Here’s how it worked: Upon entering the exhibition hall, attendees were given a game card that featured the 11 sponsor companies and their locations on the show floor. Attendees took their cards to each of the sponsor booths to have them stamped indicating that the attendees had, in fact, visited that booth. After visiting at least eight of the sponsors, attendees left their cards to the EE booth to have them entered into the daily drawings. Three drawings were held on the first and second days of the show with a single drawing on Thursday, the last day. Daily prizes included Blu-ray Disc Players, Acer netbooks, and Apple iPads. Sponsor companies and the daily prize winners are featured on Page 33 of this issue.
The more than 800 attendees at the show were given ample opportunities to hear and participate in the many technical sessions presented throughout the event and yet have time to visit the companies on the exhibition floor. If you or your company will be in the market for automated test equipment and software in the near future, it may be worth your time to attend the 2011 AUTOTESTCON show in Baltimore next September and see what new products equipment vendors will have to show you.
Heading north to Chapel Hill, researchers at the University of North Carolina are developing a unique drug delivery system for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, as reported in the June 17 edition of the MIT Technology Review. Pancreatic cancer is very problematic because tumors in the organ grow rapidly and can encroach on nearby arteries and other organs making it difficult to remove them surgically. The treatment most often prescribed for late-stage pancreatic cancer is a “customized combination of chemotherapy and radiation.” Even with this treatment, the patient gains only a few additional months.
Part of the problem is that the chemotherapies can’t adequately access the tumors. Treatment usually consists of high doses of chemotherapy that are adjusted to attack the cancer but just short of attacking healthy tissue. As noted in the article, this regimen really amounts to “poisoning the whole body.”
To overcome whole-body poisoning during treatment, Joseph DeSimone and his team of researchers at UNC have developed an implantable device that can deliver the chemotherapy directly to the affected organ. An electrode is filled with the prescribed chemotherapy drugs and implanted into the pancreas. Another electrode on the outside of the body is used to generate an electric field that releases the drugs from the implant into the tumor. Tests have shown that the high concentration of chemotherapy drugs is localized within the tumor and does not affect any surrounding tissue.
According to the article, initial tests have been performed on mice with pancreatic tumors, and the results look promising. Shrinking the tumors is the next stage to be accomplished. If the implantable electrodes can be used to shrink tumors, then surgeons could be able to remove previously inoperable cancers, possibly leading to a cure for this deadly disease.