Tattoos to 3D printing!

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/sep/04/tattoos-to-3d-printing-five-inventions-that-will-revolutionise-healthcare

contact lens

Tattoos to 3D printing: five inventions that will revolutionise healthcare

Most people know they are sick or their health is at risk because of symptoms – pain, temperature, swelling, rash etc. These are the alarm bells that drive people to doctors. However, new epidemics like obesity and type 2 diabetes can start causing damage a long time before symptoms appear, and no alarms go off.

Today we can meet these challenges with new allies. Beyond the health and fitness uses, the new world of wearables (external surface sensors) and, in time, digestibles (nanoparticle sensors that can transmit information from within), offer the opportunity to restore control back to us. Advances in biotechnology as well as material science offer us alternatives never before dreamed possible.

Google’s smart contact lens
This contact lens has an embedded sensor that measures the glucose level in your tears every second and transmits that data to a device (ie a smartphone) where it can be displayed or transmitted to a medical professional. It can also change colour if glucose levels fall below or rise above specific levels. The limiting step at the moment is powering the device. Currently it includes a small antenna which is placed between two layers of glass along with the sensor but this has to be close to a power source.

Medical tattoos
Butterfly biostamps the size of a thumbnail measure sun exposure, and a medical stamp can measure motion, temperature, heart rate and perspiration, or oxygen saturation.

There’s a new version that can be placed directly on brain tissue to monitor epileptic seizures and one that can be draped around the heart helping better detect arrhythmias and give finer control to pacemakers. The latter would use the heart’s motion to convert the energy of muscular contraction into electrical energy.

The 2025 vision is that every baby in the developing world will be tagged with several biostamps at birth. One on the wrist or ankle would replace the hospital bracelet and allow nurses to monitor the baby’s heart rate, temperature respiratory rate and oxygenation.

At UC San Diego, they have created a different type of tattoo which currently lasts on the skin for about 24 hours, applying a very mild electrical current to the skin surface for 10 minutes forcing sodium ions to migrate towards the printed electrodes. A built-in sensor then interprets the strength of the charge generated to determine a person’s overall glucose levels. Two further refinements are needed to make this ready; at present it is not connected to a numeric read out, and they are working to extend the life beyond 24 hours.

Biological 3D printing
A team at Princeton printed a bionic ear and a team at Cambridge has printed retinal cells to form complex eye tissue. But Jennifer Lewis, a biological engineering professor at Harvard, has solved the dilemma of how to print tissues with full blood supply (essential if you are going to create functional replacement organs) and has taken her team closer to being able to print a full kidney (currently the most widely transported organ). Making complete organs requires even more complex structures but with new innovations we can look to a future where damaged or worn out organs, from kidneys to hearts, could be printed to precise design specifications.

Optogenetics
Various forms of direct stimulation to the brain (implanted electrodes, vagal nerve stimulation etc) have been used in a variety of situations including depression. Now there is the possibility to use encoded genetic proteins that change in the presence of light to stimulate areas of the brain non-invasively for a particular purpose. While initial approaches used methods to genetically alter cells that could result in cell destruction limiting their practical value, the University of Chicago has recently developed an alternative which uses tiny gold nanoparticles that allow the modification of cells using low-level infrared lights and which remain intact and effective within cells over the long term without hurting or damaging nearby cells. While still in its infancy, in the next 10 years we will see new approaches and even more refined procedures of central nervous stimulation used to do everything from enhance learning to treat depression.

Real-time physiological monitoring
A low-cost device with multiple sensors that could monitor heart rate, temperature, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, respiratory rate, fluid state, and glucose could provide a comprehensive output on the body’s dynamic health. While still in phased development, the first versions of such devices exist in the US and Switzerland. Couple their sensor capabilities with analytic data fusion software and you have real-time dynamic physiological data. No longer do I need to do an artificial stress test to see how your heart behaves under strain or what is most likely to push you into diabetic crisis. Now I can see that your heart’s function was pushed to extremes at 2pm on Thursday and 5pm on Friday. With a report of your body’s reaction to exercise, increased stress at work, overeating, episodic illness, lack of sleep, you can not only assess your vulnerability but understand what patterns in your life will most likely tip you over the edge. When I get up in the morning currently I know more about the state of my car than I do about my own health. With these technologies finally that is about to change.

theguardian.com

by David Whitehouse, Chief medical officer, UST Global | Friday 4 September 2015

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Healthcare and 3D printing

Tailor-Made Antibiotics and Cancer-Killing Medicine Courtesy of 3D Printing 🙂

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1b4d6212-9fd4-11e4-9a74-00144feab7de.html

Implants can be designed to fit exactly

Customisable beads that deliver antibiotics and cancer-fighting drugs when implanted in the body have been developed by researchers at Louisiana Tech University. The implants, which use biomedical and nanosystems engineering, are one of a growing range of medical applications for 3D printing.

Three-dimensional printing — in which objects are built up layer by layer using materials such as polymers and metals — is bringing sweeping changes to the medical world.

Implants and prosthetics can be tailor-made for individual patients, while additive manufacturing, as 3D printing is also known, has broad applications in reconstructive surgery.

3D scanning means surgical procedures can be tested out on a computer. By printing models of damaged bones or body parts, implants can be designed to fit exactly, while 3D cutting and positioning guides give surgeons greater accuracy in the operating room.

Meanwhile, customisation is moving into the realm of personalised medicines. For example, doctors could formulate drugs to treat the conditions of individual patients and “print” them in the clinic.

This idea is being pursued at Nottingham University in the UK, where a team of researchers is working on creating 3D-printed pills containing several ingredients. Various layers of drugs are printed and coated in materials that allow each to be released at a different time.

This could make life easier for older people and patients with several conditions who need take large numbers of pills throughout the day.

Researchers even foresee a time when organs and tissues could be created using bio-printing. Already, 3D-printed cells can be used in pre-clinical tests to produce early insights into the effectiveness of a drug or medical intervention.

However, given the complexity of the body’s network of major blood vessels and capillaries — which support life by delivering nutrients and oxygen and removing waste — the bigger challenge is printing implantable organs and tissues.

An important step was taken last year, when researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the universities of Sydney, Harvard and Stanford succeeded in bio-printing an artificial vascular network.

Of course, printing implantable human organs remains some way off. But while much excitement surrounds this possibility, 3D printing has another big advantage for the future of medicine: lower costs.

The custom medical beads developed by Louisiana Tech University, for example, do not require expensive, specialised equipment. They can be made using any consumer printer.

FT.COM
by Sarah Murray | February 16, 2015 4:11 pm

3D printing in healthcare

The sophistication of 3D printing in the medical industry continues to amaze people worldwide 🙂

http://medcitynews.com/2014/09/wow-week-3d-printing-heart/

The patient, Brandon White, examines a 3D printed version of his heart.

We’ve all heard that 3D printing is getting increasingly sophisticated, from printing components for buildings and cars and whatnot. And 3D printing in healthcare is no different.

The latest example comes from a company that created a 3D-printed heart model to support a 16-year-old patient with a tumor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Belgium-based Materialise, which specializes in 3D printing for medical applications, was approached by Dr. Michael Taylor, the director of advanced imaging at The Heart Institute regarding the patient’s condition.

Bradley White, the patient, was born with a heart tumor and has had numerous open-heart surgeries since he was three-years old, and has a defibrillator implanted to protect against sudden cardiac death. But he recently was back in the hospital for yet another procedure to stop the electrical interference caused by the large cardiac tumor.

Dr. Tayler asked Materialise to create a 3-D replica of Bradley’s heart using Mimics Innovation Suite software, modeled on CT scan data. The 3-D printed replica allowed physicians to better understand the complex relationship of the tumor, printed in a hard, opaque material, and surrounding anatomical structures printed in a flexible, transparent material. That let the team of doctors proceed with an electrophysiology study and catheter ablation over a risky surgical resection of the tumor.

The replica also revealed just how big the tumor on Brand’s heart is, which surprised Bradley himself.

“I always thought my tumor was the size of a quarter and didn’t realize how large it was until I saw the [Materialise] model,” he said in an announcement from the company. “It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen by far.”

Materialise is hoping to expand its 3D printing capabilities further into healthcare, and clinicians at Cincinnati Children’s think it can be a great use of technology applied to healthcare and imaging.

“I think 3D Printing will clinically take us to the next generation of imaging. This is our future,” said Dr. David Morale, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s.

MEDCITYNEWS.COM
by DAN VEREL | Sep 27, 2014 at 6:00 AM