J&J opens new medical device centre in Texas, US

Johnson and Johnson (J&J) opened the new Centre for Device Innovation at Texas Medical Centre (CDI @ TMC) in the US to develop breakthrough medical devices.

The move came as part of the collaboration between J&J Medical Devices Companies, J&J Innovation and TMC.

To be directed by J&J Medical Devices Companies vice-president and cardiac surgeon William Cohn, the 25,500ft2 medical complex will feature a variety of amenities such as three-dimensional (3D) printers and scanners, laser cutters, and a virtual reality room.

Owens and Minor to buy Halyard Health’s surgical business for $710m

Owens and Minor entered a definitive agreement to purchase Halyard Health’s surgical and infection prevention (S&IP) business for a cash consideration of around $710m.

The complementary business is expected to boost Owens and Minor’s global business and product portfolio, while it will expand the presence of its network to additional markets and channels.

The acquisition will also add new skill sets, resources and capabilities required to support the firm’s growth initiatives.

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Australian researchers to use 3D implants for bone tumour surgery

A new research project in Australia will see the use of three-dimensional (3D) implants and robotic surgery for the treatment of tumours and bone cancer to potentially improve healthcare and patient outcomes.

The five-year ‘Just-in-time implants’ project involves collaboration between the Australian Government, RMIT University in Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and medical technology firm Stryker.

While Stryker is partially funding the more than $12.1m research project, the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) is providing $2.36m.

BD to divest two products lines to Merit Medical for $100m

Becton Dickinson (BD) entered an agreement to divest two of its product lines and related assets to disposable medical devices maker Merit Medical Systems for $100m.

The move is in line with the regulatory review process of BD’s proposed purchase of CR Bard that is scheduled to close by the end of this year and subject to regulatory approvals.

As per the asset purchase agreement, Merit will acquire BD’s soft tissue core needle biopsy products marketed as Achieve Programmable Automatic Biopsy System, Temno Biopsy System, and Tru-Cut Biopsy Needles, along with Bard’s Aspira Pleural Effusion Drainage Kits and Peritoneal Drainage System.

Cambridge Consultants develops new wireless power transfer system

Product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has developed the new MagLense system to enable wireless power transfer to medical devices inside the body.

The flexible, efficient and safe procedure does not require precise alignment with the implant and can be used for patients of any shape and size without losing power.

MagLense is claimed to be self-calibrating to provide the optimum power for various locations, orientations, sizes and shapes of the implants.

US researchers create artificial patch to repair dead heart muscle

Biomedical engineers at US’ Duke University developed a fully functioning artificial human heart muscle to repair dead muscle in patients.

Claimed to be strong and electrically active, the artificial muscle could be patched over the damage usually observed in people who had a heart attack.

Duke University biomedical engineering doctoral student Ilia Shadrin said: “Right now, virtually all existing therapies are aimed at reducing the symptoms from the damage that’s already been done to the heart, but no approaches have been able to replace the muscle that’s lost, because, once it’s dead, it does not grow back on its own.

QMUL finds new screening method for chromosome disorders

Scientists at the UK’s Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) demonstrated a new-method, antenatal reflex DNA screening, for three serious chromosome disorders.

The accurate, safe and less stressful method incorporates DNA analysis into the standard antenatal screening to detect Down’s, Edwards and Patau syndromes.

Reflex DNA screening is reported to have detected more affected pregnancies with less false-positive, compared to the test it replaced.

MicroPort to acquire LivaNova’s CRM business for $190m

US-based MicroPort Scientific signed a binding letter of intent (LoI) to acquire British medical technology company LivaNova’s Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) business franchise for $190m.

The transaction is intended to complement and improve the overall operational efficiency of research and development (R&D) for the MicroPort Sorin CRM (MSC) business in China and also aid in the development of new CRM products to treat arrhythmias in the country.

LivaNova CRM business franchise develops, manufactures and markets products such as defibrillators, cardiac resynchronisation therapy devices and pacemakers for the diagnosis, treatment and management of heart rhythm disorders and heart failures.

Penn State researchers link saliva tests to concussions

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine in the US demonstrated a method to relate the small molecules present in saliva for the diagnosis and prediction of duration of concussions in children.

The research team found that the measurement of certain microRNA levels in the saliva of patients could aid in the determination of the length of concussion symptoms with 85% accuracy.

Penn State College of Medicine paediatrics assistant professor Dr Steven Hicks said: “There’s been a big push recently to find more objective markers that a concussion has occurred, instead of relying simply on patient surveys.”

New consortium to use AI for breast cancer diagnosis

Imperial College London (ICL) is set to lead a new consortium of breast cancer experts, clinicians, academics and AI experts to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for improved detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.

To be based at Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre, the consortium aims to establish the potential of machine learning tools in enhancing the accuracy of breast screening interpretation in order to improve the detection of breast cancers on mammograms.

It is expected that the research will also provide better risk estimate of cancer, allowing women to take necessary preventive measures.