Interviews 2020 -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

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Smartlab – Robotics and automation in the laboratory

15/09/2020

Some tasks in the laboratory are repetitive, need to be done extremely precise and require a lot of time. Such tasks are very tedious for humans, but they are tailor-made for robots. Such is the case with the "AutoCRAT" project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen. Here, a robotic platform is developed to produce stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
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Image: antibody testing platform; Copyright: OIST

Low-cost chip for detecting COVID-19 antibodies

11/09/2020

Robust and widespread antibody testing has emerged as a key strategy in the fight against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. However current testing methods are too inaccurate or too expensive to be feasible on a global scale. But now, scientists at the OIST have developed a rapid, reliable and low-cost antibody test.
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Image: miniature chip; Copyright: Felix Petermann, MDC

Improving healthcare through cell-based interceptive medicine

08/09/2020

Hundreds of innovators, research pioneers, clinicians, industry leaders and policy makers from all around Europe are united by a vision of how to revolutionize healthcare. In 2 publications they now present a detailed roadmap of how to leverage the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies over the next decade, to track, understand and treat human cells throughout an individual's lifetime.
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Image: samples in a laboratory setting; Copyright: Amy Drexelius

Detecting small amounts of virus in early infections

02/09/2020

Diagnostic devices that are used at home or in doctors' offices are often not sensitive enough to detect small amounts of a virus that might be present in samples from asymptomatic patients, which can occur in early stage COVID-19.
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Image: View into a device that automatically processes laboratory samples; Copyright: PantherMedia/Sonar

The laboratory 4.0: networked analyses

01/09/2020

There is likely no other branch of medicine where you can find as many high-tech devices as in modern laboratories. A major part of diagnostic and biomedical research is done here. A lot of individual steps in work processes need to be followed precisely to ensure the results’ quality. Also, a lot of data is generated here.
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Image: View into an automated laboratory machine that stores a lot of vials; Copyright: PantherMedia/kagemusha

The smart networking laboratory: when connected devices become one system

01/09/2020

Diagnostics, biomedical research, screening active ingredient candidates - laboratories perform many functions and must be flexible. Growing and evolving healthcare demands mean labs have to process an increasing number of samples. Modern laboratory information management systems can already support high-throughput, but a smart laboratory environment can make things even more efficient.
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Image: A miniaturized, round sensor under a fingertip; Copyright: TU Dresden

SmartLab: all-in-one automation, digitalization, and miniaturization

01/09/2020

Laboratories have to analyze and interpret an ever-increasing number of samples for research and diagnostic services, generating lots of data in the process. At the same time, labs are required to produce quality results and operate with speed. Processes that could once be managed using laboratory notebooks and isolated systems must become smart in the future to improve lab efficiency.
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Image: A young laboratory technician with AR glasses uses a pipette, he is surrounded by different bubbles with text; Copyright: Helbling Technik Wil AG

Augmented Reality for better laboratory results

01/09/2020

Accuracy is paramount in laboratory settings and ensures that lab results are valid. Errors in a lab can render series of tests unusable and waste precious time and money. In the medical realm, this might even result in clinical trial errors. Augmented reality (AR) can help laboratory technicians to prevent errors and guide their work in the future.
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Image: depiction of a cerebral organoid; Copyright: Madeline Lancaster/IMBA

Project "HCA|Organoid": toward a single-cell atlas of human organoids

31/08/2020

HCA|Organoid is a new EU research project that combines single-cell profiling and organoid technology to validate organoids as faithful models of human biology. By creating well-characterized in vitro models of human organs, this resource will enable future discovery-driven and translational research on rare genetic diseases, complex multifactorial diseases, and on cancer.
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Image: A device that analyzes antibodies and displays the results in form of lit points; Copyright: Timothy Abram

UCI develops low-cost, accurate COVID-19 antibody detection platform

26/08/2020

A robust, low-cost imaging platform utilizing lab-on-a-chip technology created by University of California, Irvine scientists may be available for rapid coronavirus diagnostic and antibody testing throughout the nation by the end of the year.
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Image: medical symbols around the earth in the hands of a person; Copyright: PantherMedia/everythingposs

Israeli medical devices showcase digital innovations at MEDICA

24/08/2020

For the annual MEDICA trade fair, companies from all over the world assemble in Düsseldorf. The Israel Export Institute has been a part of it for the last couple of years. They present medical devices and digital innovations from different Israeli companies at their joint booth.
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Image: colored graphic of four spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2; Copyright: MPI for Biophysics, Frankfurt/Main

SARS-CoV-2: spike protein more flexible than anticipated

19/08/2020

To combat the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, research has been stepped up in search of new vaccines and treatments. To enter the cells, the virus needs the spike protein on its surface. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in co-operation with some research groups in Germany have analyzed the spike protein in its natural environment using high resolution imaging and computer-assisted methods.
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Image: biofilm of a chronic wound under the microscope; Copyright: University of Huddersfield

Biofilm early detection findings will advance chronic wound care

31/07/2020

Biofilms, microscopic entities not visible by the naked eye, go undetected by health professionals damaging healing tissue and causing delays in wound healing by reducing the susceptibility of microorganisms to antibiotic, antimicrobial and host immune treatments.
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Image: woman in the laboratory; Copyright: RUB, Marquard

Sars-Cov-2: rapid test for the determination of antibodies

31/07/2020

To determine immunity to Sars-Cov-2 and the effectiveness of potential vaccines, the amount of neutralising antibodies in the blood of recovered or vaccinated individuals must be determined. A traditional neutralisation test usually takes two to three days and must be carried out with infectious coronaviruses in a laboratory complying to biosafety level 3.
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Image: blood-brain barrier dysfunction under hypoxia; Copyright: WFIRM

Organoids: inflammation induced blood-brain barrier dysfunction

30/07/2020

The scientists who developed the first 3D multicellular brain organoid with a functional blood brain barrier now report that the model could be a promising platform to screen drugs that could work to control inflammation, which is at the center of many neurological conditions, like ischemic stroke.
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Image: Schema of novel cancer tissue diagnosis in comparison with usual diagnosis; Copyright: Osaka University

Tissue imaging system accelerates cancer diagnosis

27/07/2020

Cancer diagnosis requires a lengthy process of multiple analyses of tissue biopsies, impeding the quick and early detection of cancers. In a new study, researchers from Osaka University developed a novel imaging system that uses near-infrared light to be less invasive and more time efficient than the conventional approach.
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Image: Cancer cells (in green) invading a mouse brain (blood vessels in red); Copyright: CNIO

Collaborative platform to streamline brain metastasis research

09/07/2020

Science is collaborative by nature, since scientific knowledge only advances, step by step, through combined efforts and findings. Nevertheless, there is often a lack of communication regarding the more technical and everyday advances in laboratory work, and as a result research progresses less quickly.
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Image: Two people wearing protective suits stand next to a workbench in a laboratory; Copyright: Fraunhofer IBMT/Foto Bernd Müller

epiLab: Coronavirus testing in the mobile safety laboratory

08/07/2020

A key to preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread is frequent, comprehensive testing. This allows the early detection of infections and helps break the chain of infection. It always comes down to Coronavirus testing capacity. In Germany's southwest state of Saarland, the mobile epiLab (epidemiological laboratory) supports the search for infections lurking in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
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Image: symbol image for artificial intelligence; Copyright: MIPT Press Office

Machine learning helps grow artificial organs

08/07/2020

Researchers have developed a neural network capable of recognizing retinal tissues during the process of their differentiation in a dish. Unlike humans, the algorithm achieves this without the need to modify cells, making the method suitable for growing retinal tissue for developing cell replacement therapies to treat blindness and conducting research into new drugs.
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Image: medical illustration of Clostridioides difficile bacteria; Copyright: CDC

Software to find drug-resistant bacteria

07/07/2020

Washington State University researchers have developed an easy-to-use software program to identify drug-resistant genes in bacteria. The program could make it easier to identify the deadly antimicrobial resistant bacteria that exist in the environment. Such microbes annually cause more than 2.8 million difficult-to-treat pneumonia, bloodstream and other infections and 35,000 deaths in the U.S.
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Image: graphic of cell membrane on a chip; Copyright: Susan Daniel/Cornell University

Cell membrane on a chip to speed up screening of drug candidates for COVID-19

06/07/2020

Researchers have developed a human cell 'membrane on a chip' that allows continuous monitoring of how drugs and infectious agents interact with our cells, and may soon be used to test potential drug candidates for COVID-19.
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Image: Man working in a laboratory; Copyright: Cedars-Sinai

COVID-19: virus can infect heart cells in lab dish

03/07/2020

A new study shows that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect heart cells in a lab dish, indicating it may be possible for heart cells in COVID-19 patients to be directly infected by the virus. The discovery, published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was made using heart muscle cells that were produced by stem cell technology.
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Image: graphic for heart cell observation; Copyright: Daria Sokol/MIPT Press Office

Gentle technique to study heart tissue functioning

03/07/2020

Biophysicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and their colleagues have proposed a simple way to observe the heart tissue. Besides being relatively uncomplicated, the new method is cheaper and produces results that are more independent, compared with the analogues currently in use. The study came out in Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
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Image: 'Mini-brain' bioengineered from human stem cells; Copyright: Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Organoids suggest COVID-19 virus can infect human brain cells

02/07/2020

A multidisciplinary team from two Johns Hopkins University institutions, including neurotoxicologists and virologists from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and infectious disease specialists from the school of medicine, has found that organoids known as "mini-brains" can be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
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Image: point-of-care diagnostic system; Copyright: NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology

Portable COVID-19 diagnostic system for rapid on-site testing

29/06/2020

COVID-19 screening can soon be conducted directly at various testing stations, and patients can get their test results in about an hour from the time they get a nasal swab. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a portable COVID-19 micro-PCR diagnostic system that enables rapid and accurate on-site screening of infectious diseases.
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Image: Transmission of medical data of an athlete to a laptop; Copyright: PantherMedia / Viktor Cap

Sports medicine software: Monitoring at the push of a button

22/05/2020

Athletes not only have to be fit and stay in shape, but they also have to achieve peak performance, especially when they get ready for athletic events. Optimized and individualized performance training requires data from external laboratories and institutes. The [i/med] Sports platform from DORNER Health IT Solutions provides a complete workflow − from anamnesis to diagnostic report.
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Image: Researcher with gloves and protective suit is working at a microscope; Copyright: PantherMedia/EvgeniyShkolenko

BSL-4 laboratories: highest levels of safety and protection

01/04/2020

Laboratories are sectioned into four biosafety levels to dictate the precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents. The highest level of biological safety, BSL-4, is perhaps the most well-known when we think of containing pathogens and microbes. However, the fewest number of laboratories actually fall into the BSL-4 category.
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Image: Microscope next to a screen showing pictures of bacteria cultures; Copyright: PantherMedia/shmeljov

Laboratory safety: infection prevention in the work area

01/04/2020

What goes in, must not come out - and must also not cause harm to anyone working inside the lab. That's perhaps a nice way of summing up "laboratory safety" in one sentence - at least wherever pathogens are handled in biological and medical settings. The necessary laboratory safety precautions primarily depend on what is waiting "inside".
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Image: A female researcher with face mask, gloves and cap puts an object slide on a microscope; Copyright: PantherMedia/Kzenon

Laboratory work: the right personal protective equipment is crucial

01/04/2020

When working with infectious materials and organisms in the laboratory, safe handling and appropriate training are of utmost importance. Another central component is personal protective equipment designed to prevent contact with tissue, liquids and aerosols and protect the wearer.
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Image: A researcher sits at a laboratory bench and puts gloves at his hands; Copyright: PantherMedia/dragana.stock@gmail.com

The safe laboratory – protection through technology

01/04/2020

When biomedical researchers or diagnosticians work with potentially contagious materials like cell cultures, blood or tissue, they need absolute protection from pathogens. Both safety measures in the workspace and the correct tools and materials are key here. Learn in our Topic of the Month what is important for protection in the lab and what a safe laboratory looks like.
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Image: diagnostic test on a table; Copyright: beta web GmbH/Melanie Prüser

Single-use tests: sensitivity and easy use combined for diagnostics

12/12/2019

Diagnostic testing usually takes some time and a sterile environment to get the results. To cut down on the costs and effort spend on these tasks there are different diagnostic tests. One of them are single-use tests offered by SensDx S.A. The technology behind them not only makes the process faster and easier, but provides the opportunity to expand into home use in the future as well.
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Image: Blood sample labelled

Cardiac diagnostics – prompt and personalized

08/11/2019

If physicians suspect an acute myocardial infarction, they first order an ECG. This test is very established and allows cardiologists to quickly diagnose acute heart attacks – though the test does not detect less common heart attack symptoms. So far, those patients had to wait up to twelve hours before a heart attack could be accurately diagnosed or ruled out. But things are about the change.
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Image: Flags are blowing in the wind to the backdrop of a dark evening sky; Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

Medicine at the pulse of time: Innovations and trends at MEDICA 2019

04/11/2019

Soon, the world's largest trade fair for medical technology will open its doors again: More than 5.000 exhibitors will present their newest products and ideas at MEDICA from 18 to 21 November. You will not only meet well-known companies here, but also lots of young start-ups. Or, you can visit the MEDICA forums and conferences to experience a rich program of lectures and discussions.
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Image: A little toy figure of a man in a suit is standing on a print-out of DNA sequencing; Copyright: panthermedia.net/filmfoto

MEDICA LABMED FORUM: full speed ahead for careers in laboratory medicine

04/11/2019

Laboratories are medicine’s secret weapon because they handle the lion’s share of diagnostics often without patients even realizing it. That’s why the continuing workforce shortage in both laboratory medicine and companies is especially troubling. The MEDICA LABMED FORUM 2019 plans to address and counteract this development.
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Image: Volker Bruns; Copyright: Fraunhofer ISS

AI software: "iSTIX opens your world to the possibilities of digital pathology"

08/10/2019

The healthcare market offers a multitude of microscopes that make cells visible to the human eye. The same applies to AI-based software for image analysis. After taking the microscopic images, scientist are faced with large volumes of scans with usually low resolution. Yet when all aspects merge together, they open up a the world of digital pathology.
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Image: MEDICA START-UP PARK; Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

MEDICA START-UP PARK: "For those, who want to experience the startup-spirit"

01/10/2019

When the halls of MEDICA are open to the world to showcase medical innovations, one joint exhibition booth is guaranteed to attract special attention - the MEDICA START-UP PARK. The startups that present their advances in this setting are interesting to visitors and investors, yet long-time exhibitors and big businesses can also benefit from building relationships with these young companies.
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Image: Man with mouthguard and laboratory glasses holding Petri dish up; Copyright: panthermedia.net/kasto

Cardiac Tissue Engineering: a heart out of the Petri dish

23/09/2019

For patients waiting for donor organs, every day can mean the difference between life and death. Making things even more complicated is the fact that not every organ is a compatible match with the patient. It would mean enormous progress if we could grow organs from the patient's own cells in the lab. That's why patients with heart disease place big hope in tissue engineering.
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Image: Participants of the German Medical Award 2018; Copyright: German Medical Award

German Medical Award 2019 celebrates the future of (patient) care

22/08/2019

The German Medical Award will take place on November 18, 2019, as part of the MEDICA trade fair in Düsseldorf. The ceremony emphasizes the commitment to excellence in cutting-edge care for patients. Doctors, clinical centers and companies in the medical and healthcare industry can demonstrate their achievements in medicine and management in hopes of receiving the coveted award.
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Image: Laboratory situation - Prof. Popp shows a young man a small object in his hand; Copyright: Leibniz-IPHT/Sven Döring

Tumor excision: triple imaging for unique diagnostics

08/08/2019

After their tumor has been removed, some patients have to return to the hospital to undergo surgery again. That's because the tumor was not precisely identified and was subsequently not completely removed. That's both an ethical and financial dilemma. A new surgery-adjacent procedure is designed to rapidly and accurately detect tumors.
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Image: A lab technician is using a pipette to fill a solution into a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Arne Trautmann

Last-resort antibiotics: "We can identify carbapenemases within half an hour"

01/08/2019

Antibiotic resistance is modern medicine's greatest challenge. Some bacteria only respond to a handful of antibiotics, prompting hospitals to spend a lot of time finding an effective drug. That’s why it is critical for physicians to rapidly identify antibiotic resistance to avoid ineffective treatments.
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Image: Two petri dishes with different kinds of agar plates on which bacterial cultures are growing; Copyright: panthermedia.net/photographee.eu

Antibiotic resistance: technical tricks against pathogens

01/08/2019

An untreatable infection is a nightmare for physicians and potentially life-threatening to the patient. Unfortunately, more and more pathogens emerge that are resistant to drugs, especially antibiotics. We need to use our drugs smartly and come up with technical solutions as well to prevent our weapons from blunting in the future.
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Image: Flags; Copyright: SilverSky LifeSciences GmbH

Striking new paths in medicine - Diagnostics Partnering Conference 2019

08/07/2019

On November 18th, 2019, parallel to the first day of MEDICA, the world forum for medicine, the Diagnostics Partnering Conference (DxPx Conference) will take place in Düsseldorf, bringing together stakeholders in the diagnostics and research tool industry. The DxPx Conference focuses on discovering technologies, finding financing and investment opportunities and forming collaborative partnerships.
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Image: Cell cultivation in a Petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net / matej kastelic

Organ-on-a-chip – Organs in miniature format

01/02/2019

In vitro processes and animal tests are used to develop new medications and novel therapeutic approaches. However, animal testing raises important ethical concerns. Organ-on-a-chip models promise to be a feasible alternative. In a system the size of a smartphone, organs are connected using artificial circulation.
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Image: Man and woman in a laboratory presenting a multi-organ chip; Copyright: TissUse GmbH

Multi-Organ Chips – The Patients of Tomorrow?

01/02/2019

The liver, nervous tissue or the intestines: all are important human organs that have in the past been tested for their function and compatibility using animal or in vitro test methods. In recent years, TissUse GmbH, a spin-off of the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), has launched multi-organ chip platforms. But that’s not all.
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Image: Graphic rendering of several cells in a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/dani3315

Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?

01/02/2019

Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities.
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From algorithm to rapid test – Artificial Intelligence classifies blood cells

21/11/2018

Our blood reveals a lot about our physical health. The shape of our blood cells sheds light on several hereditary diseases for example. For a diagnosis, the cells must first be examined under the microscope and categorized into a specific cell class. We met with Dr. Stephan Quint and Alexander Kihm of the Institute of Physics at the Saarland University, who explained how this classification works.
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Interview with Hombrechtikon Systems Engineering AG

15/11/2018

Whether DNA testing, tissue analysis or blood tests – the secrets of life are unraveled in the laboratory. In order to master this challenge, all processes must first be optimized and automated. Which role HSE AG plays here, the Swiss company explains at MEDICA 2018.
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Interview with ERBA Diagnostics Mannheim GmbH

15/11/2018

A lot of answers in medicine are found in the laboratory. Correct analysis is key to find the right diagnosis and cure for the patient. We learn more about innovative analysis devices at the stand of ERBA Diagnostics at MEDICA 2018.
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Image: several leg pairs during a run; Copyright: panthermedia.net/lzf

Diagnostics at record speeds – POCT in high-performance sports

02/11/2018

This is what diagnostic investigation normally looks like: a patient sample is collected, sent to the laboratory and analyzed. Once that's completed, the patient is told of the lab test result. But if the patient is a high-performance athlete and has to follow and stick to a rigid training schedule, he or she needs these results immediately. What makes this possible? Point-of-care testing!
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Image: About eight in ten Germans suffer from back pain during their lifetime; Copyright: panthermedia.net/stasique

Back pain: The research project Ran Rücken is intended to help

10/09/2018

About eight in ten Germans suffer from back pain during their lifetime. Too much or the wrong movements can also cause problems. "Ran Rücken", the interdisciplinary research project aims to determine the right minimum dose of exercise that proves effective. (Explanatory note: "Ran Rücken" can be loosely translated as "Target the Back")
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Image: Maria Driesel and her colleagues from inveox next to the new device; Copyright: Astrid Eckert

Pathology 4.0 – inveox automates laboratory processes

22/08/2018

Mix-ups, contamination and sample loss – most errors in pathology happen when specimen are received. Countless samples arrive daily at the laboratory, while the sample entry process is very monotonous. As a result, the work is inefficient. The start-up company inveox has now developed a system that automates the processes in the pathology laboratory, thus making them more efficient.
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Personalized cancer medicine – Best possible treatment with TherapySelect

30/04/2018

Medicine is getting more and more personalized. This is particularly interesting for oncology, since a cancer is as individual as the respective patient. When choosing a therapy, both the characteristics of the tumor and the personal characteristics of the patient must be considered. To see exactly what this looks like, we visited the diagnostics company TherapySelect, based in Heidelberg.
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Image: Three men in suits and a woman in a laboratory coat are standing in a laboratory; Copyright: Ministry of Economy of Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania/Norbert Fellechner

On the trail of cancer: personalized cancer vaccine

01/03/2018

Conventional cancer treatment selection typically depends on the location of the tumor. However, this approach ignores the distinct gene mutations in the tumor of the individual patient. New cancer research approaches increasingly emphasize the concept of personalized therapy.
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Image: yellow tape measure with capsules in front of it; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Jiri Hera

Personalized cancer medicine: customized treatment

01/03/2018

Everyone is different. This statement also applies to our health. Cancer, in particular, can look and progress differently depending on the individual person. That’s why every patient ideally also needs a customized treatment that is tailored to their individual needs. But how feasible is this idea?
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Image: a container with the nutrient medium for cancer cells; Copyright: Dr. Markus Wehland

Cells in space – extraterrestrial approaches in cancer research

22/02/2018

Here on Earth, all experiments are bound by gravitation. Yet, freed from gravity's grip, tumor cells, for example, behave in an entirely different way. As part of the "Thyroid Cancer Cells in Space" project by the University of Magdeburg, smartphone-sized containers carrying poorly differentiated thyroid cancer cells are sent into space.
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Image: Stethoscope lying on a world map and transparent icons placed over the entire image; Copyright: panthermedia.net/everythingposs

Everything flows: transportation and material flows in hospital logistics

01/02/2018

During a visit to the hospital, patients naturally expect to receive comprehensive care. Not only does this include the proper treatment, but also a hospital bed and regular meals for example. Patients typically don't ask about the transport logistics this entails for the hospital.
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"Spray-On" muscle fibers for biomimetic surfaces

08/01/2018

Few patients with heart failure are fortunate enough to receive a donor's heart. Ventricular assist devices (or heart pumps) have been around for several years and are designed to buy time as patients wait for a transplant. Unfortunately, the body doesn't always tolerate these devices.
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