By now you've probably heard about 3D bio printing, a bioengineering technique for literally building functional replacement tissue and eventually organs. (Read an earlier blog of ours on the subject.) While still in the early stages of development in terms of actually producing a human organ for transplant, the technology is advancing and critical problems are being met with innovative solutions. In the July issue of Nature Materials, University of Pennsylvania scientists, in conjunction with MIT and Harvard researchers, published an article documenting their success creating a blood vessel network using sugar.
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The first construction of an image by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMRI) by Dr. Paul Lauterbur took place at the University at Stony Brook thirty years ago, and the Stony Brook Chemistry professor went on to win the 2003 Nobel Prize for his work. So it's fitting that another breakthrough in MRI technology is also taking place at the Long Island research university, this time by biomedical engineer Balaji Sitharaman, right, and his team, who have developed a potentially safer and more cost effective MRI contrast agent for improved disease diagnosis and detection. The agent is graphene-based rather than gadolinium-based, and the success of the advanced agent is documented in a recent PLoS ONE article.
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Bone marrow was the first stem cell source to be widely used in clinical transplant surgery to replace damaged bone as a result of injury or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, bone marrow grafts are painful, and the appropriate donor is not always available when the need is there. Now research at the University of California Los Angeles' Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine has demonstrated successfully that stem cells from the patient's own fat (i.e. adipose tissue) can be made usable for bone damage treatment. Bone marrow is, after all, the soft, fatty tissue inside your bones that contains immature cells (aka stem cells) that give rise to all of your blood cells. So looking to fatty tissue from another part of the body to produce mesenchymal cells has made sense all along, though it has taken the efforts of several UCLA teams to show how it can be done in an animal model.