A Look Back at a Year 'In MedTech History'

A Look Back at a Year 'In MedTech History'

By Tracy Schaaf, Senior Writer/Market Analyst, MedTech Strategist

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

Sir Isaac Newton, circa 1689

Sir Isaac Newton, circa 1689

Over the past year here in our In MedTech History blog series, we have highlighted many groundbreaking pioneers who—against all odds, and sometimes against the medical establishment at the time—looked at what was possible in terms of diagnosing and treating serious diseases and conditions and said, “There has to be a better way.” Through trial and error over time, medical device inventions—such as X-rays, neurostimulators, insulin pumps, dialysis machines, ultrasound, and intraocular lenses, to name just a few—brought to life by passionate, determined innovators from around the globe have left an indelible mark on patient care and quality of life. Today, it is difficult to imagine the practice of modern medicine without these technologies.

Here are just a few examples of our most popular recent IMH posts that we invite you to read if you haven’t already (a huge thank you to our thousands of readers to date):

Moon Landing, July 20, 1969 (Source: NASA)

Moon Landing, July 20, 1969 (Source: NASA)

  • In 1912, the RMS Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, a tragedy that influenced the development of ultrasound technology.

  • In 1943, while caring for World War II casualties in the Netherlands at the height of German occupation, Dutch physician Willem J. Kolff built the first dialysis prototype using tin cans, sausage casings, and parts from washing machines and other scarce available resources.

  • In 1949, influenced by British Royal Air Force pilots who had suffered eye injuries during the dark days of World War II, English ophthalmologist Sir Harold Ridley invented and implanted the first intraocular lens.

  • In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and the first closed-loop insulin pump device for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D) was invented by Dr. Arnold Kadish.

  • In 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first two people to set foot on the Moon, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held in New York, and colonoscopy was invented by Hiromi Shinya, MD, and William Wolff, MD.

  • In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee of Switzerland published his formal proposal for a concept called the “World Wide Web,” and the Automated Endoscopic System for Optimal Positioning (AESOP) from Computer Motion became the first robotic, computer-driven system approved by the FDA for use in endoscopic surgical procedures.

  • In 2004, Google stock began trading on NASDAQ at $85 a share, and Concentric Medical’s Mechanical Embolus Removal in Cerebral Ischemia (MERCI) Retrieval System was the first device to be FDA-cleared for the removal of blood clots from the brain in patients experiencing an acute ischemic stroke.

The  Automated Endoscopic System for Optimal Positioning (AESOP) , produced by Computer Motion Inc.

The Automated Endoscopic System for Optimal Positioning (AESOP), produced by Computer Motion Inc.

It is awe inspiring to contemplate the hard-fought evolution that has taken place in each of these fields, among many others, and the life-changing discoveries that haven’t even been dreamt of yet. So: who will be the medical device pioneers of tomorrow, and what will history say about them 20, 50, 100, 200 years from now? There are big things happening in labs all around the world as you read this, that will change healthcare as we know it.

As we say on our IMH homepage, to all of you passionate innovators and supporters of the global medtech industry, keep thinking BIG. We are proud to follow your dreams and journeys In MedTech History here on the MedTech Strategist Community Blog, and look forward to continuing to celebrate your life-changing achievements. And a sincere thank you to the MedTech giants who have come before you.

If you have a suggestion for a medical technology area you would like us to highlight in our In MedTech History series, we would love to hear from you.

For a closer look at the latest advances in the fields noted above, see the MedTech Strategist articles noted below, among many others available in our archive.

Have comments on this post, or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover in the Community Blog? Email us: blog@medtechstrategist.com.


Further Reading in MedTech Strategist:

  • Surgical Robotics—“J&J Bets Big in Robotic Surgery,” by David Cassak

  • Surgical Robotics—“Intuitive Faces the Future of Surgical Robotics,” by David Cassak

  • Diabetes—“Diabetes: Technology Advances Redefine the Standard of Care,” by Mary Thompson

  • Business Models – “In Hemodialysis, Using Technology to Drive Service Model Innovation,” by Mary Stuart

  • “What’s Next for the Ischemic Stroke Market? Brett Wall, SVP and President of Brain Therapies at Medtronic, Weighs In,” by Mary Thompson

  • “Technologies to Watch in 2018, Part 1,” by the MedTech Strategist Editorial Team

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