Impulse – Meeting Healthcare Pioneers

Impulse – Meeting Healthcare Pioneers

The podcast that democratizes medical technology and meets the people who are transforming this field.

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#4 – Fighting sepsis with nanoengineered beads to filter the blood – Lukas Langenegger – Hemotune

One consequence of the covid-19 crisis we are still going through is sepsis, a lethal misguided reaction of the immune system following an infection, currently responsible for 11 million deaths yearly on a global scale. Together with his team, Lukas Langenegger is addressing this life-threatening condition using a unique technology leveraging magnetic microscopic beads that enable the filtration of blood and the removal of toxic compounds circulating through the body during such a medical episode. The so-called Hemosystem is akin to a dialysis machine where the traditional membrane filter is replaced by a solution containing these beads. Offering a very large surface area, they are used to selectively trap key toxic compounds known to contribute to sepsis: their removal enables in fact to reestablish the immune balance of the patient, leading to drastically improved outcomes. This disruptive technology has been rewarded and praised multiple times in the Swiss medtech sphere and the media. Lukas himself has already been featured in the German issue of Forbes, as a recognition for the pioneering work and contribution that he and his team are bringing in the fight against this terrible condition. We exchanged with Lukas on his professional path, which started in the world of banking before moving towards chemical engineering and the start of a PhD, which he interrupted after a few months to embrace the entrepreneurial route. He guides us with passion through the genesis of Hemotune, the functioning of the system they have created and the surprising development perspectives that such a platform could allow, from the treatment of cancer up to the extension of our longevity! Timeline: (01:05) - Introduction to Lukas’ background and the origins of Hemotune (02:12) - Transitioning from banking to chemical engineering (04:59) - Quitting a PhD to become an entrepreneur (07:34) - Bringing multiple specialties together to found Hemotune (08:58) - Finding support from the Swiss ecosystem to kick start your own firm (09:49) - Hemotune’s technology and its first indication: sepsis (11:17) - Understanding the mechanisms of sepsis and the lack of current recovery treatment (14:20) - Timing of the intervention for patients using the Hemosystem (15:01) - Current standard of care and keeping patients suffering from sepsis alive (16:22) - Reestablishing the immune balance thanks to the Hemosystem (18:10) - Towards magnetic microscopic beads tailored to each patient (19:56) - The Hemosystem workflow and blood filtering cycles (20:57) - Engineering the magnetic microscopic beads (22:30) - Preventing toxicity from the beads towards the blood (26:00) - The development roadmap of the Hemosystem and its foreseen availability (30:18) - Moving towards other indications (e.g. cancer, autoimmune diseases, longevity) (32:02) - Establishing a new treatment modality at the interface of a drug and a medical device (33:15) - Addressing the burden of antimicrobial resistance What we also talked about with Lukas : Carlos Andrea Mora Corinne Hofer Precision Medicine ETHZ MIT Functional Materials Laboratory from Prof. Wendelin Stark HLA-DR Kurz Gesagt Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive Leo Grünstein Spiden If you want to know more about Hemotune, we invite you to consult their website: We also invite you to follow their activities on LinkedIn or through their newsletter (subscription link available through the company website). You can contact Lukas through LinkedIn or by email: [email protected] If you want to give me feedback on the episode, ask questions or suggest potential guests, feel free to do so through LinkedIn or by email: [email protected]
May 1, 2022

#3 – Augmenting the lives of paraplegics with exoskeletons – Tristan Vouga – Twiice

Wearables bringing back the ability to walk for paraplegics: this is the world in which Tristan Vouga is evolving. Passionate by the field of robotics and willing to have an impact on society, he turned his PhD thesis into the Swiss startup Twiice. The company is developing a modular exoskeleton, bringing back the ability for its users to stand, walk, climb stairs and even go on a ski tour! Beyond the technological achievement and the numerous awards it has won in international contests, their platform has the potential to transform the lives of many paraplegics as well as amputees. We talked with Tristan about his transition from PhD student to entrepreneur, about their exoskeleton capabilities, the feelings of “ownership, embodiement and agency” that are key to a seamless human-machine interaction, and about how innovation can be derived from science-fiction! Timeline: (01:44): Tristan’s introduction and background in wearable robotics (03:22): Moving to the US to explore brain-controlled exoskeletons (08:10): Description of the exoskeleton Twiice, how it operates and supports paraplegics (10:52): The importance of embodiment, ownership and agency in human-machine interactions (12:42): Leveraging brain signals to control wearable exoskeletons (14:03): Generating haptic feedback to enhance the feelings of ownership, embodiment and agency (15:57): Developing an exoskeleton for ski touring (18:38): Exploring new use cases for amputees (21:01): Innovative commercial models to distribute the cost of ownership among patients (22:59): A clinical trial to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of Twiice in a community setting (24:29): Seamless human-machine interaction as a key differentiator (26:16): Moving towards an exoskeleton not requiring crutches (30:20): The Cybathlon and competing against other exoskeletons (35:02): Dealing with the frustration of access hurdles for patients (36:11): Coping with the demand from patients while driving R&D efforts (38:17): Transitioning from PhD student to entrepreneur (40:18): Drawing inspiration from science-fiction What we also talked about with Tristan: EPFL ETHZ Duke University ReHassist The Nicolelis Lab Neuralink The triad: embodiment-ownership-agency Boston Dynamics The Cybathlon The Global Innovation Challenge Blade Runner Testmate Health We cited with Tristan some of the past episodes from the podcast: #1 - Measuring your arterial age to prevent heart diseases - Ted Baldwin - Imageens
March 30, 2022

#2 – Treating liver cancer with surgical robotics – Lucien Blondel – Quantum Surgical

Lucien Blondel is one of the leading figures in the field of surgical robotics, having already led the development of several platforms supporting orthopaedic, spinal and brain surgeries. Together with Quantum Surgical, which he co-founded alongside Bertin Nahum, Fernand Badano and Sophie Roca, they are addressing liver cancer through a new robotic platform supporting ablation procedures. Under the name of “Epione” (the goddess of care in the Greek mythology), it represents a breakthrough in this field, not only supporting surgeons in the execution of the ablation procedure, but also in the planning phase up to the validation of the surgical act. Through a combination of cutting-edge image processing technology, computer vision and haptics, Epione is on its way to revolutionize interventional oncology and improve access to liver cancer ablation, for patients and for surgeons. We exchanged with Lucien on his background, what brought him to surgical robotics, the specificities of this field, his role in leading the technical development of Epione, and its underlying promise in the cure of liver cancer. Timeline: 02:09 - 04:11: Lucien’s introduction and background in surgical robotics 04:51 - 07:04: How he got into this field and what drove his interest to it 07:43 - 13:25: The uprising of surgical robotics and key developments over the past years 14:16 - 19:36: Identifying the right disease area and type of intervention 20:02 - 22:15: The type of cancer targeted by Epione and the surgical act it complements 22:49 - 24:53: Enabling percutaneous ablation beyond interventional radiologists 25:02 - 26:37: Applications of Epione beyond liver cancer 27:20 - 32:22: Epione’s components and workflow 32:51 - 35:13: Synchronizing the patient’s breathing to the robotic arm positioning 35:43 - 38:06: Synergies between Epione and other platforms previously developed by Lucien and his team 38:22 - 40:56: Moving towards fully autonomous surgical interventions 41:20 - 42:22: The meaning behind “Epione” 43:11 - 45:21: Suggested resources to dig deeper into surgical robotics 45:34 - 47:55: The “Why” What we also talked about with Lucien: ROSA Epione Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery Versius Surgical Robotic System Da Vinci Surgical Systems ExcelsiusGPS Gustave Roussy Institute Mayo Clinic The International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery If you want to know more about Quantum Surgical, we invite you to consult their website: You can contact Lucien through LinkedIn or by email: [email protected] If you want to give me feedback on the episode, ask questions or suggest potential guests, feel free to do so through LinkedIn or by email: [email protected]
February 28, 2022

#1 – Measuring your arterial age to prevent heart diseases – Ted Baldwin – Imageens

Cardiovascular diseases represent the leading cause of deaths worldwide. Despite the permanent progress in the treatment of such conditions, targeted prevention approaches remain a key solution to address this issue. This is the challenge that Imageens, a Paris-based startup led by Ted Baldwin, is tackling through the application of artificial intelligence to medical imaging, with the aim to quantify your arterial age. This specific biomarker unvails unique opportunities to anticipate heart conditions for people at moderate risk, with the promise to inform better clinical care decisions. We exchanged with Ted on the burden that cardiovascular diseases represent on a global level, the power of AI applied to medical imaging to discover early indicators of these pathologies, and how these insights can drive better personalized prevention programs to stay away from them. Timeline: 01:50 - 05:18: origins of Imageens 06:23 - 08:16: unmet need that Imageens is addressing 08:53 - 12:56: existing cardiac risk scores and the arterial age concept 13:10 - 15:36: technical approach to quantify the arterial age using MRI and AI 15:41 - 20:10: relationship between biological and arterial ages 20:32 - 22:56: MESA trial led by Johns Hopkins University and its link to the discovery of cardiac risk scores 23:26 - 30:09: Imageens softwares Artfun+ and LABEL, their functioning and role in predictive imaging biomarkers discovery 30:21 - 31:05: moving beyond MRI to other imaging modalities 31:35 - 33:21: target patient population and access to Imageens technology 33:43 - 36:09: acceptance by physicians and the medical community 36:48 - 37:30: patient journey description 38:00 - 40:24: moving towards predictive analysis of the optimal cardiac prevention program What we also talked with Ted about: Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) MESA trial Framingham risk score Cardiac CT calcium score Ascending aortic distensibility Ted’s TEDx presentation Ganymed Robotics Zoï Altos Labs Qualitiso If you want to know more about Imageens, we invite you to consult their website: You can contact Ted through LinkedIn or by email: [email protected] If you want to give me feedback on the episode, ask questions or suggest potential guests, feel free to do so through LinkedIn or by email: [email protected]
February 2, 2022

Impulse - Meeting Healthcare Pioneers

Impulse invites listeners to meet the people shaping the current medical advancements through in-depth conversations about their field of expertise and the journey that took them where they are now. The podcast aims to democratize ongoing advances in medical technology and to introduce listeners to some of its key actors.
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Mathieu Chaffard

Mathieu Chaffard

Mathieu is a French biomedical engineer, trained at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

Passionate about medical technology applied to cardiac indications, he has occupied different technical roles in Europe, including Development Engineer for B. Braun in Berlin and Field Specialist for Abbott in Paris, before moving to project management in the digital health space for Roche Diagnostics in Zürich.

Wishing to share his passion for medical progress on a broad scale and driven by an ongoing desire to learn more about its aspects, he has decided to create his own show where he talks with entrepreneurs, researchers and physicians about their personal journey and the innovative technologies they are developing to transform patients' lives.

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