The role of the exponential technologies in the medical innovation

27 06 2013

Introduction to exponential technologies and examples of how we can help to innovate and solve problems using imagination and creativity.



By Christian Assad: Interventional Cardiologist deeply interested in the incorporation of exponential technologies in medicine. Singularity University Alumni, FutureMed magazine editor. [en línea] San Diego, CA (USA):, 27 in June of 2013 [REF. June of 2013] Available on Internet:

Células madre modificadas efectivas en enfermedad respiratoria aguda

24 06 2013


Researchers at the Institute of biomedical research of Bellvitge (IDIBELL) and of the Vall d ’ Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) they have shown that administration of modified mesenchymal stem cells genetically regenerates tissue and lung inflammation in mice with acute lung injury.

El investigador Josep Maria Aran

The researcher Josep Maria Aran


The results of the study have been published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology journal.





Acute lung injury

Acute lung injury and its most severe manifestation, acute respiratory distress syndrome, are characterized as very serious inflammatory processes that damage the lungs with a mortality rate of between the 40% and the 50%. There is currently no effective treatment beyond palliative care and the mechanical help to breath.

“For a few years working in the administration of human mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue obtained from liposuction in different diseases”, Human Molecular Genetics of the IDIBELL group researcher has explained, Josep Maria Aran. “We have found that these stem cells are able to easily reach the lungs and there secrete anti-inflammatory substances and growth factors”.


Alarm signal

The studies carried out so far with these cells have demonstrated a positive effect. Researchers at the IDIBELL and vhir have introduced a genetic modification in these cells which improves treatment.

IL33 cytokine is a protein that acts as a signal of alarm in these patients. When you start the damage to lungs, the cells secrete this substance which is highly pro-inflammatory and causes a very strong immune response.

“We think”, explains Aran, “that if genetically modificábamos mesenchymal stem cells that secrete an IL-33 molecule antagonist may stop the inflammatory process and we saw that, in mice, the effect was more positive than with cells without modifying: There are pulmonary tissue regeneration and practically cancels the inflammatory process in the lungs”.


The IDIBELL has signed a license agreement with the Basque company Histocell about this modification genetics and currently because they are working for East “Smart drug” You can reach the clinical phase and try it with patients.


The article reference

Martínez-González I, Rock or, Masclans JR, Moreno R, Salcedo MT, Baekelandt V, Cruz MJ, Rello J,and Aran JM. Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Overexpressing the IL-33 Antagonist sST2 Attenuate Endotoxin-Induced Acute Lung Injury. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 May 8 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23656573. [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 24 de junio de 2013 [REF. 13 in June of 2013] Available on Internet:

Disease Diagnosis at the Touch of a Button

20 06 2013

Caltech researchers develop affordable and portable disease diagnostics for the developing world


When viruses like HIV/AIDS strike in underdeveloped regions of the world, they often spiral out of control in part because there is no easy way to bring diagnostic equipment to remote areas so that the diseases can be identified, treated, and stopped before they spread. Now, an inexpensive, portable, easy-to-use device, built by a team of Caltech engineers and biologists, promises to speed the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and other diseases—and improve treatment—in even the most far-flung corners of the world.

The team is led by Caltech biologist and Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, president emeritus and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology, and Axel Scherer, the Bernard Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics and Physics. With two recent grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Scherer and Baltimore have built a new version of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device, which generates many copies of a pathogenic nucleic acid, allowing the infection to be detected.

The new PCR machine is small enough to stow in a backpack and is as simple to operate as a DVD player. Its inventors hope that it will make rapid molecular diagnostic techniques and the resulting health-care benefits available and affordable to all who need them.

The device is the result of nearly 10 years of research at Caltech. In 2004, Scherer, a leader in the field of microfluidics, and George Maltezos—then Scherer’s graduate student (PhD ’07), now a Caltech senior scientist—were investigating how to manipulate biological fluids on a chip. While this was an interesting engineering problem, Maltezos began to wonder whether he could apply the microfluidic techniques that he was perfecting to real-world problems. Then the H5N1 bird flu pandemic erupted in Asia, and he and his colleagues had their real-world problem.

The best tool for diagnosing H5N1 is a PCR machine, which, in this case, takes small amounts of viral material and makes a large number of copies so that the virus can be identified. In 2005, a PCR machine cost about $50,000—too expensive for most health clinics in the developing world. That summer, Maltezos built a prototype of a far less expensive PCR machine that went on to perform well in field tests in Thailand, where H5N1 was rampant. Still, it was far from a commercially viable product, in part because it didn’t give results quickly enough.

To improve the performance of the device, Maltezos and Scherer thought that they needed a better handle on the biology behind infectious diseases, so they then teamed up with Baltimore. It made sense to approach Baltimore, who won his Nobel for work in virology and is one of the world’s leading experts on AIDS. If they could build something to detect H5N1, they figured, it would be equally useful for detecting other viruses or diseases, like HIV/AIDS.

By the end of 2006, a newer version of the instrument could evaluate a sample in just 94 seconds—compared to 45 minutes with standard PCR machines—and a company, Helixis, was soon formed to manufacture and sell the technology. Helixis’s first product, a pathogen-detection PCR instrument called the Eco, sold for $13,000 and quickly became a global market contender. In 2010, Helixis was acquired by Illumina, a San Diego–based biotech company, for approximately $105 million.

But while the Eco is fast and relatively cheap, it’s still the size of a microwave oven—not something that you want to lug up a mountain trail or through a rainforest to reach a village with sick people. After the buyout, Maltezos teamed up with Baltimore’s and Scherer’s labs to help build a new-generation PCR machine specifically for use in remote areas of the developing world. With such a simple PCR machine, doctors in an African village, for example, would be able to almost immediately diagnose people suffering from hard-to-diagnose diseases like tuberculosis, or determine whether a patient’s AIDS medications are effective against the virus.

To bring a portable PCR machine to a point-of-care setting in a remote area, Scherer says, “it has to be inexpensive, it has to be robust, and we also have to automate as much as possible.” The newest prototype, which runs off a rechargeable battery and operates at the push of a button, consists of a chip that can analyze a blood sample to spot different pathogens. In addition to tuberculosis and HIV, the machine can diagnose acute lower-respiratory diseases, diarrheal diseases, malaria, and other conditions.

The goal, Maltezos says, is to bring the machine’s cost below $1,000 and each test under $5. The preliminary results from clinical tests show that the device is working well. “Now we need to get it out of the lab and to the people who need it,” he says.

For Baltimore, the motivation behind teaming with Scherer and Maltezos was the chance to make a difference in global health. “I believe that the basic science we do can make an immediate difference in the lives of the people most at risk in the world: the poor people of the underdeveloped countries,” he says. “Our HIV work has that focus, and in Helixis I saw the opportunity to improve the diagnosis of disease in resource-poor environments. Helixis went part of the way toward that goal, and with Axel and George we continue to improve the access to PCR technology.”

Written by Michael Rogers
 [en línea] Pasadena (USA):, 20 in June of 2013 [REF. 25 de febrero de 2013] Available on Internet:

Clever gene construct combats metabolic syndrome

17 06 2013

Researchers under ETH-Zurich professor Mar- tin Fussenegger have created a new genetic network that could cure the various symptoms of so-called metabolic syndrome in one fell swoop. It already works in mice.


Too much of the wrong food and not enough exercise: sooner or later, an increasing number of people in industrial nations pay the price for their lifestyle. High blood pressure, changed blood fat values, insulin resistance as a precursor to diabetes, and abdominal fat are characteristic of metabolic syndrome, the ‘killer of the twenty-first century’. After all, it is the major risk factor for the development of coronary heart diseases. Today, many more people die of cardiovascular diseases worldwide than from cancer.

Until now, however, there has not been a holistic therapy for metabolic syndrome. Medicine diagnoses and treats every single symptom of metabolic syndrome separately. “However, all these diseases are linked,” says ETH-Zurich professor Martin Fussenegger from the Department of Biosystems in Basel. His research group has now found an approach that could treat all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome at once.


Antihypertensive drug triggers cascade

The biotechnologists have constructed a synthetic signaling cascade from different biological molecules that can be triggered with the antihypertensive drug guanabenz and controlled based on the dosage. After the start signal, a chain reaction is set in motion in the cell and culminates with the production of a “super hormone” in the cell nucleus. This includes GLP1, which is connected to leptin via a molecular bridge. GLP1 reduces the blood sugar level; leptin inhibits the feeling of hunger and thus plays a key role in regulating the lipid metabolism.

The combination of the drug guanabenz, which has already been approved for clinical use, and the ‘super hormone’ produced by the synthetic signal cures all three key diseases associated with metabolic syndrome at the same time. The researchers tested their network in a model experiment using diabetic, obese mice suffering from high blood pressure. The animals lack the satiety hormone leptin so are always hungry and eat more than is good for them. The ETH- Zurich biotechnologists inserted an implant with ten million cells, each of which contained the synthetic signalling pathway, into the mice.


Construct successful in mice

The animals responded very well to the dose of guanabenz: the GLP1 and leptin concentration rose dramatically and twenty-four hours after the drug was dispensed insulin secretion also increased on account of the GLP1 content. After only three days, the level of cholesterol and other free fatty acids in the blood dropped – a good sign that the animals were beginning to recover from metabolic syndrome. Free guanabenz even lowered the blood pressure, too.

“This application is also realistic for the treatment of metabolic syndrome in humans,” Fussenegger predicts. GLP1 is already administered as an alternative to insulin in the battle against diabetes. Leptin, on the other hand, would have to be substituted with another hormone that has a similar effect. “Leptin has failed to live up to its hopes as a therapeutic agent against obesity, as obese patients have sufficient leptin but have grown resistant to it,” stresses the ETH-Zurich professor. However, he is confident that they can incorporate an alternative satiety hormone into their network. They merely used leptin to demonstrate the principle. It works perfectly well in mice.

In planning and constructing this network, the researchers were able to fall back on the Fussenegger group’s existing expertise. The ingenious scientists had already assembled gene networks for diabetes or gout with similar biological components, the properties of which are renowned. “But we only discovered that the antihypertensive drug guanabenz can be used as a start button by chance,” says the ETH-Zurich professor from Basel.

Even though he is convinced that a gene construct designed in this way could treat metabolic syndrome with its array of symptoms, for the time being Fussenegger is reluctant to make any promises as to when a corresponding product might hit the market.

Original: Ye H, Charpin-El Hamri G, Zwicky K, Christen M, Folcher M, Fussenegger M. Pharmaceutically controlled designer circuit for the treatment of the metabolic syndrome. PNAS online, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1216801110. [en línea] Zurich (SUI):, 17 in June of 2013 [REF. 17 in December of 2012] Available on Internet:

New markers for sick hearts

13 06 2013

Two new markers have been discovered for the type of heart failure whereby the heart muscle becomes stiff and unable to fill the heart with blood properly. ‘Estimating the gravity of the stiff type of heart failure is difficult with the regular markers’, explains cardiologist Dirk Lok. ‘But now it has become possible. The new NT-proCNP marker appears to have good predictive values for this condition. Another new marker, Galectin-3, does not only predict this type of heart failure, but also another more recognizable type whereby the heart muscle weakens.’ Lok, a cardiologist in Deventer Hospital, conducted his research in collaboration with the Cardiology Department of the UMCG. He will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen on 22 May 2013.


There are two types of heart failure. In the most well-known type, the heart muscle weakens and the pump action becomes ineffective. The other type of heart failure involves a stiffening of the heart muscle, which prevents the heart from filling with blood properly. In both cases, blood is not pumped around the body efficiently, causing patients to develop symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, swollen legs and ankles, restless nights and frequent night-time urination. A total number of 150,000 patients in The Netherlands is affected by heart failure and both types occur in the same number of people. Patients suffering from heart failure due to a stiff heart muscle are mostly female, older, have hypertension, diabetes and are overweight. The prognosis is sombre.


‘Diagnosing heart failure due to a stiff heart muscle is difficult using the regular methods, particularly for GPs’ says Lok. ‘As a result, a large number of people are going through life undiagnosed, despite showing the classic symptoms. The techniques currently used do not always detect heart problems. The new markers will make it much easier to diagnose heart failure.’ Lok measured the values of the Galectin-3 and NT-proCNP markers in large groups of patients with heart failure. He discovered that it was easier to estimate the risk of complications in patients with heart failure due to a stiff heart muscle using both markers than when using the regular marker used up until now.

Better care

‘Measuring markers in the blood to clarify the diagnosis heart failure and predict the progress of the disease has improved patient care considerably over the past few years’, according to Lok. At present, drug treatment is chosen according to the amount by which the marker levels have risen. ‘The introduction of these new markers means that we are ready for the next step: diagnosing the disease at an early stage and providing prompt and targeted treatment. This may lead to fewer hospital admissions for heart failure and possibly a lower mortality rate’, claims Lok.

Curriculum Vitae

Dirk Lok (Groningen, 1953) studied Medicine at the University of Groningen and has worked as a cardiologist in Deventer Hospital since 1984. He conducted his research under the supervision of Prof. D.J. van Veldhuisen and Dr P. van der Meer in a partnership between the Cardiology Department of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the cardiology research department of Deventer Hospital. Lok’s thesis is entitled ‘Novel markers in chronic heart failure.’ [en línea] Groningen (NED):, 13 in June of 2013 [REF. 17 in May of 2013] Available on Internet:

New drug could protect from tissue damage following heart attack

10 06 2013

Scientists led by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have developed a new drug that could help reduce the tissue damage that occurs following a heart attack, stroke or major surgery.

By preserving more of the healthy heart tissue, we hope that we can give people who survive a heart attack an improved quality of life

Dr Thomas Krieg from the University of Cambridge, a co-author of the study



Tests in mice have shown that the compound, called MitoSNO, protects heart tissue from reperfusion injury, which occurs when blood flow is restored suddenly after a prolonged period without oxygen. The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

All of the 100,000 people a year in the UK who suffer a heart attack will experience reperfusion injury. During a heart attack, the major vessels that supply the heart with blood become blocked, preventing oxygen from reaching an area of the heart tissue. When the patient reaches hospital, doctors remove the blockage using medicines or surgery and restore blood flow to the heart.

By this stage, some damage will already have occurred to the oxygen-starved tissue. But most of the damage actually happens when the blood supply is returned suddenly, triggering the production of harmful molecules, called free radicals, in the cell’s powerhouse – the mitochondria1.

MitoSNO works by briefly ‘switching off’ the mitochondria in the first few minutes after blood flow is returned to prevent a build-up of free radicals that can kill heart cells. To achieve this, MitoSNO is designed to accumulate inside heart mitochondria rapidly after its injection into the blood.

Dr Mike Murphy from the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, who led the study, said: “When cells are starved of oxygen for any length of time, they begin to shut down. When blood rushes back the mitochondria go into over-drive, churning out free radicals that cause the cells to die. MitoSNO effectively flicks a switch in the mitochondria, slowing down reactivation during those critical first minutes when blood flow returns and protecting the heart tissue from further damage.

“We think a similar process happens in other situations where tissue is starved of oxygen for a prolonged period, for example after a stroke or during surgery where major arteries are clamped to prevent blood loss. We are hopeful that if human trials of MitoSNO are successful it could eventually be used in many other areas of medicine.”

MitoSNO was developed at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit by Dr Murphy’s team in collaboration with Professor Rob Smith of the University of Otago, New Zealand. Together they specialise in creating new molecules that can enter cells and act specifically on mitochondria. The authors say the fact that MitoSNO works when given as blood is restored to the oxygen-deprived heart is a unique strength, because it could be given to heart attack patients when they get to hospital while blood flow to the heart is restored by reopening the blocked artery with a catheter. At the moment there are no established treatments that can be given at this crucial time.

In the study, the researchers tested MitoSNO in a mouse model of heart attack. MitoSNO was given to the mice by injection just before blood flow to the heart was restored. The area of damaged heart tissue was significantly reduced in the mice that had received MitoSNO compared with the control animals, showing that MitoSNO prevents cell death during reperfusion.

Dr Thomas Krieg from the University of Cambridge, a co-author of the study, said:“There have been some important advances in cardiac medicine in recent years and as a result more people now survive a heart attack than ever before. However, we still have no effective treatments to protect against reperfusion injury. By preserving more of the healthy heart tissue, we hope that we can give people who survive a heart attack an improved quality of life. The fact that there were marked reductions in the total area of damaged heart tissue in our study is also significant because, in humans, this has been linked to survival rates.”

The researchers now hope to secure funding to test their new compound in early human studies.

Professor Stephen Hill, Chair of the MRC’s Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board, which funded the research, said: “We’ve known for a long time that the mitochondria are central to the damage caused by reperfusion injury, but the mechanics of this process at a molecular level have been unclear. These important findings demonstrate the importance of investing in basic laboratory research, which underpins our understanding of human health and disease. In addition, this work indicates that a new class of drug developed by MRC scientists may be worth extending to human trials.”

The research was carried out in collaboration with the University of Rochester, UCL and University of Glasgow and was funded by organisations including the MRC, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the British Heart Foundation. The technology has been patented by MRC Technology on behalf of the MRC and is available for licensing.

Press release provided by the Medical Research Council.
 [en línea] Cambridge (UK):, 10 in June of 2013 [REF. 28 in May of 2013] Available on Internet:

Transfusions with iBox Transfusional security circuit

6 06 2013

InterSystems, global leader of software for connected healthcare, announced that AT4 wireless, leader in consulting, Technical assistance and IT solutions, you have selected the InterSystems Ensemble ® integration platform, to develop iBox Transfusional security.

iBox Transfusional security increases the safety of patients who are blood transfusions by identifying, unequivocally, the patient, request, sample and blood bag. The system digitizes Transfusional Control reports and the notification of reaction transfusion, allowing monitoring of the traceability of the bags of blood in the circuit.

Thanks to iBOX Transfusional security generates a unique ID Bracelet for each patient, In addition to the associated labels that identify blood samples obtained. Each healthcare professional circuit registers data related to traceability of the bags of blood in the various hospital services. At last, check the allocation of each bag with the correct patient, prior to transfusion.

Traditional systems, usually, they based their operational paper-intensive, since they tend not to be computerized. Therefore, they do not allow access, in real time, information on the patient and their needs. It is very common that patient identification bracelets are hand written or consisting of different stickers with barcodes attached on. For this reason, the patient is usually carried several identifiers depending on the control system. In these cases the blood bank cannot access real-time information and traceability recording, also in paper, It is difficult to check because it requires a search and investment of time for review.


Outstanding benefits

iBox is an integrated and mobile solution, Since the checks are carried out at the place where the patient is, the process is fully digitalized. Each patient, using this solution, It only has to carry a unique call sign bracelet which makes it possible to access, in real time, the information that concerns you.

In addition to eliminating traditional backups of coal or multi-copy, the registration of traceability is automated and the solution generates reports and notifications, making the register in the electronic health record. Also, It allows the creation of reports of control on tagged, users and incidents.


About AT4 wireless

AT4 wirelessoffers consulting services, Technical assistance and IT solutions to a wide variety of sectors mainly in the health sector, telecommunications, electro medical and safety.

Health sector highlights the experience of AT4 wireless in the development and implementation of solutions to improve the safety and efficiency of hospitals or health care providers in health care management fields.

AT4 wireless completes its portfolio of services offering approval and certification to the telecommunications industry services, ensuring efficient access to global markets.

Founded in 1991 based in Malaga, Spain, AT4 wireless has more of 200 employees around the world that also offer support to customers from its subsidiaries in the United States, Taiwan and Chile.


About InterSystems

InterSystems Corporation It is a world leader in innovative solutions for the connected health, Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and offices in 25 countries.InterSystems HealthShare ™ is a strategic platform for Health Informatics and the "active analytics" which allows the exchange of information across hospital networks, communities, regions and Nations.

InterSystems Ensemble ® is a platform for rapid integration and development of pluggable applications. InterSystems CACHE ® is the most widely used in clinical applications database, around the world. InterSystems DeepSee ™ is a software that makes it possible to embed, in real time, analytical capabilities in transactional applications.

InterSystems products are used in thousands of hospitals and laboratories around the world, including the 10 first hospitals in the Honor Roll of America completo Best Hospitals, According to the U.S.. News and WorldReport.

Cache can be ordered or downloaded through the InterSystems Web, where is a free version available, fully functional and of unlimited duration. [en línea] Madrid (ESP):, 06 in June of 2013 [REF. 21 in May of 2013] Available on Internet:

Dr Herrero: The technology is almost more than our own imagination

3 06 2013

Javier Herrero Jover, MD, PhD

President of Alma IT Systems



We speak of digital medical images, yesterday with its incorporation into the hospitals seemed it would only solve a logistical problem of file and radiological management. Shortly after and established once, It was found that if software technology where engineers implemented certain algorithms used on these scanned images, they offered to physician solutions that were unthinkable until now, see a body in 3D, plan or quantify its functionality, for example calculating heart ejection or the turbulence of blood in an aneurysm.

Today we speak of the THE PATIENT-SPECIFIC MODEL  (SPM nabuur), This, the SPM is already an indispensable tool in the care of the patient in multiple specialties, Today we can learn not only the degree of obstruction of a coronary artery only quantify the type of such obstruction either calcium or triglyceride, We can quantify a tumor decrease after their cancer therapy by superimposing scans deferred in time or performing subtractions with TACS / magnetic resonance imaging. We also employ the SPM in the planning of an intervention of neurosurgery, in the calculation of the size of an implant of knee or in the case of Interventional Radiology,helping us navigate and guide us toward the aneurysm so that it can treat.

The absolute specificity of the patient,prevented from using a standard model,as in other branches of knowledge employee already outside the automotive industry, where the vehicle introduced in a computer model used to check their materials against a cash or an airplane model or an oil pipeline pipeline. In the case of the human, It has been thanks to the digitisation of radiological image that has allowed us to have a model specific patient and start to talk about personalized medicine that also builds on or from the SPM.

But as mentioned at the beginning of this article, technology runs almost more than our imagination and I say almost because as noted in a presentation that we performed at the Academy of engineering of Madrid in the 2005, PMS could serve so that in the future you could build anatomical structures on which to nest cells specific to give certain functions of organs, as pancreatic or liver activity. As well, in the recent publication “Bioresorbable Airway Splint Created with a three-dimensional Printer N Engl J Med 2013; 368:2043-2045 May 23, 2013” appears the use of PMS for the construction of a portion of the trachea to a baby's 4 months. the combination of regenerative medicine with software engineering will give , I'm sure in no time, surprising and pleasant surprises.