In MedTech History

By Tracy Shaaf, Senior Writer/Analyst, MedTech Strategist

Thoughts on the New Year: Keep Thinking BIG, MedTech Strategists!

As the MedTech world begins a fresh new year of innovation and opportunity, the In MedTech History series would like to take a moment to thank youthe uber-industrious global community of MedTech Strategistsfor your achievements. Over the past 6+ months on these pages, we’ve looked back at many cutting-edge medical device innovations that had their humble beginnings many years or centuries ago, many as curious discoveries or experiments. Through trial and error over time, inventions brought to life by passionate innovators from around the globesuch as X-rays, neurostimulators, insulin pumps, and intraocular lenses, to name a fewhave left an indelible mark on patient care and quality of life. It is awe-inspiring to contemplate this hard-fought evolution, and the life-changing discoveries that haven’t even been dreamt of yet. So to all of you passionate innovators, keep thinking BIG. We are proud to follow your dreams and journeys here on the MedTech Strategist Community Blog.

In MedTech History:
Surgical Robotics

Back in 1990, the same year that Americans were paying on average $1.34 for a gallon of gas, Space Shuttle Discovery placed the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, and Tim Berners-Lee published his formal proposal for a concept called the “World Wide Web,” the surgical robotics revolution was born. [Read Part 1]. We continue our look at executives working to make an impact in surgical robotics, including David McNally, Titan Medical and Christopher Prentice, Mazor Robotics. Also, we note a few observations from last week’s annual Society of Robotic Surgery conference, where key executives from all the major robotics companies assembled to discuss the current status and future of the field. [Read Part 2]

In MedTech History:
Traumatic Brain Injury

From ancient battlefields to today’s ball fields, the “silent epidemic” of traumatic brain injury (TBI) was and is a major cause of death and disability globally, but diagnosing the condition has not changed substantially over the last 50 years. BrainScope, hopes to change all this by assessing patients with a multi-modal panel of capabilities including EEG-based technology and Artificial Intelligence.

In MedTech History: Heart Failure Technology

In this edition of “In MedTech History,” we take a look at heart failure, the reason for more hospitalizations of older Americans than any other condition. Researchers from MIT, Harvard University, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) Center, and National University of Ireland Galway are developing a first-of-its-kind implant that they hope can deliver stem cells and other therapies directly to heart muscle damaged by myocardial infarction, and positively impact the cascade of events leading to heart failure.


In MedTech History: Ophthalmic Implants

In this installment of IMH, we take a look at the pioneering early work in intraocular lenses that laid the foundation for the remarkable devices on the market and under development today that are preserving and even restoring vision. We also discuss three important trends to watch in the ophthalmic implant space, according to Andrew Iwach, MD, Executive Director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. [Read Part 1]. We continue our conversation about the future of the “eye-catching” ophthalmic device space with Andrew Iwach, MD, Executive Director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In this installment, we take a look at recent advancements in cataract surgery, that promise to impact the vision of millions of patients worldwide, as well as important unmet clinical needs across ophthalmology. [Read Part 2]


In MedTech History: Neurostimulation

In this week’s installment of our “MedTech History” series, we take a look at implantable neurostimulation/neuromodulation devices, which have their technical roots in cardiac pacing in the 1950s, but today are helping to restore function and improve quality of life for a growing list of serious neurological diseases and disorders. There have been a number of significant “firsts” in the space recently, including Cala Health’s FDA clearance for its Cala ONE neuromodulation therapy for transient relief of hand tremors in adults with essential tremor, and NeuroPace’s launch of its Next Gen RNS System, a brain-computer interface for the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

In MedTech History:

Fueled by the passion of pioneering physicists, physicians and medical device innovators looking for a way to fight cancer and make an impact on patient survival and quality of life, cutting-edge oncology devices under development today include an implant designed to infuse chemotherapies directly into aggressive pancreatic tumors, and an MRI-safe robotic system for breast biopsy.

In MedTech History: Diabetes Technology

The evolution in device-based diabetes management began more than 50 years ago. Today, fueled by US healthcare costs approaching $330 billion and exponential global growth in incidence and prevalence, device technologies—powered by the promise of data and analytics—are helping to simplify the lives of diabetic patients and at the same time combat the rise in the cost of care. In this edition, we take a look at DexCom’s acquisition of TypeZero Technologies. [Read Part 1]. We highlight recent developments in the brave new world of automated diabetes devices, including Tandem Diabetes Care’s US launch of its t:slim X2 Insulin Pump with predictive Basal-IQ Technology. Advancements such as these couldn’t be coming at a more opportune time: Diabetes is now the most costly chronic illness in the US, according to the American Diabetes Association. [Read Part 2]


In MedTech History: Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), a progressive, incurable disease leading to right heart failure that strikes mostly women in the prime of life, has limited treatment options beyond some of the most expensive drugs covered by Medicare. TCT 2018 Shark Tank winner Aria CV hopes to impact the poor prognosis for this disease by focusing its first-of-a-kind, fully implantable device on a fundamental new mechanism of action—mimicking the function of a healthy pulmonary artery.