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January 07, 2020

Clay Sustala Discusses The Future Of Medical Technology



Medical technology's newfound advancements continue to create strides in the industry that were long considered impossible or much further away in time. Already, there are miniature-sized ultrasound devices, capable of fitting into your pocket and connecting to your phone, which cost significantly less than the machines commonly found in hospitals. Virtual reality is accelerating healing for patients in rehab, and artificial intelligence is identifying lung tumors better than medical experts.



Despite all of these advancements, there is still much more to come in the form of inventions and concepts that will change the field of medicine. Clay Sustala, a medical sales professional who currently works for Majors Medical Service in Fort Worth, Texas, presents some of the brilliant, fascinating ideas that are certain to shape medicine.

Medical Supplies Delivered Via Drone

Back in March of 2019, UPS began conducting a trial program referred to as Flight Forward, experimenting autonomous drone deliveries of crucial medical samples such as blood or tissue. Two branches of a hospital situated 150 yards apart in Raleigh, North Carolina, served as the test location.

Succeeding in its mission, the company was awarded approval from the FAA to expand to 20 hospitals around the United States through the following two years. UPS envisions Flight Forward becoming a notable part of the company's future, with deliveries of urine, blood and tissue samples, and medical essentials like drugs and transfusable blood being the primary supplies transferred.

Air deliveries are also being tested by Wing, a division of Google (News - Alert)'s parent company Alphabet. Having earned similar, albeit limited, FAA approval, the company is now allowed to perform deliveries for both Walgreens and FedEx via drone.

Additionally, Clay Sustala notes that drones operated by Silicon Valley startup Zipline, are currently delivering medical supplies to rural villages in Ghana and Rwanda where access was otherwise extremely difficult.

Decisive Data

Our planet holds over 7.5 billion humans, millions of whom meticulously track their health with devices such as smart watches and blood-pressure monitors. Amassing all of this data from even a few million people, and forming it into an anonymous, searchable resource, would give medical professionals an effective tool for drug development, and lifestyle studies.

Evidation, a Big Data firm based in California, is developing a tool of this caliber, utilizing information from three million volunteers who are sharing trillions of data points with the company. Working in unison with drug manufacturers such as Sanofi and Eli Lilly to analyze this data, Evidation's efforts have sparked numerous peer-reviewed studies on subjects ranging from sleep and diet to cognitive-health patterns.

Clay Sustala notes that one particular ongoing project by Evidation is looking to determine if technology can accurately measure chronic pain, as the company is partnering with Brigham and Women's Hospital to hopefully find a definitive solution for finding how chronic pain occurs and how to treat it.

Stem-Cell Cure For Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes affects 1.25 million Americans and treatment can obligate patients to a lifetime of conscientious eating, insulin injections and multiple daily blood-glucose examinations.

Harvard biologist Doug Melton is approaching the matter differently, using stem cells to create replacement beta cells that produce insulin. Although he commenced the work more than ten years ago, it wasn't until 2014 that he co-founded Semma Therapeutics – named after his children, Sam and Emma, who both suffer from Type 1 diabetes – to develop the technology.

Acquired by Vertex (News - Alert) Pharmaceuticals for $950 million dollars this past summer, the company has created a small device that holds millions of replacement beta cells and is capable of being implanted. It's designed to let glucose and insulin through, while keeping immune cells out.

“If it works in people as well as it does in animals, it’s possible that people will not be diabetic,” Melton says. “They will eat and drink and play like those of us who are not.”

A Mind-Reading Wristband

A CTRL-kit is a device strapped onto the wrist, detecting the electrical impulses that travel from the motor neurons down the arm muscles and reach the hand almost as quickly as a person thinks about a specific movement.

“I want machines to do what we want them to do, and I want us to not be enslaved by the machines,” says Thomas Reardon, CEO and co-founder of CTRL-Labs, the device maker.

A neuroscientist who once drove the development of Microsoft (News - Alert)'s Internet Explorer, Reardon views it as an opportunity for people to regain the control that was lost in the smartphone era.

Clay Sustala believes that the device, if implemented properly into the medical field, has amazing potential: new forms of rehabilitation and access can be introduced for patients recovering from a stroke or amputation, as well as individuals with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative conditions.



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