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Stem Cells

The University of Queensland mini-kidney

Instead of having to wait for one of the limited number of available donor kidneys, patients in need of a transplant may eventually be able to have a new kidney custom-grown for them. That possibility recently took one step closer to reality, as scientists at Australia's University of Queensland successfully grew a "mini-kidney" from stem cells.  Read More

A US$30,000 grant will see human stem cells sent to the International Space Station (ISS) ...

A drawback for the use of stem cells in medical treatment is their limited supply due to slow rate of growth in conventional laboratories. Dr Abba Zubair of the Cell Therapy Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Florida believes this problem could be overcome and stem cell generation sped up by conducting the process in space. He will now have the opportunity to put his hypothesis to the test, courtesy of a US$30,000 grant that will see Zubair send human stem cells to the International Space Station (ISS) to observe whether they do in fact grow at a greater rate than on terra firma.  Read More

The BioPen lets surgeons 'draw' live cells and growth factors directly onto the site of an...

Devices like the 3Doodler and SwissPen literally put 3D printing technology in the hands of consumers, but a new BioPen developed at the University of Wollongong in Australia is targeted at more skilled hands. The handheld device is designed to let surgeons "draw" live cells and growth factors directly onto the site of an injury to help accelerate the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage.  Read More

Scientists convert human embryonic stem cells into functional lung epithelial cells (green...

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have transformed human stem cells into functional lung cells, paving the way for ultimately creating bioengineered lungs using the patient's own cells. Besides being able to generate lung tissue for transplants, these cells could also be used to study lung development and potentially find more advanced treatments for lung diseases.  Read More

A cross section of one of the 'mini brains'

Within the past few years, scientists have successfully grown organs such as kidneys and livers in laboratories. It’s possible that some day, such lab-grown organs could be used as transplants, particularly when grown from the recipient’s own cells. Now, a team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has succeeded in growing miniature human brains. While no one is suggesting that they could be swapped in for a patient’s existing brain, they could prove to be a boon to the field of medical research.  Read More

The lab-grown burger was served with the usual trappings for presentation purposes

If Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University ever opens a burger bar, you might want to take a close look at the prices before you order. On Monday, at a press conference in London, a burger made by Post and his team was served that cost a cool €250,000 (about US$330,000). The reason? The beef that went into making it never saw a pasture and the people in the white coats who handed it to the chef weren't butchers, but bioengineers.  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

New research may result in bio-engineered replacement teeth which are generated from a per...

New research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre and King's College London, UK, may result in bio-engineered replacement teeth which are generated from a person’s own gum cells. Though artificial whole-tooth implants are currently available to people who are missing a tooth, such implants are unable to fully reproduce the natural root structure of a tooth. This means that in time, friction caused by eating and other movement of the jaw can result in a loss of jaw bone.  Read More

A nerve cell, with the myelin sheath shown in brown (Image: Shutterstock)

Myelin is a fatty tissue that covers the fibers between nerve cells – it’s not unlike the insulation on electrical wiring. When that tissue is compromised, the cells have difficulty communicating, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis can be the result. If the myelin of MS sufferers could be regrown, then it’s possible that the disease could be cured. Recently, a team of scientists successfully regenerated myelin in mice, using human skin cells that were reprogrammed into brain cells.  Read More

A implantable material made from a blend of plastics has been developed to regrow damaged ...

Over the past several years, a number of research institutes have been exploring the use of implants made from material with a scaffolding-like structure, as a means of regrowing bone at severe injury sites. Both MIT and Tufts University, for instance, have been working on collagen-based materials. Now, England’s University of Southampton has announced the development of a new type of bone-growing substance, made from plastic.  Read More

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