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January 31, 2018updated 06 Feb 2018 4:18pm

January’s top news stories

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in the US have developed the CancerSEEK blood test that can detect eight types of cancer cells, and Becton Dickinson (BD) has completed the acquisition of CR Bard for $24bn. Medicaldevice-network.com wraps-up the key headlines from January 2018.

Johns Hopkins Center develops test to diagnose eight cancer types

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in the US developed the CancerSEEK blood test that can detect cancer cells in the ovaries, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, rectum, anus, lungs, and breasts.

This non-invasive, multianalyte test is able to simultaneously assess blood’s circulating DNA for eight types of cancer proteins and cancerous gene mutations. Five of the diseases previously had no existing diagnostic test.

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center oncology and pathology professor Nickolas Papadopoulos said: “The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers.”


BD concludes $24bn deal with CR Bard

Becton Dickinson (BD) completed the acquisition of CR Bard for $24bn, under a definitive agreement signed between the companies in April last year.

Expected to result in an annualised revenue of around $16bn, the combined entity aims to improve disease treatment for patients and process of care for healthcare providers.

The deal is said to leverage BD’s expertise in medication management and infection prevention while boosting its growth opportunities with the addition of Bard’s product portfolio and pipeline.


Augmented Reality software lets doctors see under patients’ skin

Scientists from the University of Alberta unveiled ProjectDR, a technology that uses augmented reality (AR) to display medical images such as CT and MRI scans directly onto a patient’s body.

The system, developed by graduate students Ian Watts and Michael Feist, uses infra-red cameras, markers on the patient’s body, and a projector to move the images in tandem with the patient.

“Soon we’ll deploy ProjectDR in an operating room in a surgical simulation laboratory to test the pros and cons in real-life surgical applications,” said Pierre Boulanger, professor in the university’s Department of Computer Science and Cisco Chair in Healthcare Solutions, who supervised the graduates’ research.


Varian Medical to purchase Sirtex for $1.28bn

US-based Varian Medical Systems entered an agreement to purchase all outstanding shares of Australian life sciences firm Sirtex Medical for about A$1.58bn ($1.28bn).

The deal is in line with Varian’s strategy for long-term growth and is expected to strengthen the firm’s position in radiation medicine and interventional oncology segments.

Varian plans to combine its expertise in treatment planning and delivery, image guidance and processing, oncology practice management software, and radiation safety with Sirtex’s interventional oncology platform to deliver better care solutions for cancer patients.


Ultra-thin needle can deliver drugs directly to the brain

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a miniaturised system that can deliver tiny quantities of medicine to brain regions as small as 1mm³.

This type of targeted dosing could make it possible to treat diseases that affect very specific brain circuits, without interfering with the normal function of the rest of the brain.

Researchers can use the device, which consists of several tubes within a needle as thin as a human hair, to deliver one or more drugs deep within the brain, with very precise control over how much drug is given and where it goes.


J&J signs 15 deals for new healthcare solutions

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) signed 15 new partnerships to explore, develop and advance new medical devices, therapeutics and consumer health solutions.

Formed through Johnson & Johnson Innovation arm, the collaborations include the use of artificial intelligence by Canada-based WinterLight Labs for the early detection of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The arm and Janssen Pharmaceuticals (JPI) penned an exclusive research collaboration to use University of Pennsylvania’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors delivery for the treatment of the disease.


RMIT University trials ingestible sensors for gut health

Researchers at RMIT University and Monash University in Australia performed clinical trials to investigate the use of ingestible sensors in monitoring gut health.

The gas-sensing capsule is designed to detect and measure gut hydrogen, carbon dioxides and oxygen in real time, and send the obtained data to a mobile phone.

Performed in seven healthy individuals, the trials demonstrated the ability of the sensor to clinically monitor digestion and normal gut health, as well as effectively measure microbiome activities in the stomach.


Researchers create robot to treat rare birth defect in babies

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK and Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in the US, created an implantable robot for the treatment of a rare birth defect called oesophageal atresia in babies.

The genetic disease is characterised by a gap between the oesophageal parts, hindering the passage of food to the stomach.

Inspired by the existing Foker procedure to correct the disorder, the small robotic device is incorporated with a motor to stimulate cells using sensors by gently pulling on tissue.


University of Edinburgh combines two tests to identify stroke

New research by the University of Edinburgh in the UK revealed that combining a simple blood test with a standard brain scan could aid in the prediction of stroke.

As per the researchers, the combination provides the genetic information that could potentially identify patients who are at a high risk of a second stroke.

The technique is expected to help in the better management of strokes caused by intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH).


Birkbeck researchers develop smart technology to investigate Parkinson’s

A team of researchers from Birkbeck, University of London is developing apps and wearable technology to gather data from patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) to inform future treatments.

The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF), the world’s largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s research, awarded a £100,000 grant to the team led by Professor George Roussos to develop technology that records a patient’s motor symptoms of PD, including tremors, rigidity, and posture instability.

The grant will be used to develop a ‘software toolkit’ that will be used to analyse data, including that which is collected by Roussos’ app, cloudUPDRS.

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