IBM, The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology develop new antimicrobial hydrogel
Researchers from IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a new antimicrobial hydrogel that can break through diseased biofilms and completely eradicate drug-resistant biofilms and completely eradicate drug-resistant bacteria on contact.
The synthetic hydrogel, that forms spontaneously when heated to body temperature, is the first -ever to be biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic, making it an ideal tool to combat serious health hazards facing hospital workers, visitors and patients.
Antimicrobials can be used for disinfecting various surfaces and can be found in traditional household items like alcohol and bleach. Moving from countertops to treating drug resistant skin infections or infectious diseases in the body are proving to be more challenging as conventional antibiotics become less effective and many household surface disinfectants are not suitable for biological applications.
IBM Research and its collaborators developed a remoldable synthetic antimicrobial hydrogel, comprised of more than 90% water, if commercialized is ideal for applications including creams or injectable therapeutics for wound healing, implant and catheter coatings, skin infections or even orifice barriers.
Dr Yi-Yan Yang, Group Leader, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Singapore said,“We were driven to develop a more effective therapy against superbugs due to the lethal threat of infection by these rapidly mutating microbes and the lack of novel antimicrobial drugs to fight them.
Using the inexpensive and versatile polymer materials that we have developed jointly with IBM, we can now launch a nimble, multi-pronged attack on drug-resistant biofilms which would help to improve medical and health outcomes.”
The IBM nanomedicine polymer program, which started in IBM’s Research labs only four years ago with the mission to improve human health-stems from decades of materials development traditionally used for semiconductor technologies.
This advance will expand the scope of IBM and IBN’s collaborative program, which allows scientists to simultaneously pursue multiple methods to create materials to improve medicine and drug discovery.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”