Many of the world’s greatest scientific discoveries have been made by women in medtech history. This post celebrates Rosalyn Yalow, PhD, an American medical physicist who was a co-winner of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977—the first American woman to be honored with this achievement—for the development of radioimmunoassay (RIA). The method of measuring previously unidentifiable peptide hormones revolutionized biological and medical research, and led to many of today’s key diagnostics technologies.
In 1940, World War II was raging across Europe, color TV was transmitted for the first time, the first US superhighway was opened, and a seismic shift took place in orthopedic surgery that would change the lives of patients with intractable hip arthritis pain or fractures – the first hip replacement surgery with a metal implant was performed.
This week we celebrate the one-year anniversary of MedTech Strategist’s Community Blog, and the In MedTech History series, with a powerful quote that suits today’s thriving, evolving, innovative, life-saving medical device industry perfectly:
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." – Sir Isaac Newton, 1675
The year 2003 was historic for a number of reasons: the Iraq War, the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew, and the conclusion of the world's largest collaborative biological project: the Human Genome Project. The knowledge gained from this successful 13-year scientific endeavor has since ushered in an emerging era in genomics and precision medicine, making it possible to predict, diagnose, and treat diseases more precisely and personally than ever.
Amidst a growing counterculture sparked by the Vietnam War and the US civil rights movement, bariatric surgery as we know it today had its beginnings in 1965 in a research laboratory at the University of Iowa. Today, as obesity reaches epidemic proportions, bariatric surgery has established its place as the most effective treatment for achieving substantial weight loss and improving or even resolving comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea, especially in the morbidly obese.
Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia, affects millions of people worldwide. Thanks to pioneering work by Melvin Scheinman, MD and others nearly 40 years ago in catheter ablation, the need for open-heart surgery or long-term drug therapy for hundreds of thousands of patients with AF or other serious heart rhythm disturbances has been nearly eliminated.
From its beginnings more than 100 years ago as a simple radiographic image of mastectomy tissue specimens to its present status as the gold standard method of breast cancer detection, mammography serves a critical role in detecting a disease that one in every eight women will be diagnosed with in her lifetime.
The turbulent late 1960s were marked by Vietnam protests, Woodstock, and man’s first steps on the Moon. It was also the dawn of the era of colonoscopy, one of the most significant tools we have against colorectal cancer—the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer death in the US.
The year 1977 was momentous not only as the year that the personal computer revolution began, but also as the first time that the world saw whole-body MRI images. Now, this magnetic field and radio wave-based technology is a staple of medical imaging, used to noninvasively diagnose a variety of conditions ranging from torn ligaments to tumors.
In the early 50s, American surgeon Charles Hufnagel, MD began saving lives with a first-of-its-kind plastic aortic assist valve. Today, thanks to this pioneering work, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is firmly established as a safe and effective procedure for treating symptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis. And, the transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVR) space is advancing quickly.
As recently as 15 years ago, acute ischemic stroke patients had few treatment options. The arrival of the pioneering—and at the time, controversial—MERCI Retrieval System on the US market in 2004 served to transform the treatment paradigm for this devastating and costly condition by offering physicians and patients a long-awaited fast-acting, life-saving intervention.
As noted in previous posts here on the Community Blog, dialysis is a therapy whose time has come, and disruptive innovation is needed. In a first-of-its-kind partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Society of Nephrology, the ongoing KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis prize competition is looking to spur medtech innovation that completely disrupts the way kidney failure is treated.
As the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) describes it, vascular access is so important to a hemodialysis patient that it can be considered a ‘lifeline.’ However, this vital access site is prone to stenosis, thrombosis, and costly re-interventions. Laminate Medical Technologies hopes to support this critical lifeline with a first-of-its-kind external support device for AV fistulas, that alleviates wall tension and regulates an undesired narrowing of the vein and/or frequent blockages of the blood vessels.
End-stage renal disease treatment is a little known but dominant cost driver for the global healthcare system, and the number of patients needing regular dialysis in order to stay alive—and repeated interventions to combat complications—is growing. With its origins as a blood-filtering machine devised from tin cans, sausage casings and other non-medical parts by a determined Dutch physician in World War II Netherlands, today medical device companies such as Healionics are working to address the most critical and costly unmet need in dialysis: maintaining healthy and functional access to the bloodstream.
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.
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.
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.