Having so far successfully restored central vision in three patients with age-related muscular degeneration, the tiny device is implanted beneath a person’s retina.
6 medical devices aiming to change the world in 2018
by Colm Gorey
There are more medical devices out there than ever before, but these select few promise to potentially improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
While it remains the Emerald Isle to many people across the globe thanks to its rich tradition in agriculture, the reality is that Ireland is also now an established biopharmaceutical hub in both the development of new drugs, and in the creation of new medical devices.
Medical devices in particular have flourished here, with half of all of the world’s ventilators for acute hospitals made here, in addition to 33pc of the world’s contact lenses, according to IDA Ireland.
Away from these mainstream items, there is a solid academic base where Irish-based research is helping to create and develop devices that solve a myriad of different problems, ranging from the most common to the rarest of all.
However, it would be remiss not to include the achievements of Europe as a whole, with more than 12,200 patent applications submitted to the European Patent Office equating to 7.7pc of the total number of applications in 2016.
In fact, according to MedTech Europe, an average of 10pc of the continent’s GDP is spent on healthcare; of that figure, 7.2pc can be attributed to medtech.
So, to get a sense of what cool and amazing things are being developed in Ireland and Europe, here are just six devices that could one day change millions of people’s lives forever.
It is estimated that approximately one in 50 people will have a brain aneurysm and, if left untreated, it will continue to grow and eventually burst, bleeding into the brain tissue and often causing disability or death.
Given the seriousness of such a situation – and the lack of a treatment to prevent it – Dr Owen Clarkin and a team of researchers from Dublin City University developed something called EnduraGel.sity
Made up of more than 80pc water, the technology is an injectable hydrogel for the treatment of aneurysms and is injected through very fine catheters – less than 1mm in diameter – into the affected area.
With the inclusion of uniform amorphous microparticles – which have a very specific chemistry – microparticles predictably thicken the gel to allow controlled delivery of a highly biocompatible hydrogel into the aneurysm space.
This should lead to a reduction in aneurysm recurrence and improved outcomes for patients.