Applications of electrical energy in medicine: RF ablation, pulsed-field ablation and electroporation

Learn about new and promising applications of energy-based medical systems and the challenges of developing them.

An engineer develops the pulsed waveform output for a PFA system. [Photo courtesy of Minnetronix Medical]

Daniel Friedrichs, Minnetronix Medical

While modern medicine is awash in high-tech electronics from large surgical robots to tiny implanted sensors, there are several applications where electrical energy is directly applied to a patient to ablate tissue, convey drugs, or achieve other clinical effects.

Given the obvious concerns with applying electricity to humans, developing these tools safely and effectively is crucial.

This article briefly reviews these applications of electrical energy in medicine and new opportunities to refine existing technology such as radiofrequency (RF) ablation or realize radical improvements using new energy modalities such as pulsed-field ablation (PFA…

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In vivo electroporation is an engineering solution for drug and gene delivery

Electroporation involves using an external electrical device to apply a prescribed electric field to tissue. This transiently opens pores in cell walls, allowing transport of drugs, DNA, and gene therapies. [Photo courtesy of Minnetronix Medical]

Why the new buzz about an old technique? Harness the potential of an existing technology for modern medicine.

Daniel Friedrichs, Minnetronix Medical

Reversible electroporation is the use of an electric field to open pores in a cell wall, allowing transport of drugs, DNA or other “cargo” into a cell — in particular, allowing delivery of chemically large molecules and transport of DNA vaccines and customized gene therapies.

In the 40 years since its invention, electroporation has become a mainstay technique in biological sciences, but only recently has wide interest in in vivo (human clinical) electroporation taken hold. Compared to other delivery vectors and …

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September 2022 Issue: The Medtech Big 100 is bigger than ever

Medtech sales reach a record high as R&D spend and employee counts climb

Supply Chain EVP Greg Smith sees fewer suppliers in Medtronic’s future

Autotransfusion device maker ships units to Ukraine

How IP protection is enabling robotic surgery innovation

Connected device design for the real world: Managing the development process

FDA details plans to expand remote safety assessments for device makers

Contract manufacturer Minnetronix Medical launches its first in-house product, MindsEye

The Medtech Big 100 is bigger than ever

The tide has turned.

The Medtech Big 100 — Medical Design & Outsourcing‘s annual revenue ranking of the world’s …

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Contract manufacturer Minnetronix Medical launches its first in-house product, MindsEye

Minnetronix Medical’s MindsEye expandable port [Photo courtesy of Minnetronix Medical]

Minnetronix Medical has launched MindsEye, making it the first medical device that the contract developer and manufacturer has conceived and commercialized.

St. Paul-based Minnetronix Medical’s MindsEye is the first expandable brain access port on the market. The FDA cleared the device under the 510(k) pathway in August 2020.

The minimally invasive device gives neurosurgeons deep brain access and visualization as they treat strokes, cancer and other conditions. The device features a flexible sheath made of cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) and an aluminum obturator. MindsEye won the Minnesota Technology Association’s TEKNE award for best medical technology and device in 2021.

“Its benefits to neurosurgeons — such as expandability, easier insertion and removal, and transparency that minimizes glare …

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How Minnetronix Medical helped Lazurite with its wireless surgical camera

The ArthroFree wireless surgical camera system. [Image courtesy of Lazurite]

Minnetronix Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) has played an important development and manufacturing partner role with Lazurite’s wireless surgical camera system.

It’s been nearly two months since Lazurite (formerly Indago) announced FDA 510(k) clearance of its ArthroFree system. ArthroFree combines proprietary low-heat, high-intensity Meridiem light engine technology with advanced camera, battery and wireless transmission technologies and drop-in compatibility with patient data consoles, surgical displays and endoscopes. The goal is to to improve operating room productivity, patient safety and economic value.

Minnetronix ‘s optics experts optimized the ArthroFree’s image signal processing chain — the signal path an image takes to travel through the system, from an image sensor’s initial capture to on-screen d…

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Pulse field ablation enables new precision cancer treatments

A Minnetronix engineer evaluates a control board for an electroporation system. [Photo courtesy of Minnetronix]

Macro-scale electroporation energy manipulates cellular behavior for effective drug delivery.

Saeid Movahed and Daniel Friedrichs, Minnetronix Medical

When applied to tissue, electric fields can enable precise and selective ablation effects by manipulating cellular-scale electrical properties. One effect, called electroporation or electropermeabilization, has many therapeutic and diagnostic applications including tumor ablation and intercellular delivery of DNA, RNA, protein and other cargo.

The intercellular space is separated from the outside environment by phospholipid bilayer (cell membrane), which is an electrically polarized membrane made of lipid molecules. Transmembrane potential (TMP) — the inherent difference between electric potentials on the two sides of the cell membrane — can …

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Sterifre Medical prepares to launch its Aura desktop disinfection device

The Sterifre Aura disinfection system [Photo courtesy of Sterifre]

Sterifre Medical is demonstrating its Aura device and courting investors as it prepares to launch the automatic point-of-care disinfection system.

The Aura is a portable machine that circulates hydrogen peroxide and activated oxygen with the push of a single button to disinfect stethoscopes, sensors, pumps, tablets, phones, keys, badges and anything else you can fit in the chamber. The device emits no harmful chemicals, leaves no residue and can get into the nooks and crannies that are hard to reach with the disinfectant wipes and handheld sprays traditionally used in health care settings.

“About 85% of things that are cleaned and disinfected in the hospital go through disinfection, not sterilization,” Sterifre CEO Rick Shea said in an interview. “We thought if we could take this technology, miniaturize it and get it close to point of car…

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Minnetronix Medical names operations VP

Minnetronix Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) announced today that it has hired Travis Hintz as its VP of operations.

Hintz was previously the global supply chain director for the personal safety division at 3M. He has also been VP of North America supply chain planning for Ecolab and operations manager at Delphi Automotive Systems.

In his new role, Hintz will work to scale manufacturing and supply chain operations to support Minnetronix’s growing number of customers. Minnetronis presently supports more than 100 medical device companies within its four key technology segments: optical systems, RF energy, stimulation and active wearables, and fluid and gas management devices.

“Travis’ breadth of experience working with global companies across the spectrum of supply chain, procurement, production, and planning will be invaluable to support our growth,” said Minnetronix Medical CEO Jeremy Maniak. He added that Hintz’s experience integrating acquisitions, levera…

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Minnetronix and INO team up on optical medical device development

Minnetronix Medical and INO Innovation Center today announced a strategic partnership to innovate and accelerate the development of optical medical devices.

For their first completed project, INO developed a smart illumination system for an unidentified customer and Minnetronix led the system integration.

The companies said in a news release that their partnership can also manage projects that require optical subsystems with larger, complex medical device systems; have complicated or diverse supply chains and/or require regulatory insights to scope design considerations relative to the FDA pathway.

“There is increased complexity in creating optical medical devices, which this partnership solves,” Minnetronix VP and GM Matt Adams said in the news release. “For example, the supply chain for complex medical optics is often fragmented requiring customers to find specialized expertise in multiple small firms. Now, customers get the best brains in the industry…

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Minnetronix Medical honored in Minnesota for its MindsEye Expandable Port

Minnetronix’s first product — the MindsEye Expandable Port — previously earned the “Best New Technology Solution – Surgical” award from MedTech Breakthrough, an independent market intelligence. [Image courtesy of Minnetronix]

Minnetronix Medical (St. Paul, Minn.) received an award from the Minnesota Technology Association that highlights its MindsEye Expandable Port for minimally invasive deep brain access.

The company won the association’s TEKNE award for best medical technology and devices.

“Given Minnesota is a global epicenter for the medical device industry, this award is quite meaningful to Minnetronix and our teams,” Minnetronix CEO Jeremy Maniak said in a news release. “MindsEye is an excellent example of how Minnetronix is bringing value and innovation to our customers and the industry.”

The first product that the contract manufacturer has created itself, the MindsEye device previou…

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Keep the end in mind when choosing a medtech partner

There are five general categories of medtech vendor partners. If the end is apparent in the beginning, the correct type of partner will be more apparent.

[Image from Pixabay]

Jim Reed, Minnetronix Medical

Stephen Covey gave the business world this mantra in one of his bestsellers: “Start with the end in mind.” Whether they didn’t read the book or simply choose to ignore the advice, many companies enter into discussions with vendors without their end goal in mind. It sets the partnership on an inefficient course from the beginning. If the end results aren’t front and center from the beginning of the vendor selection process, the outcomes may include frustration and misunderstanding.

When looking for a vendor partner to bring a product to life, the choices can be as widespread as 1) a $12 billion global contract manufacturer with 50,000 employees that develops both industrial and consumer products, 2) a mi…

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How contract manufacturer Minnetronix decided to make its own medical device

Medtech contract manufacturers such as Minnetronix often avoid making their own devices. But CEO Jeremy Maniak had a different idea.

Minnetronix’s first product — the MindsEye Expandable Port — earned the “Best New Technology Solution – Surgical” award from MedTech Breakthrough, an independent market intelligence. [Image courtesy of Minnetronix]

Minnetronix Medical (St. Paul, Minn.) is closing on its quarter-century mark, and Jeremy Maniak has been with the company more than half of that time. Promoted into the corner office in early 2020, he has some unique ideas about how to position the medtech contract manufacturer for growth over the next 25 years.

An electrical engineer who entered the medical device industry directly out of Purdue University, Maniak explained to our DeviceTalks Weekly Podcast about how Minnetronix saw an opportunity to create its own line of medical devices. It was a move that som…

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