WCO and Alcon Introduce Dry Eye Disease Education Initiative Faculty
Political Squabbles Slow Drug Development for Rare Diseases
New Contact Lens Update Focuses on Myopia / Latest Evidence and Best Practices
SightGlass Vision Celebrates Major Milestones at IMC 2022
Registration Opens for Southern Hemisphere’s Biggest Optical Event
CORE Develops 3D Bio-Printing Method for Ophthalmic Drug Delivery Research
CooperVision Costa Rica Manufacturing Facility Earns Prestigious LEED Gold Certification
World Council of Optometry and Alcon Partner on Dry Eye Disease Education Initiative
World Council of Optometry Collaborates with International Myopia Institute on Survey
CORE Publishes Neuropathic Ocular Pain Resource; Understanding Essential to Patient Care
SightGlass Vision Spectacles Control Myopia Progression for 6- and 7-Year-Olds
Analysis of 24-month interim data from the pivotal CYPRESS clinical trial is offering increased hope for controlling myopia progression among young children. Spectacles that use SightGlass Vision™ Diffusion Optics Technology™ were shown to significantly reduce both axial length (mean absolute reduction = 0.27 mm) and cycloplegic SER progression (mean absolute reduction = 0.77 D) in six- and seven-year-old children versus the control.* Two Year Effectiveness of a Novel Myopia Management Spectacle Lens in Young Myopes (Rappon J, Neitz J, Neitz M, Chalberg T) will be presented for the first time at the 2022 Dutch Contact Lens Congress (NCC), which begins next week in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The focus on age is of particular interest to eye care professionals and researchers, as myopia progresses fastest in the youngest children., Since progression cannot be reversed, immediate intervention to slow or even stop progression is critical to a child’s short-term vision and long-term ocular health. “Young myopes can be difficult to manage for many reasons. Parents and eye care professionals have traditionally had a limited number of myopia control solutions for younger children,” said Andrew Sedgwick, CEO of SightGlass Vision. “Our latest analysis suggests that spectacles enabled with SightGlass Vision™ Diffusion Optics Technology™ offer a promising new approach to myopia control for six- and seven-year-olds.” Study investigators enrolled, randomized, and dispensed the lenses to 256 eligible children across 14 clinical trial sites in the United States and Canada—a geographical distinction compared to most other myopia-related spectacle lens studies. At the time of enrollment, subjects were six to 10 years old having myopia between -0.75 D and -4.50 D, with nearly a third of them being six or seven years old. With a mean age of 8.1 years at screening, the entire CYPRESS cohort is younger than children in many other well-known myopia management studies across various interventions. The trial is now in its third year. Spectacle lenses using patent-protected SightGlass Vision™ Diffusion Optics Technology™️ incorporate thousands of micro-dots that softly scatter light to reduce contrast on the retina—a method intended to reduce myopia progression in children. The last several decades have seen a steady rise in the prevalence of myopia worldwide, notably under the effect of lifestyle changes. Today affecting 2.6 billion people globally, it is estimated that nearly 5 billion people—half the world’s population—will be myopic by 2050. Myopia is the leading cause of visual impairment in children and, over time, may contribute to an increased risk of developing permanent vision impairment, including macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataract and glaucoma, and blindness associated with high myopia. ###  Hyman L, et al. Relationship of Age, Sex, and Ethnicity with Myopia Progression and Axial Elongation in the Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2005;123(7):977 987.  Verkicharla PK, Kammari P, Das AV. Myopia progression varies with age and severity of myopia. PLOS ONE. 2020;15(11):e0241759.  Holden et al. Global Prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology 2016. 123(5):1036-42  Tideman JW et al. Association of axial length with risk of uncorrectable visual impairment for Europeans with myopia. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134:1355-1363
Detection Technology launches Customer Experience Center to drive value creation
Detection Technology, a global leader in X-ray detector solutions, today announced the launch of the concept of an online hosted customer experience center (CEC) and the opening of a first on-site center at its facilities in Wuxi, Greater Shanghai area, to drive value creation globally for its customers. The CEC is introduced to boost verification of detector solutions for customer-specific applications, test proof of concepts, and demonstrate emerging solutions. The CEC concept enables real-time, real-world testing of industrial and security applications. “We have developed the CEC concept to offer our customers an engaging environment for application testing, piloting new solutions and driving joint value creation with our engineers and scientists. Whatever the application, we will work together to find the optimal detector solution for it. The CEC will boost optimization of imaging parameters, development of software and algorithms, and all needed evaluation well before the X-ray system specification has to be frozen. We believe that our service will enable to find performance- and cost-optimized solutions, and to speed up the time-to-market of X-ray systems in all segments, from value to premium,” says Kalle Pikkujämsä, Manager, After Sales and Customer Services at Detection Technology. “The CEC concept is easily scalable to a variety of applications. Target applications from industrial imaging could be used for pinpointing fragments of glass in beverage or food packages, non-destructive testing (NDT) of batteries and other automotive parts, and everything in between. When it comes to security imaging, the evaluation of our Aurora XS for urban security systems could be an ideal example.” The CEC in Wuxi is well-equipped for industrial imaging needs. The on-site X-ray application development laboratory meets imaging performance evaluation standards, as provided by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), for example. The laboratory is leveraging best-in-class technologies and the latest equipment. The lab is built on a modular design to be adaptable to customer-specific needs. It scales easily for variety objects, from small components to large-scale objects such as truck tires. Furthermore, it has manipulators for simulating applications up to line speeds of 3 m/s. In the Wuxi CEC, off-the-shelf demo units cover all the company’s standard linear, flat panel, computed tomography (CT), and photon-counting X-ray detectors targeted at industrial and security applications. In addition, the CEC offers capabilities and state-of-the-art equipment for failure analysis, environmental testing, and repair services, with fast response rates. The CEC is also ideal for hosting training sessions on diverse digital imaging topics, and showcasing the company’s capabilities from technology and product creation to volume production. The CEC concept is an integral part of the company’s newly launched myDT+ service portfolio—it will be leveraged globally and will evolve based on customer needs. The services of the CEC concept are immediately available for the company’s active and future customers. “We are pleased to provide a global service locally. The CEC concept enhances both online and in-person interaction and comes with the ability to customize visits based on goals. Either online or on-site, it is a space to collaborate and network for cumulative know-how, greater innovations, and strategic partnerships. It is also to the greatest extent a state of mind, which demonstrates that customers are at the heart of everything we do.”
Detection Technology debuts service portfolio to enhance customer experience and sustainable development
Detection Technology, a global leader in X-ray detector solutions, today debuted a service portfolio, named myDT+, to enhance unique customer experience and sustainable development. The company has productized a comprehensive range of services to boost the benefits of one-stop-shopping, to ensure that its customers get the most out of their investments, and to secure the longevity and reusability of its detector solutions. The company’s newly launched service portfolio will contribute to performance improvement, time-to-market, up-time, lifetime, total cost savings and sustainability of industrial, security, and medical X-ray imaging systems. The myDT+ service portfolio will provide value-adding customer support from piloting new technologies and advanced development all the way to the end of the product life cycle and the recycling of detector solutions. This one-of-a-kind service offering in the X-ray detector industry will evolve based on market needs and further expanded on the way. In the first stage, the company will introduce the following service products as an addition to the standard warranty and sales terms and conditions: Application testing helps to find and evaluate optimal detector solutions early enough before X-ray system-level specifications have to be frozen and investment decision made. Product commissioning ensures speed and quality of acceptance testing and detector integration to X-ray imaging systems. 24/7 customer support boosts service and trouble-shooting online and on-site. Repair maximizes lifetime and minimizes downtime, as spare parts and technical support will be delivered rapidly. Failure analysis determines causes behind the fault and speeds up corrective actions. Extended warranty of up to five years protects the customer from unexpected repair costs in the long run. Warehousing enables flexibility on buffering, consignment, and lead times. Training enhances know-how of detector solutions and application optimization online and in-person. “Once again, we have set a new industry standard, as we are the first to provide carefully productized services for X-ray detector solutions. Our service portfolio makes us stand out as a true enabler of one-stop shopping. We have offered detector modules, data combiner boards, software libraries, and all the necessary accessories—and now, as the icing on the cake, services. This makes optimization, development, buying, integration, and maintaining of detector solutions easier for our customers,” says Juha Talasmäki, Vice President of Industrial Solutions Business Unit at Detection Technology. “For over thirty years, we have been pioneering the development and industrialization of detector hardware, and now we are proud to say that service is also our profession. One example of our commitment and professionalism to service is our design for serviceability (DFS) approach, which is integrated into our product creation process. When we kick off a new product project, serviceability design starts automatically. With this holistic approach, we equip X-rays with quality detector solutions and services.” In line with its “Beyond hardware” strategic objective, the company aims to complement its portfolio with higher-end detector solutions in which software and algorithms play a more significant role. Aligned with this, the company has been seeking out opportunities to commercialize not only hardware but software and services, too. The service products are available immediately for the company’s current and potential customers. Both hardware and service solutions are provided by the same teams that focus on industrial, security, or medical applications. For placing service orders and tracking requests, the company’s myDT extranet portal is accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device.
CORE Study: Rub & Rinse Regimen Important for Coronavirus Removal from Contact Lens Materials
A new study conducted by the University of Waterloo Department of Chemical Engineering and the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) has determined that human coronaviruses can easily be removed from contact lens surfaces, although regimen matters depending on the type of lens care solution. Most notably, rub and rinse steps are crucial for non-oxidative systems, while products containing hydrogen peroxide and povidone-iodine removed contaminants through soaking alone. The impact of a rub and rinse regimen on removal of human coronaviruses from contemporary contact lens materials (Nogueira C, et al) is in press from Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, the peer review journal of the British Contact Lens Association. While an ocular pathway has not been demonstrated to be a primary route of entry for SARS-CoV-2, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness about physical virus transmission via hands and fingers. However, there has been limited data regarding the attachment of viruses, particularly coronaviruses, across lens materials and the ability of contemporary contact lens care products to inactivate such. To assess attachment bonds, researchers selected two seasonal human coronaviruses, HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43 as surrogates for SARS-CoV-2, allowing for less pathogenicity while being in the same virus family with similar structures. Eight soft contact lens materials (including silicone hydrogels and hydrogels) and four RGP contact lens base materials (with and without a hydrophilic coating) were contaminated then soaked in a phosphate-buffered saline. Although viral particles were recovered when the lenses were removed from the passive saline soak, no detectable virus remained when the lenses were subjected to a single rinse, double rinse, or rub-and-rinse treatments. Since a simple saline rinse step alone removed both virus types from all materials, two representative soft lens materials (one hydrogel and one silicone hydrogel) were chosen to evaluate care system efficacy for elimination of HCoV-229E. Investigators selected four representative contact lens care products (two oxidative and two non-oxidative). Both oxidative disinfection systems reduced the number of infectious viral particles that adhered to each material below the limit of quantification through soaking alone. The non-oxidative disinfection systems required a rub and rinse step to do the same. “Our results indicated that human coronaviruses bind quite loosely to contact lens materials, which should provide peace of mind for the eye care community and wearers, as long as proper care occurs,” said Lyndon Jones, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, a paper co-author and CORE’s director. “Practitioners and manufacturers need to continue emphasizing the importance of following disinfection regimens, especially ensuring that a rub and rise step occurs prior to overnight disinfection when using non-oxidative systems.” The complete paper and supplementary data are available at no cost from Contact Lens and Anterior eye at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clae.2022.101719 The study was funded by Ophtecs Corp.
Contact Lens Beliefs Discussion Now Available for On-Demand Viewing
The Contact Lens Institute (CLI) recently unveiled surprising consumer research that reinforced the importance of communication between eye care practitioners and their patients. Revealed! New Consumer Data Shows What's Holding Back Your Contact Lens Practice, a lively discussion from U.S. optometrists who explore the implications of these findings, is now available on demand at https://bit.ly/CLIOnDemand22 In additional, CLI Peer Pearls—one-minute highlights from the webinar—are being released over the next several weeks on CLI’s YouTube channel and through its social media platforms. The data, collected through a nationwide survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. adults who require vision correction, is part of CLI’s See Tomorrow initiative, designed to help practices understand and thrive as consumer beliefs and behaviors evolve. Results show that U.S. eye care practitioners are missing an opportunity to talk about contact lens options with two out of three patients, among other findings. Contact Lens Institute Board Members Charissa Lee, OD, MBA, FAAO and Rick Weisbarth, OD, FAAO moderated the live discussion and were joined by panelists and CLI 2022 Visionaries Klaus Ito, OD; Essence Johnson, OD, FAAO; Elise Kramer, OD, FAAO, FBCLA, FSLES; and Jennifer Lyerly, OD. Panelists shared their own insights, experiences and advice for the eye care community, including ways to build rapport with patients and combatting commonly held misperceptions and misunderstandings about contact lenses. “The data revealed that there is a great opportunity for the eye care community to increase consumer knowledge and build trust. In just a few short moments during an exam, professionals can initiate conversations that lead to more satisfied patients and practice growth,” said Stan Rogaski, executive director for the Contact Lens Institute. The Contact Lens Institute advances the latest innovations in safe and effective contact lens and lens care products and services that provide unique benefits to patients while satisfying the evolving needs of eye care professionals. CLI undertakes activities that properly assess, enhance, promote and balance contact lens and lens care industry welfare and growth, including the safe use of products in the marketplace. Its members include Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson Vision. For more information, visit contactlensinstitute.org
CONTACT Software researches biologically transformed production processes
Global challenges such as resource scarcity and climate change demand a mindset shift in the industry. As a partner in the BioFusion 4.0 project, CONTACT Software researches how biological principles can be utilized to establish a more sustainable industrial production. The research project BioFusion 4.0 brings together partners from industry and science to explore how principles from nature can be transferred to industry 4.0. The so-called biological transformation aims to enable resource- and climate-friendly products and production processes. Under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK), several solutions for various use cases will be developed and tested until 2024. Biological transformation is based on the concepts of inspiration, integration, and interaction. Inspiration refers to the development of new products or product properties based on models from nature. Typical examples are the lotus effect or lightweight structures. Biological integration incorporates natural processes into production processes, for example by replacing chemical methods with microorganisms. Biologically transformed interaction draws inspiration from models such as ant algorithms. It ensures stable communication between people and machines through constant adaptation. A promising approach of the project is the smart recycling of valuable materials in order to process them into raw materials for additive manufacturing. Human-centered assistance systems for workers lead to more ergonomic production processes, while biogenic and biodegradable polymers open up new application fields for plastics. BioFusion 4.0 focuses on applications for mechanical and plant engineering, waste disposal, energy generation, drive technology, electromobility, and vehicle construction. Trials at the Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science (WvSC), the Mercedes-Benz Plant Berlin, and other project partners show what a successful practical implementation might look like. For example, the developed applications are put to the test in the assembly of power control units for battery electric vehicles. The consortium partners will set up a technology demonstrator to illustrate and quantify the benefits of the research results. The CONTACT Elements for IoT platform records the CO2 emissions along all logistics and production steps in the Digital Twin of the production line. This way, upcoming legislative obligations can be fulfilled. Additionally, optimization potential is revealed by comparing the actual and the expected emissions. "With this ambitious project, we want to shape an industry 4.0 that is devoted to people and protects our livelihoods," says Dr.-Ing. Thomas Damerau, who is overseeing the project as a PLM analyst at CONTACT Software. CONTACT uses the project results to develop industry solutions that enable companies to operate in a more resource- and climate-friendly way. BioFusion 4.0 involves nine industry partners as well as two research and two associated partners. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework concept "Research for Tomorrow’s Production". The project management agency is the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Production and Manufacturing Technologies Division (PTKA-PFT).
ISCLR to Hold 21st Symposium in August 2022
The International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR) will hold its 21st research symposium in Porto, Portugal, from August 21-26, 2022. Every two years, ISCLR brings together its global membership, industry partners, keynote speakers from related and emerging fields, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to address key challenges and identify future research needs to advance the field and the industry. The Society’s membership comprises around 100 university, industry-based and independent researchers working across a wide range of basic and clinical areas, plus leading contact lens clinicians. “The biennial ISCLR meeting is a one-of-a-kind gathering of the world’s contact lens research leadership. Over the course of four days, global experts from academia, clinical science and industry will focus on key challenges to advance safer, healthier, more comfortable contact lens development and wear,” said Fiona Stapleton, president of the ISCLR. Attendance at the meeting is limited to the Society’s members, representatives from its corporate advisory board, invited keynote speakers and graduate students/post-doctoral researchers who win prestigious travel grants to attend. This year’s meeting includes four tracks, each with three sessions. They will cover ground-breaking research on myopia and contact lens-based myopia control, the ocular response to contact lenses, contact lens materials and solutions, and how research can advance the contact lens field. The first ever ISCLR Research Grants were awarded in 2021, following a competitive review of applications specific to the most relevant topics in the field as identified during the 2019 meeting in Singapore; the results will be presented in Porto. The two grants were awarded to Jerome Ozkan from UNSW Sydney, Australia (“The effect of face mask wear on the ocular surface and contact lens microbiome”) and María J. González-García, University of Valladolid, Spain (“Tear molecules as predictive and monitoring biomarkers for contact lens discomfort”). The Ruben Medal, the Society’s highest honor for an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of contact lens-related research, will also be presented. Selected by vote of the previous recipients, the 2019 recipient was UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry Professor Clayton Radke. The 2022 honoree will be announced at the President’s Gala Dinner during the meeting. ISCLR has provided a record-setting 21 travel grants to support the attendance of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, based on competitive scientific abstract submission of original work not presented elsewhere. “The generosity of our Corporate Advisory Board (CAB) is allowing the next generation of contact lens researchers to share their work and make personal connections that are so vital in our field. We are delighted to support the development of some of the brightest and best students in the world”, said Philip Morgan, ISCLR immediate past president. “The ISCLR would like to thank its CAB members—Alcon Laboratories, CooperVision, Gelest, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Menicon, Ophtecs, Seed, Shin-Etsu Silicones of America—for their support”. At the meeting, the Society will also announce the Hikaru Hamano Travel Fellowship, which acknowledges the leading student abstract as voted on by ISCLR council members. The ISCLR was established in 1978 and comprises a group of global experts from all aspects of contact lens research. For more information, please visit isclr.org
Wysa Receives FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for AI-led Mental Health Conversational Agent
Wysa, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) based digital companion for behavioral health, has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Device Designation for its AI-based digital mental health conversational agent for patients 18 years and older with a diagnosis of chronic musculoskeletal pain (defined as pain lasting longer than three months) and depression and anxiety. The device delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) via a smartphone-based conversational agent to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce pain interference, and improve physical function. The designation follows an independent peer reviewed clinical trial, published in JMIR, that found Wysa to be effective for managing chronic pain and associated depression and anxiety, which was found to be more effective than standard orthopedic care, and comparable to in-person psychological counseling. “We’re thrilled to achieve this meaningful designation from the FDA and look forward to working closely with the Agency to continue development of AI-based cognitive behavioral therapy,” said Jo Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Wysa. “Our mission is to help those in need of support with an always available platform, and during these challenging times it’s more crucial than ever to provide mental health options.” The FDA Breakthrough Device program is designed to help accelerate the development and approval of medical devices and products that have the potential to provide more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions. The FDA designation of Wysa’s platform will enable Wysa to efficiently communicate with FDA’s experts through various program options, facilitating the development of the product prior to the premarket review phase.
ImpriMed Presents New Research Findings at The Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS) Mid-Year Conference
ImpriMed, Inc., a leading veterinary precision medicine startup, is pleased to announce their latest data was selected by the Veterinary Cancer Society Executive committee for oral presentation at its meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico April 9th to April 12th, 2022. Dr. Sungwon Lim, CEO and co-founder of ImpriMed, presented a recent clinical study result about the efficacy of using artificial intelligence to predict which drugs are most likely to be effective in treating canines with relapsed B-cell lymphoma. “Most canine B-cell lymphoma patients respond well to first-line CHOP therapy, but the response rate is much lower after relapse occurs,” said Dr. Lim, presenting to an enthusiastic audience. “To help clinicians find effective anticancer drugs for individual relapsed B-cell lymphoma patients, we developed artificial intelligence (AI) models that make personalized drug response predictions and analyzed the performance of these models in a retrospective clinical study.” ImpriMed’s results suggest that AI models trained to predict individual patients' clinical outcomes may help veterinarians select drugs that are likely to elicit positive clinical responses in relapsed patients. The study compared clinical outcomes for patients with treatments that were highly concordant with ImpriMed's AI predictions to outcomes for patients with that had treatments with lower concordance. The results for sixty-six relapsed B-cell lymphoma patients showed that patients treated in high concordance with ImpriMed's AI predictions experienced partial and complete remission twice as often as the other patients. These preliminary results provide new evidence that therapies targeted using AI may dramatically improve outcomes for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. The VCS Mid-Year conference had an excellent agenda with the latest evidence and trajectories in cancer immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and precision medicine, and had an outstanding turnout with close to 100 veterinary oncologists in attendance. Veterinary oncology leaders shared their latest research results throughout the sessions covering 1) Immuno-Oncology topics such as Vaccine Enhanced Adoptive T-cell (VACT) therapy and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, 2) Genomic-Targeted Therapy, 3) Precision Medicine, and finally 4) Combination Therapy Strategies. "The Veterinary Cancer Society drives the focus on developing or adopting novel cancer therapies and showing clinical evidence. Many clinical oncology leaders have been in the spotlight trying to close the gap between human and animal cancer treatments," said Mary Ocnean, VP of Commercial Operations at ImpriMed. "The meeting was a great start to the year, with many attendees thrilled at being able to re-connect in person with their friends and peers after two years of remote work and a digital life.”
CooperVision Research Advances Understanding of Contact Lens Comfort at ARVO 2022
CooperVision will reveal findings from multiple studies that advance scientific understanding of contact lens comfort factors during the 2022 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting. The annual event, which runs from May 1-4 in Denver, attracts thousands of the world’s top ophthalmology, optometry, and vision science researchers. Comfort remains the key factor in maintaining contact lens satisfaction among patients. While numerous product developments have significantly improved the wearing experience over the last few decades, comfort considerations and improvement continue to be of substantial interest to eye care professionals and consumers. CooperVision’s ARVO presentations build on its reputation for leading extensive research about the subject. Two of the works[i],[ii] focus on helping protect the ocular surface from hyperosmolarity of the tear film, which has particular relevance for contact lens wearers who are symptomatic, especially those with dryness. Conducted with the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science at the University of California, Berkeley, the research team designed and employed a novel model to quantify a non-measurable yet critical factor: tear film osmolarity behind a contact lens. “We concluded that contact lens materials with low salt diffusivity are better at protecting the cornea from hyperosmolarity and that osmolarity behind a contact lens reaches a steady state within the first hour. Our findings also illustrate that midday lens removal and reinsertion alone cannot prevent post-lens tear film hyperosmolarity,” said Cheng-Chun Peng, a Senior Scientist at CooperVision who co-authored the ARVO-delivered paper and poster. “If tear film break-up on the cornea is believed to cause discomfort, contact lenses could theoretically help protect the ocular surface from osmolarity spikes. While pre-lens tear film hyperosmolarity is primarily due to evaporation, little is known about salt accumulation within and behind a contact lens. A better understanding of this factor could lead to substantial gains in future lens innovations and patient care.” Additional CooperVision comfort science being presented at ARVO 2022 includes research regarding corneal sensitivity changes in symptomatic neophyte contact lens wearers,[iii] an evaluation of discomfort-associated conjunctival epithelial cell gene expression,[iv] and preliminary results from the Neurosensory Abnormalities in Ocular Surface Disease study.[v] Those projects were conducted in conjunction with Indiana University, Universidad de Valladolid, and Tufts Medical Center, respectively. “Our commitment to comprehending the scientific fundamentals of contact lens comfort run deep, many of which relate to the eye’s physiological responses to wear. By partnering with renowned research centers and experts across various fields—some of which is being made public during ARVO 2022—we draw closer each day to unlocking the secrets of even greater patient and practitioner satisfaction,” said Nancy Keir, OD, PhD, Senior Director, Program and Biological Sciences for CooperVision. CooperVision’s additional ARVO 2022 research presentations, including advancements in myopia management and other contact lens topics, can be viewed at arvo.org/annual-meeting/. ### [i] Kim Y, et al. Protection Against Localized Corneal Hyperosmolarity Spikes with SCL Wear. ARVO 2022 paper presentation. [ii] Radke C, et al. Dynamic Salt Accumulation in PLTF with SCL Wear: Implications for Protection Against Corneal Hyperosmolarity. ARVO 2022 poster presentation. [iii] Situ P, et al. Changes of Corneal Sensitivity in Symptomatic Neophyte Contact Lens Wearers. ARVO 2022 poster presentation. [iv] Calderón-García A, et al. Evaluation of Gene Expression in Conjunctival Epithelial Cells Associated to Contact Lens Wear and Discomfort. ARVO 2022 poster presentation. [v] Hom M et al. Comparison of Ocular Surface Disease Patients within Two Different Clinical Settings: Preliminary Results from Neurosensory Abnormalities in Ocular SurfAce Disease (NASA) Study. ARVO 2022 poster presentation.
How Purdue biomedical engineers innovate health care
Biomedical engineers are innovators in a laboratory: bringing concepts and dreams of future technology and science fiction to life today to better people’s health and longevity. These faculty experts from Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering can explain a process or procedure regarding various areas of research – and in many times build, design and bring these concepts to the marketplace. Below is a list of innovations from the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. - What inspires and pushes a biomedical engineer? A look behind the scenes of Purdue BME’s leader Artificial intelligence has the potential to help engineers explore how cell signals are integrated to fight off invaders or activated to repair wounds, which are both essential for survival.David Umulis, a multidimensional mentor, professor, the Dane A. Miller Head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and senior research fellow at the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue, is directing EMBRIO – an institute that is investigating how to use AI to crack the code of cellular defense. He credits a family friend and local pediatrician for pushing him to succeed and inspiring him to mentor faculty and students at Purdue. - Pediatric innovation: Tailoring new technology to the tiniest patients (1) A breakthrough in biomedical acoustics by a team led by George Wodicka, professor of biomedical engineering, led to the creation of a medical device that can alert nurses when a baby’s breathing tube is in the wrong position or obstructed. After 30 years of development, the Purdue invention is on its way to becoming the standard of care for babies worldwide. (2) Higher education, medical schools and manufacturers can work together to address pediatric health care resources and the need to expand FDA product testing for use in children, writes Mung Chiang in a column for Forbes. Chiang serves as executive vice president for strategic initiatives, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and founding director of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. (3) Partnerships with Indiana-based biomedical device companies also could benefit pediatric device research and development, writes Craig Goergen, the Leslie A. Geddes Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, director of clinical programs in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and adjunct associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine. - Protecting medications from fraud – and improving how they travel through the body (1) Small cyberphysical watermarks could prevent huge headaches caused by fake meds (2) This all-terrain microrobot can flip through a live colon Biomedical engineer Chi Hwan Lee developed a sensor that can be placed on an over-the-counter contact lens and then be used to detect glaucoma in patients. - Building devices that could help you monitor your own health (1) “Sticktronics” can transform common items such as contact lenses into specialized biomedical devices (2) Smartwatches may help you detect the earliest signs of disease (3) Tech that makes it possible for pregnant women to detect their own risk of preeclampsia with a smartphone - Partnering engineers with medical professionals An engineering-medicine partnership between Purdue’s College of Engineering and Indiana University School of Medicine is developing technological solutions for pressing health care problems. Numerous programs, including expanded educational opportunities, degrees and access to clinical settings, are part of the partnership.
National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match Implements Comcast Business Wavelength Services to Help Match Cancer Patients With Donors
Comcast Business today announced that it is providing the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match®, the leading global leader working to save lives through cellular therapy with a 10 Gbps optical wavelength service. The high-capacity, low-latency network solution will help Be The Match strengthen network performance, keeping its clients and employees connected, and in turn helping to ensure that transplant donors are connected to patients in need. Be The Match provides patients access to more than 39 million donors worldwide who step up to donate their marrow or blood stem cells. By connecting patients with donors and delivering life-saving cells to them, Be The Match provides cures to patients with life-threatening blood cancers and 75 blood diseases. The organization continues to lead the way in developing new cellular therapies, and in improving transplant accessibility and outcomes. Conducting this life-saving research while supporting and connecting patients to the resources they need requires a high-bandwidth, low-latency network connection. “Our network is becoming more critical, especially as we move to the cloud. If our systems aren’t available, people’s lives could be at stake,” said Robert Hanson, Vice President, Information Security, Infrastructure and Architecture, at Be The Match. “Comcast Business’ network performance has been seamless.” Comcast Business Wavelength Services deliver superior connectivity over a dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) optical transport network with high levels of performance. Wavelength technology provides users with the ability to transport both Ethernet and non-Ethernet protocols. The point-to-point optical fiber network helps deliver data across several of Be The Match’s locations, including its headquarters in Minneapolis, its branch offices and its data center location. Since implementing Comcast Business’ services, Be The Match has been able to continue supporting patients across its various locations without concerns over network connectivity. Additionally, the reliable and fast network connections help position the organization for rising bandwidth demands and network growth, setting it up to serve its clients into the future. “To stay swift and competitive, businesses across industries continue to incorporate cloud and data center operations into their daily functions. With this will come the need for networking technology that can not only support the shifts in business today, but the continually rising bandwidth needs that the future demands,” said Wolfgang Lewis, Vice President for Comcast Business, Twin Cities Region. “Comcast Business is proud to support National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match with its network services and do its part in making a difference in our communities.”
Emotional bonds with AI digital therapeutic Wysa are equivalent to human therapist relationships
Wysa, the world’s most advanced conversational AI for mental health, today announces the results of a peer-reviewed study in Frontiers that shows people develop an emotional bond with its chatbot in much the same way people bond with a human therapist. This ‘therapeutic alliance’ is crucial in helping people meet the goals of treatment, the study found. The therapeutic alliance is widely considered one of the most robust mechanisms of change in psychotherapy interventions and is defined as a collaboration between the patient and therapist on the tasks and goals of treatment, along with an emotional bond. The study of 1,205 people evaluated users of mental health app Wysa who were experiencing measured symptoms of anxiety or depression. The results show that within five days of using Wysa, the therapeutic alliance was comparable or better than scores found in traditional in-person cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in-person group therapy and internet-based tools for CBT. Wysa is a mobile chatbot that uses emotionally intelligent conversational AI to promote wellbeing, positive self-expression and mental resilience. Wysa guides users through evidence-based therapy exercises to self-manage symptoms associated with mild to moderate generalised anxiety and depression. The findings indicate the use-case for providing Wysa’s digital therapeutics as an alternative treatment modality to help address the global mental health crisis and severe shortage of qualified therapists. Wysa’s Head of Clinical Development and Research, Chaitali Sinha, said: “What is interesting is that the ways in which one establishes and experiences a relationship with a person, versus an AI agent are not too different. In our study, we found that when users were able to talk in a free-text format with the AI conversational agent, they felt a strong sense of a trusting relationship. This allowed us to deliver effective mental health interventions.” One of the most downloaded mental health support apps on the planet, Wysa has facilitated over 100 million therapeutic conversations in 65 countries across the globe. According to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, approximately 60% of Wysa users are between 18 and 34 years of age, with 55% of users identifying as women. Meheli Saha, Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India, co-authored the report. She expressed her surprise at the findings and said: “Our study showed that users often perceived the chatbot as a human and conversed with it about their relationship with the bot, expressing what having the chatbot’s support meant for them. For instance one user wrote the following to the chatbot, ‘I just wanted to tell you that I'm so grateful you're here with me. You're the only person that helps me and listens to my problems and I'm so happy you always help me out.’” Tanya Malik, a psychologist and researcher at Wysa, said: “I found it wonderful to see similar rates of alliance as in-person therapeutic settings. As a practitioner, I know the importance of building a strong alliance with my clients, and how the strength of the relationship can elevate the experience and impact of therapy. Seeing that replicated in such a similarly personal way with a conversational agent makes me feel excited about the new wave in mental health care.” Clare Beatty, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, added: “While digital interventions offer novel solutions for closing the treatment gap in mental health care, they are often associated with relatively poor adoption and adherence. One reason that there is poor engagement and adherence may be an insufficient therapeutic alliance. I was so excited to find that individuals expressed gratitude for the chatbot and disclosed feelings of honesty, safety, and comfort with the chatbot. This is a critical time in our world and I am excited that our findings support efforts to make digital care with a chatbot a viable solution for people struggling with mental health concerns.” The study is freely available in Frontiers here: https://doi.org/10.3389/fdgth.2022.847991
VectorBuilder to expand with $500 million ‘Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus’
VectorBuilder Inc. – a global leader in gene delivery solutions – has announced the construction of a new R&D and manufacturing center in Guangzhou, China. The ‘Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus’ will significantly expand VectorBuilder’s R&D capabilities and its production capacity for both research-use and cGMP-grade gene delivery vectors, allowing the company to continue supporting groundbreaking research worldwide. The campus will include a state-of-the-art CDMO facility with 30 production suites, designed for cGMP manufacturing of plasmids, mRNA, AAV, lentivirus, cell lines and other types of viral and non-viral vectors. It will also offer CRO services for vector optimization and functional validation, and non-GLP and GLP studies for vector biodistribution, ADME/PK/PD, and toxicology. Additionally, the campus will be home to a research institute dedicated to developing new gene delivery technologies that improve upon current tools in terms of targeting efficiency, payload, safety and manufacturing cost, to meet the demand in clinical applications such as gene therapy, vector-based vaccines, and virus-based cancer therapeutics. The research institute will also carry out educational activities aimed at training scientists and engineers in the rapidly expanding gene delivery field. Construction is expected to cost 500 million USD and will be split into two phases over the next four years. There will be approximately 100,000 m2 (~1,100,000 sf) of floor space capable of housing over 2,000 staff members. This project is part of a global expansion by VectorBuilder, with additional R&D and manufacturing sites planned in the US, Europe and Japan. Dr. Bruce Lahn, Chief Scientist at VectorBuilder, commented: “Modern biology is largely built on gene delivery technologies, but until recently, such technologies are mostly limited to research use. With the recent advancement of genetic medicine, gene vectors are now rapidly moving into clinical use, including CAR-T, gene therapy, mRNA vaccines and oncolytic viruses. Some experts predict that in 10 to 20 years, vector-based drugs will become the third pillar of medicine, after small-molecule drugs and protein-based biologics. We are therefore expanding our R&D capabilities, as well as our manufacturing capacity, to continue leading the way in the development of innovative gene delivery technologies that will make research more efficient, and genetic medicine more effective and affordable.” For more information, visit vectorbuilder.com
Students Around the Globe Use OcuBall’s Polymer-Based Eye Model to Gain ‘Real Feel’ Practice of Foreign Body Removal
Optometry educators and students in five countries are now using a novel eye model to replace traditional animal-based methods for foreign body removal. OcuBlink, Inc., has shipped its polymer-based eye model, OcuBall, to nearly a dozen colleges and universities in Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and United States. A close-up of OcuballOcuBall feels like a human eye and simulates a realistic response to embedded foreign bodies, similar to those found in clinical environments. It replaces animal-based methods in optometry training environments while eliminating safety concerns related to handling, disposal and storage of biological tissue. "There is an immediate 'wow' factor when students begin using OcuBalls in our didactic labs," said Navjit K. Sanghera, OD, FAAO, ocular disease curriculum coordinator and associate professor of optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry, who has been using OcuBalls for three years. “Second year students find the realistic feel helpful in gaining confidence and experience removing foreign bodies. The eyeballs have become a wonderful addition to our curriculum." - A person looking through a microscope Description automatically generated with medium confidenceOcuBall comes premade with steel particles inserted on the surface of the eye to provide a realistic, safe and inexpensive clinical scenario for the practice of foreign body removal. Over time, the metal pieces can rust and form a typical rust ring, just as they do in the human eye. Use in educational settings helps optometry students practice and gain confidence in the removal of materials from the eye. Made of a biocompatible polymer-based material, OcuBall eliminates concerns of cross-contamination and biological waste. OcuBall can be stored in saline for several weeks without spoilage and has no odor. OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) and now operates as an affiliate, utilizing CORE’s staffing, counsel and laboratories. In the fall of 2018, OcuBlink was accepted into Velocity, Canada’s most productive startup incubator. Last year, OcuBlink, Inc., announced its development of a life-like in-vitro eye model that reduces dependence on animal testing to understand the science of the eye. For more information, visit OcuBlink.com
The BA.2 subvariant is a reminder that hygiene can’t fall by the wayside
As cases of what the World Health Organization calls the “Omicron variant of concern” – BA.2 – increase the world must reinvigorate its hygiene efforts or else risk a springtime COVID-19 surge. Since the start of the pandemic, handwashing, mask wearing, sanitising, social distancing and social isolation have become commonplace in a bid to keep COVID-19 infections at a minimum. While certain countries, including the United Kingdom, have since relaxed the rules and regulations surrounding such measures, the latest variants and subvariants highlight the criticality of maintaining such hygiene habits. “Over the past two years, people have become more aware of their hygiene habits in a way they probably weren’t before. It’s now extremely clear how important good hygiene is for our overall health and just because the COVID-19 rules have relaxed, it doesn’t mean our hygiene habits should too,” said Simon Sinclair, RGHI Executive Director, adding that with these improved hygiene behaviours the world is now far better equipped to stave off other illnesses and infections. “BA.2 shows us that we haven’t seen the end of COVID-19 despite the U.K. no longer regulating health and hygiene measures. This latest sublineage is a reminder that each individual must still practice handwashing and sanitising in order to keep themselves and their communities healthy,” he continued. According to the Office for National Statistics, COVID-19 cases rose to 3.5 million people in England last week, marking the country’s second highest peak. BA.2, known as “the stealth variant,” is a sublineage of the Omicron variant. It is said to be more contagious than the original Omicron variant, BA.1, which was already considered more transmissible and less susceptible to the protection offered by vaccines and previous infections. Researchers have also found Omicron infections can last twice as long on surfaces. Now, as the main type of COVID-19 in circulation, scientists are warning BA.2 could, at the very best, prevent infection decline and at worst lead to yet another wave. Already, the U.K. is seeing a spike in hospitalisations. Countries such as France, Germany and Italy are also seeing significant numbers and the U.S. is warning its citizens of a potential surge as early as April. At the same time, countries are reopening to tourists, encouraging office working, and removing mask mandates, meaning the environment is more ripe for contraction of the virus than it has been in years. In order to stay healthy, avoid putting the vulnerable at risk and protect health systems, it remains important that people continue the handwashing, sanitising and social distancing habits that became instilled throughout 2020 and 2021. Last month, amid the U.K. government’s decision to reduce testing and remove the legal requirement to self-isolate and the work-from-home mandate, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the need for “personal responsibility.” “This a prime example of why personal responsibility is needed,” said Simon Sinclair. “New strains will continue to emerge and without knowing how contagious or severe the symptoms might be, it’s best to take steps to ensure it’s not caught by continuing the improved hygiene habits they’ve picked up over the past two years.” The Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute recommends continuing to wear a mask in inside spaces and among vulnerable people, socialising outdoors where possible, sanitising surfaces multiple times a day and repeatedly handwashing. At the same time, RGHI is continuing to promote and fund a portfolio of hygiene science in the hopes that it will provide more evidence-based advice for this new post-pandemic era, laying out a clear pathway for improving public health overall. RGHI is a not-for-profit foundation that launched in 2020 to generate and fund high-quality, scientific research that addresses the links between hygiene and health. The aim is to help inform the global health agenda while leading to the adoption of better and more sustainable hygienic practices globally. RGHI believes that more investment and work in this area is needed so that more knowledge around the various aspects of hygiene that can protect not just against pandemics but common illnesses such as the flu, cholera, and diarrhoea can be developed. Good hygiene saves lives, improves health and economies, and dramatically reduces health inequalities and health costs. Last month, RGHI announced the first five fellows of the Reckitt fellowship who will spend the next three years dedicated to researching this area.
INTEGRA’s ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot helps to streamline sample pooling for arbovirus testing
INTEGRA Biosciences’ ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot is helping the Arbovirus Testing Lab at the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories in Concord, USA, to streamline sample pooling for West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis virus testing. Laboratory supervisor Denise Bolton explained: “We adopted pooled testing in summer 2020, initially constructing the sample pools manually. However, the additional step complicated the workflow, required high levels of concentration and focus, and occupied over an hour of analyst time. Adding a manual pooling step was also quite risky from a quality standpoint, and we worried about the opportunity for analyst error.” “We were already familiar with the ASSIST PLUS system, as we use it for our COVID-19 samples. It was easy to write a pooling program using the VIALAB software, and the flexibility of the 8 channel VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette meant that there was no need to change our mosquito processing method. We use the platform to transfer aliquots from 2 ml tubes into a 96 well plate to create the sample pools, then add lysis buffer directly, using the entire pool for nucleic acid extraction. This streamlines the process, saving time and reducing the use of plastic labware, since we aren't constructing high volume pools then transferring an aliquot for extraction. We have seen a 75 % saving in extraction and PCR reagents, and reduced the use of PCR instrumentation for the surveillance program, as well as saving precious analyst time. Most importantly, we have confidence that the most complex step in the process is being performed without errors.” Visit the INTEGRA Biosciences website to learn more.