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Redesigned vaginal speculum for enhanced patient comfort and physician use

Researchers at UC Irvine have redesigned the vaginal speculum, a medical device routinely used for pap smears, and other medical procedures that involve inspection of the vaginal canal (i.e. IUD insertions, STD testing, and hysterectomies). The novel design addresses several patient discomforts associated with currently used speculums and is more time- and cost-effective for health professionals.

Small Molecule Modulators Of Kir7.1 To Improve Female Reproductive Health

Preterm birth affects more than 10% of pregnancies in the US, and accounts for 85% of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Additionally, conditions such as preeclampsia which are associated with preterm labor can be fatal to both mother and child if left untreated, and chronic conditions such as PCOS result in anovulation in 10% of reproductive-age women. While the administration of progesterone and related compounds has been used to treat these conditions, their mechanism of action remained elusive, severely limiting the effectiveness of drug development and treatment.To address these issues, researchers at UC Berkeley have discovered that through modulation of the Kir7.1 receptor more effective treatments can be sought and existing treatments administered more effectively for these disorders.

Methods to Prevent and Treat Diffuse Large and Other B Cell Lymphomas

Professor Ameae Walker from the University of California, Riverside, Professor Srividya Swaminathan from the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute and their colleagues have developed a method for the prevention and treatment of B cell lymphomas. This technology works by systemically inhibiting expression of one form of the set of cell surface molecules that allow cells to respond to prolactin. This highly specific technology suppresses the deleterious downstream effects of prolactin that promote and sustain abnormal B cells. This invention is advantageous compared to existing technologies: all measures in mouse models and analysis of human cells suggest it is nontoxic and therefore will have significantly fewer, if any, side effects. It may also be used together with anti-psychotics that elevate prolactin. Finally, the technology includes a method for screening populations susceptible to development of DLBCL and other B lymphomas for early signs of disease. Antimaia Acts at Three Stages of B Lymphoma Development: 1) Antimaia, a splice modulating oligonucleotide (SMO) that decreases expression of the long form of the prolactin receptor, reduces the number of premalignant cells and the formation of abnormal antibody-producing cells. This also improves the symptomatology of autoimmune disease. 2) Antimaia prevents the conversion of premalignant to overt malignant B cells. 3) Antimaia kills B lymphoma cells. Antimaia works by reducing the number of long and intermediate form prolactin receptors (LF/IF PRLR) without effect on short receptors (SFPRLR). PRL, prolactin; Bcl2, B cell lymphoma 2; Myc, a proto-oncogene.

Steroid Sulfatase Inhibitors For Hormone Related Cancers

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed several steroid sulfatase inhibitors (STSi) that can be used as a potential treatment for hormone related cancers, specifically castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and breast cancer.

Deep Learning Techniques For In Vivo Elasticity Imaging

Imaging the material property distribution of solids has a broad range of applications in materials science, biomechanical engineering, and clinical diagnosis. For example, as various diseases progress, the elasticity of human cells, tissues, and organs can change significantly. If these changes in elasticity can be measured accurately over time, early detection and diagnosis of different disease states can be achieved. Elasticity imaging is an emerging method to qualitatively image the elasticity distribution of an inhomogeneous body. A long-standing goal of this imaging is to provide alternative methods of clinical palpation (e.g. manual breast examination) for reliable tumor diagnosis. The displacement distribution of a body under externally applied forces (or displacements) can be acquired by a variety of imaging techniques such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance, and digital image correlation. A strain distribution, determined by the gradient of a displacement distribution, can be computed (or approximated) from measured displacements. If the strain and stress distributions of a body are both known, the elasticity distribution can be computed using the constitutive elasticity equations. However, there is currently no technique that can measure the stress distribution of a body in vivo. Therefore, in elastography, the stress distribution of a body is commonly assumed to be uniform and a measured strain distribution can be interpreted as a relative elasticity distribution. This approach has the advantage of being easy to implement. The uniform stress assumption in this approach, however, is inaccurate for an inhomogeneous body. The stress field of a body can be distorted significantly near a hole, inclusion, or wherever the elasticity varies. Though strain-based elastography has been deployed on many commercial ultrasound diagnostic-imaging devices, the elasticity distribution predicted based on this method is prone to inaccuracies.To address these inaccuracies, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a de novo imaging method to learn the elasticity of solids from measured strains. Our approach involves using deep neural networks supervised by the theory of elasticity and does not require labeled data for the training process. Results show that the Berkeley method can learn the hidden elasticity of solids accurately and is robust when it comes to noisy and missing measurements.

Mapping Ciliary Activity Using Phase Resolved Spectrally Encoded Interferometric Microscopy

Researchers at UCI have developed an imaging technique that can monitor and measure small mobile structures called cilia in our airways and in the oviduct. This invention will serve as a stepping stone for study of respiratory diseases, oviduct ciliary colonoscopy and future clinical translations.

Injectable Extracellular Matrix For Treating Skeletal Muscle Atrophy And Degeneration

The primary therapeutic goal in female pelvic medicine is to restore normal pelvic floor function. Despite this, the current standard treatments are 5 compensatory, as they do not directly target sphincteric and supportive muscle dysfunction and do not reverse the existing injury or halt functional deterioration. Surgical treatments, such as muscle transplantation and transposition techniques, have had some success; however, there still exists a need for alternative therapies. Tissue engineering approaches offer potential new solutions; however, current options offer incomplete regeneration. Many naturally derived as well as synthetic materials have been explored as scaffolds for skeletal tissue engineering, but none offer a complex mimic of the native skeletal extracellular matrix, which possesses important cues for cell survival, differentiation, and migration. The extracellular matrix consists of a complex tissue-specific network of proteins and polysaccharides, which help regulate cell growth, survival and differentiation.Despite the complex nature of native ECM, in vitro cell studies traditionally assess cell behavior on single ECM component coatings, thus posing limitations on translating findings from in vitro cell studies to the in vivo setting. Overcoming this limitation is important for cell-mediated therapies, which rely on cultured and expanded cells retaining native cell behavior over time.Skeletal muscles are composed of bundles of highly oriented and dense muscle fibers, each a multinucleated cell derived from myoblasts. The muscle fibers in native skeletal muscle are closely packed together in an extracellular three dimensional matrix to form an organized tissue with high cell density and cellular orientation to generate longitudinal contraction. Skeletal muscle can become dysfunctional due to a variety of different factors including trauma, atrophy or degeneration.The reconstruction of skeletal muscle, which is lost by injury, tumor resection, or various myopathies, is limited by the lack of functional substitutes.  

TRM: Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus-PyMT Transgenic Mice

Transgenic mouse models that develop spontaneous mammary adenocarcinomas have proven valuable in revealing molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis and metastasis . Models target specific pathways depending on the transgene being expressed under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat (MMTV-LTR) or whey acid protein (WAP) mammary gland promoters and thereby replicate genetic defects in subsets of human tumors.

Microbiome-Based Intervention For Intrauterine Growth Restriction

UCLA researchers in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology have identified one of the underlying causes of intrauterine growth restriction, which may be treated with microbiome-based therapeutics.

Vaccines Against Herpes Simplex Virus Infection

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections affect billions of patients worldwide and can manifest its symptoms as painful blisters or ulcers at oral, ocular or genital locations. Symptomatic patients can currently only alleviate their pains with antiviral medication. These technologies propose a shift in focus toward novel protective epitopes as the foundation for new vaccines.

In vivo optical biopsy applicator of the vaginal wall for treatment planning, monitoring, and imaging guided therapy

Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) afflict nearly 25% of all women and carry a host of symptoms that can drastically reduce quality of life. Despite their prevalence, the complex and varied nature of such PFDs make them difficult to diagnose and treat. Researchers at UCI have developed an entirely integrated system that, for the first time, provides real-time monitoring of the vaginal wall tissue during diagnosis and treatment, allowing for more thorough diagnoses and more effective treatment methods.

Novel Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal Nanopillared Surface

Medical devices are susceptible to contamination by harmful microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, which form biofilms on device surfaces. These biofilms are often resistant to antibiotics and other current treatments, resulting in over 2 million people per year suffering from diseases related to these contaminating microbes. Death rates for many of these diseases are high, often exceeding 50%. Researchers at UCI have developed a novel anti-bacterial and anti-fungal biocomposite that incorporates a nanopillared surface structure that can be applied as a coating to medical devices.

Sieve Container For Contactless Media Exchange For Cell Growth

Media that contains nutrients and growth factors is necessary to grow all types of cells, a process that is widely used in many fields of research. Such media should be routinely changed either to different media or a fresh batch of the same media. This change currently involves either using a pipette to transfer cells from their current dish of media to a new dish, or aspirating the media out of the dish and replacing it with new media. Both methods have inherent risks to stressing and damaging the cells. Researchers at UCI have developed a unique dish for growing cells that allows for safer aspiration of the old media, which reduces stress and damage to the cells.

Breast Lesion Characterization Using Contrast Mammography

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S. As with any cancer, early detection and treatment is critical in minimizing the severity of the tumor and risk of death. Researchers at UCI School of Medicine have developed a novel contrast-enhanced mammography technique capable of distinguishing between benign and malignant lesions in breast tissue.

Mid-pregnancy Serum Biomarkers for Predicting Preterm Birth

This mid-pregnancy serum biomarker test can accurately and effectively identify pregnancies that will deliver before 32-weeks of gestation.

A Mouse Model of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection for Drug Discovery

UCSF researchers have generated and validated a K14-HPV16 transgenic mouse model, in which transgene expression produces neoplastic progression that fully resembles the gynecological and other epithelial dysplastic lesions induced by high risk HPVs. This model offers an invaluable tool for studying HPV infection and developing new drugs for HPV treatment.

A non-destructive method of quantifying mRNA in a single living cell

The detection of levels of messenger RNA (mRNA), the molecule used by DNA to convey information about protein production, is a very important method in molecular biology. Current detection strategies, such as Northern Blotting and RT-PCR, require destruction of the cell to extract such information. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a method to non-destructively assess mRNA levels in a single living cell.

Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer Using Markers to Short Chain Carbohydrates

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a unique method for early detection in ovarian cancer using chemical markers corresponding to short chain carbohydrates.

Radioactive Soft Tissue Filler For Brachytherapy

The invention is a radioactive gel for treatment of soft tissue cancers. This compliant, biocompatible gel infused with radioactive elements is meant to provide cosmetic tissue restoration as it fills out cavities resulting from tumor removal (e.g. lumpectomies). Once in the cavity, the material delivers precisely dosaged and localized radiation therapy (also known as brachytherapy) to the affected tissues around it.

Patient-Specific Ct Scan-Based Finite Element Modeling (FEM) Of Bone

This invention is a software for calculating the maximum force a bone can support. The offered method provides an accurate assessment of how changes in a bone due to special circumstances, such as osteoporosis or a long duration space flight, might increase patient’s risk of fracture.

A Method For Determining Characteristic Planes And Axes Of Bones And Other Body Parts, And Application To Registration Of Data Sets

The invention is a method for deriving an anatomical coordinate system for a body part (especially bone) to aid in its characterization. The method relies on 3-D digital images of an anatomical object, such as CT- or MR-scans, to objectively, precisely, and reliably identify its geometry in a computationally efficient manner. The invention is a great improvement over the current practice of subjective, user-dependent manual data entry and visualization of bones and organs. The applications for well-defined anatomical coordinate systems include robotic surgeries, models for bone density studies, and construction of statistical anatomical data sets.

Second-Generation Estrogen Receptor Down-Regulators for Medical Therapy

UCLA researchers in the School of Medicine have developed a series of novel estrogen receptor antagonists for breast cancer therapy.

Automated CD Microfluidic Device for Cell Culture

An automated media exchange CD microfluidic device that may be used for cell culture or in vitro fertilization.

Wrinkled Metal Film Strain Gauge For Fetal Movement Detection

There is great importance to monitoring fetal movement because it is an indicator of fetal health. A medical device has been developed for continuous monitoring of fetal movement outside the clinic. The easy to wear device will give mothers’ reassurance that they are doing everything they can to monitor their baby’s health.

Ultra-sensitive androgen assay

This invention is a novel assay to detect and quantify androgen levels, as low as 1.5 ng/dl, in blood or serum samples.

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