Health and Environment – Medical technology

Medical research in Germany is extensive, diverse and interdisciplinary. So it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most important innovation areas in the German federal government’s high-tech strategy. Using the latest technologies, we develop effective methods and products to improve diagnosis, illness prevention, treatment, patient care and rehabilitation.

Gesundheit und Umwelt

Reference projects

New teeth: Highly rigid – and ready for immediate use

What to do if a tooth is simply beyond saving? An artificial replacement has to be fashioned. Dentists and patients alike would like a product that is colorfast, strong and can be fitted so quickly that a patient can wait for it without leaving the den­tist's chair. Dr. Bernhard Durschang and Dr. Jörn Probst of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC have now developed a denture that has exactly those qualities.

Glass ceramics are considered old hat in dentistry. The new development, how­ever, takes the material into the future, because it offers several advantages over conventional glass ceramics: The color of the denture can be perfectly matched to the color of the patient’s teeth, and it can be used so quickly and individually that it is ready on the spot. In addition, with a strength of 450 to 500 megapascals, it is much stronger than conventional glass ceramics, whose strength measures around 350 MPa.

The project ranged from the inception of the idea to the development of the mate­rial to a CI-certified production plant. Meanwhile, the innovative glass ceramic is being used by many dentists. Annual sales of these glass ceramics at the two part­ner companies has already reached the double-digit million range with a yearly growth rate of around 20 percent.

Algorithms for liver surgery mean safer procedures worldwide

© Fraunhofer MEVIS

Liver cancer is the world’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. And, unlike other cancers, its incidence continues to rise. Given the liver’s complex vascular system and the fact that tumors are often hard to reach, resection can be a difficult task for surgeons.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Medicine MEVIS has developed software that analyzes radiological data. This enables surgeons to plan ahead for difficult procedures and minimize the risk of postoperative liver failure. The software has been available in hospitals since 2014 in the form of a commercial product marketed by an industry partner. Clinicians around the world joined forces to develop a standard that is now known in liver surgery as the MEVIS analysis. In 2018, MEVIS researchers were presented with the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for their work in this field.

Single cells lined up like ducks in a row

The new microhole chip can be populated with 200,000 single cells, each held in place in separate holes.
© Fraunhofer IBMT

The higher the concentration of tumor cells in the bloodstream, the greater the risk of metastasis. The number of circulating tumor cells indicates how well a patient is responding to therapy. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new microhole chip that enables cells to be identified and characterized reliably within minutes.

»SteriHealth« – for better hygiene in medicine

Poor hygiene, dirty operating instruments, hospital germs – reports on infections are becoming more frequent, and the consequences for patients are in some cases severe. New technologies for sterilization should lower the risk of infection in hospitals, doctor’s offices and rest homes. Fraunhofer researchers are working on solutions in the Beyond Tomorrow project »SteriHealth«.

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Fraunhofer Research Units

Hospital Engineering Labor at the inHaus Center in Duisburg

Fraunhofer’s Hospital Engineering Laboratory at the inHaus Center in Duisburg offers service providers and users in both inpatient and outpatient environments the opportunity to test new developments in a realistic setting and to showcase solutions’ capabilities. The research and testing platform includes a model hospital complete with reception area, a patient’s room, an operating room, and a rehabilitation area.