All posts by Emily Waltz

Laser Destroys Cancer Cells Circulating in the Blood

Post Syndicated from Emily Waltz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/diagnostics/laser-destroys-cancer-cells-circulating-in-the-blood

The first study of a new treatment in humans demonstrates a noninvasive, harmless cancer killer

Tumor cells that spread cancer via the bloodstream face a new foe: a laser beam, shined from outside the skin, that finds and kills these metastatic little demons on the spot.

In a study published today in Science Translational Medicine, researchers revealed that their system accurately detected these cells in 27 out of 28 people with cancer, with a sensitivity that is about 1,000 times better than current technology. That’s an achievement in itself, but the research team was also able to kill a high percentage of the cancer-spreading cells, in real time, as they raced through the veins of the participants

If developed further, the tool could give doctors a harmless, noninvasive, and thorough way to hunt and destroy such cells before those cells can form new tumors in the body. “This technology has the potential to significantly inhibit metastasis progression,” says Vladimir Zharov, director of the nanomedicine center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who led the research. 

Tiny Robots Carry Stem Cells Through a Mouse

Post Syndicated from Emily Waltz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/magnetically-navigated-microbots-deliver-stem-cells-in-mice

Using this technique, microrobots could deliver stem cells to hard-to-reach places

Engineers have built microrobots to perform all sorts of tasks in the body, and can now add to that list another key skill: delivering stem cells. In a paper published today in Science Robotics, researchers describe propelling a magnetically-controlled, stem-cell-carrying bot through a live mouse. 

Under a rotating magnetic field, the microrobots moved with rolling and corkscrew-style locomotion. The researchers, led by Hongsoo Choi and his team at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST), in South Korea, also demonstrated their bot’s moves in slices of mouse brain, in blood vessels isolated from rat brains, and in a multi-organ-on-a chip. 

The invention provides an alternative way to deliver stem cells, which are increasingly important in medicine. Such cells can be coaxed into becoming nearly any kind of cell, making them great candidates for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

The Mood Ring of Algorithms Could Zap Your Brain to Help You Feel Better

Post Syndicated from Emily Waltz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/algorithms-play-doctor-in-brain-stimulation

These algorithms spot mood changes before you do, and could someday tell a stimulator to zap your brain to treat disorders

A man with depression is driving to work when his mood darkens, and the familiar inklings of anxiety begin to creep in. His brain cells start to fire in a pattern that has, in the past, led him down a dark, dangerous mental road. But this man has a set of electrodes implanted in his brain, and wireless software nearby that’s closely monitoring his neural activity. Algorithms recognize the shift in his brain waves and order up a therapeutic dose of electrical stimulation, zapping the faulty circuits. The man arrives at work calm and stable.

The technology in this scenario doesn’t exist yet, but it’s the vision of Maryam Shanechi, an electrical engineer at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, and Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, San Francisco. Shanechi presented their progress this week in Nashville, Tennessee, at a neurotechnology meeting held by DARPA, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. 

So far, Shanechi and her team have successfully developed algorithms that decoded the brain activity associated with mood changes in seven people. Now, they’re figuring out how to stimulate the brain to affect those mood changes, she reported at the meeting.

When the two pieces of the technology come together, they would form a closed-loop system that puts stimulation therapy decisions in the hands of an algorithm. “We are developing a precise, personalized therapy that takes readings of brain activity, and, based on that, makes decisions on stimulation parameters,” Shanechi said in her presentation in Nashville on Wednesday. 

Korea’s New 5G Futuristic Hospital

Post Syndicated from Emily Waltz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/koreas-new-futuristic-hospital

Hologram visitors, indoor navigation, facial recognition security, and voice-controlled rooms are coming to a hospital in South Korea

5G report logo, link to report landing page

When Yonsei University Health System opens its newest hospital next year, in Yongin, about 25 miles outside of Seoul, it will be decked out with some of tech’s hottest gadgets.

Very sick patients in isolation rooms can visit with holograms of their loved ones. Visitors will find their way around the hospital using an augmented reality (AR)-based indoor navigation system. Authorized medical workers will use facial recognition to enter secure areas. Patients can call a nurse and control their bed, lights, and TV with an Alexa-style voice assistant.

That’s the vision, at least. Yonsei and Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom, last week jointly announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding to build technology for the futuristic hospital, scheduled to open in February 2020. SK Telecom will support the technology with a 5G network, and is considering securing it with quantum cryptography, according to the announcement.