A Look at Emerging Medical Technologies

  • Feb 17 2017
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  • Category: Blog

How will innovations in medical technology shape healthcare?

Recent advances in medical technology have paved the way for minimally invasive surgeries to treat an array of serious conditions. Spurred by these developments, innovative and cost effective technologies are on the horizon that will lead to enhanced patient care. Let’s take a look at some of these emerging medical device technologies.

Medical Radar

The development of wideband medical radar has the potential to eliminate mammograms and improve diagnoses of breast cancer. This technology uses electromagnetics to create highly detailed 3D images of the breast. Medical radar is superior to an ultrasound because it penetrates deeply into the body. It is also less painful and quicker than a mammogram. Once the technology is commercially available, breast cancer screening will become safer, less expensive and more widely accessible.

3D Bioprinting

3D bioprinting of human cells has the potential to create tissue that can be grown into a fully functioning organ such as a kidney, liver or thyroid gland. The goal is to repair organs made with tissue from the patient’s own body, rather than with foreign tissue that is susceptible to rejection. At this juncture, organ development has only been tested in animal models. In the near-term, however, this process may be able to create tissue for less complex transplant parts such as blood vessels, nerve grafts or heart muscle patches.

Smart Probes and Scalpels

These devices can distinguish between and target specific types of tissue: cancerous, vascular or nerve tissue, and will lead to advances in microsurgical procedures. For example, smart probes can detect indicators of certain cancers while smart scalpels use focused laser beans that can help surgeons cut away malignant growths more precisely, limiting the removal of healthy tissue. The end result is more effective surgeries and improved patient outcomes.

Electromagnetic Acoustic Imaging (EMAI)

This emerging ultrasound technology, which combines bioelectromagnetism with acoustics, is safer than a CT and produces MRI-quality images. EMAI has the potential to give doctors a greater ability to distinguish between malignant and benign lesions. Because electromagnetic energy can penetrate deeper into the body than light, EMAI can detect a variety tumors regardless of their location. This technology is said to be safe and effective, less expensive and portable.

Nanobots

Diseases such as cancer and infections are currently being treated on the molecular level through nanotherapeutics. Scientists are now studying how platelet size nanobots can be coated with t-PA to break up blood clots that cause strokes. By delivering the drugs more precisely and quickly, more victims’ lives will be saved and the effects of strokes can be reversed.

The Takeaway

In sum, it’s not a matter of if, but when these emerging technologies will become commercially available. Moreover, as breadth and complexity of medical devices technologies continue to expand, the value of these intellectual property assets cannot be underestimated. In the end, protecting the patent rights of these assets requires the advice and counsel of a leading IP law firm.