Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 5

Aug 25, 2023

Researchers make breakthrough in functional human tissue 3D printing

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, biotech/medical

Nominations are now open for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2023. Who are the leaders in 3D printing? Find out on November 30th when the winners across twenty categories will be announced during a London-based live awards ceremony.

A team of scientists from the University of Sydney and the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) at Westmead have leveraged 3D photolithographic printing to fabricate functional human tissues that accurately mimic an organ’s architecture.

The researchers utilized bioengineering and cell culture techniques to instruct stem cells derived from blood cells and skin cells to become specialized. These specialized cells can then form organ-like structures.

Aug 22, 2023

Pluripotent stem cell-based therapies and their path to the clinic

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Welcome to this special issue, focusing on the potential of pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-based therapies and their paths toward clinical application. Since the establishment of human embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in 1998 and 2007, respectively, significant progress has been made in differentiating PSCs into a broad range of somatic cells. We are now closer than ever before to having highly functional PSC-derived somatic cells at purity for transplantation therapies to complement damaged or diseased organs and restore their physiologic functions. Like organ transplantation, PSC-based therapies have the potential to regenerate damaged organs that cannot otherwise be healed by using small-molecule or antibody-based drugs.

In this issue, Kobold et al. present an overview of the history and current status of clinical studies utilizing human PSCs. Since the early 2010s, many clinical studies employing human ES cells have been initiated. By 2018, the number of such studies using human iPS cells had skyrocketed. Many PSC-based therapies are currently being tested to treat various pathologic conditions, including different neoplasms and diseases of the eye, adnexa, and circulatory system. However, there are still many diseases that require further efforts to interrogate the true potential of PSC-based therapies. To advance the use of PSC-based therapy to treat a wider range of pathologic conditions in the future, we must continue with extensive basic and clinical research to establish both efficacy and safety for such new therapies.

Although clinical research on PSC-based therapy for liver diseases has not received as much attention, there is much hope for it to become a real alternative to living-donor liver transplantation. Cardinale et al. provided a comprehensive summary of the recent studies on cell-based therapy for liver diseases. In addition, artificial livers generated through bioengineering efforts are now considered to be a viable option. Aside from traditional cell or organ transplantation to restore impaired liver function, transplantation aimed at treating the microenvironment, such as inflammation, in the liver is also an effective therapeutic strategy. Concurrent research efforts in both basic and clinical studies will be crucial in making PSC-based therapy for liver diseases a reality.

Aug 20, 2023

Q&A: Growing Steaks in the Lab

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, nuclear energy

Physicist Luke MacQueen combines tissue engineering with stem cell technologies to produce synthetic meat whose texture mimics that of natural meat.

Winston Churchill—the well-known wartime leader and lesser-known Nobel Laureate in Literature—published an essay in 1931 in The Strand Magazine in which he imagined the future “Fifty Years Hence.” Many of his predictions turned out to be prophetic—wireless telephones, television, and nuclear power—while others read like science fiction. But one of his futuristic ideas—growing meat in a lab—may just be a few years away, if Luke MacQueen of Harvard University has his way.

Aug 18, 2023

Bioelectricity Gives Biologists a Jolt

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

We’ve explored bioelectricity in cells. We’ve looked at bioelectricity within the human body. Now, functional use of “electrical engineering” is being found in the realms between.

Physicists learn about electrostatics, the laws governing stationary charges. Then they learn about electrodynamics, the laws governing moving charges. Biologists are finding that life utilizes both systems of laws at all scales, from within the cell to tissues, organs, and entire organisms. Here are some recent discoveries in the emerging science of bioelectricity.

How does that tick jump from its twig onto your clothing as you walk through brush? The answer, says Current Biology, is by hopping on an electrostatic bullet train. A cow or other host animal walking through the bushes carries a net static charge. The tick, regardless of its own charge polarity, is “pulled by these electric fields across air gaps of several body lengths.”

Aug 17, 2023

Durham gene editing firm strikes big deal; it’s ‘right-sized;’ 80 employees exit

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, finance

DURHAM – A big licensing deal potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars with an Austrlia-based company at the same time also has triggered what Precision Biosciences calls a “right-sized” organization of the company.

“Prior to the announcement, we had 190 employees, with 110 going forward with Precision. Most of the 80 employees went with Imugene, with the remainder parting ways with a reduction in force,” Mei Burris, director of investor relations and finance for the company,” told WRAL TechWire.

What “right-sized” means was not immediately explained in the company’s announcement Tuesday night after the markets closed. The company’s stock is trading at under $1 and it lost $12 million in its most recent quarter ending June 30.

Aug 17, 2023

Connective Tissue Cells Reprogrammed Into Muscle Stem Cells Without Genetic Engineering

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

A new method allows large quantities of muscle stem cells to be safely obtained in cell culture. This provides a potential for treating patients with muscle diseases – and for those who would like to eat meat, but don’t want to kill animals.

Aug 13, 2023

The World’s First Genetically Engineered Wheat Is Here

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics

In October 2020, Argentina approved the world’s first genetically engineered wheat for cultivation and consumption. Production expanded dramatically in 2021, and will continue to expand in 2022, after Argentina received regulatory approval in late 2021 for exports to Brazil, a major consumer of Argentina’s wheat.

The lessons from Argentina’s experience are important as other countries decide whether they want to follow suit. Argentina’s genetically engineered, drought-tolerant wheat — named HB4 — could have large environmental benefits, but other countries’ choices will determine their scale.

Argentina is increasingly struggling with drought and saw an opportunity for HB4 wheat to help stabilize production and revenue. Yields have been steadily decreasing since 2017, partially due to drought, with the 2020/21 season yields the second-lowest in ten years. Yields in the 2021/22 season bounced back thanks to sufficient rainfall at critical times. HB4 wheat, genetically engineered to be drought resistant, can help protect against such variability by maintaining high yields even under drought conditions. HB4’s drought resistance gene comes from sunflowers, so it qualifies as transgenic — containing genes from a different species — and therefore as bioengineered, genetically modified, or a GMO.

Aug 12, 2023

Could Rotifers be the Next Great Laboratory Model?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Rotifers are multicellular, microscopic marine animals that live in soils and freshwater environments. They are transparent and can be easily grown in large numbers. As such, they have been used in some laboratories as research subjects for many years. Now scientists have found a way to manipulate the rotifer genome, which can make them far more useful for many different research applications.

In new work reported in PLOS Biology, scientists used the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool to alter two rotifer genes. These edits were then passed down to future generations of rotifers. This effort can now help others use these organisms in their laboratories.

Aug 12, 2023

Machine learning model could enable targeted gene therapies for genetic diseases

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, mathematics, robotics/AI

Though almost every cell in your body contains a copy of each of your genes, only a small fraction of these genes will be expressed, or turned on. These activations are controlled by specialized snippets of DNA called enhancers, which act like skillful on-off switches. This selective activation allows cells to adopt specific functions in the body, determining whether they become—for example—heart cells, muscle cells, or brain cells.

However, these don’t always turn on the right at the right time, contributing to the development of genetic diseases like cancer and diabetes. A team of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers has developed a that can predict which enhancers play a role in normal development and disease—an innovation that could someday power the development of enhancer-targeted therapies to treat diseases by turning genes on and off at will. The study results appeared in Nature Genetics.

“We’ve known that enhancers control transitions between for a long time, but what is exciting about this work is that mathematical modeling is showing us how they might be controlled,” said study leader Michael Beer, a professor of biomedical engineering and genetic medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Aug 12, 2023

Synthetic biology and artificial intelligence are set to change all aspects of our lives

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, ethics, genetics, law, robotics/AI

Reichman University’s new Innovation Institute, which is set to formally open this spring under the auspices of the new Graziella Drahi Innovation Building, aims to encourage interdisciplinary, innovative and applied research as a cooperation between the different academic schools. The establishment of the Innovation Institute comes along with a new vision for the University, which puts the emphasis on the fields of synthetic biology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Advanced Reality (XR). Prof. Noam Lemelshtrich Latar, the Head of the Institute, identifies these as fields of the future, and the new Innovation Institute will focus on interdisciplinary applied research and the ramifications of these fields on the subjects that are researched and taught at the schools, for example, how law and ethics influence new medical practices and scientific research.

Synthetic biology is a new interdisciplinary field that integrates biology, chemistry, computer science, electrical and genetic engineering, enabling fast manipulation of biological systems to achieve a desired product.

Prof. Lemelshtrich Latar, with Dr. Jonathan Giron, who was the Institute’s Chief Operating Officer, has made a significant revolution at the University, when they raised a meaningful donation to establish the Scojen Institute for Synthetic Biology. The vision of the Scojen Institute is to conduct applied scientific research by employing top global scientists at Reichman University to become the leading synthetic biology research Institute in Israel. The donation will allow recruiting four world-leading scientists in various scopes of synthetic biology in life sciences. The first scientist and Head of the Scojen Institute has already been recruited – Prof. Yosi Shacham Diamand, a leading global scientist in bio-sensors and the integration of electronics and biology. The Scojen Institute labs will be located in the Graziella Drahi Innovation Building and will be one part of the future Dina Recanati School of Medicine, set to open in the academic year 2024–2025.

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