Recent Patents on Biomedical Engineering (v.6, #1)

Preface by Biaoyang Lin (1-1).

3D Cell and Scaffold Patterning Strategies in Tissue Engineering by Michael J. Sawkins, Kevin M. Shakesheff, Lawrence J. Bonassar, Glen R. Kirkham (3-21).
Many tissue engineering constructs comprise scaffolds with spatially homogenous properties that have uniformlyseeded populations of cells. The broadly uniform morphologies of such constructs do not reflect the complexity ofthe tissues they are designed to emulate, limiting their application for future clinical goals. In order to begin to address thislimitation, a range of technologies have been developed that are better able to replicate tissue architecture. These technologiesshow significant potential but are at a relatively early stage of development and a number of significant challengesneed to be overcome before such techniques can be developed into effective clinical products. This review will discussthe basic principles of these technologies and the patterning applications that have been developed to date with referenceto the patent literature. Consideration will also be given to potential commercialisation strategies for both patterningplatforms and patterned constructs which they are used to produce.

Recent Advancements in Soft Tissue Regeneration by James A. Cooper, Brittany Ferraro, Andreas Christensen (22-28).
In this millennium, tissue engineering for soft tissue repair has expanded to include regenerative medicine. Researchersare tirelessly developing new ideas and methods for engineering fully functional tissue. Introduced are four majorareas of soft tissue musculoskeletal research: ligament, cartilage, muscle and rotator cuff. Investigators are pursuingtissue regenerative medicine therapies to provide functionality and promote development of musculoskeletal neo-tissue.This article addresses some of the recent patents that help regenerate musculoskeletal tissues using genes, cells and scaffolds.

This review discusses current strategies, patents, and ongoing research that address the limitations of currentpractices and FDA approved devices for neural tissue regeneration. Current clinical practices for treating peripheral nervedamage utilize autografts and nerve guidance conduits (NGCs), which are only applicable for small nerve gaps of around30 mm. Furthermore, there are no clinical treatments for central nervous system (CNS) damage; although a variety ofscaffolds have been explored. Selecting the proper biomaterial is crucial in developing these NGCs and scaffolds. CurrentFDA approved NGC devices utilize different materials with varying advantages and limitations in biodegradability, rigidity(to withstand collapse after implantation), porosity, and biocompatibility (minimize toxic by-products). These advantagesand limitations help outline ideal material properties that have been used in NGC design. One beneficial materialproperty that has not been considered in these FDA approved devices is conductivity, which is important for neural applicationssince the key component of neural communication in the body is the action potential generated at the synapse. Inorder to address the limitations of current NGCs and incorporate other advantageous properties of materials (e.g. conductivity),different materials, fabrication techniques, and biological cues have been explored. This same logic can apply todeveloping scaffolds for CNS damage.

Recent Advances in Bone Graft Technologies by B.L. Taylor, T. Andric, J.W. Freeman (40-46).
Bone is a living, dynamic, vascular, mineralized, connective tissue, characterized by its hardness, resistanceand ability to remodel and repair itself. It provides structural support and protection for the bone and vital organs and itserves as a mineral (calcium) and blood cell reservoir for the body. Bone loss and skeletal deficiencies due to traumatic injury,abnormal development, or cancer are major problems worldwide, frequently requiring surgical intervention. Currenttreatments have achieved a level of success, but still have limitations. Researchers have begun to enhance current treatmentsand develop novel bone grafts from biological or synthetic materials. These options include the use of biocompatiblepolymers to mimic trabecular and cortical bone, hormones or growth factors, and bioactive ceramic glass. This patentreview presents backgrounds on bone biology and structure, current treatments for damaged bone and bone defects, andnew bone grafting technologies in hopes of creating an optimal bone graft substitute.

Design and Application of Magnetic-Based Theranostic Nanoparticle Systems by Aniket S. Wadajkar, Jyothi U. Menon, Tejaswi Kadapure, Richard T. Tran, Jian Yang, Kytai T. Nguyen (47-57).
Recently, magnetic-based theranostic nanoparticle (MBTN) systems have been studied, researched, and appliedextensively to detect and treat various diseases including cancer. Theranostic nanoparticles are advantageous in that thediagnosis and treatment of a disease can be performed in a single setting using combinational strategies of targeting, imaging,and/or therapy. Of these theranostic strategies, magnetic-based systems containing magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs)have gained popularity because of their unique ability to be used in magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic targeting, hyperthermia,and controlled drug release. To increase their effectiveness, MNPs have been decorated with a wide variety ofmaterials to improve their biocompatibility, carry therapeutic payloads, encapsulate/bind imaging agents, and providefunctional groups for conjugation of biomolecules that provide receptor-mediated targeting of the disease. This reviewsummarizes recent patents involving various polymer coatings, imaging agents, therapeutic agents, targeting mechanisms,and applications along with the major requirements and challenges faced in using MBTN for disease management.

Blood pressure measurement (BPM) accuracy is greatly important for adequately preventing, diagnosing, andtreating many associated cardiovascular diseases. This paper presents a review of the factors determining the BPMaccuracy such as the record accuracy, different artifacts, simulators, test devices, algorithmic meanings for blood pressuredetermination, appropriate choice of cuff and pump, data signal processing as well as novel methods and devices foraccurate BPM. We represent here a discussion on BPM accuracy and various patents regarding the same problem andhave found multiple patents that propose useful and ingenious decisions concerning different sides of BPM. Mostpresently proposed patents are worth validating and introducing into the medical practice (when not done at the time ofthis study). Some patents rely on their own validation studies to prove their applicability for a better BPM accuracy.Finally, completely new methods and devices are cited that allege to be more accurate and are currently in use. Anintensive work is in progress with hopes of finding new methods and algorithms to overcome the drawbacks andinaccuracy of the recent BPM methods.