Currently, recipients of arm or leg transplants need to take
immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives, in order to keep
the donated parts from being rejected. If we could grow our own
replacement limbs, however, that wouldn't be necessary. And while we do
already possess the progenitor cells needed to grow such parts, what's
been lacking is a method of assembling them into the form of the desired
limb. Now, however, scientists have created a shortcut of sorts –
they've stripped the cells from one rat's forelimb and replaced them
with live cells from another rat, creating a functioning limb that the
second rat's immune system won't reject.
It can be a herculean task to get kids to eat their vegetables, but they'll happily chow down on things they aren't supposed to. If one of those things is a button battery, serious injuries can result in the form of burns to the esophagus or tears in the digestive tract. Researchers may not have found a way to stop kids swallowing button batteries, but they have found a way to make such culinary no-nos safer.
MIT, working together with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has pioneered a method of drug distribution with the potential to dispense with traditional subcutaneous injections. The system uses a small capsule coated with microneedles in order to administer medicines directly into the lining of the intestine.
When a person's skin is burnt or otherwise injured, part of the body's healing process involves boosting oxygen levels in the damaged tissue. If doctors treating such injuries know how high those levels are, then they can determine how quickly and thoroughly the skin is healing. In order to help them obtain that information without having to remove the wound dressing, an international team of scientists has created a glowing paint-on bandage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.