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The mission statement of the Galien Foundation is to recognize “innovation that improves the human condition”. Each year, the foundation awards the Prix Galien Award to examples of people in the biomedical and technology fields who have achieved this by inventing products that help improve lives. Here are just a few leaders that have stood out this past year.

Diabetics know all too well the physical and emotional pain that comes from having to check their blood sugar numerous times a day via finger sticks. There are several continuous glucose monitoring systems on the market nowadays that make the process a little less cumbersome, but most require a calibration finger stick every few hours anyway. Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre System is a glucose measuring system that completely gets rid of all finger stick calibrations. It measures glucose levels via a small sensor (the size of two stacked quarters) attached temporarily to the back of a user’s upper arm. The sensor lasts for 10 days. Each real-time reading shows the blood glucose level, an 8-hour trend history, and a trending direction. There is also a touchscreen interface that can hold up to 90 days of data.

The Axios stent and electrocautery enhanced delivery system is the first and only stent created for transgastric (via the stomach) or transduodenal (via the small intestine) endoscopic drainage of pancreatic pseudocysts and walled-off dead cells or tissues. This technology safely and accurately accesses pancreatic fluid residing in the gastrointestinal tract by placing the stent using a specialized Axios catheter.

Boston Scientific’s SpyGlass allows a single operator to perform procedures. It is gaining recognition for its ease of setup, use and image quality. Unlike multiple-use scopes, a single-use device eliminates the need for optical probe reprocessing, thereby reducing the risk of cross-contamination and image degradation. It has a built-in digital sensor that shows images in high resolution and a 60% wider field of view. This helps to consistently evaluate ducts and exit points. It also has a dedicated irrigation and aspiration connection so doctors have more control to clear a path of vision. The tapered catheter tip is also a welcome design as it minimizes trauma and is easily directed.

The Watchman from Boston Scientific is a left atrial closure device. For patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, it is a good alternative to long-term blood thinning therapy. The device is delivered through the femoral artery and it closes off the left atrial appendage. This, in turn, prevents the migration of blood clots and reduces the risk of stroke and systemic embolism.

BrainScope’s One system is a non-invasive, painless, simple-to-use, handheld device that lets physicians evaluate head injuries directly at point-of-care. This device measures and interprets both brain activity and neurocognitive functions using EEG technology, and it can be used within three days on any head injury for patients who are between the ages of 18-85 years old.