Many different imaging methods are available these days and are used in almost all medical disciplines to visualise disease-related changes. Depending on the problem and the clinical picture, very different structural and functional parameters can be visually recorded for diagnosis and used for therapy.
The Karlsruhe-based start-up medicalvalues GmbH wants to use its platform to bring together different clinical data sets and thus enable comprehensive medical diagnostics. Artificial intelligence featuring innovative diagnostic algorithms is used to evaluate the data and generate new insights for laboratories and hospitals.
Rapid progress in sequencing technologies is poised to set the imagination of biomedical researchers on fire. Experts now believe that progress is about to make possible what seemed to be utopian a few years ago – it seems likely that it will soon be possible to sequence the human genome in only a few minutes and store and automatically analyse it using tiny automates. However, is everything that is technically feasible also reasonable?
To diagnose an infection with the coronavirus, usually a throat swab is taken and genetic viral material detected by using a highly sensitive PCR. To date, more than 65 million of these tests have been performed in Germany alone. Due to the massive increase in testing worldwide and simultaneous loss of production, there was a significant shortage of test materials in the early stage of the pandemic.
In the 2022 allocation round for the award of the prestigious Consolidator Grants of the European Research Council, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have been successful. For their projects in the fields of photovoltaics and medical sensor technology, physicist Ulrich W. Paetzold and chemist Frank Biedermann will receive approximately two million euros over the next five years.
Tissue cells are needed for medical diagnostics, cell therapies and tissue engineering, among other things. A novel tissue grinder gently and automatically dissociates cells from tissue. In November 2020, the newly founded biotech company Fast Forward Discoveries GmbH (FFX) delivered its first tissue grinders to customers.
"The early bird catches the worm", is an apt description of what motivates Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH from Heidelberg. The medium-sized biotechnology company analyses special biomarkers in blood, so-called microRNAs, in order to diagnose diseases at an early stage and to be able to make forecasts about the course of the disease and the success of therapy.
Dermagnostix GmbH has developed a rapid test to differentiate between psoriasis and eczema. This test is currently undergoing preclinical testing, with market launch planned for 2023. The start-up is already working on two other dermatological tests. Centrifugal microfluidics is the name of the technology on which the tests are based.
Modern healthcare would be impossible without medical technology. The achievements in medical technology are indispensable for our health and quality of life. The range of medical technology available covers surgical instruments and implants to diagnostic methods and medical devices.
The societal importance of genetic technologies was demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic, when it was possible to rapidly develop suitable vaccines thanks to genetic engineering methods. As a result, the Fifth Gene Technology Report published in autumn 2021 reads like a validation of many years of work, as well as making it clear that the will to continue the detailed long-term monitoring is very much present.
Every tumour and every patient is different, and there are individual reactions to drugs as well as the problem of resistance. Patient-specific cancer treatments require innovative and cost-effective approaches. The TheraMe! consortium has developed a novel instrument: a combination of microfluidic experiments and mathematical modelling for use in cancer precision medicine to prevent incorrect therapy options.
A new study published in Nature Medicine, July 2023 has identified two novel markers for screening high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), a precursor to anal cancer, from the anal microbiome of people with HIV (PWH). PWH are at a significantly higher risk of developing anal cancer. Current screening methods, such as anal cytology, have low specificity for detecting HSIL, which hinders the prevention of anal cancer.
Peptides are increasingly coming into scientific focus for application in diagnostics and therapy. The human body is full of these protein fragments, but only a fraction have been characterised. So there is enormous potential for discovering new biologically active substances that can help in the fight against bacteria, viruses and cancer. A collaborative research centre at Ulm University Hospital is on the trail of these promising fragments.
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and has a particularly high mortality rate. A significant challenge in treating this disease lies in the resistance of lung tumours to conventional drug therapies, rendering chemotherapy ineffective. There is hope on the horizon as a team of experts from Baden-Württemberg has joined forces to develop an innovative AI-supported test procedure that paves the way for individualised therapy approaches.
The new Center for Bionic Intelligence Tübingen Stuttgart aims to optimize the interaction between humans and technical systems in a fundamentally new way. Scientists from the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen, the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics are conducting research on intelligent bionic systems that will aid understanding and treatment of certain diseases of the CNS.
Intelligent Diagnostics is an interdisciplinary project that brings together the latest technologies and research institutes to better support doctors in diagnosing skin cancer through innovative imaging and artificial intelligence.
Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognises cell-sized microrobots individually and at high resolution in a living organism. This is an important step towards precise control of the robots and their clinical translation.
Spindiag GmbH, together with the University of Freiburg and the Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft für angewandte Forschung e.V., was awarded the Technology Transfer Prize 2020 from the German Physical Society (DPG) on April 09, 2022 for the development of the PCR-based rapid test system Rhonda.
Diagnosing suitable biomarkers is a prerequisite for tailoring personalised therapies to patient heterogeneity. Genetic tests and genome sequencing play a key role in these diagnoses. Up until now, personalised therapy has achieved the greatest success in the field of oncology. However, personalised treatments are also gaining in importance for treating other diseases.
Neuropsychiatric disorders are often diagnosed late and have a negative impact on quality of life. Diagnosing the disease at an early stage is vital to be able to help those affected by offering them treatment adapted to their specific requirements. This is what the TuCAN project in Tübingen aims to achieve through the early and differential diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders.
The AutoProNano German/French collaborative project involves developing a process for the automated production of nanoparticles for in vitro and in vivo diagnostics. The project is being launched within the smart analytics cooperation network. This international initiative has been funded by the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) since May 2020.
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