A Pill-Sized MRI Powered Robotic Endoscope

Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston are working on a robotic endoscope. The size of a large pill, the magnetic microswimmer is powered by strong magnetic fields generated by an MRI machine.

Robotic endoscope

The technology was recently published in the journal Biomedical Microdevices. A 20mm long, 5mm wide swimming tail made of copper and flexible polymer vibrates due to the magnets in the MRI machine and propels the capsule endoscope in the stomach. Propulsion speed is on the order of several millimeter per second.

What makes this endoscope truly different from current “capsule endoscopies,” which involves swallowing a pill-sized camera that takes pictures continuously until it is passed, is that electronics and microsensors embedded in the robotic endoscope will allow an operator to manipulate the magnetic field and guide the movement of — literally steer — the device through the GI tract.

In the future, the microswimmer may allow doctors to find difficult-to-diagnose, early stage cancer or allow for treatments such as biopsies or local drug delivery.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Ion Proton Sequencer for Genome Sequencing

Ever since the human genome was sequenced in 2000, there’s been talk of a “$1,000 genome” — the ability to map an individual’s complete genome for one thousand U.S. dollars.

Life Technologies announced yesterday that it has achieved that milestone with the release of the new benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer, which is designed to sequence the entire human genome in a single day (existing DNA sequencing technologies take a week or longer) for $1,000 USD.

Ion Proton Sequencer

Neoprobe Imaging Agent Aids in Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

Neoprobe’s newly licensed radiopharmaceutical imaging agent, AZD4694, is a fluorine-18 labeled radioligand for use in the imaging and evaluation of patients with signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Imaging agent for amyloid detection to aid diagnosis of Alzheimers disease

According to Thomas Tulip, Ph.D., Neoprobe’s Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer:

We believe AZD4694 has a compelling global commercial outlook and should beneficially facilitate development of more effective disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. This potentially powerful second-generation agent with apparent best-in-class properties has demonstrated strong performance attributes. We believe AZD4694 imaging may be quite useful as an adjunct measure in the diagnosis of this large, growing disease and may allow patients to seek earlier, and therefore potentially more effective, treatment options.

An estimated 35 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A 2009 report by the London-based nonprofit Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an international federation of 71 national Alzheimer organizations (including the Alzheimer’s Association), indicates that the number of people with dementia is expected to grow sharply to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

AZD4694 binds to beta-amyloid deposits in the brain and can then be imaged in positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Amyloid plaque pathology is a required feature of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and the presence of amyloid pathology is a supportive feature for diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease. Patients who are negative for amyloid pathology do not have Alzheimer’s disease.

Neoprobe Corporation, a Dublin, Ohio-based company, develops and commercializes innovative biomedical products that meet critical intraopertive, diagnostic and therapeutic treatment needs of patients and physicans. In January, Neoprobe will officially change its name to Navidea Biopharmaceuticals to reflect the company’s transformation to a biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted diagnostic agents.

Source: Neoprobe