Video Games Offer New Frontiers in Medicine

Photo by Devon Christopher Adams. Image available on Flickr

Video game consoles have captivated the minds of adults and children alike since Atari introduced Pong, a simple electronic tennis match, in 1973. Since then, gaming has spread to smartphones and tablets that eventually found themselves in classrooms. Video games became a difficult distraction to overcome, until educators started noticing how well video games held their students’ attention. Schools are now harnessing the power of video games to teach math, science, and reading. Video games have also entered the medical field and are showing promise in treating conditions that responds well to neurofeedback conditioning. A method that requires a patient to be hooked up to electrodes while playing a video game. In this way, the game can reward the patient with positive images or sounds in response to specific brainwaves.  Video games are now treating anxiety, pain, depression, ADHD, and more.

Many of these games require a physical interaction between the person playing and the game console, be it through touching a screen, tilting a tablet or typing. With the rapid pace of technology, allowing us to interact with computers in previously unthinkable ways, it was only a matter of time before even physical interaction was no longer necessary. In recent years, electroencephalography (EEG) headsets have made it possible to control a game with your brainwaves. Making video games a viable tool to teach cognitive skills — the building blocks that allow us to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. The EEG headsets also eliminate the need for cumbersome electrodes.  

ATENTIVmynd™, located in Waltham, Massachusetts, has used this technology to create a game to treat any child who struggles with inattention. Everything we do depends on our ability to pay attention in different ways either through sight or sound. ATENTIVmynd™ Games uses a FOCUSforward™ methodology. The character only moves forward in the game if the player is paying attention and focusing on the movements of their avatar. Controlling the game in this way, sets up a reward system, which not only teaches children that paying attention has benefits, but also helps them improve their ability to focus on details. Along the way learners are challenged with tasks that teach other unique cognitive skills. The feedback happens in realtime, allowing children to boost attention levels and receive feedback from the game on those levels at the same time, so that they can make necessary changes to move up a level in the game. This feedback method is very different from similar cognitive training methods that only give feedback once a task is completed. Realtime feedback allows learners to push themselves further with full knowledge of what it will take to succeed up front.

ATENTIVmynd™ Games show promise in treating  Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a complex set of traits that if left untreated, can lead to depression and anxiety. Inattention and hyperactivity are key traits associated with ADHD in children and adults. A game that rewards for paying attention and helps sustain long periods of mental effort may be able to train patients that suffer with ADHD new coping skills. New skills learned in the game can improve outcomes at home, on school work, or on the job later in life.

As a professional writing service company that creates training manuals, white papers, and medical journal articles, we like to stay on top of the latest technology in and around the Boston area. Do you have an emerging technology you would like us to profile? Let us know on Twitter @Tra360 or Facebook.

The Evolution of the Connected Car – An Innovative Partnership

Big Data and the Connected Car White Paper by TRA360
Big Data and the Connected Car White Paper by TRA360

As a professional writing service company, TRA360 works with many revolutionary technology companies in the Boston, Massachusetts area and beyond. It is always exciting to see technology change the way we think about everyday things. A few years ago, Intelligent Mechatronic Systems (IMS) used our white paper writing services  to spread the word about best practices for data commercialization with their DriveSync® software package as the focus. This package can make any automobile a fully connected car. Allowing the user to access a host of apps aimed at making life easier. While the idea of a connected car is not new, building one that is connected from the ground up is an exciting new venture.

In October of 2016, Geely, a Chinese car manufacturer, announced a partnership with Volvo to create the most connected car in the world. The new company, Lynk & Co, will create the first car built fully connected from the ground up. Third-party developers will be able to produce new in-car apps to personalize and expand the functions of the vehicle.

Lynk & Co’s revolution begins with Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform. This new method produces compact cars with all the benefits of larger vehicles including power-trains, infotainment, climate and data networks, as well as safety systems. New technologies of varying complexity can be fitted on the same architecture to create a more streamlined manufacturing process. Engineers can now spend their time revolutionizing how a car works, with unlimited possibilities.

The first version of the new car, called 01, is being tested in China. Additional versions using the same number scheme, will be released in Europe and North America by 2018. The cars use a cloud platform and online services from partners such as Microsoft, Ericsson, and Alibaba. Customers can create a car that fits their lifestyle by using the fully customizable touch screen.

The process of car ownership will change as well. Prices of the car will be fixed, eliminating haggling routines common with other car dealers. In addition, the cars will be available for online purchase. Users can enter and start their car using an app on their phone and rent their car to other Lynk & Co members by sharing their entry key via the app. As a result, customers will have access to a car anywhere they go.

Lynk & Co has plans to engineer more than just cars. Anyone is welcome to come up with their own improvement ideas. If you have an idea for a revolutionary bike that easily fits into a Lynk & Co car, as one customer did, the company will work with you to bring your idea to life.

Do you have an emerging technology you would like us to profile? Let us know on Twitter @Tra360 or Facebook.

Shift in Cancer Therapy with Antibody-Drug Conjugates

As a professional writing services company for the Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical industry, TRA360 attempts to stay current with recent scientific developments and shares them in our blog.

More than a century ago, Dr. Paul Erlich discovered certain chemicals are selectively absorbed by tissues and they could be a delivery vehicle for drugs to the disease site. [ref]Wang, Jeffrey, Shen, Wei-Chiang and Zaro, (Eds.),- Antibody-Drug Conjugates; The 21st Century Magic Bullets for Cancer, Springer 2015[/ref] In cancer therapy, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have shown fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy. And a combination of mAbs and chemicals often brings even more efficacy and fewer side effects. Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) are created by attaching mAbs to biologically active drugs with chemical linkers.


Each ADC has three important parts: a) antibody b) chemical molecule c) linker. Despite this simple concept, discovering each specific part and, most importantly, conjugating them, is a complex but promising field in life sciences. Early ADCs were too toxic or not enough effective or linkers were not stable in the blood.

The industry’s belief in ADCs is high and there are more than 100 ADCs in the development pipelines of pharmaceutical companies. Currently, only two drugs; ADCETRIS® for treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL) and KADCYLA® for treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are available on the market. Seattle Genetics and ImmunoGen are on the edge of development of these drugs and many ADCs researchers are using this scientific methodology. In 2014, Roche had 10 molecules in clinical development.[ref][/ref]

There are also current co-development agreements in the market. A consortium of Chinese companies including Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, HOPU Investment Management, China Everbright Limited’s healthcare fund (“CEL Healthcare Fund”), and WuXi PharmaTech have started negotiations to acquire Ambrx. ADCs are the main reason for this targeted acquisition. Ambryx is anticipating clinical trial evaluation of ARX-788, an ADC that targets HER2 over-expressing tumors including breast, gastric, colon, pancreatic and ovarian cancers in 2015.[ref][/ref]

Another example is Mersana Therapeutics, a Cambridge MA-based biotech company that specializes in immunoconjugate therapies with 6 ADCs in its pipeline. The company has development agreements with Takeda and EMD Serono for two of them.

The development of commercially viable ADCs is still in its early stages and the FDA is expecting to approve two more by 2020. As new products continue to move through the phases of clinical trials and if the results are successful in treating people with life-threatening and terminal diseases, the future looks promising for patients and investors.

Are you a health professional with an interest in ADCs? Do you have any comments on this article? Let us know here or tweet at us @TRA360!

John Hancock’s LOFT to Drive Innovation in Boston’s Tech Scene

LOFT is located in the heart of Boston's Innovation District.
LOFT is located in the heart of Boston’s Innovation District.

The launch of the innovation platform LOFT (Lab of Forward Thinking) by the Investment Division of Manulife and John Hancock on July 8th signals a change in the way financial services companies are responding to customer needs. The firm, which is located in Boston’s Seaport District, established LOFT as a means to permeate the area’s burgeoning start-up technology scene.

As an engine to prompt new ideas and provide better customer experiences, LOFT will enhance John Hancock’s image from that of solely an insurance and financial services provider to a leading vehicle for innovation.

At the Grand Opening Reception in Boston, LOFT showcased a number of new home-based innovations that utilize artificial intelligence. Two of these prototypes included an umbrella that opens automatically depending on the volume of rain it detects, and a well-camouflaged camera that successfully takes photos without being noticed. These innovations and others, created and presented by the engineers of MIT’s Media Lab, deliver a clear and important message to the contemporary business world: companies that are able to apply innovative thinking to their business models will more readily obtain competitive advantages moving forward.

LOFT comprises a space of 6,500 square feet and is devoted to providing the necessary resources to aid start-ups in Boston’s advancing “Innovation District.”

As a professional writing services company, TRA360 provides financial writing services and technical writing services to innovative start-ups locally, in Massachusetts, and around the world.

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