News In Health Technology: July

Welcome back to another look at some of the most interesting, inspiring and exciting developments in the world of healthcare technology. Amongst a few other stories, this month we take a look at an innovative heart disease detection method, A.I assisted fertility treatment and a novel new way that we may one day use to replace needles.

Using AI to choose healthy embryos for IVF

IVF is an expensive procedure that has no guarantee of success, but artificial intelligence may be the key to helping couples have a better chance of conceiving. A new international study with Sao Paulo University in Brazil and Boston Place Clinic in London shows that AI was more accurate than doctors at identifying which embryos had the potential to result in a healthy birth.

By training the AI in what characteristics a good embryo has, it would then be able to select one from a batch by looking at identifiers such as size, texture and the homogeneity of cells. Although the technique is still in a testing phase the expectation is that could become standard practice and change the lives of millions of hopeful parents once in clinical use.

3D printed prosthetics for children


The world’s first trial of 3D printed bionic hands for children has begun in the UK, using techniques that make their manufacturing cost a fraction of current models. By using cutting-edge 3D scanning and printing techniques the hands only cost £5,000 and take one day to make, as opposed to current prosthetics which can cost up to £60,000. What’s more, Disney have partnered up with Open Bionics to allow them to base their designs on characters, royalty-free.

If the trial is successful, the team will be able to apply for a grant to offer the product across the country and one day, the world.

A new way to spot cancer cells?


Using a special hand-made Raman spectroscopy probe, scientists in Montreal, Canada are now able to better distinguish between normal tissue and cancer cells by shining light on materials and examining the scatter pattern to see how cells react.

By being used during a surgery and pointed at suspect tissue it can reportedly detect a range of cancer cells, including brain, lung, colon and skin cells. The probe is currently being tested but has the potential to develop into a significantly contribute to the world of oncology.

When neuro meets cardio

A team from Imperial College, London have been applying techniques from neuroscience to help monitor patients with heart disease. Our hearts are densely packed with muscle tissue, blood vessels, nerves and collagen, making it difficult for laser-based imaging techniques to get a good picture, but a better way may be right around the corner.

Optical Clearing is an existing method used for preparing samples of brain tissue that dissolves fatty tissue and reduces the overall density. By using a similar approach for hearts, scientists will be able to get a much clearer look at the fine structure of the heart and spot any problems with more accuracy.

Nano delivery of drugs for lungs


Scientists at Imperial College, London are testing metallic nanoparticles that can carry drugs to exact locations in the body – including the lungs. Tiny metal cages that transport drug molecules can be used to treat patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension,

By delivering the medication directly to the lungs, the hope is that they can work faster and more efficiently whilst reducing the risk of any side-effects. Made of iron, the tiny metallic structures have been tested and so far have not shown themselves to be marked as toxic by the host body. Could this be the beginnings of a whole new drug delivery system?

Swallow your injections


A lab in Silicon Valley, USA is looking at a different approach to administering medication such as insulin and other drugs through a pill, instead of an injection.

The pill works as a mini auto-injector that delivers the drug directly into the intestinal wall so that it can immediately be absorbed into the blood without any pain. The injection itself is triggered by a small balloon which is inflated upon reaching the intestine, pushing tiny, bio-absorbable needles in the digestive tract. After the drug is administered, the needles harmless dissolve and all the other materials naturally exit the body.


Innovation Matters delivers news, opinions and features about healthcare, and is focused on the professionals who work within the industry, as well as Philips as a cutting-edge health technology organization. From interviews with industry giants to how-to guides and features powered by Philips data, our goal is to deliver interesting, educational and entertaining content to empower and inspire all those who work in healthcare or related industries.