The first US clinical trial of using an in-brain chip to fight opioid addiction is now underway

Opioid addiction is easily one of the top widespread healthcare issues facing the U.S., and research indicates we’re nowhere near achieving any kind of significant mitigating solution. But a team of medical researchers working at the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and West Virginia University Medicine (WVU) are beginning a new clinical trial of a solution that uses brain-embedded technology to potentially curb opioid addiction in cases that have resisted other methods of treatment. A team of neurosurgeons from RNI and WVU successfully implanted what’s called a “deep brain simulation” or DBS device into the brain of a 33-year-old man, the first person to participate in the trial. The DBS device consists of a number of tiny electrodes, …

What leading HealthTech VCs are investing in

Why is tech still aiming for the healthcare industry? It seems full of endless regulatory hurdles or stories of misguided founders with no knowledge of the space, running headlong into it, only to fall on their faces. Theranos is a prime example of a founder with zero health background or understanding of the industry — and just look what happened there! The company folded not long after founder Elizabeth Holmes came under criminal investigation and was barred from operating in her own labs for carelessly handling sensitive health data and test results. But sometimes tech figures it out. It took years for 23andMe to breakthrough FDA regulations — it’s since more than tripled its business and moved into drug discovery. …

Making wearables matter: Blood pressure monitoring could be the tipping point

Greg Yap Today’s wearables are still designed for the healthy and wealthy, not those who could benefit the most. Medical wearables offer the potential to collect health data and improve health via a combination of real-time AI and expert human intervention. Apple’s announcement of FDA clearance of its Watch for screening for irregular heart rhythms was meant to be groundbreaking. But its medical value right now remains limited and controversial. What will make the promise into reality? High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects between 30-50% of adult Americans, or 75-120 million people. It’s the No. 1 risk factor in deaths worldwide, and the No. 1 modifiable risk in heart disease and stroke, the top two worldwide causes of death. Despite …

Using full-body MRIs, Ezra can now detect 11 cancers in men and 13 in women

When Ezra first launched about six months ago, the company was using magnetic resonance imaging machines to test for prostate cancer in men. But the company’s founder, Emi Gal, always had a larger goal. “One of the biggest problems in cancer is that there’s no accurate, fast, painless way to scan for cancer anywhere in the body,” Gal said at the time of his company’s debut. It’s hard to overstate how vitally important early cancer screening is for patients. The American Cancer Society estimates 1.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2019. For 600,000 people that diagnosis will be a death sentence. Roughly half of cancer patients are detected in the late stage of the disease …

Biofourmis raises $35M to develop smarter treatments for chronic diseases

Biofourmis, a Singapore-based startup pioneering a distinctly tech-based approach to the treatment of chronic conditions, has raised a $35 million Series B round for expansion. The round was led by Sequoia India and MassMutual Ventures, the VC fund from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Other investors who put in include EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, China-based healthcare platform Jianke and existing investors Openspace Ventures, Aviva Ventures and SGInnovate, a Singapore government initiative for deep tech startups. The round takes Biofourmis to $41.6 million raised to date, according to Crunchbase. This isn’t your typical TechCrunch funding story. Biofourmis CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput moved to Singapore to start a PhD, but he dropped out to start the …