Risky HPV detected in human breast milk

  • 7/5/2008
  • New York, NY
  • Karla Gale
  • Reuters (

Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16), which has been linked to cervical cancer, can be detected in human breast milk collected during the early period after a woman delivers her baby, doctors from Finland report.

It is possible that HPV DNA present in breast milk may be transmitted to the infant during breast feeding, study chief Dr. Stina Syrjanen suggested in correspondence with Reuters Health.

In previous research, Syrjanen, a pathologist at the University of Turku, and colleagues found evidence of transmission of HPV from an infected mother to her newborn infant. This led to the Finnish HPV Family Study, the goal of which is to elucidate the transmission modes of HPV between family members.

For their current report, Syrjanen’s team looked for HPV in cervical scrapings obtained from 223 mothers, and in oral scrapings from the mothers and 87 fathers prior to delivery and at 2, 6, and 12 months after delivery. They also looked for HPV in breast milk expressed on postpartum day 3.

High-risk HPV DNA was detected in 10 milk samples (4.5 percent), the team reports. DNA sequencing from nine samples confirmed that the virus was high-risk HPV-16.

The detection rate of high-risk HPV was 12 to 15 percent in cervical samples, 20 to 24 percent in oral samples from mothers, and 21 to 26 percent in oral samples from fathers.

The team also observed a significant link between HPV in milk and the presence of high risk-HPV in oral scrapings obtained from the father.

Thus, transmission could have occurred by the spouse, from the mouth to the nipple and then to the breast, or it could have occurred from the mother’s hands, Syrjanen said.

She theorized that “if there are viral particles in breast milk, the infant might acquire oral HPV infection via breast milk during (breast feeding).

Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, June 2008.

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Advexin moves closer to market

  • 7/4/2008
  • web-based article
  • Matthew Dennis

Introgen Therapeutics has submitted a BLA to the FDA, while simultaneously Gendux Molecular (Introgen) has submitted an MAA to the EMEA, both seeking marketing approval for Advexin (INGN 201), the company’s targeted p53 tumour suppressor gene therapy, to treat recurrent, refractory head and neck cancer. INGN 201 represents the first in a new class of tumour suppressor cancer therapy and is the first of its kind to be submitted for regulatory approval in the US and Europe. Introgen has requested priority review from the FDA for INGN 201, meaning that the treatment could be on the market in early 2009.

INGN 201 therapy harnesses the body’s natural tumour suppression mechanisms to fight cancer, without the toxicities associated with conventional cancer treatments. Abnormalities in protective tumour suppressor p53 pathways are associated with the majority of all solid cancers. Designed to restore patients’ ability to fight cancer, INGN 201 delivers large doses of the normal p53 gene to target abnormal p53 function present in tumour cells, which triggers natural tumour suppression mechanisms in cancer without harming normal cells.

According to Dr Jack Roth, inventor of Advexin and professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “This is an important milestone in the clinical application of gene therapy for cancer patients. With the use of p53 biomarkers, Advexin will provide more effective and less toxic treatment for head and neck cancer patients who have limited treatment options.”

The submissions are based on pivotal Phase II and III trials evaluating survival, tumour response and safety in patients with recurrent, refractory end-stage, squamous cell carcinoma of the H&N. These studies incorporated common diagnostic tests to identify patients most likely to benefit from INGN 201 based upon pretreatment tissue analyses to determine p53 profile status.

The Phase III trial achieved the study’s objectives and demonstrated clinical benefit of INGN 201 in comparison to the control drug, methotrexate. The patients most likely to benefit from INGN 201 treatment with increased tumour responses and survival were identified by prespecified p53 biomarker profiles. Overall, the study results demonstrated that INGN 201 addresses an unmet medical need and the combination of biomarker testing and treatment has the potential to provide recurrent H&N cancer patients with an effective therapy that is less toxic than standard chemotherapies.

INGN 201 is Advexin’s lead product candidate, approval of which may open the door for the company’s other gene therapy drugs. Indeed, INGN 201 is being investigated in Phase II trials for breast, non-small cell lung and oesophageal cancer, as well as earlier-stage studies in prostate, ovarian, bladder, brain and bronchoalveolar cancer. However, it is unclear whether regulatory bodies will even approve INGN 201. The FDA has faced considerable scrutiny in recent years for approving drugs that have turned out to produce dangerous side effects, and it has become more cautious as a result. How the Agency along with the EMEA will view the first in a new class of drugs remains to be seen.

1. Matthew Dennis – Editor, Cancer Drug News

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Impact of graphic anti-smoking photos burning out

  • 7/4/2008
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Sarah Schmidt

Graphic health warnings on cigarette packages are failing to move the majority of smokers to quit, a new government survey has found.

Over the last five years, the percentage of smokers who say the warnings are ineffective at getting them to try to kick the habit has increased, according to the newly released Health Canada poll.

More than half – 57 per cent – say they are unmoved by these graphic warnings, up five points from five years earlier. Among potential quitters – smokers who are seriously thinking of quitting – the percentage who characterize the campaign as not very effective or not at all effective in getting them to try to quit has also increased in this period, to 43 per cent from 40 per cent.

Only 14 per cent of smokers and 20 per cent of potential quitters said the health warnings are very effective at getting them to try to quit smoking, also down from five years ago, when 18 per cent of smokers and 25 per cent of potential quitters described the campaign in these terms.

Health Canada commissions the annual Environics poll to track the effectiveness of health warning messages on cigarette packages.

In 2001, Canada became the first country in the world to require tobacco companies to put photos of cancerous lungs, diseased hearts and mouth cancer among others on cigarette packages with text messages such as “Cigarettes Cause Lung Cancer” and “Cigarettes Cause Strokes.” The photos and text must cover half of the package, both front and back.

But the campaign hasn’t been updated in seven years, and the Canadian Cancer Society says these new survey results show the warnings are “becoming a bit stale,” according to senior policy analyst Rob Cunningham.

“That’s an indication of the importance of Health Canada refreshing the content of the messages. You’re not going to see a major consumer product company leave their television ads unchanged for seven years.”

The most recent poll, conducted last November, shows near universal recollection among respondents of seeing health warning messages on cigarette packages, with 93 per cent of smokers reporting having seen warnings on their main brand of cigarettes.

But the poll also found that many smokers are finding ways to avoid looking at the images of oral cancer, teeth decay and lung disease accompanied by tag lines about cancer, premature death and the harmful effects on fetuses.

About one in five smokers (22 per cent) and potential quitters (19 per cent) said they never look at the health warnings. This is up from five years ago, when 15 per cent of smokers and 11 per cent of quitters reported never looking at the warnings.

At the same time, the number of smokers looking at these warnings several times a day is down, to 22 per cent in November 2007 from 29 per cent in November 2002. The decrease is even more dramatic among potential quitters over these five years, to 24 per cent from 33 per cent.

Health Canada issued a statement Friday saying the research indicates that “awareness of specific health issues related to tobacco-related health hazards is growing.”

The statement added, “Health Canada believes that the warning messages continue to be an effective and efficient way to reach smokers at a very low cost.”

Long-time smoker Arminda Mota is among those who don’t even notice the graphic health warnings when she pulls out her pack of cigarettes multiple times a day.

“It’s worthless, period. No smoker looks at it. We don’t care. That’s not going to make me stop smoking or even think about it,” said Mota, a Montrealer who heads the industry-funded smokers’ rights group

Cunningham said Health Canada is currently working on updating the health warnings, but any changes won’t take effect until 2010. He said the delay is unavoidable because any updates will require regulatory changes and a transition period for the tobacco industry.

Environics polled 1,000 smokers and 606 potential quitters. The margins of error for the two groups are plus or minus 3.1 and 4.0 points respectively, 19 times out of 20.

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Seven Major U.S. Cancer Institutions Order Hyperthermia Systems from BSD Medical

  • 7/3/2008
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • press release
  • The Earth Times (

BSD Medical Corp. today announced the addition of seven new BSD-500 hyperthermia systems purchased by major cancer treatment center in the United States. The most recent purchase by the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University located in Richmond, Virginia joins in a number of recent hyperthermia system sales in the United States. Other notable cancer care hospitals that have also purchased or installed BSD hyperthermia systems this year include:

1 Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute in Cleveland, Ohio
2 William Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Michigan
3 Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois
4 Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona
5 Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma
6 Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan

These prestigious cancer treatment centers have a long-standing tradition of offering world-class cancer care and treatment in the United States. The addition of hyperthermia therapy to each institution as an adjuvant to traditional cancer treatment demonstrates leadership in cancer awareness, diagnosis and management.

The BSD-500 systems purchased by these cancer institutions are employed to treat various types of cancer. Hyperthermia is used to make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation as well as destroy cancer cells directly. In Phase III clinical trials where hyperthermia was combined with radiation, hyperthermia improved 2-year local control of melanoma from 28% to 46%, complete response for recurrent breast cancer from 23% to 68% and the 5-year survival rate from 0% to 53% in patients with head and neck cancer, compared to the use of radiation therapy alone.

BSD Medical Corp. is the leading developer of systems used to deliver hyperthermia therapy for the treatment of cancer. Hyperthermia therapy is used to kill cancer directly and increase the effectiveness of companion radiation treatments for certain tumors. For further information visit BSD Medical’s website at or BSD’s patient website at

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GSK Does Not Expect FDA Approval Of HPV Vaccine Cervarix Until End Of 2009

  • 7/3/2008
  • web-based article
  • staff

GlaxoSmithKline on Monday said it does not expect to receive FDA approval for its human papillomavirus vaccine Cervarix until late 2009, Reuters reports. GSK said it has decided to wait until results from a Phase III trial of the vaccine are available before seeking U.S. approval. The study results likely will be submitted to FDA in the first half of 2009, with an FDA decision expected no more than six months later. GSK is competing with Merck for HPV vaccination contracts around the world (Hirschler, Reuters, 6/30).

Cervarix and Merck’s FDA-approved vaccine Gardasil in clinical trials have been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases (Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, 6/20). Both vaccines are designed to be given to girls and young women but have different properties (Reuters, 6/30). According to Reuters, Cervarix uses a “novel adjuvant,” or additive, that GSK says makes it longer lasting. Cervarix has been approved in 67 countries, including Australia, European Union countries and Mexico (Debreczeni, Dow Jones, 6/30).

FDA in December 2007 requested additional information about the vaccine before issuing a decision on GSK’s application for Cervarix (Deighton, Thomson Financial/Forbes, 6/30). GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier in February said that the company will provide FDA with the requested information by the third quarter of 2008 (Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, 4/11). The company said it decided to wait until the results from the Phase III trial are available because it expects the trial to find a longer duration of safety and efficacy, according to Thomson Financial/Forbes (Thompson Financial/Forbes, 6/30).

1> Reprinted from One can view the entire Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women’s Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, published by The Advisory Board Company.

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Laser Surgery Probe Targets Individual Cancer Cells

  • 7/1/2008
  • Austin, TX
  • staff
  • Biocompare (

Mechanical engineering Assistant Professor Adela Ben-Yakar at The University of Texas at Austin has developed a laser “microscalpel” that destroys a single cell while leaving nearby cells intact, which could improve the precision of surgeries for cancer, epilepsy and other diseases.

“You can remove a cell with high precision in 3-D without damaging the cells above and below it,” Ben-Yakar says. “And you can see, with the same precision, what you are doing to guide your microsurgery.”

Femtosecond lasers produce extremely brief, high-energy light pulses that sear a targeted cell so quickly and accurately the lasers’ heat has no time to escape and damage nearby healthy cells. As a result, the medical community envisions the lasers’ use for more accurate destruction of many types of unhealthy material. These include small tumors of the vocal cords, cancer cells left behind after the removal of solid tumors, individual cancer cells scattered throughout brain or other tissue and plaque in arteries.

A commercially available femtosecond laser system and microscope was developed recently for LASIK and other eye surgeries, but the system’s bulk limits its usefulness. Ben-Yakar’s laboratory has overcome technological challenges to create a microscope system that can deliver femtosecond laser pulses up to 250 microns deep inside tissue. The system includes a tiny, flexible probe that focuses light pulses to a spot size smaller than human cells.

Ben-Yakar’s experimental system and its use to destroy a single cell within layers of breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory is described in the June 23 issue of Optics Express.

Within a few years, Ben-Yakar expects to shrink the probe’s 15-millimeter diameter three-fold, so it would match endoscopes used today for laparoscopic surgery. The probe tip she has developed also could be made disposable—for use operating on people who have infectious diseases or destroying deadly viruses and other biomaterials.

To develop the miniature laser-surgery system, Ben-Yakar worked with co-author Olav Solgaard at Stanford University’s Electrical Engineering Department to incorporate a miniaturized scanning mirror. Ben-Yakar and her graduate student Chris Hoy, another co-author, also used a novel fiber optic cable that can withstand intense light pulses traveling from an infrared, femtosecond laser. To make the intensity more manageable, they stretched the light pulses into longer, weaker pulses for traveling through the fiber. Then they used the fiber’s unique properties to reconstruct the light into more intense, short light pulses before entering the tissue.

For the study, Ben-Yakar directed laser light at breast cancer cells in three-dimensional biostructures that mimic the optical properties of breast tissue. She has since studied laboratory-grown, layered cell structures that mimic skin tissue and other tissues.

Ben-Yakar is also investigating the use of nanoparticles to focus the light energy on targeted cells. In research published last year, she demonstrated that gold nanoparticles can function as nano-scale magnifying lenses, increasing the laser light reaching cells by at least an order of magnitude, or 10-fold.

“If we can consistently deliver nanoparticles to cancer cells or other tissue that we want to target, we would be able to remove hundreds of unwanted cells at once using a single femtosecond laser pulse,” Ben-Yakar says. “But we would still be keeping the healthy cells alive while photo-damaging just the cells we want, basically creating nanoscale holes in a tissue.”

1. Source: University of Texas at Austin
2. Grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health funded the research.

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Quit smoking with a proven approach

  • 7/1/2008
  • Chicago, IL
  • D. Robert McCaffree, MD
  • Chicago Tribune (

I read with interest the open letter from Dr. Brad Rodu to Sen. Obama in the June 22 Perspective section (“Quitting ins’t that easy”). In this open letter, Dr.Rodu advocated the use of smokeless and spit tobacco (which I will refer to only as spit tobacco) to reduce the cravings of nicotine addiction and reduce the harm from cigarettes. He minimized the risk from spit tobacco in his comments.

As a physician who has spent my professional career helping those with nicotine addiction, I would like to offer an alternative view. Using spit tobacco for smoking cessation is an area of controversy among anti-tobacco advocates. Many of us who have cared for patients with their tongues or half their jaws removed because of spit tobacco would not advocate its use. Moreover, UST, Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and other producers of spit and smokeless tobacco are marketing flavored packets designed to attract and addict young people. And many spit tobacco products deliver more nicotine than cigarettes.

While I support using a variety of techniques for smoking cessation for my patients, I would suggest that a safer method than spit tobacco is using approved nicotine replacement such as patches, gum and lozenges. In fact, the most recent update of the CDC Guidelines for Smoking Cessation doesn’t recommend use of spit tobacco but does recommend the use of combinations of nicotine replacements, such as patches plus gum, finding that the results were as good as using other pharmacologic therapy. And the cost is comparable to using spit tobacco. Moreover, all smokers have access to the national quit line (1-800-QUITNOW) and many states provide nicotine replacement therapy for those who can’t afford it or whose insurance doesn’t cover it.

I would urge all smokers trying to quit to use a proven approach which is safer than spit tobacco.

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Clay S. Felker, 82 – Influential Editor of New York Magazine

  • 7/1/2008
  • Washingon, D.C.
  • Matt Schudel
  • Washington Post (

Clay S. Felker, the pioneering editor who founded New York magazine and helped launch the new journalism of the 1960s, with its novelistic techniques and strong point of view, died July 1 at his Manhattan home at 82. He had battled throat cancer in recent years.

“He had beaten cancer three times,” his wife, writer Gail Sheehy, said yesterday. “He died at home in his sleep.”

By defining the form of the modern city magazine and encouraging writers to address modern life in a bold, vividly descriptive style, Mr. Felker was one of the most influential journalists of his time.

His first triumphs came in the mid-1960s, when he was editor of New York, originally the Sunday magazine of the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He gave writers such as Tom Wolfe and Jimmy Breslin the freedom to roam the city and write as they pleased, making the colorful supplement “the hippest Sunday reading in town,” as Newsweek put it.

When the newspaper folded in 1967, Mr. Felker used his severance pay to buy the magazine’s name and secured more than $1 million in financing to rebuild New York as a glossy weekly publication. When it debuted on April 8, 1968, it was not an immediate success, but Mr. Felker soon found an innovative formula that would inspire imitators around the world.

He combined in-depth articles on politics, crime and finance with lighter features on shopping, restaurants, reviews and listings that made New York, in Mr. Felker’s words, “a guide on how to live in this city.” The magazine’s lively design, created by art director Milton Glaser, reflected Mr. Felker’s view of New York — both the city and the magazine — as a bright and varied feast for the mind and the eye.

His complicated personality, which ranged from soothing and encouraging to explosive and temperamental, left few people indifferent.

“He is variously described by associates and acquaintances as autocratic, devious, dishonest, rapacious, egotistical, power mad, paranoid, a bully and a boor,” a 1977 Time magazine article said. “Almost in the same breath, the same people call Felker a genius.”

In the early years of New York magazine, Mr. Felker assembled a staff of writers that included Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Nora Ephron, Richard Reeves, Pete Hamill, Jack Newfield, Aaron Latham, Gael Greene and Sheehy, who was Mr. Felker’s third wife. He exhorted them to write in distinctively personal voices as they explored the city’s trends, horrors and delights. An anthology of writing from New York will be published in fall.

“It was a magazine that helped create the notion of the writer as star,” one of Mr. Felker’s writers, Ken Auletta, told The Washington Post in 1993.

New York had a tone that seemed to match the heady confusion of the times. Much of the issue of June 8, 1970, was devoted to Wolfe’s “Radical Chic,” which described a fundraiser for the Black Panthers at the apartment of conductor Leonard Bernstein. Wolfe’s scathing story, which coined the term “limousine liberals,” became a classic of new journalism. Six years later, in another New York article, Wolfe summed up the entire era when he called it the “Me Decade.”

Wolfe called Mr. Felker “the greatest idea man that ever existed” in a 1993 interview with The Washington Post.

“My philosophy is that you have faith in the writer’s point of view,” Mr. Felker told The Post. “You pick the writers you believe in and give them their freedom. As opposed to most editors who want to mold the writers into what they want, make them a tool of the editors.”

As an early champion of women in journalism, Mr. Felker helped Steinem’s fledgling Ms. Magazine get off the ground when he included a 40-page preview issue in an edition of New York.

Yet, for all his success in defining an era, Mr. Felker was just as often derided for what could be called his feats of Clay. He once published a nude photo of Viva, an actress associated with Andy Warhol, and critics found some articles to be adolescent or needlessly provocative.

The journalism review More complained that New York magazine was little more than “a weekly diet of superficiality at best and deception at worst, reality distorted for the sake of titillation.”

Breslin parted with Mr. Felker in the early 1970s, saying the magazine “caused me to become gagged with perfume and disheartened by character collapse.”

As the circulation and reputation of his flagship magazine grew, Mr. Felker sought to expand his journalistic empire in the mid-1970s by buying the Village Voice and by launching New West, a West Coast version of New York.

But his lavish spending on limousines, office space and personal chefs drew criticism from his board of directors, who rejected his demand that they buy him a house in the Hamptons. Mr. Felker invited Rupert Murdoch, then newly arrived in the United States as owner of the New York Post, to invest in New York magazine.

Instead, Murdoch made a hostile bid for the three publications that Mr. Felker controlled. With backing from then-Washington Post Co. Chairman Katharine Graham, Mr. Felker proposed a series of counteroffers, but he was outmaneuvered by Murdoch and ousted in January 1977.

Feeling betrayed by Murdoch, Mr. Felker said, “Rupert Murdoch and I disagree on the meaning of friendship, of human values and the meaning of journalism.”

Most of the New York staff walked out in solidarity, but Mr. Felker seemed to have lost more than just his magazine. He would spend the rest of his life trying to regain his magic touch, though seldom with the same success.

“His ambition was too large,” a New York staffer told The Post in 1993. “Why wasn’t he satisfied with New York magazine? He wanted to be Citizen Hearst, and he lost his dream.”

Clay Schuette Felker was born Oct. 2, 1925, in St. Louis, where his father was managing editor of the Sporting News. Mr. Felker printed his first newspaper, the Greeley Street News, when he was 8 and sold it in his hometown of Webster Groves, Mo.

He entered Duke University in 1942. He graduated nine years later, after wartime service in the Navy and a stint as a statistician for the New York Giants baseball team.

He moved to New York and wrote about sports and politics for Life magazine. With his background in sports — he later wrote a book about baseball manager Casey Stengel — Mr. Felker was assigned to a secret Time-Life group that developed Sports Illustrated in 1954.

As features editor of Esquire magazine from 1957 to 1962, he hired Gore Vidal to write a column on politics and asked novelist Norman Mailer to cover the 1960 Democratic National Convention. Mailer’s article, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” was hailed as an early example of new journalism.

When Mr. Felker lost out to Harold Hayes as top editor of Esquire, he left the magazine and worked as a consultant for the Herald Tribune, a distinguished but struggling newspaper. In 1964, he became editor of the paper’s Sunday magazine, which he transformed into a showcase of smart reporting and writing.

“Each week’s lineup was as varied and unpredictable as the city itself,” Richard Kluger wrote in “The Paper,” a history of the Herald Tribune.

In 1977, after Mr. Felker was forced out as editor of New York magazine, he became publisher and editor of Esquire, where he hoped to revitalize the ailing men’s journal. Less than two years later, the magazine was sold out from under him, and he was adrift once more.

For several years, he was a consultant to 20th Century Fox, which transformed several stories he had edited, most notably “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) and “Urban Cowboy” (1980), into movies.

Mr. Felker continued to have modest triumphs as editor of Adweek magazine and the business-oriented Manhattan Inc. in the 1980s, but both efforts proved short-lived. He was still remembered as the editor who created — and lost — New York.

He turned to teaching in the 1990s and had a long association with the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, which named its center for magazine studies in his honor. He became a powerful force at the school, spotting young talent and overseeing the magazine writing and design programs.

Mr. Felker viewed the glamour and excitement of New York with never-ending wonder. He shared a spacious apartment on East 57th Street with Sheehy, his wife since 1984, and Manhattan’s literary crowd clamored for invitations to their parties. Long after he had retired from running magazines, Mr. Felker continued to be regarded as a sage of journalistic wisdom.

“His reach may have exceeded his grasp,” Newsweek declared in 1977, but “Felker has left a strong and highly personal imprint on American journalism.”

His earlier marriages to Leslie Blatt Felker and actress Pamela Tiffin ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Mohm Phat Sheehy of Cambridge, Mass.; a stepdaughter, Maura Sheehy of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a sister; and three grandchildren.

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Leading Medical Teams Rely on SensAble 3D Modeling System to Speed Cranial and Maxillofacial Reconstruction

  • 6/30/2008
  • Cardiff, Wales
  • press release

At the third annual conference on Advanced Digital Technology for Head and Neck Reconstruction today, SensAble Technologies, Inc, a leading provider of touch-enabled modeling solutions and haptic devices, and Majenta Solutions, an Authorized Reseller in the UK, showcased innovative uses of the FreeForm 3D modeling system for quickly creating patient-specific cranial and maxillofacial implants and prostheses. These include:

– Orbital (eye socket) soft-tissue implants created by Morriston Hospital in South Wales

– Surgical guides and soft-tissue, extra-oral prosthetics for eyes, ears and noses created by the University of Wales Institute – Cardiff’s National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR)

– Custom titanium dental onlays to correct mandibular asymmetry made by the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry

Patients with cancer, trauma and congenital conditions often need custom implants with irregular or organic shapes. Traditionally medical teams carved wax, clay or gypsum models of patient-specific implants and prostheses – a time-consuming process requiring multiple iterations. Today teams are sculpting the same complex forms digitally with SensAble’s FreeForm 3D modeling system and delivering them faster, with more accuracy and reducing the number of patient fittings.

“FreeForm saved us at least 30 percent of the time it would have taken us to create our soft-tissue orbital implant versus working in wax,” said Peter Evans, consultant in maxillofacial prosthetics at Morriston Hospital. “We see such potential in FreeForm that we formed a collaboration called CARTIS to further explore how digital 3D design can aid in reconstructive modeling.”

Instead of using a computer mouse, FreeForm users hold a stylus-like PHANTOM haptic device, and literally sculpt by touch – actually “feeling” the implant or prosthesis and the patient’s skull or soft tissue, as they are designing on-screen – just as they would if they were working with wax or clay. FreeForm allows medical teams to review electronically and make swift refinements for an accurate fit before exporting for rapid prototyping or milling.

“FreeForm remains the most suitable, flexible system we have for a wide range of reconstructive modeling and the creation of prosthetics,” said Dominic Eggbeer, research officer for medical applications at the National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR) at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. “It is so effective that we are now offering this as a commercial service.”

“With FreeForm, dental technologists can work faster, and far more intuitively, to overcome inaccuracies associated with the traditional multi-stage laboratory process for a wide range of restorations, prostheses and implants,” said David Wildgoose, dental instructor, University of Sheffield School of Clinical Dentistry. The Journal of Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery article in January 2008 details his use of FreeForm for creating a patient-specific titanium onlay to correct a mandibular asymmetry.

The conference also includes a hands-on FreeForm session as part of a digital maxillofacial reconstruction workshop presented by Majenta Solutions on Monday, June 30, 2008.

About SensAble Technologies
Founded in 1993, SensAble Technologies is a leading developer of 3D touch-enabled (force feedback) solutions and technology that allow users to not only see and hear an on-screen computer application, but to actually ‘feel’ it. With 32 patents granted and over 6,000 systems installed worldwide, SensAble Technologies’ haptic technology is being used in applications ranging from designing toys and footwear, to surgical simulation and stroke rehabilitation, to dental restorations, as well as a range of research and robotic applications. The company markets its own 3D modeling solutions as well as its haptic devices and developer toolkits to medical, dental, design, and manufacturing companies; educational and research institutions; and OEMs.

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Face transplant pioneer in Cardiff

  • 6/30/2008
  • Cardiff, Wales
  • Madeleine Brindley
  • Wales Online (

THE leader of the team which carried out the world’s first face transplant will lecture at a major international medical conference to be held in Cardiff.

Professor Bernard Devauchelle, from Amiens, France, made international headlines in 2005 when his team carried out the world’s first face transplant on a 40-year-old French woman, Isabelle Dinoire, who had been mauled by a dog.

He will be among a number of prominent speakers at the International Conference on Advanced and Digital Technology in Head and Neck Reconstruction, which is being held in the UK for the first time.

The conference, which runs until tomorrow, will look at the ways new technologies have advanced the field of reconstruction of the face.

The conference has been organised by surgeons at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust and from the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff.

It comes as a series of major new developments have been made in the discipline at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea.

The hospital is the first in Wales to install a £30,000 3D facial soft tissue scanner which can to link with other CT and MRI scanners to build up as complete a picture as possible of a patient’s face and aid surgeons in planning treatment.

An operating theatre at Morriston has also been equipped with an electronic medical images system, allowing a complex software system to be operated as surgery is under way.

This gives surgeons extra information to help fine-tune and improve results.

Adrian Sugar, a consultant cleft and maxillofacial surgeon, at Morriston Hospital, who is also the conference’s joint chairman, said: “We have been asked to trial a new 3D X-ray scanner which will allow us to check our work on the operating table before we close the wound.

“We will be sharing the scanner with our neurosurgery and orthopaedic colleagues.”

He said the advancements would enable his team to carry out ever more precise surgery on patients, who range from trauma and accident victims to people born with head and neck deformities, or tumour and cancer patients.

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