Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health



Science Highlights • March 1, 2005
Transdermal patches—medicated adhesive pads placed on the skin that release drugs gradually for up to a week—have been available in the U.S. for more than 20 years. The first transdermal patch, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1979, delivered scopolamine to treat motion sickness. Since then, more than 35 transdermal patch products have been approved. Examples include the nicotine patch that helps people quit smoking, the lidocaine patch for relieving pain, and a patch containing hormone derivatives for preventing pregnancy.
Science Highlights • February 28, 2005
Materials scientists have teamed up with medical researchers to develop a novel way to deliver a deadly payload to cancer cells. The new technique caused 40 percent of prostate tumors in mice to shrink in initial experiments.
Science Highlights • January 28, 2005
A bioengineered material now plays a crucial role in treating conditions ranging from incontinence to burns.
Science Highlights • December 15, 2004
Robotic technology may accelerate the rehabilitation process and reduce the costs of physical therapy for individuals whose arms are paralyzed as a result of stroke.
Science Highlights • November 8, 2004
A new fiber optic probe plugs into a biopsy needle and takes advantage of the important differences between how malignant and benign tissue respond to light. The device may improve the accuracy of conventional needle biopsies.
Science Highlights • October 21, 2004
Hard wiring the brain? Almost. Brain computer interface technologies that capture electrical brain waves as individuals imagine performing certain activities and translate the waves into computer commands will soon allow patients to operate word-processing programs, and perhaps even electric wheelchairs or robotic arms.
Science Highlights • September 21, 2004
A biodegradable polymer may reduce the extent of arterial injuries and repeat blockage seen with rigid metal stents used to treat coronary artery disease.
Science Highlights • August 2, 2004
A liquid polymer gel that can be poured into torn cartilage tissue may offer a new approach to healing worn out joints. Tested on rabbits, the gel adapts to the shape of the tear and becomes the scaffolding for the body’s own cartilage cells to make new tissue.
Science Highlights • July 15, 2004
DNA sequencing promises to improve the way in which diseases such as cancer are diagnosed, monitored, and treated. The technology relies on detecting fluorescent signals created when pieces of DNA bind together on a microchip. An emerging technology—electrophoresis on microchips—has aided DNA sequencing by miniaturizing processing technologies. Miniaturization has reduced the time needed to analyze samples and decreased the sample size required for testing.
Science Highlights • June 16, 2004
In the future, a patient in need of a new bone or bone section may be able to have one made using a mold, a gel solution, and a few drops of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These versatile precursor cells, found in bone marrow and fat tissue, can transform into different cell types, including bone, cartilage, and skeletal muscle.