Theme 9

Theme 9: Therapeutic & Diagnostic Systems and Technologies


Bioengineering Advances in the Neuromuscular Clinic

Benjamin Sanchez, University of Utah and Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Seward B Rutkove, Harvard Medical School, USA
Omer T Inan, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Antoni Ivorra, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
Paolo Bonato, Harvard Medical School, USA
David Holder, University College London, UK

Over the past few years, there has been undergoing a rebirth of enhanced bioengineering technologies which are now finding novel clinical case uses. Recent applications have greatly expanded the opportunities in the field of neurology including ultrasound imaging, tracking muscle and joint health in neurodegenerative diseases, and detect evoked activity and stimulate nerve to recover motor function in patients who suffer from paralysis. Ongoing work in all of these areas promises exciting and valuable new applications in the years to come. This symposium brings together renowned experts in the field of neuromuscular and neuroengineering rehabilitation to provide an overview of the current state and technological advances and its specific application in the clinic.


Recent Advances on Clinical Ultrasound: From Diagnose to Therapeutic Applications

Ana Belen Amado Rey, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany Simona Turco, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
Ula Savsek, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen, Germany
Bin Feng, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA
Benedikt George, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
Nooshin Saeidi, Fraunhofer Institute for Electrical Nanosystems (Fraunhofer ENAS), Chemnitz, Germany

Ultrasound provides many advantages as a promising tool for medical diagnostics and therapies: it is really comfortable for final-end user, safe, as it does not involve ionizing radiation, and it is non-invasive. Ultrasonic sensors present applications in many fields such as for continuous vital parameter monitoring, to detect and treat tumors and even to diagnose hydrocephalus. In this Mini-Symposia the recent advances of ultrasound applied to the detection of prostate cancer, monitoring of cardiovascular parameters, drug delivery, neuromodulation and cell ablation are explained. The new trends on different ultrasound techniques (cavitation, focused ultrasound, ablation and neuromodulation) will be presented along with exciting and promising results of in-vivo and ex-vivo ultrasound experiments. These talks will give new insights and ideas for the scientific community about the possibilities of therapeutic and diagnostic applications by using ultrasound.


Signal Processing and Machine Learning Paradigms for Enabling the Digital Health Ecosystem

Arvind Rao, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI, USA
Souptik Barua, Rice University TX, USA
Temiloluwa Prioleau, Dartmouth College, NH, USA
Bobak Mortazavi, Texas A&M University, USA
Parisa Rashidi, University of Florida, FL, USA

Wearables and devices deployed at the point of care facilitate the real-time monitoring of health state, coupled with opportunities for early intervention, can enable personalized medicine in a variety of practice settings. Signals acquired by such devices require “physics- based” processing to permit reliable and robust state assessment, thereby requiring a multitude of approaches in biomedical signal processing, state representation, learning and multi-modal inference. This session aims to bring leading researchers at the intersection of biomedical signal processing, machine learning and digital health to introduce important research problems across these domains as well as to motivate the engagement of other researchers and practitioners into this highly-interdisciplinary & active area of research. The four speakers will cover topics around both chronic and acute disease management, like diabetes and critical care, describing the development of intelligent, personalized, remote health monitoring platforms. These topics are relevant to important future trends in health management, and are facilitated by a group of leading researchers and pioneers in their respective areas.


Advanced Technologies for Improving Diabetes Healthcare

William Sandham, Scotsig, Glasgow, UK
Martina Vettoretti, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Ali Cinar, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA
Aleix Beneyto Tantiña, University of Girona, Girona, Spain
Josep Noguer, Modeling, University of Girona, Girona, Spain
Simon Schwaighofer, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
Martha Zequera, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (Type I or insulin-dependent diabetes) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (Type II or non-insulin dependent diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that regulates Blood Glucose Levels (BGLs). The global number of people with diabetes is now 463 million and is expected to rise to over 700 million by 2045. The risk of life- threatening complications, due to both hypoglycaemia (low BGLs) and hyperglycaemia (high BGLs), may be reduced using appropriate technological innovations, and technology products on the market are proving essential to delay or even prevent serious complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation, developing in the long-term. The global health expenditure for treating diabetes in 2019 was over USD 760 billion. Electronic BGL meters, insulin delivery systems including “pens” and insulin pumps, retinal screening procedures involving advanced imaging technologies, software advice packages and the artificial pancreas, are now playing a major role in revolutionizing day-to-day management and improving the prospects for many people with diabetes. This Mini-Symposium will showcase new developments in engineering and technology for improving diabetes healthcare, and should be of interest to anyone living with diabetes, clinicians who work in diabetes healthcare, and engineers and technologists who are involved with the diabetes technology industry.


Challenges and Opportunities in Developing Multi-Modal, Transformative Hearing Assistive Technologies

A. Hussain, Edinburgh Napier University, UK
P. Bell, University of Edinburgh, UK
M. Akeroyd, University of Nottingham,UK
P. Derleth, Sonova AG, Switzerland
A. Casson, University of Manchester, UK

Hearing loss affects at least 1.5 billion people globally and is associated with poorer health and social outcomes. The WHO estimates 83% of people who could benefit from hearing aids (HAs) do not use them. Barriers to HA uptake are multifaceted but can include: social stigma; cost; a lack of understanding of hearing loss interventions; and limitations of current HA technology. Limited research developments in speech enhancement have been implemented into commercially available HAs. However, even sophisticated aids remain ineffective in very noisy environments where human performance is known to be dependent upon input from both the aural and visual senses. Creating multi-modal HAs that draw on the principles of normal, visually-assisted, hearing raises many technical and usability challenges which need to be tackled holistically. For example, making use of lip movements or facial expressions traditionally requires a video camera filming the speaker, which introduces questions of privacy. Ambitious solutions to these challenges include exploring the use of radio signals for remote monitoring and designing all processing to be done on the hearing device itself to minimise latency and increase privacy. This interdisciplinary workshop will be facilitated by leading academic and industry experts who will showcase a hands-on demonstration of a first of its kind real-time, multi-modal speech enhancement prototype that can exploit lip reading cues to effectively enhance speech in real noisy environments. The workshop will serve to stimulate discussions on current trends, future research and innovation, clinical evaluation and commercialisation challenges and opportunities to transform the current HA landscape. The prototype demonstrator will be made freely available as an open testbed for further research, evaluation and benchmarking by participants, who will also benefit from interdisciplinary networking and collaboration opportunities.


New Trends of Hyperthermia and Ablation Techniques: Progresses, Challenges and Practical Guides

Paola Saccomandi, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Punit Prakash, Kansas State University, USA

Energy-based image-guided interventions provide a minimally-invasive treatment option for cancer patients who may not be surgical candidates, with limited systemic toxicity, and the potential to synergize with other therapeutic modalities. Achieving optimal therapeutic outcomes relies on precise and conformal energy delivery localized to targeted tissues. This workshop will cover advances in development of devices, systems, and techniques that are enabling precise delivery of image-guided interventions. These include: overview of energy- based treatments and drug-device combinations; measurement of tissue biophysical properties to guide development of predictive computational models; patient-specific modelling and assessment of energy-based therapies; and instrumentation and methods for real-time monitoring and feedback-controlled delivery of energy-based treatments. Expert speakers will provide an overview of fundamental concepts, review recent progress in the field, and highlight areas of active research and translational efforts. Also included is a tentative title for a didactic/hands-on training activity accompanying each session.

Attendees will leave with practical guides for conducting experimental studies, as well as gain hands-on exposure with some modelling techniques.


Therapeutic and Interventional Data Science

Cristian A. Linte, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY USA
Stamatia (Matina) Giannarou, Imperial College London, UK
Nicolas Padoy, University of Strasbourg and IHU Strasbourg, France
Amber Simpson, Queen’s University, Canada
Carla Pugh, Stanford University, USA
Stefanie Speidel, University of Karlsruhe and the Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Sweden
Dieter Haemmerich, University of South Carolina (USA)

Future advances in therapeutics and interventions require close, synergistic communication between clinicians, patients, technology, and information systems. This communication can be enabled by data science, an emerging interdisciplinary field that aims to extract knowledge from data. Therapeutic and interventional data science aims to improve the quality of interventional healthcare and its value through better capture, organization, analysis and modelling of data, essentially enabling more intelligent harvesting of critical information from multi-dimension, multi-modality data. The field encompasses all clinical disciplines that rely on the delivery of an intervention to manipulate anatomical structures with a therapeutic (and often diagnostic) goal, such as surgery, interventional radiology, radiotherapy and interventional disciplines.

This session will bring together leading researchers working in various fields related to therapeutic and interventional data science, such as image-guided therapy, computer- integrated interventions, and interventional and therapeutic robotics. As such, the evolution of therapeutic and interventional data science as a field is founded on the premise that increasing access to large amounts of complex data throughout the patient- care process, complemented by advances in data-science and machine-learning techniques, will lead to a new generation of analytics that will support decision-making and quality improvement in interventional medicine.

This special session represents another milestone in a long-standing series of EMBC Special Sessions that originated with the EMBC 2005 session on Image-guided Interventions: Technology and Applications, followed by EMBC 2014 invited session on Visualization, Navigation and Image Guidance for Computer-Assisted Interventions and Robotics, and the EMBC 2016 special session on Image-guided Therapy. Moreover, this session also complements the efforts of the TC on Therapeutic Systems and Technologies to bring together the Therapeutic and Interventional Data Science community from across several venues, such as SPIE Medical Imaging, Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Interventions (MICCAI), Computer-Assisted Radiology and Surgery (CARS), Information Processing for Computer-assisted Interventions (IPCAI), and Augmented Environments for Computer-assisted Interventions (AE-CAI) Workshop at MICCAI within the EMBS/EMBC arena.

Special Session

How Start-Up Companies Can Better Position Themselves for Success

Dorin Panescu, BIOTRONIK, USA
Dieter Haemmerich, University of South Carolina, USA
Theodore Papagiannis, Knobbe Martens, USA
Michael R. Christensen, Knobbe Martens, USA
Nitish Thakor, Johns Hopkins University, USA

The presentation will include a discussion of what start-up healthtech/medtech companies can do to better position themselves for success (e.g., investment, strategic partnership, or acquisition). The presentation will include strategies to help raise capital, strategies to be efficient with limited resources, and lessons learned from a wealth of past start-up experience. The discussion will focus on what investors are looking for in the start-up in advance of any financing, strategic partnership or exit event.

To that end, the presenters will offer recommendations and their unique perspective regarding common pitfalls in the due diligence process and how to set yourself up for success. In terms of intellectual property (“IP”), an example list of questions and information requests that are often made by investors, acquirers and other potential strategic partners during due diligence will be provided and discussed. The IP portion of the discussion will focus on key aspects of a start-up’s patent platform, including patentability strategy and third-party risk assessment. The presenters will provide a high-level summary regarding patents and other intellectual property assets of start-ups and will shed light on the patenting process and strategic measures a company can take to be better prepared prior to a due diligence event. The discussion is intended to be interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions and offer their viewpoints and experiences regarding intellectual property, start-up formation and sustainability, challenges and the like.