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The biomedical engineering sector is breaking headlines everywhere! From vaccines to virtual medicine, biomedical engineering is one of the most discussed topics of our era. In fact, with a 27% increase in growth in recent years, biomedical engineering has been recognized as one of the fastest growing fields (Bureau of Labour, 2021). And, with a fast-growing sector and several new professionals bursting with ideas, the world is on track to experience revolutionary development. As new biomedical engineering innovations emerge daily, the future of the world is exciting. In this article we reveal novel biomedical engineering innovations and our predictions for this field.
Biomedical engineers are responsible for fusing principles of engineering design and biological systems to solve biological problems. Biomedical engineering (BME) can take on many forms from systems to devices to equipment, all varying in complexity.
Biomedical engineers have produced arguably some of the most life-changing innovations; Crutches, medical imaging, prosthetics, gene editing, vital sign tracking, physical therapy devices and exercise equipment, and computerized surgery, are just a few of the well-known innovations in this field.
As the need to innovate continues, biomedical engineers can improve on already existing technology and systems or choose to create something new. Although there are many needs for BME, at this time BME innovations appear to be focused on the following areas:
BME innovations have changed the way that we live our lives and how we navigate healthcare challenges. Innovations in this sector provide relief in many areas and are continuously adopted by the population. Below you’ll find some of the most notable biomedical engineering innovations that emerged over the recent years and were implemented into practice:
1. Prostate Cancer Imaging Technology:
With accurate imaging being a crucial component for cancer treatment, a new technology that detects high levels of PSMA, an antigen found in high levels on the surface of prostate cancer cells, received FDA approval in 2020 for clinical use in combination with traditional imaging. This BME innovation can improve the treatment and monitoring of prostate cancer.
2.Computerized and Robotic Movement to improve health:
It is no secret that computerization and robotics have made a significant impact in the world. This is now particularly true for patients experiencing varying severities of paralysis and/or undergoing surgical procedures. For patients experiencing paralysis to any degree, a new implantable brain-computer interface technology, enables patients to recover lost voluntary motor control and access digital devices. Although this technology is in its infancy stages, the FDA expects this technology to revolutionize the lives of many. Moreover, surgical robots are revolutionizing the way surgery is performed. From assisting to conducting procedures on their own, surgical robots can improve precision, lower risk of infection, reduce recovery time and treat more patients than non-robotic surgeons.
3.Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Early Detection of Silent conditions:
Both septic shock and hypertension are of high concern for clinicians due to its extremely high mortality rate and lack of standardization in diagnosis; Sepsis is a life-threatening response to infection, and high blood pressure (hypertension), is a serious health problem, which shows no symptoms. In both cases, oftentimes, this issue is only identified after a patient is already experiencing the repercussions. With new AI innovations, clinicians are now able to identify high risk patients early and improve their clinical intervention, ultimately saving lives.
4.Treatment for a Broad Spectrum of Conditions:
Patients with high cholesterol, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression have caught the attention of biomedical engineers. Those facing these conditions have reported non-compliance with medications, a lack of response to treatment, and or a need for a more effective treatment. With the above in mind, several new treatments emerged.
For high cholesterol, a new semi-annual injectable drug, inclisiran, was created and approved by the FDA in December 2021 to address this issue. For patients with Type II Diabetes, a new, weekly injectable drug has shown to effectively reduce blood sugar levels, limit blood sugar spikes, promote satiety, slow digestion, and promote weight loss – all of which are essential for the treatment of Type II Diabetes. And, for those experiencing postpartum depression, an FDA-approved intravenous infusion treatment that controls the body’s response to stress in a short amount of time has risen.
Furthermore, biomedical engineers are exploring the use of mRNA vaccines (the type of vaccine used to target the COVID-19 virus) to address these and a broad spectrum of conditions. mRNA vaccines are a promising technology as development is relatively cost-effective, simple to manufacture in a timely manner, and it is versatile. Due to its efficiency and effectiveness, the application of this technology for the most challenging health conditions is foreseeable in the near future.
5.Medication for Lacking Markets:
Until now, clinicians have been lacking a targeted medication for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and a non-hormonal medication to treat menopause symptoms. BME have produced the first-ever HCM-targeted drug that addresses the root of the problem, improving quality of life and reducing risk of disease. Additionally, Biomedical engineers have produced a new group of non-hormonal drugs, NK3R agonists, which have shown to alleviate symptoms for patients that are not eligible for hormonal treatments.
Biomedical engineers are critical for the advancement of clinical care. With revolutionary innovations, such as the ones mentioned above, BME is transforming the world of healthcare. In the future, it is expected that there will be more advancements in the applications of AI, virtual reality, robotization, virtual medicine, and 3D printing in healthcare. Additionally, there has been some interest in exploring oral vaccination, and developing alternative therapies to treat and/or manage disabilities and rare conditions. However, with rising concerns about the environment, the world of BME might shift their focus from clinical innovations to innovating to address climate change and sustainability through, for example, genetic modification of biodiversity, bio-based material production, bio-clothing, and improved carbon capture, utilization, and storage.
Due to the high risk associated with these innovations, all of these projects will require a large investment in R&D and clinical trials. And to keep the innovation momentum going, this sector will require financial resources. Luckily, the Canadian government offers several programs, including R&D tax credits and government grants. Most companies in the biomedical engineering sector are eligible for SR&ED tax credits and sales tax recovery. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to change the world! Contact one of our experts today to get started!