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======================== Newsletter
Issue 4, Volume 15, April 2014

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NC State News
A common vitamin -riboflavin (vitamin B2)- has made it possible to 3D-print non-toxic medical implants, researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Laser Zentrum Hannover have discovered.
Popular Science
Welcome to the age of bioprinting, where the machines we've built are building bits and pieces of us.
Researchers identify compounds that help liver cells grow outside the body. MIT engineer Sangeeta Bhatia and colleagues have have identified a dozen chemical compounds that can help liver cells maintain their normal function while grown in a lab dish and also multiply to produce new tissue.
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA)
Scientists in an Austrian laboratory have developed complex human brain tissue made from stem cells in a laboratory 3D culture system for the first time. The method allows induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (which have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body) to develop into "cerebral organoids" - or "mini brains".
Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
Researchers from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have discovered a pathway that triggers the reprogramming and regeneration of retinal neurons in the eye.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
Bioelectric field pulls the negatively charged nanoparticles toward the bone crack. A novel method for finding and delivering healing drugs to newly formed microcracks in bones has been invented by a team of chemists and bioengineers at Penn State University and Boston University.
Materials Today
Implantable devices have improved the lives of many patients, but implant-associated infection remains a serious complication with significant morbidity and mortality. In recent years, the role of biofilm in the development of these infections has become increasingly recognized, and strategies to combat biofilm are beginning to proliferate in the literature. This review will explore how implant-associated infections have historically been treated, where the research currently stands, and the future trends of infection control.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
Scientists have developed the first self-healing polymer that can spontaneously achieve healing in the absence of a catalyst.
New Endorsed Meetings
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This Month's Top Site
The European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) is a leading organization committed to support scientists and clinicians involved with basic and translational research on gene transfer and clinical applications of gene and cell therapy. A "Useful Information" section with very informative data is available, making it a resourceful information site on Gene and Cell Therapy, complemented as well with other sections, such as the "News and Events".
New Articles on European Cells and Materials Journal
Free, on-line, peer reviewed journal, Endorsed by
Biomaterials World News
Materials Today
A critical problem for the development of implanted devices is the common occurrence of patients who receive a medical implant who find that their body rejects the artificial device over a period of time. However, scientists at the University of Washington, Seattle, have developed a synthetic polymer that could be coated onto an implant, therefore completely resisting the usual biological attack response to foreign objects. It is hoped the engineered biomaterial will increase the effectiveness of medical implants, such as drug pumps, artificial valves, prostheses and breast implants.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Silk has walked straight off the runway and into the lab. According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, silk implants placed in the brain of laboratory animals and designed to release a specific chemical, adenosine, may help stop the progression of epilepsy.
Penn State News
An innovative scaffold design by Penn State bioengineers may help grow a new tendon that?s as good as the old one.
IUSM Newsroom
Indiana University scientists have transformed mouse embryonic stem cells into key structures of the inner ear.
New Scientist
For the first time since their stroke, people have been able to lift limbs, grip objects and walk unaided following an injection of stem cells to their brain.
Stanford School of Medicine
A fast, efficient way to turn cells extracted from routine liposuction into liver cells - a feat with huge potential for regenerative medicine - has been developed by Stanford University School of Medicine scientists.
University of Copenhagen
An international team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Copenhagen has successfully developed an innovative 3D method to grow a miniature pancreas model from progenitor cells.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Ottawa researchers have developed unique virus-derived particles that can kill human blood cancer cells in the laboratory and eradicate the disease in mice, with few side effects.
New Scientist
Tear and salivary glands were grown from embryonic stem cells and transplanted into adult mice, paving the way for similar human treatments in the future.
New Scientist
For the first time, new human hair has been grown from transplanted skin cells, meaning that baldness might soon be a thing of the past.
New Scientist
Groundbreaking experiments are starting to make it possible to grow personalised organs in a host animal.
New Scientist
The ability to urinate normally is one thing that paralysed people often say would improve their lives - new work offers some hope.
New Scientist
An antibiotic-laced polymer placed over the brain during surgery releases its drug slowly and effectively, melting away as it keeps bacteria at bay.
Popular Science
For DIY biohacker Rich Lee, earbud implants are about more than self-expression: they're also a matter of survival.
Materials Today
Biomimetic nanofibrous scaffolds mimicking important features of the native extracellular matrix provide a promising strategy to restore functions or achieve favorable responses for tissue regeneration. This review provides a brief overview of current state-of-the-art research designing and using biomimetic electrospun nanofibers as scaffolds for tissue engineering. It begins with a brief introduction of electrospinning and nanofibers, with a focus on issues related to the biomimetic design aspects. The review next focuses on several typical biomimetic nanofibrous structures (e.g. aligned, aligned to random, spiral, tubular, and sheath membrane) that have great potential for tissue engineering scaffolds, and describes their fabrication, advantages, and applications in tissue engineering. The review concludes with perspectives on challenges and future directions for design, fabrication, and utilization of scaffolds based on electrospun nanofibers.
New Scientist
Once thought to be mere scaffolding, the matrix inside us can enable unprecedented regeneration, from organs to bone to brains. Andy Coghlan reports.
Stanford School of Medicine
A Stanford University bioengineer has helped develop a technology dubbed a "molecular network diverter" that can tweak the control systems that regulate the inner workings of cells, pointing the way toward future medical interventions that could switch off diseased states or turn on healthy processes.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
Medtronic, Inc. has announced a new deep-brain-stimulation (DBS) system called Activa PC+S that enables sensing and recording select brain activity, at various times selected by a physician, while simultaneously providing targeted DBS therapy.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a way to deliver a light signal to specific tissues deep within the body for sensing or treatment.
The Optical Society
An international team of researchers led by University of California San Diego Professor Joseph Ford has created a slim, telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision. With refinements, the system could offer age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision.
Michigan Tech
Researchers at Michigan Technological University and a Mayo Clinic scientist are working on a microprocessor-controlled ankle-foot prosthesis that comes close to achieving the innate range of motion of this highly complex joint.
New Scientist
Rerouting important sensory nerves during a leg amputation has allowed a man to walk and climb stairs again using his robotic limb.
New research at the University of Chicago is laying the groundwork for touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs that one day could convey real-time sensory information to amputees via a direct interface with the brain.
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a highly sensitive exhaled-breath sensor, using tin dioxide (SnO2) fibers assembled from thin, wrinkled SnO2 nanotubes.
Imperial College London
Scientists have developed an "intelligent knife" (iKnife) that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
People on the cutting edge are swallowing ingestible smart pills containing minuscule sensors and transmitters to monitor a range of health data and wirelessly share this information with a doctor, The New York Times reports.
The American Technion Society (ATS)
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology scientists have discovered how to make a new kind of flexible sensor that one day could be integrated into "electronic skin" (e-skin) - a covering for prosthetic limbs that would allow patients to feel touch, humidity, and temperature.
New Scientist
An ultrathin foil loaded with circuits promises virtually imperceptible medical sensors and flexible artificial skin for robots.
Materials Today
A newly developed bioadhesive coating for nanoparticles can substantially improve their intestinal absorption into the bloodstream, offering potential for protein-based medicines such as insulin to be taken orally rather than by injection, according to a new study from Brown University. It was shown that, if the bioerodible nanoparticles are coated correctly, it can enhance their uptake, potentially leading to tailored particles that move to specific tissues in the body and paving the way for targeted oral medicines.
Materials Today
A winning smile.
Materials Today
Preventing crystallization.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
A new coating technology developed at MIT, combined with a novel nanoparticle-manufacturing technology developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, may offer scientists a way to quickly mass-produce tailored nanoparticles that are specially coated for specific applications, including medicines and electronics.
Materials Today
Effective delivery remains a crucial barrier for developing cancer drugs that have real clinical applications. Injection into the bloodstream is ineffective as practically all of the drugs are lost. Much research is therefore focused on improving the efficiency of tumor targeting. A new approach by scientists at Purdue University has proposed the use of nanoparticles composed of weak polybases, compounds that expand when placed in environments that mimic tumor cells. The particles accumulate in areas of higher acidity and can stay there for long enough to deliver anti-cancer drugs.
New materials developed at MIT could lead to actuators on a chip and self-deploying medical devices.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
An MIT team has found a new material that could overcome many of the limitations of current methods for attaching molecules to gold.
Materials Today
Owing to the hierarchical structure of cellulose, nanoparticles can be extracted from this naturally occurring polymer. Multiple mechanical shearing actions allow the release of more or fewer individual microfibrils. Longitudinal cutting of these microfibrils can be achieved by a strong acid hydrolysis treatment, allowing dissolution of amorphous domains. The impressive mechanical properties, reinforcing capabilities, abundance, low density, and biodegradability of these nanoparticles make them ideal candidates for the processing of polymer nanocomposites. With a Young's modulus in the range 100?130 GPa and a surface area of several hundred m2 g-1, new promising properties can be considered for cellulose.
The Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
Impressive examples of new non-invasive optical techniques using lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and spectroscopic methods to probe and render images from beneath the surface of the skin are featured in a newly completed open-access special section in the Journal of Biomedical Optics published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.
Materials Today
Element shines as contrast agent for tracking stem cells.
A*STAR Research
An Asian research team has developed a method for continually tracking biological processes for long periods of time, using noninvasive fluorescent organic tracers, overcoming the limitations of inorganic quantum dots and other methods.
MIT News
Scientists at MIT and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) have developed a new type of microscopy that can image cells through a silicon wafer, allowing them to precisely measure the size and mechanical behavior of cells behind the wafer.
University of Buffalo
Tiny silicon crystals caused no health problems in monkeys three months after large doses were injected, marking a step forward in the quest to bring such materials into clinics as biomedical imaging agents, according to a new study.
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