DR. BRETT BELCHETZ TALKS ABOUT ABOUT MEDICAL INNOVATIONS.
A new type of soft robotic sleeve has been invented to keep a weak or damaged heart beating, and it could save the lives of transplant patients who often have to wait months - or sometimes more than year - to receive a new organ. It is estimated that about 600,000 Canadians are living with heart failure, and 15 to 20 percent of patients currently die while waiting for a transplant
Invented at National University of Ireland Galway, this new breakthrough is a customizable silicon device that wraps around the damaged organ, and is able to automatically twist and compress in sync with the beats. Lots of devices exist currently now help weakened hearts beat, but they all carry considerable risk because they come into contact with the blood itself, causing life threatening complications like infections and blood clots. This new device works differently - its a flexible robotic sleeve that does not come in contact with the blood flow, but instead envelopes the organ and enhances the beats across all areas of the heart.
Animal trials so far have proven incredibly promising: in pigs experiencing heart failure, the volume of blood pumped by their hearts dropped to more than half its healthy rate - so about 1 litre of blood per minute. But once the sleeve was implanted, it restored the pumped volume to just over 2.5 litres of blood per minute, which is roughly equivalent to a healthy, unassisted heart.
In Canada alone, there are around 2,000 preventable trauma deaths each year due to untreated bleeding. Scientists have been working for many decades to come up with a substitute for two pressing problems. Paramedics in remote settings and other challenging places need blood for emergency situations, and doctors need a plentiful supply of blood to transfuse into patients with sickle cell disease, many of whom have trouble finding blood donors.
Researchers at the U.K.'s National Health Service are launching an ambitious trial this year to test whether blood made from stem cells will act the same way in the body as regular donated blood. If this succeeds, it’ll be unfeasible to make blood in the lab for everyone, but we could make blood for people with very rare blood types or who have reacted to donated blood and so are difficult to match.
Cancer Breath Test
Researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology have developed a device that uses nanoparticles to identify 17 different diseases, including lung cancer and Parkinson's disease, from just a single breath. The team tested breath samples from more than 1,400 patients and identified 13 chemicals found in eight types of cancers, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, pulmonary hypertension and other diseases.
The device uses an "artificially intelligent nanoarray” that uses specific sensors to sense the different compounds. The data is then analyzed by an artificial intelligence system, which takes into account age, gender and other factors, picking out the right affliction 86 percent of the time.
That's not enough accuracy for clinical diagnosis, but could eventually be used as a routine test to catch diseases in their early phases when they're much more treatable. e.g.in the case of lung cancer survival rates increase from 10 to 70 percent by early diagnosis.
Smart jacket to diagnose pneumonia
A team of Ugandan engineers has invented a "smart jacket" that diagnoses pneumonia faster than a doctor. This is extraordinarily important in the developing world. In Uganda, for instance, pneumonia kills up to 24,000 Ugandan children under the age of five per year, many of whom are misdiagnosed as having malaria.
The team is working on patenting the kit, which is shortlisted for the 2017 Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize, and which may end up saving millions of children’s lives around the world.