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1. A robot has performed laparoscopic surgery on the soft tissue of a pig without the guiding hand of a human -- a significant step in robotics toward fully automated surgery on humans. Designed by a team of Johns Hopkins University researchers, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) is described today in Science Robotics. "Our findings show that we can automate one of the most intricate and delicate tasks in surgery: the reconnection of two ends of an intestine. The STAR performed the procedure in four animals and it produced significantly better results than humans performing the same procedure," said senior author Axel Krieger, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering. (Sources: science.org, sciencedaily.com)
2. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that a humanoid robot is the “most important product” that Tesla is developing this year, putting it ahead of the much-hyped Cybertruck and other vehicles, including the Semi and the Roadster. Musk first teased the “Tesla Bot” in August using a human in a robot suit, warning during the company’s “AI Day” that it “probably won’t work” but added that he hoped to have a prototype in the next year. “I think it has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” Musk said of the robot, which is code-named Optimus. (Source: cnbc.com, techstory.in)
3. BioNTech has announced that the first colorectal cancer patient has been treated with its individualized messenger RNA (mRNA) cancer vaccine BNT122 (autogene cevumeran, RO7198457) in a Phase II clinical trial. The trial has been initiated in the US, Germany, Spain and Belgium. According to BioNTech, it is planned to enroll about 200 patients to evaluate the efficacy of RO7198457 (BNT122) compared to watchful waiting after surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy, the current standard of care for these high-risk patients. (Sources: biontech.de, europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com)
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