Recent Patents on Biomedical Engineering (v.4, #1)

Preparation of Antimicrobial Textiles Using a Sonochemical Method by Aharon Gedanken, Nina Perkas, Ilana Perelshtein, Guy Applerot, Anat Lipovsky, Yeshayahu Nitzan, Rachel Lubart (1-5).
There is a growing need for hygienic textiles for clothing, wound healing, and medical applications in hospitalsand other places where bacteria present a hazard. The reason for this is because some bacterial strains have demonstratedan increasing resistance toward antibiotics. We describe here a patent for preparing antimicrobial fabrics, coated withmetal oxide nanoparticles by means of a novel sonochemical method. These antibacterial fabrics are widely used for productionof outdoor clothes, under-wear, bed-linen, bandages, etc. The deposition of metal oxides known to possess antimicrobialactivity, namely ZnO, MgO and CuO, can significantly extend the applications of textile fabrics and prolong theperiod of their use. The present patent provides a method for ultrasonic impregnation of textiles with metal oxidenanoparticles thereby producing a textile - metal oxide composite containing homogeneously impregnated metal oxidenanoparticles. By means of the novel sonochemical method, a uniform deposition of metal oxide nanoparticles is achievedsimply.

Electronic pacemaker, since its invention over five decades ago, has saved numerous lives and improved thelife quality of patients suffering from cardiac arrhythmias. However, it has its own limitations. Over the past decade, rapidprogress in the molecular studies of cardiac ion channels and stem cell biology has led to efforts for creating a biologicalpacemaker to supplement the widely used electronic pacemaker. This patent review focuses on the development of theideas for creating a working biological pacemaker. The gene-based and cell-based approaches to meet the requirements ofa working biological pacemaker will be reviewed. The important roles of the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic, nucleotide-modulated (HCN) channels, the inward rectifier Kir2.1 potassium channels, and the gap junctions in the biologicalpacemaker system will be discussed. Finally, the recent development of cell-based strategy and precautions for creation ofan effective biological pacemaker superior to the electronic counterpart will also be discussed.

Dominating part of the middle ear is the ossicular chain, a pin-jointed assembly of three bones (malleus, incusand stapes). If destroyed by disease or deteriorated by aging, it is fully or partially replaced by an alloplastic implant. Amajor issue for these devices is the possibility to adapt the implant in length during operation to cope anatomical variations.Several ideas to implement this feature are claimed in patents. Further, two major functionalities provided by the nativeossicular chain are rather difficult to implement. This is the ability to adapt in length in-situ to compensate lateral displacementof the eardrum and a damping function to protect the inner ear at exceeding sound pressure levels. Some interestingapproaches to implement these functionalities are protected by patents. A brief overview does depict current developmentsand may give inspiration to find new approaches to fuel the evolution of middle ear implants.

Recent Patents and Trends in Bioprinting by Timothy Sheehan, Vladimir Mironov, Vladimir Kasyanov, Roger R. Markwald (26-32).
Bioprinting is the precise automated robotic layer-by-layer additive fabrication of biomaterials. The future ofbioprinting technology depends on a number of essential elements, such as the development of innovative bioprinting apparatusand bioprinting methods. The application of innovative bioprinting technologies will have a tremendous impact onthe advancement of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In this review we survey and report on a range of patentsand some journal articles that describe the latest advancements in bioprinting as they relate to tissue engineering. Ouranalysis of the state of the art revealed that novel patents for bioprinting methods can be categorized into three areas; cellfree scaffolds, cellularized scaffolds, and cell and tissue bioprinting. Our analysis also revealed a number of trends includingthe push to design the first clinical bioprinting apparatus and in vivo bioprinting robots, as well as methods to fabricatevascularized tissue and the first clinically approved cell free implants.

Recent Advances on Body-Heat Powered Medical Devices by Eda Akman Aydin, Inan Guler (33-37).
Implantable medical devices, wearable medical devices and body sensor networks are rapidly developingresearch areas of recent years. These devices need self-powered uninterruptible power supplies to accomplish their functionsproperly. One of the most efficient energy harvesting methods for medical applications is thermoelectric generators.Thermoelectric generators use temperature difference between two points to produce electrical energy. This new technologyprovides energy autonomy. Thus without affecting the daily life of patients, light weight and esthetic medical devicecan be established and this would increase patient's quality of life. In this study, autonomous medical devices fully poweredby human body-heat are reviewed. Considering the results, body-heat powered thermoelectric generators will be aninseparable part of autonomous medical devices in the near future.

Methods of Cell-Based Bone Regeneration-Mini Review by Nahum Rosenberg, Michael Soudry, Orit Rosenberg (38-40).
The requirement for bone tissue grafting exists in a wide range of clinical conditions involving surgical reconstruction,following trauma or other pathological conditions, particularly in the limbs, spine and skull. The amount of bonetissue required for grafting and the destination of the graft material affect the origin of the grafting material. There are seriousdisadvantages in the use of various grafting sources, such as autografts, allografts and inorganic bone substitutes.The possibility of enhanced generation of a sufficient amount of autologous metabolically active bone, with high bone inductiveand bone conductive properties, for implantation should resolve the difficulties and complications of the currentlyused bone grafting techniques. For this purpose, several methods based on bone generating cells implantation on osteoinductivematrices in vivo and in vitro were proposed and submitted for patent registration. Several patents describe the possibilityfor autologous bone grafting material generation, either in vitro, from bone generating cells cultured on inorganicmatrix prior to implantation, or by direct implantation of mesenchymal cells into the bone gap in vivo. Currently there isnot enough evidence as to which approach is advantageous for a clinical use. The reason for this uncertainty is the lack ofclinical experimental data for both methods.

Recent Patents Review in Three Dimensional Ultrasound Imaging by Yimin Chen, He Li, Yaowu Zheng, Ming Yuchi, Xuming Zhang, Mingyue Ding (41-48).
Ultrasound is an inexpensive and widely used imaging modality for the diagnosis and staging of many diseases.In the past several decades, it has benefited from major advances in technology and has become an indispensable imagingmodality, due to its flexibility and non-invasive character. In the last decade, research investigators and commercial companieshave further advanced ultrasound imaging with the development of 3D ultrasound. Compared with two dimensionalultrasound imaging, it can provide a 3D image of the anatomy directly and localize the image plane much easier.This review focuses on three dimensional ultrasonic medical imaging patents filed in recent years between 2006 and 2010.The patents are classified into three classes: the hardware, software and applications. This paper will attempt to provide anappreciation of the recent advances in 3D ultrasound imaging research while glimpse the future development trend of 3Dultrasound imaging.

Chaos and Gene expression:A Theoretical Approach by Athanasios Tsatsaris, Dimitrios Triantaffylou, Antonios Baldoukas, George Tsiolis, Despina Perrea (49-53).
Intoduction: The aim of the study was to investigate whether chaotic phenomena (chaos theory) affects theprocess of Gene Expression.Methods: Modeling the genes X, Y and Z-which encode a certain protein P-a set of three first order differential equationshas been developed and studied in phase-space (x,y,z).Results: The elementary equilibrium points in three dimensional phase portrait analysis, include attractors, saddles andrepellors.Conclusions: Attractors indicate a stable equilibrium point which attenuates the production of the protein P, while thesaddles and particularly the repellors correspond to an unstable dynamic system, which promotes either the production ofa P-flaw protein or totally inhibits gene expression. Among other mechanisms-e.g. patents for gene treatment(US2007000515344) and modulation(US20040014083A1)-chaotic phenomena also seem to regulate in a particular waythe DNA encoding , that calls for further theoretical and experimental research(e.g. cardiovascular disease, oncology).

Patent Selections: by Bentham Science Publishers (54-55).
The patents annotated in this section have been selected from various patent databases. These recent patents are relevant to thearticles published in this journal issue, categorized by medical imaging, bioinformatics, image processing, biomaterials,pharmaceutical drugs, bioengineering, medical devices, design, biological devices, biomechanics & diagnostic devices relatedto biomedical engineering.