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Solar Reactor Devised for Small-Scale Chemical Production

Artificial leaf

Testing the artificial leaf in the lab (Bart van Overbeeke, Eindhoven University of Technology)

22 December 2016. An engineering group developed a solar-powered catalytic reactor that can produce small amounts of drugs and agricultural chemicals on demand. A team from the lab of chemical engineering professor Timothy Noël at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands describe their system in the 22 December issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie (paid subscription required).

Noël and colleagues are seeking sustainable and economical methods to produce medications that can overcome barriers of distance and logistics. Chemicals for drugs today are often produced with fossil fuels and toxic chemicals, and must be made in large batches to be economical, thus the search for alternative processes. Noël’s research group in Eindhoven studies chemical catalysts that connect synthetic chemistry to engineering to overcome these obstacles.

One of the lab’s projects is the capture of energy from sunlight, which while abundant is also too low in power to trigger the kinds of reactions needed to produce even small amounts of chemicals. The researchers’ solution was modeled after photosynthesis, the natural process used by plants to capture sunlight for production of sugar, in a device they call an artificial leaf.

The artificial leaf — the team’s prototype reactor is shaped like an actual leaf — combines techniques for capturing and amplifying sunlight with continuous flow chemistry to generate the desired chemical reactions. To capture energy from the sun, the researchers devised materials known as luminescent solar concentrators, or LSCs, that work like leaves in that they use antenna molecules to attract the light, but add fluorescent dyes to absorb light into the leaf and guide the light toward the edges.

The leaf itself is made of polydimethylsiloxane, a common inert, non-toxic polymer found most famously in Silly Putty for children. The leaf also has tiny channels etched into its surface that allows for the flow of liquids. With computer modeling, the team optimized the leaf’s process to maximize energy production while maintaining its simple design.

The researchers tested the artificial leaf reactor in simulations with LED bulbs, but the real test was using the device outside in normal daylight. The team found the artificial leaf can produce 40 percent higher yields, even on cloudy days, compared to a comparable device without LSCs. The artificial leaf also performs with more stability than the non-LSC device, which experiences more fluctuations in its output. The researchers attribute these performance differences to the artificial leaf’s ability to operate with direct or diffused light, while the non-LSC device needs direct light to work.

The Angewandte Chemie paper reports the team’s proof of concept, but it also provides a pathway for further development. “We still see plenty of possibilities for improvement,” says Noël in a university statement. “We now have a powerful tool at our disposal that enables the sustainable, sunlight-based production of valuable chemical products like drugs or crop protection agents.”

The following video tells more about the project.

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Smartphone System Shown to Control Blood Glucose Levels

Edward Damiano

Edward Damiano, holding an iLet device (Boston University)

21 December 2016. A bionic pancreas system using a smartphone was shown in a clinical trial to control blood glucose levels better than a commercial insulin pump in persons with type 1 diabetes. A team from Boston University that developed the system and Massachusetts General Hospital where the trial was held published its findings in the 19 December issue of the journal The Lancet (paid subscription required).

Type 1 diabetes is an inherited autoimmune disorder where the body does not produce insulin, and is diagnosed primarily in children or young adults. Autoimmune disorders are conditions where the immune system is tricked into attacking healthy cells and tissue as if they were foreign invaders, in this case, insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. About 1.25 million people in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes, about 5 percent of people with diabetes of any kind.

Boston University biomedical engineering professor Edward Damiano and researcher Firas El-Khatib developed the device they call a bionic pancreas to provide people having type 1 diabetes control of blood glucose levels with little or no manual intervention. For Damiano, the issue is personal, since his teenage son has type 1 diabetes. The device uses an iPhone connected with Bluetooth to a glucose monitor implanted under the skin, and pumps of insulin and glucagon, a hormone that works in the liver to prevent glucose levels from dropping to dangerously low levels.

Every 5 minutes, the monitor reads blood glucose levels, and algorithms calculate a dose of either insulin or glucagon. People wearing the device can enter information through an app about anticipated meals, but these entries are optional. The device also alerts designated caregivers or medical staff if blood sugar drops to dangerous levels, or if the hormone pumps are disconnected for extended periods.

Damiano and El-Khatib tested earlier versions of the bionic pancreas in a series of clinical studies beginning in 2010. The studies first proved the concept of the device, then showed the system could control blood glucose levels for 5 days in adults, adolescents, and children. In those trials, participants were closely monitored.

The new clinical trial tested the device under more real-life conditions. In the intermediate-stage trial, 39 individuals age 18 and over with type 1 diabetes were randomly assigned to use the bionic pancreas, or their usual glucose monitor or insulin pump for 2 periods of 11 days each. While participants were not closely monitored during the study, they were required to stay with a 30 minute drive of the trial sites: Mass. General, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Stanford University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The research team looked primarily at average glucose concentration levels in the participants and amount of time with glucose concentrations considered hypoglycemic, or below safe levels. The results show participants with the bionic pancreas reported glucose concentrations of 141 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) compared to 162 mg/dl for individuals using their conventional devices, a large enough difference to be statistically reliable.

Bionic pancreas users also reported hypoglycemic blood glucose levels 0.6 percent of the time, while participants with conventional device had hypoglycemic levels 1.9 percent of the time. Few, if any, incidents of symptomatic or severe hypoglycemia were reported by bionic pancreas users, including in overnight periods when the risk of hypoglycemia is high.

“The availability of the bionic pancreas,” says Damiano in a Boston University and Mass. General statement, “would dramatically change the life of people with diabetes by reducing average glucose levels, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes complications, reducing the risk of hypoglycemia, which is a constant fear of patients and their families, and reducing the emotional burden of managing type 1 diabetes.”

Damiano and El-Khatib founded the company Beta Bionics that licensed the technology from Boston University and is developing an iPhone-based system called the iLet similar to the device tested in the clinical trial. Beta Bionics raised $2.5 million in early donations and a $5 million investment from drug maker Eli Lilly and Company. The company is also raising investment capital through equity crowdfunding. Beta Bionics is a certified benefit corporation, meeting social entrepreneurial standards of transparency, accountability, sustainability, and performance.

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Spin-Off Creates Enzyme to Prevent Celiac Disease

Bread loaves

(TiBine, Pixabay)

20 December 2016. A spin-off enterprise from University of Washington is developing a synthetic enzyme that prevents dietary gluten from triggering symptoms of celiac disease. The company PvP Biologics in Seattle and San Diego is licensing discoveries by the Institute of Protein Design, in the university’s medical school, that company founders say is a result from the institute’s advances in computational design and protein engineering.

Celiac disease is an inherited immune-system disorder where people cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other substances. The immune reaction to gluten causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine, which prevents absorption of nutrients. Without treatment, inflammation from celiac disease can lead to long-lasting damage in the small intestine, as well as malnutrition, since needed nutrients are not being taken into the body. About 1 percent or 2.4 million people in the U.S.,  have celiac disease.

PvP Biologics’ lead product is KumaMax, a synthetic enzyme first studied at the Institute of Protein Design. Ingrid Swanson Pultz, co-founder of PvP Biologics, credit’s software developed in the institute with paving the way for development of KumaMax. The software, known as Rosetta, makes it possible to design large, complex molecular structures, such as enzymes, from scratch, without starting from a known natural protein.

With Rosetta, says Pultz in a joint company and university statement, “we constructed an enzyme to survive and function in the harsh acidic environment of the stomach and to specifically degrade gliadin, the immunoreactive part of gluten.” Pultz is also a researcher in the institute and developed early versions of KumaMax, which PvP Biologics plans to formulate into an oral drug for people with celiac disease, to break down gluten in the stomach before it reaches the small intestine and triggers an immune response.

Pultz and colleagues received funding support from the university’s Center for Commercialization in 2012 and 2013, and in 2015 won a $250,000 competitive grant from the Life Sciences Discovery Fund, a program supporting commercialization of health related research in Washington State. That grant, plus matching private donor contributions are funding animal testing and safety studies.

Pultz and institute director David Baker founded PvP Biologics in 2015, which is incubating in CoMotion, the new name for the university’s Center for Commercialization. The company licensed the KumaMax technology in November 2016. Pultz tells more about the company and KumaMax in the following video.

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Cell Biotech Gains Organoid Technology

Intestinal organoid

Intestinal organoid (StemCell Technologies Inc.)

20 December 2016. A Canadian biotechnology enterprise is licensing a technology that generates organoids, three-dimensional clusters of cells from stem cells that can form into gastrointestinal organs. Financial aspects of the licensing agreement between StemCell Technologies Inc. in Vancouver and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio were not disclosed.

StemCell Technologies produces cell culture media and reagents for research in the life sciences. The company in recent years began expanding its work to stem cells used in regenerative medicine, particularly the transformation of pluripotent stem cells into organoids. Earlier this year, StemCell signed a licensing deal with the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Austria for organoids that simulate brain tissue.

Organoids offer advantages to researchers over two-dimensional cell models, in that they more closely resemble the complex nature and structure of whole organs, making them better options for drug testing. In addition, organoids can be produced in lab cultures rather than taking tissue samples in biopsies that require surgery. As reported recently in Science & Enterprise, in September researchers at UCLA developed organoids simulating lung tissue from adult pluripotent stem cells.

StemCell is licensing the technology developed by James Wells, director of the Pluripotent Stem Cell Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital who studies development of the endoderm, cells and tissue in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines as well as the lungs, pancreas, and liver. Research in Wells’s lab created functioning human intestinal tissue from pluripotent stem cells, to better understand birth defects leading to congenital gastrointestinal disorders. Wells and colleagues describe their development of organoids for gastrointestinal tissue in a 2014 article in the journal Nature.

The agreement gives StemCell Technologies an exclusive license to Wells’s technology to generate organoid cell models. StemCell is also expected to develop related cell culture media and tools from the license that enable scientists to produce organoids from pluripotent stem cells in their own labs. StemCell already offers a culturing medium that supports intestinal organoids.

“There is a tremendous opportunity,” says Wells in a Cincinnati Children’s statement, “to use these new organoid models for advancing studies in human development, as well as for applying them in many powerful applications such as disease modeling, drug screening, and for developing therapeutics.”

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Who Is Really Behind Efforts to Block the Medical Marijuana Industry?

– Contributed Content –

20 December 2016. All around the globe, nations are moving closer to legalize medical marijuana as a safer alternative to chemical pharmaceuticals. Proponents of medical marijuana believe that they are safer smoking or ingesting cannabinoids than they are taking prescription drugs that carry warning after warning about potential side effects, many of which are lethal.

Marijuana plant

(Angie3888, Pixabay)

Some pharmaceuticals are proven to cause side effects far worse than the conditions they are meant to be treating. These dangers include organ failure and death in many cases, which makes consumers extremely uneasy, and many simply refuse to take those drugs. But if there is a natural alternative that is actually effective and much safer, who is behind trying to block the medical marijuana industry?

Big Pharma Pays Out Big Money in Their Anti-Pot Campaign

It should come as no surprise that big pharma is behind much of the efforts to block the marijuana industry in its attempt to provide for medical cannabis, which is a safer alternative to pharmaceuticals. It has been proven that big pharma has literally funnelled tens of millions of dollars into television commercials, radio ads, internet campaigns and any number of efforts to try to block the industry from growing.

It’s logical if you think about all the revenue they will fail to realise if cannabis can be purchased at any corner dispensary, cannabis that is infinitely safer than pharmaceuticals and proven to be just as effective in combatting such things as seizures, pain and nausea. Whereas some pharmaceuticals cost as much as $100 (or more!) for a single pill, $5 or less could treat the same symptoms and treat them naturally.

Big Pharma Isn’t Alone in Their Efforts

So yes, it stands to reason that big pharma would want to put a lid on an industry that would not only be in direct competition with them, but also beat them at their own game. There is potential for the medical marijuana industry to literally own the market for pain relief, sedation, anti-spasmodic and other conditions that to date, big pharma has made trillions from. But the big pharmaceutical companies are not alone in their efforts.

Progress Won’t Be Stopped

Recent elections in the United States saw more states legalizing recreational cannabis and this is where another giant industry has stepped in to join the fight against MMJ. Now the big liquor companies are in the midst of the foray as they see their profits slipping away as well. They have begun funding anti-pot campaigns and as efforts steep up, it seems like resistance also increases. More states have gone recreational and again, one joint is so much cheaper even than a cocktail or beer at a local club and also so much safer as well.

The medical marijuana industry is not going anywhere but up, and that is what has big pharma and the leading alcohol companies alarmed. Once MMJ is legalized for recreational use as well, those industries will lose billions annually. It stands to reason that they would rather spend a few million now to prevent much greater losses in the future, but they should realize they are whipping a dead horse. The medical marijuana industry is growing by the day, with many new businesses starting up, and they will eventually bypass many pharmaceuticals. If you are looking to find who’s behind trying to block the MMJ industry, just look at who stands to lose the most and you’ll have your answer.

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Stem Cells Shown to Regenerate Dental Pulp Tissue

Dental visit

(Reto Gerber, Pixabay)

19 December 2016. A combination of dental pulp stem cells and cells from human umbilical cords, mixed with a common hydrogel, were shown in lab rats to regenerate pulp-like tissue in teeth roots. A team from the lab of Tufts University dental school professor Pamela Yelick reported its findings in the 15 December issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

Yelick and colleagues in Boston are seeking more treatment options for damaged teeth, which from decay or trauma, may become infected, requiring a root canal or extraction, and often must be replaced. The current approach, says Yelick in a Tufts University statement, “essentially kills a once living tooth. It dries out over time, becomes brittle and can crack, and eventually might have to be replaced with a prosthesis.” The team’s goal, adds Yelick is “regenerating a damaged tooth so that it remains living and functions like any other normal tooth.”

The Tufts researchers took human dental pulp stem cells from wisdom teeth already extracted from patients. These stem cells were then combined with cells taken from blood vessels in umbilical cords, known for accelerating cell growth. This mix of stem and umbilical cord cells was then placed in a gelatin methacrylate hydrogel solution, a gel material made largely of water with biocompatible polymers. Gelatin methacrylate is a common, inexpensive hydrogel derived from human collagen, a basic and abundant protein found in skin, bones, and other connective tissue.

The mix of stem cells, umbilical cord cells, and gelatin methacrylate were then injected into the roots of human teeth also extracted in separate previous clinical procedures, and cultured the injected teeth roots in the lab for 13 days. The researchers implanted the cultured teeth roots under the skin of lab rats, which were monitored for 8 weeks. For comparison, the team also implanted teeth roots without the mix of cells and hydrogel, and teeth roots with hydrogel alone.

The teeth roots with stem cells, umbilical cord cells, and gelatin methacrylate quickly began to regenerate new pulp tissue, which after 2 weeks was found inside the empty tooth roots. The team reports blood vessels started forming at 4 weeks along with more cell growth. And at 8 weeks, pulp-like tissue filled the entire pulp space, with organized blood vessels containing red blood cells.

In addition, the researchers found the dental pulp cells extending to remains of dentin in the teeth roots — the bone-like material making up most of human teeth — and began attaching to it. The team also found no evidence of inflammation at the implant sites, which indicates the biocompatibility of the hydrogel to deliver the cells to the roots. The control teeth roots, with either plain or no hydrogel, had much less tissue growth, unorganized blood vessels, and no dentin attachment.

Yelick and colleagues conclude seeding teeth roots with stem and umbilical cord cells is a promising alternative strategy to regenerate new dental tissue, but caution the concept still needs to be proven with nerve formation in dental pulp, which was not examined. More preclinical tests with larger animals are also needed, even before considering human clinical trials.

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New Type of Antibiotic Set for Early Trial

E. coli

Escherichia coli, or E. coli, bacteria (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

19 December 2016. A clinical trial is set to test a type of drug that its developers say is designed to treat infections from bacteria resistant to earlier antibiotics. The early-stage trial will test the safety and chemical action of the drug code-named SPR741 by Spero Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Spero Therapeutics discovers and develops anti-infection drugs it calls potentiators that interact with and pierce the lipopolysaccharide outer layer of gram-negative bacteria, often found difficult to penetrate with current drugs. Potentiators, says the company, are new types of chemicals that work with other antibiotics, and are active against both gram-negative and gram-positive microbes. “Gram” refers to a classification for bacteria where the microbes either retain (gram-positive) or shed (gram-negative) a test stain on their protective cell coatings.

SPR741 is the company’s lead product designed to reduce gram-negative bacteria associated with conditions such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound, and surgical site infections. Among the bacteria treated by SPR741 are Escherichia coli or E. coli bacteria, a common foodborne and disease-causing microbe, Klebsiella that can cause pneumonia and infections in health care facilities, and Acinetobacter bacteria, which present serious problems for patients in hospitals, especially in intensive care units or with weak immune systems.

Spero says the early-stage clinical trial will test SPR741 for its safety, tolerability, and chemical activity in the body with healthy volunteers. In the first phase of the study, 64 participants will be randomly assigned to receive a single dose of SPR741 at different dosage levels or a placebo. In the second phase, 32 participants will receive multiple and varying doses of SPR741 or a placebo for 14 consecutive days.

The company licensed the rights to SPR741 from Northern Antibiotics Ltd. in Finland. SPR741 is derived from an antibiotic compound known as Polymyxin B, associated with kidney toxicity. Spero reported in a series of poster presentations at a meeting of American Society for Microbiology in June that tests in monkeys and other lab animals showed no toxic effects from SPR741 except in the kidneys of rats at the highest doses. Other posters confirmed the mechanism of SPR741 in disrupting the cell membrane structure of bacteria, and showed its potency when combined with conventional antibiotics.

Spero Therapeutics is a spin-off enterprise from Massachusetts General Hospital, first formed in April 2014 by life science venture company Atlas Venture with Partners Innovation Fund, the venture capital division of hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School, including Mass. General. Spero licensed the research of Laurence Rahme, a molecular biologist at Mass. General working on bacterial diseases — and scientific founder of Spero — which the company extended to design its multiple virulence factor regulators.

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Trial to Explore Microbiome Therapy for Hypertension

Blood pressure measurement

(VA.gov)

16 December 2016. A clinical trial is set to begin that tests live bacteria as a treatment for hypertension, or high blood pressure, a condition affecting 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. Biotechnology enterprise AOBiome LLC in Cambridge, Massachusetts is conducting the trial after unexpected results in a separate clinical study showed a possible link between the company’s ammonia oxidizing bacteria and blood pressure.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 75 million people in the U.S., about one-third of all adults, have high blood pressure, of which only about half (54%) have their conditions under control. High blood pressure rarely has symptoms, but increases the risk of stroke and heart disease, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

AOBiome develops skin care cosmetics and treatments seeking to reintroduce bacteria that oxidize ammonia eliminated from the skin microbiome through modern hygienic practices. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, says the company, convert ammonia and urea from perspiration to nitrite and nitric oxide. Nitrite helps control the growth of other microbes, including pathogens, while nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that helps regulate inflammation.

The company’s lead therapeutic candidate, code-named B244, is a topical spray that applies ammonia-oxidizing bacteria to the skin thus restoring the natural microbial balance controlling skin inflammations such as acne. In an early clinical trial testing B244 in people with acne, one of the study’s safety indicators was blood pressure changes in participants.

The study team found a high correlation between the dose of B244 received in the facial spray and blood pressure of participants with normal blood pressure. The effect, says the company, was strong enough to reach statistically reliable levels at the highest dose. AOBiome adds that since it discovered this effect, the company engaged experts on blood pressure to verify a possible mechanism linking ammonia oxidizing bacteria on the vascular system.

“We have long postulated that delivering nitric oxide in host mediated environment would regulate blood pressure,” says Joel Neutel, a hypertension specialist in an AOBiome statement, “but until the discovery of this bacteria, this has proven to be extremely difficult to achieve.” Neutel adds that the link between nitric oxide and blood pressure, “potentially provides us with a new modality of treatment for patients with pre-hypertension and the ability to improve blood pressure control in hypertensive patients without adversely impacting patient lives.”

AOBiome is partnering with contract research company Veristat for an intermediate-stage clinical study testing B244 as a treatment for hypertension against a placebo. The trial expects to enroll 116 participants with hypertension in a 28-day study.

As reported in Science & Enterprise, AOBiome is a 3 year-old company, whose founders include David Whitlock, an MIT-trained chemical engineer, who told the Boston Globe last year he hasn’t showed since the year 2000. Whitlock instead prefers to maintain microbial balance on his skin with the company’s consumer skin care products, marketed under the brand name Mother Dirt.

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Trial Testing Stem-Cell Implant for Cartilage Repair

Knee X-ray

(Akha, Wikimedia Commons)

16 December 2016. An early clinical trial testing implants of a person’s stem cells to repair damaged knee cartilage in younger adults returned largely favorable results. A report of the study, conducted by Azellon Cell Therapeutics, a spin-off enterprise from the universities of Liverpool and Bristol in the U.K., appears in the 15 December issue of the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

The clinical trial tested a prototype product called the cell bandage, developed by Azellon, a company founded by stem cell biologist Anthony Hollander at University of Liverpool with colleagues from University of Bristol and affiliated hospitals. The company is taking to market the technology developed by Hollander underlying the cell bandage that repairs tears in the meniscus, a layer of cartilage in joints connecting bones to joints.

Torn meniscus cartilage in the knee is a common injury in contact sports like American football and rugby which, depending in its extent and severity, may be repaired, but is often removed. If removed, the knee faces a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, a condition that may require knee replacement surgery after a few years.

The cell bandage technology developed by Hollander and tested in the trial takes adult mesenchymal or skeletal stem cells in a biopsy from the individual’s bone marrow and grows the number of cells needed to fill a collagen scaffold membrane. The stem cells are then seeded on the membrane, surgically implanted over the tear, and attached to the remaining cartilage in the knee.

In the clinical study led by Hollander, 5 individuals age 18 to 45 with torn meniscus cartilage were implanted with Azellon’s cell bandage at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. The trial’s main objective was to test the safety of the procedure, and no adverse events were reported in the 2 years following the implants. The study also assessed the effectiveness of the cell bandages, and after 12 months, all of the participants had intact meniscus cartilage in the repaired knees.

The study team followed the 5 individuals for another year, where mixed results were returned. After the second year, 3 of the trial participants reported full functionality returning in their knees. The other 2 individuals, however, either tore their knee cartilage again, requiring surgical removal, or reported no further healing.

The team still considers the results favorable enough to prove the technology’s concept. “The cell bandage trial results,” says Hollander in a university statement, “are very encouraging and offer a potential alternative to surgical removal that will repair the damaged tissue and restore full knee function.” He adds that, “We are currently developing an enhanced version of the cell bandage using donor stem cells, which will reduce the cost of the procedure and remove the need for two operations.”

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Project to Design Hybrid Stroke Imaging Technology

Stroke MRIs

(CDC.gov)

15 December 2016. An alliance of academic and industry researchers in Europe is developing a single imaging device that can save valuable time in diagnosing a stroke. The project known as Predictive Prevention and Personalized Interventional Stroke Therapy, or P3 Stroke, is funded by European Institute of Innovation and Technology for Health, a publicly funded network affiliated with the Europe-wide research framework known as Horizon 2020.

Stroke is a medical emergency, where speed is essential to treat the condition to limit damage to the brain. The vast majority (85%) of strokes are ischemic strokes caused by blockages of arteries to the brain, depriving the brain of oxygen. Most others are hemorrhagic strokes where an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures.

P3 Stroke brings together researchers at Siemens Healthineers, the medical technology division of the global electronics company, with academic scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, or FAU, in Erlangen, Germany and other institutions in Germany, France, and Portugal. The team is expected to design a hybrid technology that combines the features of angiography and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI.

Both technologies are used to diagnose stroke in patients suspected of the condition. Angiography uses X-rays with contrast dies to detect blockages in arteries, while MRI employs magnetic fields and radio ways to scan organs in the body, particularly the brain and spinal cord. The technologies are often used sequentially, which uses valuable time. A 2006 study estimates some 1.9 million neurons are lost each minute a stroke is left untreated. A workflow analysis cited by the project funders estimates up to 30 minutes could be saved by combining the technologies.

FAU computer scientist Andreas Maier and neuroradiologist Arnd Dörfler at the nearby Erlangen university hospital will collaborate on designing the new hybrid technology. Maier’s Pattern Recognition Lab is expected to write new algorithms and software to integrate the imaging transmissions, while Dörfler and colleagues will conduct clinical evaluations. “The pioneering system,” says Dörfler in a university statement, “enables an exact picture of the development of the condition to be obtained without delay, allowing for effective treatment.”

The results of the project will not, however, be limited to stroke. The technology will also be extended to cover treatments for irregular heartbeat, using a catheter to remove pieces in the heart triggering the misfiring signals.

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