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Like the vitamin shots that line the shelves of your favorite supermarket, IO is preparing a monthly (snap) shot for you with the most exciting developments and most important news about healthcare and agriculture in the Netherlands. This month’s main ingredients? Progression in healthcare with a new genetic study, VR and autonomous blood sampling, and significant strides in the realm of cultivated meat.

1. VR as a training tool for doctors 

Heart and brain surgery are some of the riskier and more complicated operations to undergo and perform. Before every operation, doctors prepare themselves, thoroughly studying the patient’s scans they have at their disposal. But what if they could practice with 3D holograms? That’s the idea they are putting into practice at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC). 

Using a mixed-reality headset, doctors can now visualize a 3D hologram of a brain or heart based on the 2D scans taken on the patient. This way, doctors at the Cardiothoracic Surgery and Neurosurgery department can get a better anatomical insight into the organ. Furthermore, surgeons can interact with the organ, localizing tissues by touching them. This practice also enhances cooperation between doctors, who can discuss images interactively. Amsterdam UMC now has the largest hospital virtual reality (VR) center in Europe, and it’s already studying ways to use VR headsets during surgeries.

2. Funding for autonomous blood sampling

Earlier this week, Vitestro raised €20 million to speed up commercialization of its autonomous blood sampling device. The Utrecht-based company’s device combines AI, ultrasound-guided imaging technology, and robotic needle insertion, aiming to relieve caregivers and provide patients with a better treatment. With this new round of funding, the company plans to expand its team and introduce new features, as the first devices should reach hospitals by the end of this year.  

3. Funding for cultivated meat

Then: cultivated meat. Mosa Meat, from Maastricht, a leader in cultivated beef production, raised €40 million. The funds will be used to further scale up production processes and prepare for market entry. In 2013, the founders introduced the world’s first cultivated beef hamburger, grown directly from cow cells.

4. A genetic study by Erasmus MC

Genetic research helps us understand more about various kinds of genetic diseases and their predisposition across population groups, paving the way for better care options. Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam is now set to lead a transformative European genomic research project, the Genome of Europe, with €20 million in funding from the European Commission. The DNA database that will be created, is an instrument for researchers aiming to better understand genetic predispositions.

Do you think we missed something? Contact us at [email protected], and let’s keep the conversation going!