FDA approves Philips non-invasive elastography for liver assessment

Royal Philips announced 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its ElastQ Imaging capability, further expanding the functionalities of its EPIQ family of ultrasound systems. ElastQ Imaging enables simultaneous imaging of tissue and assessment of its stiffness, which is essential for the diagnosis of various liver conditions. With ElastQ Imaging, clinicians have a comprehensive solution to assess and diagnose liver conditions without the pain or expense of a liver biopsy.  Using shear wave elastography to focus sound waves to assess soft tissue stiffness, ElastQ Imaging is non-invasive, reproducible and easily executed. Philips is at the forefront of imaging technology innovation, and with this new capability, is addressing a significant need of medical professionals in the clinical setting.

Liver disease, which includes hepatitis B and C, liver cancer and cirrhosis, is a growing global health issue due in part to rising obesity rates and an aging population. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects approximately 20% of the global population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), total deaths worldwide from cirrhosis and liver cancer rose by 50 million per year over the last two decades, and many cases continue to go undetected.

To determine the stage of liver disease and damage, a liver biopsy is typically performed by extracting a small piece of liver tissue for microscopic examination. Research suggests that instead of costly and painful biopsy procedures, ultrasound exams using shear wave elastography could become routine for assessing liver disease status and may reduce or avoid the need for conventional liver biopsies.

“Philips aims to provide the tools necessary for assessing and managing chronic conditions that so many people face, and liver disease is no exception,” said Vitor Rocha, Ultrasound Business Leader at Philips. “We know that liver disease is a growing health concern around the globe, and we are committed to pioneering innovations like ElastQ Imaging to create our ultimate ultrasound liver solution that offers exceptional clinical performance, further improving patient care.”

Source: Royal Philips

Magnetic micromachines can be controlled remotely inside the human body

Magnetic micromachines can be controlled remotely inside the human body by application of external magnetic fields, making them promising candidates for minimally invasive local therapy delivery.

For many therapeutic scenarios, a large team of micromachines is required, but a convincing approach for controlling individual team members is currently missing. We present a method for selective control of identical helical micromachines based on their spatial position. The micromachines are operated by uniform rotating fields, whereas spatial selection is achieved by application of a strong field gradient that locks all machines except those located inside a small movable volume.

We deliver experimental evidence of three-dimensional selective actuation with a spatial selectivity on the order of millimeters over a workspace large enough for clinical applications. Selective control of teams of helical micromachines may improve minimally invasive therapeutic approaches and may lead to more flexible local drug delivery systems or adaptive medical implants. As an example, we propose a concept for adaptive radiation treatment in cancer therapy based on selective switching of radioactive sources distributed inside a tumor.

Source: Brückenkopf GmbH

Clarius handheld wireless ultrasound scanner CE approved

Clarius announced that it has CE Mark approval for the commercial sale of the C3 and L7 Clarius Wireless Ultrasound Scanners for use by medical professionals.

“Clarius has amazing image quality for such a small device,” said Dr. Gert-Jan Mauritz, an emergency medicine resident and ultrasound instructor based in the Netherlands.  “It’s better than a traditional ultrasound machine because I carry it everywhere in my pocket and it’s so easy to use the Clarius App on my phone.”

Compact ultrasound systems for use at the bedside are the norm in most hospitals and many private clinics. But costs of high quality systems have been a barrier for more widespread adoption. A basic ultrasound scanner from Clarius will start at €6,600 in European Union countries.

Clarius Scanners are powered by a rechargeable battery, which is easily exchanged when running low. Built with a magnesium case, Clarius Scanners are designed to withstand challenging environments and are water submersible for easy cleaning and disinfection.

Northwell Health, GE Ventures Announce Strategic Alliance

Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research announced a strategic alliance with GE Ventures to support the Feinstein’s Center for Bioelectronic Medicine (CBEM). With this investment, the Feinstein Institute will continue its work in discovering, developing and commercializing new diagnostic and therapeutic solutions in bioelectronic medicine for a wide range of acute and chronic diseases and injuries, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

The Feinstein Institute is the worldwide leader for the advancement of scientific knowledge and intellectual property for bioelectronic medicine. Bioelectronic medicine represents the convergence of three well-established scientific fields: neuroscience, molecular and cell biology, and bioengineering. The Feinstein Institute team, led by Kevin J. Tracey, MD, a neurosurgeon who pioneered the field, has been working in this area since 1998, and Northwell Health has already invested $75 million in support of the underlying research. As bioelectronic solutions are successfully identified, tested and refined, CBEM will foster the creation of new companies to bring life-changing solutions to market.

The new alliance will greatly build upon groundbreaking work that started between the Feinstein Institute and a team of GE scientists specializing in bioelectronics research at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. The alliance will be headquartered at the Feinstein Institute in Manhasset, NY, with continued close collaboration on research at GE’s Niskayuna research facility.

More information: Brückenkopf GmbH

Rapid Detection of Zika Virus at Airports and Other Sites

Zika Virus Detection

About the size of a tablet, a portable device that could be used in a host of environments like a busy airport or even a remote location in South America, may hold the key to detecting the dreaded Zika virus accurately, rapidly and inexpensively using just a saliva sample. While scientists across the world are scrambling to find some sort of immunization, researchers from Florida Atlantic University are working to develop a diagnostic tool to reduce the impact of the outbreak until a vaccine is identified.

“Most of the Zika cases in the United States and especially in Florida are travel related,” said Waseem Asghar, Ph.D., lead investigator and assistant professor at the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and in the Department of Biological Sciences in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “We are working to develop a tool that can be used without expensive laboratory equipment and skilled technicians in various settings like an airport or a community health center to provide reassurance to expectant families and those concerned because of recent travel. For about $2 and within 15 minutes, we hope to accurately determine whether or not an individual has an active infection.”

Currently, patients are diagnosed by testing whether they have antibodies against the Zika virus in their bloodstream, however, the antibody test cannot discriminate accurately between the Zika virus and other flaviviruses such as Dengue, West Nile virus and Chikungunya. The more accurate method for detecting the virus is by looking for pieces of the viral genome in a patient’s blood sample using a test known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR is costly ($20,000+), bulky and requires highly skilled laboratory personnel to operate. Furthermore, results for PCR testing can take hours to yield results.

More information: Brückenkopf GmbH

China issues five-year plan on food and drug safety

Two five-year plans (2016-2020) on food and drug safety were issued by the State Council on Feb 21.

According to the food safety plan, China will set stricter standards as well as strengthen supervision and punishment for law violators.

The plan outlines that by 2020 sample tests should cover all kinds of food, especially pesticides and veterinary drugs.

The plan on drug safety outlines that by 2020 the quality of drugs should be further improved, the standard of medical equipment will be raised and the level of supervision will be enhanced.

More information is available from Brückenkopf GmbH website.