An interesting article here on Fierce Biotech about a neuroimaging start-up that is aiming to take on Alzheimer’s.
They aim to do this by building maps of the brain and utilising AI to hone in on neurological inflammation, demyelination and axonal loss, which are key signs of neurodegenerative diseases.
They are then working on identifying biomarkers associated with the above and create a guide on to early indicators and diagnosis.
The CEO of the start-up, Jean-René Bélanger goes on to add “What we have is a platform that develops biomarkers based on imaging for drug development. We’re working with CROs and with pharma companies to help them extract information from the white matter that they would not see otherwise.”
You can read the full article here;https://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech/ai-key-to-unlocking-mysteries-alzheimer-s-neuroimaging-startup-imeka-betting-it
Lab made tri-tube heart valves could reduce surgeries
Paediatric heart valve replacement surgeries could be reduced after lab-made tri-tube valves were found to grow after implantation into lambs.
Robert Tranquillo, a senior researcher from the team in Minnesota states “This is the first demonstration that a valve implanted into a large animal model, in our case a lamb, can grow with the animal into adulthood. We have a way to go yet, but this puts us much farther down the path to future clinical trials in children.”
The researchers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities used special detergents to wash away the sheep cells from the tissue-like tubes, leaving behind a cell-free collagenous matrix that does not cause immune reaction when implanted.
The next step was to sew three tubes (about 16mm in diameter) together into a closed ring before trimming them slightly to create leaflets that replicate a structure like a heart valve about 19mm in diameter.
“After these initial steps, it looked like a heart valve, but the question then became if it could work like a heart valve and if it could grow. Our findings confirmed both.” Tranquillo went on to add.
This technology could have a significant and positive impact on young patients and help reduce surgery time.
You can read the full article on The Engineer here;
Engineers at EPFL in Switzerland are developing a retinal implant that works with camera-equipped smart glasses and a microcomputer to one day give blind people a form of artificial vision.
“Our system is designed to give blind people a form of artificial vision by using electrodes to stimulate their retinal cells,” said Diego Ghezzi, who was been working on this technology since 2015.
In short, here is how the technology aims to provide artificial vision to the patient; The camera embedded in the smart glasses captures images in the wearer’s field of vision and sends the data to a microcomputer placed in one of the eyeglasses’ end-pieces. The microcomputer turns the data into light signals which are transmitted to electrodes in the retinal implant. The electrodes then stimulate the retina in such a way that the wearer sees a simplified, black-and-white version of the image. This simplified version is made up of dots of light that appear when the retinal cells are stimulated. However, wearers must learn to interpret the many dots of light in order to make out shapes and objects.
“It’s like when you look at stars in the night sky – you can learn to recognize specific constellations. Blind patients would see something similar with our system,” added Ghezzi.
An interesting article on IEEE Spectrum this morning that covers the new trend of big pharma teaming up with quantum computing companies to speed up drug discovery.
This follows the recent news I have seen on my timeline that Roche has partnered with Cambridge Quantum Computing and Boehringer Ingelheim is now collaborating with Google on such projects.
Excited to see how this develops and how it will ultimately benefit the patient.
What are your thoughts on using artificial intelligence on drug discovery projects? Feel free to share your story with us. We are always open to guest blog writers who have an interesting science or engineering story to tell.
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