Friday, October 9, 2015

ePharma news: 3-D Technology Saves the Life of a 4-year-old and potentially many lives in the future

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This week Miami doctors were able to successfully perform an open heart surgery on a 4-year-old patient previously believed to be inoperable due to a complicated heart condition. To facilitate the surgery, the surgeons printed a 3-D replica of the young patient's heart and instrumented the steps in the procedure on the 3-D printed model of the organ first. Doing so, the doctors said they were able to plan the surgery in details, which subsequently saved them two hours in the operating room and eliminated any doubts about the specific steps into the surgery that the doctors have previously had. The hope is, in the next 10-15 years 3-D printers will be able to print real organs for transplant surgeries using human cells.

BioDigital maps out human body in its new API 3D modeling startup
Image courtesy of BioDigital at
More on 3-D technology: a New York-based startup BioDigital released an API that 3-D models human body. The idea behind is to be able to map every part of human body to learn more in depth about the processes happening inside and use this knowledge toward prediction and prevention of injures and psychosomatic disorders, and to improve and perfect the healthcare. TechCrunch in its article "3-D Modeling Startup BioDigital Launches An API For The Human Body" of Oct. 1, called the BioDigital's initiative "Google Maps for the human body."

More and more pharma companies are looking into social media, and monitoring negative or positive mentions is not the only reason why. People progressively become deeper and deeper involved in social media potentially sharing valuable health insights, which can be used by companies in upgrading the medication experience. Just like that, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has done the social listening part on more than 1000 companies' drugs, and the results exceeded expectations. Besides being able to identify trends among drug users and learn about alternative competitive treatments, GSK touched upon never-seen before area - a purposeful misuse of drugs as narcotics. The GSK researchers came across a few websites, where users were sharing "best practices" of getting high on off-the-counter drugs. These experiments with drugs in a way present a version of the kind of clinical trial that could never see the light in the modern society due to the legal and moral aspects of it. Monitoring and taking
part in such conversations achieves two goals: one, it provides information to the researchers sufficient enough to make the drugs safer to use; two, it gives a way to unobtrusively communicate the risks of misusing the drugs to the community as a preventative measure.

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About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at
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