of the wound.

The portable and light-weight device emits low-frequency ultrasonic sound waves measuring 20kHz to the chronic wound which heals by reduce swelling.

Australians to access new ‘liquid biopsy’ blood test to diagnose melanoma

Australians are soon set to access a new blood test called ‘liquid biopsy’ to diagnose melanoma.

The new blood test will be administered by the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) and speed up the diagnosis of melanoma.

The ‘liquid biopsy’ technology has the potential to provide the information related to melanoma that often requires a complex and invasive surgical biopsy.

Royal Philips unveils new imaging and informatics technology at RSNA 2016

Royal Philips unveiled its new imaging and informatics technology with adaptive intelligence, Illumeo at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2016.

Illumeo has been designed to enable faster diagnoses, facilitate well-informed care decisions and improved patient care.

The intelligent software features combination of contextual awareness capabilities with advanced data analytics to improve work of the radiologist.