May 2019 Sydney Morning Herald
One of the country's most senior business leaders has called on both sides of politics to provide more support to biotech companies or risk them heading overseas. Rick Holliday-Smith, the chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange, ear implant maker Cochlear and drug maker QBiotics, has written to senior figures in the two main political parties as part of lobbying efforts for the life science sector. Mr Holliday-Smith argues in the letter that other countries have created conditions that allow for smaller biotech companies to thrive through better policy initiatives and patient investment cultures. "Other countries and market participants are doing much better than Australia in creating long-term sustainable outcomes," Mr Holliday-Smith said in a letter to the opposition spokesman for innovation, Kim Carr in March.
Cochlear chairman Rick Holliday-Smith lobbied the government in March
He warned smaller companies may be taken over or forced to leave Australia unless they can compete more fairly with big overseas players. "QBiotics wants to remain an Australian company, and not be bought by a big overseas pharmaceutical company," he said. "Almost all globally applicable Australian research and development in the areas of pharmaceuticals, bio and medical technology, veterinary products or life sciences are bought by overseas interests," he said.
The lobbying effort is being helped by Steve Michelson, a former aide to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, with Cochlear and QBiotics paying the costs. The ASX has not contributed to the cost.
"We have long voiced a need for a bipartisan approach to ensure global businesses remain in Australia and continue to create high paying jobs in Australia," a Cochlear spokeswoman said.
"The Australian Securities Exchange is supportive of this effort, which is being led by Cochlear and QBiotics."
Mr Holliday-Smith goes on to to add in his letter to Senator Carr that there are only two life science companies that sit in the top 50 of the ASX and more needs to be done to ensure the growth of the industry. "ASX cares about Cochlear staying in Australia, and new aspirants like QBiotics listing in Australia.” Meanwhile, managing director of QBiotics, Victoria Gordon said the problem in Australia was not a lack of innovation. "The problem is we don’t have suitable funding sources to support appropriate company establishment, and product development through to proof of concept."
May 2019 Newsmax
A South African doctor and his medical team became the first in history to restore the hearing of a 35-year-old man using 3D printing technology. Professor Mashudu Tshifularo from the University of Pretoria Faculty of Health at the Steve Biko Academic hospital was able to recreate the bones of the ear with 3D printing — the anvil, hammer, stirrup, and ossicles that make up the inner ear, and could then surgically replace the damaged ones.
The surgery took one and a half hours and experts say the innovative technique may be the answer to those of all ages suffering from hearing loss. “The patients will get their hearing back immediately but since they will be wrapped in bandages, only after two weeks, when they are removed, will they be able to tell the difference,” Tshifularo said. He explained that he used titanium to replace the damaged ossicles because the material is biocompatible with human tissue and an endoscope to do the replacement so the transplant is performed quickly, with minimal scarring.
The best part of the surgery, say experts, is that it will be available to patients of all ages, from newborn to the elderly. “It also means that we have done something new in the world and people will remember us for that,” said the professor, adding that 3D technology is “allowing us to do things we never thought we could.”
Last month, scientists in Israel printed a small 3D heart using human tissue that included vessels, collagen, and biological molecules which they labelled a “breakthrough,” hoping one day 3D printing would render organ donation obsolete. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 3D printing is now being used in a variety of medical devices such as instrumentation, implants such as cranial plates and hip joints and external prostheses such as hands. “Scientists are researching how to use the 3D printing process to manufacture living organs such as a heart or liver, but this research is in it’s early stages of development,” says the FDA.
May 2019 WBIR.com
"I want to walk them through life with cochlear implants and show them they can do anything they want to, and that nothing limits them," Lauren Armstrong said. Two decades ago, we aired the story about a mother who was pushing to make it a requirement in Tennessee to screen all infants for hearing issues after birth. That mother was Amanda Armstrong, and her daughter Lauren was screened early -- showing she was profoundly deaf. "It's pretty amazing to see the difference in Lauren at the age of two and the age 22," Amanda said.
We caught up with the family, and while Lauren is all grown up and about to graduate college -- she still lives with impaired hearing. "When I don't have my implants on, if a jet engine goes over my head, I can't hear it. I can feel the vibrations, but I can't hear it," Lauren said. Equipped with two cochlear implants, this is normal for Lauren. But growing up, normalcy didn't come often.
"I think the biggest challenge I've had is that a lot of friend groups isolated me because they thought I was ignoring them, when I really just couldn't hear them," Lauren said.
Lauren's hearing impairment is part of who she is. That's why she decided to make it the centre of her life. "She had an epiphany that she could be an audiologist and bring a totally different perspective to the field," her mom said. Lauren will graduate from UT in May with an undergraduate degree. She then has four more years of schooling focusing on audiology.
"I sat down and thought about it and though I could make a huge change if I study audiology," Lauren said. Lauren said her therapists made such an imprint on her development and she now wants to work with kids with the same impairment as her. "I want to walk them through life with cochlear implants and show them they can do anything they want to, and that nothing limits them," Lauren Armstrong said. While it wasn't clear at first, Lauren eventually listened to herself and decided to turn her impairment into an advantage.
These are some of the challenges faced by every hearing impaired person. In my own experience, the majority of hearing people never think about the relatively simple things that can make life easier for all of us. This poster illustrates a few of them.
Pat. Mitchell - Bi-lateral cochlear implantee.
Here at last is our 2018 revision of the "Hearing Loss and Hearing Solutions - A Guide" that we have published in PDF format for the enjoyment of users. Our original version was reviewed very favourably and attracted a lot of viewers.
You can view/download it from this link: Hearing Loss and Hearing Resources - A Guide (91 pages, 2.4 MB size).
Here are some of the professional comments about our new 2018 version.
Overall Reactions to Second Edition:
Monica Bray (Cochlear): I’ve just discovered the wonderful Hearing Guide. It's an awesome resource.
Jade Parr (Advanced Bionics): What a great resource.
Roberta Marino (Fiona Stanley Hospital) with permission:
I really enjoyed reading the guide! It's brilliant. So comprehensive, easy to read and relatable. I'm really impressed with the level of detail and can only imagine the hours you've spent researching new updates. The guide will positively impact so many people including professionals. I can see it being so useful for instance, at our hospital when new medicos have a rotation in the Ear, Nose and Throat Department or when we have new Audiology students in our Department who are new to implant devices. Again - well done! It's fantastic there's people like you who are so pro-active and care enough to put in the hundreds of hours required to develop such a useful and thorough guide.
Overall Reactions to First Edition:
Margaret Anderson: It's going to be a great resource for consumers and all sorts of people. Well done for tackling it!
Marie-Louise Hekel: Congratulations on this most thorough publication. You have done a splendid job. It would be a very valuable resource, not only for hearing impaired people, but professional audiologists in particular.
Roberta Marino: I think you’ve done a brilliant job. You really have a great understanding of how the different devices can be applied. If you don’t mind, when the product is finished, I’d like to pass it on to training ENT’s at the major teaching hospitals here in Perth and also the upcoming Audiology students.
Sarah McCullough (Advanced Bionics): Well done on all your hard work
Linda Ballam-Davies (Cochlear): It looks great and you've done a top job.