Highlights from Interbike 2014

Massachusetts General Hospital

Researchers regrow corneas using human stem cells (Photo: Shutterstock)

Medical researchers working with human stem cells have discovered a way to improve regrowth of corneal tissue in the human eye. Using a molecule known as ABCB5 to act as an identifying marker for rare limbal stem cells, the researchers were able to use antibodies to detect ABCB5 on stem cells in tissue from donated human eyes and use them to regrow anatomically correct, fully functional human corneas in mice.  Read More

The bionic pancreas' two pumps, sensor, and app-packing iPhone 4s

This February, we first heard about a "bionic pancreas" that could radically improve the lives of type 1 diabetics. At the time, multi-day trials involving groups of adult and adolescent patients were still yet to occur. Those trials have now taken place, and the results are definitely encouraging.  Read More

The optical device uses a laser to determine how quickly a person's blood will clot  (Imag...

Not everyone's blood clots at the same rate. While that might seem like simply an interesting bit of trivia, it's anything but trivial to doctors performing operations or emergency procedures, who need to know what might be required in the way of transfusions or anticoagulant drugs. Now, an optical device can provide them with that information within minutes.  Read More

An X-ray of a human wrist demonstrates the system's ability to reveal soft-tissue structur...

X-ray machines are all large devices that can only image hard structures such as bone, unless a contrast-enhancing solution such as barium is present in the patient ... right? Well, no, not all of them. A new system developed by researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital is small enough to be considered portable, doesn't expose patients to as much radiation, and can image soft tissues in minute detail.  Read More

Previously decellularized rat kidney after reseeding with endothelial cells  (Image: Ott L...

About 100,000 people in the United States alone are on the list to receive a kidney transplant and 400,000 are kept alive by kidney dialysis machines. Unfortunately, there are only 18,000 kidneys available each year in the U.S. and those lucky enough to receive one face a lifetime of immunosuppressant drugs. To increase the supply and remove the risk of tissue rejection, a team of researchers led by Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine has built an experimental bioengineered kidney that not only produces urine, but has been successfully transplanted into a rat.  Read More

Blue light has been used to kill potentially-lethal Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria (pictu...

Over the past few years, blue light has allowed us to understand heart problems, control brain functions, and activate muscle tissue. Now, another biomedical function can be added to its list – because it’s known to have antimicrobial qualities, it’s been used to stop infections of the skin and soft tissues.  Read More

The swallowable capsule, and its tether

Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition typically caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid, and is usually diagnosed by inserting an endoscope down the patient’s throat. A tool has been developed, however, that should allow for a quicker, easier way of getting a good look at such peoples’ esophagus – it’s a swallowable capsule that contains a spinning laser.  Read More

The Massachusetts General Hospital handheld diagnostic magnetic resonance (DMR) device can...

Magnetic resonance. We all think of the massive multimillion dollar magnetic resonance imaging machines into whose gaping mouth we are slowly propelled on a motorized table, ready to have our smallest flaws exposed. But the phenomenon of magnetic resonance has other medical uses. A team of physicians and scientists led by Prof. Ralph Weissleder of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has developed a handheld diagnostic magnetic resonance (DMR) device that can diagnose cancer in an hour with greatly improved accuracy compared to the current gold standard. The DMR technique is sensitive enough that only material from a fine needle aspiration biopsy is needed for the test - a far less painful experience compared to the usual surgical or core needle biopsies.  Read More

Microscope image of a single-cell living laser in action - its irregular internal structur...

While laser beam-shooting plants or animals might seem like something straight out of Star Trek, two researchers from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital recently wondered whether such organisms could theoretically exist. In order to satisfy their curiosity, Dr. Malte Gather and Dr. Seok Hyun Yun successfully created a laser that uses a living cell as its light source. The device, which utilizes a protein found in jellyfish, could have applications in the fields of biomedicine and optical computing.  Read More

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