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5 Things You Missed During Massachusetts Medtech Week


The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center during BIOMEDevice’s annual event. Photo via @LeeToma.

Each week, the Massachusetts Medtech sector gets bigger and better. Thousands of healthcare professionals mingled and meshed, catalyzed and synergized at the BIOMEDevice conference in Boston May 6-7, 2015, during the 1st Annual Massachusetts Medtech Week. The extravaganza included five UBM Canon co-located trade shows, BIOMEDevice Boston, Design and Manufacturing New England, Electronics New England, PLASTEC New England, and the Quality Expo Showcase.

Here are five incredible concepts you may have missed:

1. Winning Simulated Hearts and Minds

At MassMEDIC’s 19th Annual Meeting, Steve Levine, director of Dassault Systèmes’ Living Heart Project, captured participants’ hearts with a step inside the world’s first 3D realistic simulation model of a whole human heart. Inspired to build this model based on his own daughter’s heart problems, Levine uses his experience in the aerospace industry to improve functionality and reliability in medicine and regulatory affairs.

2. Robotic Arms that Outperform Our Own

Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development Corporation, inventor of the Segway and owner of more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, captivated participants with his newest invention: the Luke Arm, an advanced robotic prosthesis. Just as smartphones and Watson are arguably smarter at data and better at chess than people, it seems only a matter of time before robotic arms can outperform our own.

3. Massachusetts as a MedTech Industry Leader

Rajesh Misra and Zara Muradali of KPMG presented a State of the Industry Report highlighting the fact that Massachusetts is first in 510(k) patent approvals, per capita, compared to other states. Massachusetts continues to lead in medical device exportation; it’s first in medical device exports as a percentage of total exports across all industries, growing faster than any other industry sector, and ranking fourth in overall medical device exports behind California, Texas and Tennessee.

Massachusetts’ medical device sector also ranks second, after California, in venture capital funding and in the number of venture capital deals, but first when compared as a percentage of GDP and per capita. In 2013, Massachusetts employed 22,938 people within eight medical device manufacturing categories, a five percent decrease from 2008.

4. Tailored Advances in Women’s Health Tech

An evening panel organized by the Medical Development Group was packed with conference attendees. Monica Mallampalli, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the Society for Women’s Health, discussed gender differences in diseases and symptoms, how devices such as stents and pacemakers need to be smaller for women, and the importance of including women in clinical trials for new medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

In the same session, Valena J. Wright, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology and Director of Robotic and Laparoscopic Gynecologic Surgery at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, explained problems with the late diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer, which her sister struggles with. She spoke about the importance of developing new biomarkers to detect ovarian cancer early, before it metastasizes, and balancing risks and advances in new technology.

5. The Importance of Asking the Right Questions

Sujat Sukthankar, VP of R&D for Urology and Women’s Health at Boston Scientific, was also a crowd pleaser, especially after his talk on asking the right questions. He quoted Albert Einstein, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.”


Laura Henze Russell

Laura Henze Russell

    An economist by training, Laura Henze Russell applies the multiple lenses of economics, ethics, efficacy and common sense to shine a light on real world problems, from how the cost of living varies throughout the lifespan by health status, to how we can accelerate the promise of precision medicine. She has an M.A. in Economics from the University of California and a B.A. from Hampshire College. She is also the principal of Precision Research, Writing & Communications and of Good Works Consulting, with experience in the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

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