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Cool is Hot: The Promise of Hypothermia

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Medical researchers have known for more than 50 years that cold can be an important cardio- and neuroprotectant, but concerns about the side effects of deep hypothermia and sloppy, time-consuming procedures turned physicians away. Advances in device design as well as new research on the value of mild hypothermia have unlocked the potential of the therapy to function as a temperature management tool in surgery and critical care, to protect against injury from emboli in cardiac surgery, in resuscitation and trauma, and perhaps the biggest opportunities, in stroke and heart attacks.

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Philips buys Innercool: The Ice Age Cometh

As part of a bid to connect the dots between its own product offerings, Philips Healthcare acquired InnerCool Therapies, maker of surface and endovascular cooling devices for the management of cardiac patients. InnerCool fits into the company's broader "care cycle" strategy, the point of which is to provide a continuum of care to patients in the diseases Philips serves. Specifically, Philips' strategy is to connect diverse care settings to its product markets, in this case, cardiac resuscitation. The combination marks a change in how sudden cardiac arrest is regarded, from an isolated episode focused on a stopped heart to a larger strategy of patient management.

Where are They Now? Yesterday's Stroke Companies

In May 2000, START-UP profiled five medical device companies targeting stroke, in an article entitled "Making Progress in Stroke." We recently revisited Radiant Medical, Medivance, MicroVention, and two others to find out what went according to plan and what didn't In 2007, we have to say that there has in fact not been much progress, at least in acute ischemic stroke. Two companies dropped out, two remain active with promising programs--in clinical areas other than stroke, and one, which avoided ischemic stroke in the first place, enjoyed a nice exit.

The Coming of Age of Vulnerable Plaque

Traditional scientific wisdom holds that heart attacks originate from severe blockages of the artery created by atherosclerosis, the progressive build up of plaque in the coronary arteries. Recent research indicates, however, that certain kinds of "vulnerable plaque" may trigger acute coronary events, creating demand for new diagnostic tools to identify and characterize the plaque and new treatments. The field is moving at a dizzying pace and is beginning to attract a handful of start-ups and venture capitalists; these see a huge opportunity, but also recognize the challenges inherent in changing entrenched approaches to treatment.

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