Weekly Tech Roundup | Feb 14, 2019

Weekly tech roundup: health care technology invented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

This week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new effort to improve public health by partnering with TechLink to push its research and inventions into commercial markets.

This week’s tech roundup includes some of the VA’s hottest health care technology opportunities that are available now. All of them are opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to license and bring to the commercial market. And TechLink can help navigate the licensing process with our no-cost service.

Don’t see any technologies below that interest you? Visit the full VA portfolio.

Here is this week’s roundup:

Autism treatment by altering gut microflora

The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed an autism treatment using antibiotics to target causative agents and repopulating the gastrointestinal tract with normal flora. Specifically, this is a method for treating autism associated with Desulfovibrio overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract of a patient.

Experiments conducted with late-onset autistic children have demonstrated success using methods of this treatment approach. The inventors have recorded significant improvement in the symptoms of children with delayed-onset autism by providing them with antibiotics directed toward common anaerobic intestinal bacteria.

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Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment with CHP-Zinc formulation

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) neuropathology, which currently affects over 26 million individuals worldwide, is characterized by amyloid-beta (Aβ) containing plaques and neurofibrillary tangles composed of neurofilament and hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Aβ has been demonstrated to be neurotoxic in numerous studies and appears to be responsible for initiating the memory loss associated with AD.

Scientists at the Department of Veterans Affairs have formulated a combined composition comprising a thyroid hormone (CHP) and a zinc salt. Such compositions may be used to treat AD, dementia, metabolic syndrome and cerebrovascular diseases.

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Obesity treatment through purinergic receptors

Current drugs used for the prevention or treatment of obesity fall into three categories: drugs that suppress appetite by acting on the brain; drugs that boost the body’s metabolic rate; and drugs that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb specific nutrients in food, such as fat.

Pharmaceuticals in this $3.5 billion market have significant limitations in terms of safety, efficacy, or both.

Research showing that genetic deletion of the P2Y2 pruinergic receptor results in resistance to the development of high-fat-induced obesity in mice. And researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs have proposed treating diet-induced obesity by administering an oligonucleotide (antisense oligo, ribozyme, siRNA or other agents) that blunts the expression of the P2Y2 receptor.

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Collapsible wheelchair with offset push rim for improved biomechanics, stability, and transfers

The most common form of a wheelchair utilizes a push rim connected directly to the drive wheels. A user is able to propel the wheelchair by pushing the rims with their hands, thereby rotating the wheel an equal angle.

Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs have developed a new collapsible manual wheelchair system that decouples the push rims from the drive wheels and reconnects them using a belt drive or chain drive transmission, which allows for optimal stability and better shoulder positioning for propulsion. Decoupling also allows the push rims to be rotated towards the back of the chair, moving them out of the way for easier transfers. The setup further enables the use of multispeed fixed-gear hubs for easier propulsion on different terrain.

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Improved urinary catheter that eliminates tissue damage

Persons with urinary retention due to spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, prostate enlargement, or the like use disposable urinary catheters, referred to as intermittent catheters, to void their bladder. The process of catheterization can be problematic and sometimes leads to urinary tract infections.

A biomedical engineer at the Department of Veterans Affairs invented a urinary catheter assembly that can be introduced into the urethra without sliding, reducing the risk of trauma to the urethral wall and transport of bacteria and other infectious agents into the urethra and bladder.

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Novel heart disease treatment

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

The American Heart Association estimates that 5.7 million Americans have heart failure. A pharmaceutical that could inhibit cardiac diseases such as hypertrophy and increase survival would represent a major advance, and its clinical impact would be immense.

Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs recently developed new formulations that show promise for preventing, inhibiting, or treating a cardiac disease such as heart failure, advanced heart failure, NYHA class 3 or 4 symptoms, hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, hypotension, shock, valvular heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, myocarditis, pericardial disease or arrhythmia.

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