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UK company launches bionic hand

  SCOTTISH COMPANY TOUCH BIONICS has launched the world’s first commercially available bionic hand.

The Livingston-based company’s i-LIMB Hand prosthesis is now available worldwide, and has been successfully fitted to a significant number of patients in Europe and the USA.

Invented by Scottish NHS worker David Gow, the i-LIMB Hand looks and acts like a real human hand. The thumb and fingers can move and grip individually under the patient’s control. The hand has a thin ‘skin’ of semi-transparent material.

“I was amazed by how quickly I could learn to do things with the i-LIMB Hand,” said Donald McKillop of Kilmarnock, Scotland, one of the first patients to be fitted with the bionic hand. “It’s truly incredible to see the fingers moving and gripping around objects that I haven’t been able to pick up before.”

Stuart Mead, CEO of Touch Bionics, said: “We are delighted to be the company that moves bionic hand technology from the research and development phase into the real world, and to lead a generational advance in bionics and patient care.”

For more information, visit www.touchbionics.com.

NMT Medical mends broken hearts

NMT MEDICAL has launched the world’s first bioabsorbable septal repair implant in Europe.

The BioSTAR® implant is a unique biomaterial drug and device combination that has received CE Mark approval in Europe, where it has recently been implanted in several patients.

John E. Ahern, NMT’s President and CEO, said: “BioSTAR is the first in a new generation of biological implant devices that NMT is developing for treatment of septal heart defects. Based on market research, there is a potential for more than 250,000 annual procedures in Europe and Canada for the stroke and transient ischemic attack indications.

“As a recognised technology innovator with the first and only bioabsorbable implant available for commercial use, NMT is well-positioned to secure the market leadership position.”

BioSTAR is designed to close atrial level defects using the patient’s natural healing response. The average procedure time to close a septal defect with BioSTAR is approximately 40 minutes. 90–95% of the implant is expected to be absorbed into the body over time.

NMT Medical designs, manufactures and markets proprietary implant technologies that allow cardiologists to treat structural heart disease through minimally invasive, catheter-based procedures. For more information, visit www.nmtmedical.com.

Kimal launches new K Flowcatheters

  KIMAL PLC, A PROVIDER OF HEALTHCARE solutions to the UK and the global healthcare market, has launched a new range of access catheters.

The new K Flow range covers virtually all clinical needs in the access arena. Key features include high flow rates, specially-designed hubs and lack of kinking when used, all of which offer greater patient comfort and ease of use.

Medical professionals from around the world attended K Flow’s international launch in the West Midlands. Kimal’s Managing Director, Alan Press, said: “We are excited to introduce these new access catheters to the marketplace. Not only am I particularly pleased with the attendance of so many international delegates, I am very impressed that we have the support of key clinical specialists from hospitals here in the UK, including Portsmouth, Chichester and Leicester.

“The market has been waiting for a long time for an innovative and comprehensive range of access catheters to be introduced. K Flow is that range, and we look forward to the new product suite being enthusiastically received by clinicians, specialists and the wider international healthcare community over the coming weeks and months.” For more information, visit www.kimal.co.uk.

Fold up your stents

  A DECLINE OF $1B in the US drug-eluting cardiac stent market has cast doubt over the future of the fastestselling medical device in modern times.

Four years after the introduction of drugcoated stents, questions about their safety and effectiveness have triggered a steep decline in sales. Industry analysts expect the US drug-eluting stent market to shrink from $2.9 billion last year to about $2 billion this year. The two companies that dominate the cardiac stent market have been severely affected. Johnson & Johnson is cutting up to 4,800 jobs worldwide, partly due to a decline in sales of its Cypher stent. Boston Scientific has seen its stock value fall to a five-year low after sales of its Taxus stent fell by 32% last quarter. The ability of drug-coated stents to reduce scarring after heart surgery has led to their being implanted in some six million people over the past four years. However, in 2006 research indicated that drug-coated stents slightly increase the risk of lethal blood clots forming months or years after implantation.

The impact on the market has been serious, and could affect companies with next-generation drug-coated stents that are just reaching European markets – such as Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic and St. Jude Medical.

However, industry analysts anticipate that new drug-eluting stent models – metal-mesh tubes that unfold inside coronary arteries – will lead to a revival in the device’s fortunes. Meanwhile, the cardiac stent has entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: blues legend Bo Diddley is a new recipient of the tiny plectrum-like device.

Smith & Nephew knee live and kicking

SMITH & NEPHEW’S ORTHOPAEDIC RECONSTRUCTION has launched an innovative knee implant that allows patients to keep their own cruciate ligaments. The Journey Deuce Bi-Compartmental Knee System is a new orthopaedic solution that offers many patients receiving a total knee replacement a more minimally invasive, bone- and ligament-preserving alternative. The Journey Deuce Knee is being launched in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe.

The implant is called the ‘Deuce’ because it replaces only the two areas of the knee most commonly affected by osteoarthritis, while keeping the third area (including the cruciate ligaments) intact.

“With the retention of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, the Journey Deuce knee system addresses an unmet need in the market for the active, informed patient who may be concerned about potential reduced knee function and mobility with a total knee,” said Joseph DeVivo, President, Smith & Nephew Orthopaedic Reconstruction.

The Journey Deuce Knee System is part of a family of next-generation implants from Smith & Nephew that restore more natural motion, preserving bone and ligaments or replacing them with other anatomical components. For more information, visit www.smith-nephew.com.

Healthcare provider meets e-health vendor

  UK telehealth company Docobo has formed a partnership with healthcare service provider RSLSteeper to provide a new integrated telehealth solution for patients with long-term conditions. RSLSteeper, a supplier of prosthetic and orthotic patient care services in the UK, has teamed up with Docobo to provide clients with doc@HOME, an integrated telehealth solution for the remote management of patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart failure.

The versatile system helps patients to manage long-term conditions at home. The Docobo HealthHUB portable home monitor allows patients to record vital signs, symptoms and other data. This information is transferred to the doc@HOME clinical database, which can be accessed by clinicians. Andrew Thornton, Managing Director of RSLSteeper, said: “We chose doc@HOME because it has several benefits, not least the fact that it has been developed and tested in the UK. The price of the unit is also very attractive. As well as its being low-cost, there are no hidden extras.”

According to RSLSteeper, the versatility of Doc@HOME enhances the management of patients with chronic diseases and short- or long-term monitoring needs, as well as bringing substantial cost reductions.

For more information, visit www.docobo.co.uk.

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