Instead of scalpels and chemotherapy, doctors are increasingly resorting to high-tech solutions in the fight against cancer: Nano-capsules and proton radiation are among the most promising new patented technologies benefitting patients worldwide. The roster of groundbreaking inventions also includes numerous finalists and winners of the European Inventor Award.
For the past 15 years, medical technologies have been the leading category among patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO).
In 2012, the EPO received a total of 10 412 patent applications for medical technologies; 42% from the US and 38% from Europe.
Germany is leading the pack in Europe with 12% of all medical technology patent applications, followed by Switzerland, France and the Netherlands (4% each).
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Nicolas Loran
When Josef Bille won the European Inventor of the Year Award in 2012, it was for inventing a device that revolutionised certain kinds of eye surgery. His invention received a patent from the European Patent Office, despite the fact that medical methods that can be directed to surgery, therapy or diagnosis are not patentable at the European Patent Office. In fact they are explicity excluded from patentability under Article 53 of the European Patent Convention.
Colonoscopy with a “pill camera”
As an alternative to costly endoscopic screenings, a pill-shaped camera invented by Gavriel Iddan from Israel delivers high-resolution images from inside the human body.
Every heart beats to a different rhythm. The dynamic pacemaker developed by three Dutch inventors can be tailored to suit individual patients.
Breakthroughs in synthetic biology by Jason Chin and Oliver Rackham enabled the manufacturing of artificial proteins for medical applications and research.