Medical innovations, August 6

August 6, 2010 by  

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Hydrogels, dissolvable patches, and imaging techniques: today I bring you the latest medical innovations.

Gel targets prostate cancer
Japanese researchers at Kyoto University have developed a supramolecular hydrogel capsule that can seek out and recognize out prostate cancer cells and releases its contents directly into the diseased cells. “The mechanically tough hydrogel made using a glycolipid mimic forms a stable capsule in both aqueous and cellular media. PSA is small enough to diffuse into the hydrogel where it cleaves a prostate cancer targeting compound and a fluorescent biomarker that is co-assembled in the hydrogel, allowing imaging of both PSA activity and prostate cancer cells.”
The hydrogel could help provide a more accurate way of detecting prostate cancer.

Researchers develop a dissolvable needle-free Nanopatch for vaccine delivery
University of Queensland researchers has developed a vaccine delivery method that is not only needle-free and pain-free method but also now dissolvable. This new innovation called Nanopatch totally eliminates the need of needle-stick injury. The use of needles presents risks not only to patients but also to health care workers in the form of injuries, infections, and transmission of infectious diseases. Here is how Nanopatch works:

“The Nanopatch is smaller than a postage stamp and is packed with thousands of tiny projections – invisible to the human eye – now dried to include the vaccine itself together with biocompatible excipients.
When the patch is placed against the skin, these projections push through the outer skin layer and deliver the biomolecules to the target cells.
When dry, the device is stable and strong. When the Nanopatch is applied to the skin, the projections immediately become wet, dissolving within minutes.”

The sound of melanoma can help doctors find cancer (w/ Video)
Can we hear the sound of cancer? American researchers at the University of Missouri said they can. Using photoacoustics or a laser-induced ultrasound, they locate the general area of the lymph node where melanoma cells could have spread, thus enabling them to identify the stage of melanoma with more accuracy. Lead researcher Dr. John Viator describes how it works:

“It’s very similar to identifying a prize inside a cake. Instead of looking through the entire cake, we can use our ultrasound to pinpoint a slice or two that might contain the ‘prize.’ In the case of the lymph nodes, when you get a signal, this alerts the pathologist that this is an area of the node that might contain cancer cells. At that point, a pathologist would be able to narrow down the search, saving time and money.”

New Microscope Lets Scientists Make Movies of Early Animal Development
A new microscopic imaging method is enabling scientists to closely follow the development of embryos while inside an animal, say from cell 0 to 20,000 – in video! The potential use of this technology in medicine is enormous. According to researcher Dr. Philipp Keller:
“It is really amazing to have a tool that captures the development of an entire animal with single cell resolution. This finally allows us to study, and hopefully eventually understand, this complex biological system on a truly quantitative level.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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