Lance Dann: behind the scenes of the Blood Culture podcast

There is innovation in the podcast world. The new audio and digital media drama series Blood Culture is case in point, as it goes beyond traditional borders of podcasting by encompassing website, film, live discussion with scientific experts and even a SMS text game. Find out from the mouth of his producer, Lance Dann how this bio-medical thriller series came about. Initially centred on the concept of blood research, it explores people’s anxieties of the marketisation of the human body, exploitation of Millennial interns and the pervasiveness of corporate control in our everyday lives. The series results from a combination between creative practice and science, with experts and scientists contributing throughout the development of the narrative.

Paper biosensors: towards eco-friendly diagnosis

Many of our daily products are made from pollutant materials, which have proven to be extremely difficult to recycle. Recently, there have been a number of high profile campaigns to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Specifically to raise awareness of single-use plastics (microbeads, packaging, bags, disposable products etc.), which make up approximately 40% of the now more than 448 million tons of plastic produced every year. In an effort to do their bit to help, some biotechnological companies within the healthcare sector have focused their efforts on the search for alternative materials to fabricate diagnostics products. Paper has emerged as a possibility, but is it actually a real option for the market?

The future is now: FDA approves first pill with digital sensor

The Internet of Things has been a big buzz word in technology for a couple years now. The Internet of Things refers to how everyday devices are becoming connected or digitised with technology. Who would have thought that pills could be digitised and that prescribed medicines could become part of The Internet of Things? It happened this past November when the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the first pill with a digital sensor. What does this mean for medicine? It means that the prescribing doctor can be notified when a patient takes their medication; or maybe even more importantly, if they didn’t take their medication as prescribed.

EU trachea transplant clinical trial TETRA “uncertain to take place”

The scandal of regenerative medicine surgeon Paolo Macchiarini and his deadly plastic tracheas made world news. Yet this human abuse, which started at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, was just a part of a much bigger horror story. The suffering and deaths of other trachea transplant patients of Macchiarini and his collaborators, those who received a decellurised cadaveric trachea, is much less known. I focused my reporting on it, bringing back to memory all those dead patients which the hospitals in London, Florence and Barcelona pretend never existed. Presently, 62 patients were scheduled to be treated with decellurised cadaveric trachea in two phase 1 clinical trials in UK and one EU-funded phase 2 clinical trial, all led by former Macchiarini partner, UCL laryngologist Martin Birchall. But now, all 3 clinical trials are not going anywhere.

Tackling Europe’s biggest healthcare challenges

The Wild Card initiative, launched this month by EIT Health, seeks to engage the biggest and brightest minds in implementing ground-breaking and high-risk ideas in healthcare. The two areas of focus for 2018 are: application of artificial intelligence and big data to diagnostics and finding non-pharmaceutical solutions to antibiotic resistance. In this inspired opinion piece, Jan-Philipp Beck, COO at EIT Health, who is based in Munich, Germany, tells us about the main challenges ahead to find solutions to these issues.

Homo scientificus europaeus: Giving European scientists back their voice

Political populism, with its accompanying “fake news” and pseudoscience, leaves scientists distraught. But maybe scientific research itself needs a reboot. Research can no longer win public funding on the mere promise of a possible contribution to society. Read more […]