Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Activating STAT3 Alpha for Promoting Healing of Neurons

Natural anti-apoptotic, pro-axogenic mechanisms are stimulated artificially.

A method of promoting healing of injured or diseased neurons involves pharmacological activation of the STAT3 alpha protein. Usually, injured or diseased neurons heal incompletely or not at all for two reasons: (1) they are susceptible to apoptosis (cell death); and (2) they fail to engage in axogenesis — that is, they fail to re-extend their axons to their original targets (e.g., muscles or other neurons) because of insufficiency of compounds, denoted neurotrophic factors, needed to stimulate such extension. The present method (see figure) of treatment takes advantage of prior research findings to the effect that the STAT3 alpha protein has anti-apoptotic and pro-axogenic properties.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Diseases, Nervous system, Pharmaceuticals
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Hydrocyclone/Filter for Concentrating Biomarkers From Soil

This apparatus could detect biomarkers or chemical waste in soil.

The hydrocyclone- filtration extractor (HFE), now undergoing development, is a simple, robust apparatus for processing large amounts of soil to extract trace amounts of microorganisms, soluble organic compounds, and other biomarkers from soil and to concentrate the extracts in amounts sufficient to enable such traditional assays as cell culturing, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis, and isotope analysis. Originally intended for incorporation into a suite of instruments for detecting signs of life on Mars, the HFE could also be used on Earth for similar purposes, including detecting trace amounts of biomarkers or chemical wastes in soils.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Soils, Biological sciences, Biomaterials, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Carbon-Nanotube-Based Electrodes for Biomedical Applications

Stimuli and responses could be localized to within nanometers.

A nanotube array based on vertically aligned nanotubes or carbon nanofibers has been invented for use in localized electrical stimulation and recording of electrical responses in selected regions of an animal body, especially including the brain. There are numerous established, emerging, and potential applications for localized electrical stimulation and/or recording, including treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, and chronic pain, and research on electrochemical effects involved in neurotransmission.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Electrical systems, Biological sciences, Nervous system, Nanomaterials
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Using Hyperspectral Imagery To Identify Turfgrass Stresses

Stress maps could enable more-efficient management of large turfgrass fields.

The use of a form of remote sensing to aid in the management of large turfgrass fields (e.g. golf courses) has been proposed. A turfgrass field of interest would be surveyed in sunlight by use of an airborne hyperspectral imaging system, then the raw observational data would be preprocessed into hyperspectral reflectance image data. These data would be further processed to identify turfgrass stresses, to determine the spatial distributions of those stresses, and to generate maps showing the spatial distributions.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Imaging and visualization, Remote sensing, Recreational vehicles and equipment
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Compact Directional Microwave Antenna for Localized Heating

Heating is concentrated on one side.

A directional, catheter-sized cylindrical antenna has been developed for localized delivery of microwave radiation for heating (and thus killing) diseased tissue without excessively heating nearby healthy tissue. By “localized” is meant that the antenna radiates much more in a selected azimuthal direction than in the opposite radial direction, so that it heats tissue much more on one side than it does on the opposite side. This antenna can be inserted using either a catheter or a syringe. A 2.4-mm prototype was tested, although smaller antennas are possible.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Antennas, Diseases, Medical equipment and supplies, Thermal management, Radiation
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Improved Measurement of B₂₂ of Macromolecules in a Flow Cell

Invention helps researchers understand conditions that affect protein crystallization.

An improved apparatus has been invented for use in determining the osmotic second virial coefficient of macromolecules in solution. In a typical intended application, the macromolecules would be, more specifically, protein molecules, and the protein solution would be pumped through a flow cell to investigate the physical and chemical conditions that affect crystallization of the protein in question.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Chemicals, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures
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Using Light To Treat Mucositis and Help Wounds Heal

Arrays of LEDs would generate biostimulatory radiation.

A continuing program of research and development is focusing on the use of controlled illumination by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to treat mucositis and to accelerate healing of wounds. The basic idea is to illuminate the affected area of a patient with light of an intensity, duration, and wavelength (or combination of wavelengths) chosen to produce a therapeutic effect while generating only a minimal amount of heat.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Diseases, Medical equipment and supplies, Radiation
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Validating Requirements for Surgical Spinal Implants With Finite Element Analysis

Vertebral body replacement devices require thorough analysis and engineering testing to ensure their safety.

When Spinal USA, a manufacturer and distributor of advanced surgical spinal products, designed a new series of spinal implants called vertebral body replacement (VBR) devices, they needed to meet United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for physical laboratory testing in order to obtain approval for use. Designed to be inserted by a surgeon into a patient’s spine during a spinal fusion procedure, the VBR devices required thorough engineering testing to ensure that they were safe and effective. In order to meet the FDA requirements, Spinal USA contracted Saba Metallurgical and Plant Engineering Services (SMPES) to perform finite element analysis (FEA) of the various VBR designs using ALGOR FEA software to virtually predict the behavior of the VBR designs under the required test conditions. Through a combination of computer simulation and physical laboratory tests of prototypes, the VBR devices obtained FDA approval.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Finite element analysis, Prostheses and implants, Surgical procedures, Certification
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Benchtop Detection of Proteins

This process is relatively rapid and simple.

A process, and a benchtop-scale apparatus for implementing the process, have been developed to detect proteins associated with specific microbes in water. The process and apparatus may also be useful for detection of proteins in other, more complex liquids. There may be numerous potential applications, including monitoring lakes and streams for contamination, testing of blood and other bodily fluids in medical laboratories, and testing for microbial contamination of liquids in restaurants and industrial food-processing facilities. A sample can be prepared and analyzed by use of this process and apparatus within minutes, whereas an equivalent analysis performed by use of other processes and equipment can often take hours to days.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Water, Bacteria, Fluids and secretions, Medical equipment and supplies, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Recombinant Collagenlike Proteins

These proteins can be tailored to have specific biological properties.

A group of collagenlike recombinant proteins containing high densities of biologically active sites has been invented. The method used to express these proteins is similar to a method of expressing recombinant procollagens and collagens described in U. S. Patent 5,593,859, “Synthesis of human procollagens and collagens in recombinant DNA systems.”

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Fabrication, Biomaterials
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