Israeli Company’s ‘Spiderman’ Technology Spins New Artificial Skin for Patients

by Yafit Ovadia

Ctech – Company: Nanomedic

Product: Spincare System

Raised: Undisclosed

Founded: 2018

Founders: Spinoff company of Nicast with no specific founders

Treating burns, wounds, and scars presents both psychological and physical hindrances. This treatment also becomes complex, costly, and can deprive a patient of the use of that limb or area. Yet one biotech company, Nanomedic Technologies, has engineered an artificial skin that is 3D-printed, is affixed directly onto a patient’s skin, and after 24-48 hours allows patients to use that area as they normally would, explained Gary Sagiv, VP of Marketing & Sales at Nanomedic.

“We have leveraged our electrospinning technology to develop a commercialized franchise handheld device for wound care that prints a nanofiber matrix directly onto a patient’s wound, via 3D printing, and treats three specific areas, primarily burns, trauma, and wound care,” Sagiv said, adding: “People quip our technology is reminiscent of Spiderman.”

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Healing wounds and regrowing bones: Duke faculty develop futuristic biomaterial implants

By Ayra Charania

Imagine a metal, scaffold-shaped implant that could support the regrowth of a shattered bone. All that would be needed would be an initial CT scan, a virtual construction of the implant and a metal printer to produce the final product. Devastating outcomes like amputation or loss of the ability to walk could be prevented. 

While this type of innovation may seem outside the realm of modern technology, several Duke professors have made such futuristic biomaterial implants a reality, including Ken Gall, professor in the department of mechanical engineering and materials science; Shyni Varghese, professor of orthopaedic surgery and Matthew Becker, Hugo L. Blomquist distinguished professor of chemistry.

Gall’s research focuses on the use of 3D printed metals and polymers, including the aforementioned metal scaffold, using synthetic hydrogels for cartilage replacement and other related explorations. He also has initiated a new project investigating the types of structures that can be printed and is looking into utilizing machine learning or other algorithms to predict how these structures will behave.

While Gall’s research spans a large breadth of biomaterials, the common link among these implants is their ability to perform some structural function, he said. 

“We try to figure out how [to] make these materials integrate with the body so they survive there,” Gall said. “Our approach has always been [to] put something in that is actually better than what you started with.”

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Latest ‘organ-on-a-chip’ is a new way to study cancer-related muscle wasting

Studying drug effects on human muscles just got easier thanks to a new “muscle-on-a-chip,” developed by a team of researchers from Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and Inha University in Incheon, Korea.

Muscle tissue is essential to almost all of the body’s organs, however, diseases such as cancer and diabetes can cause muscle tissue degradation or “wasting,” severely decreasing organ function and quality of life. Traditional drug testing for treatment and prevention of muscle wasting is limited through animal studies, which do not capture the complexity of the human physiology, and human clinical trials, which are too time consuming to help current patients.

An “organ-on-a-chip” approach can solve these problems. By growing real human cells within microfabricated devices, an organ-on-a-chip provides a way for scientists to study replicas of human organs outside of the body.

Using their new muscle-on-a-chip, the researchers can safely run muscle injury experiments on human tissue, test targeted cancer drugs and supplements, and determine the best preventative treatment for muscle wasting.

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Genetically Engineered Pigs Might Be the Answer for One of the World’s Costliest Diseases

In the U.S. and Europe alone, the disease causes $2.5bn in lost revenue annually.

By  Chris Young  

Researchers at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute are genetically engineering pigs to be more resistant to one of the deadliest animal diseases out there, a report by the BBC explains.

The disease in question, called Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), was first recognized in the US in 1987. Symptoms include reproductive failure, pneumonia, and increased susceptibility to secondary bacterial infection, and it can cause pregnant sows to lose their litter.

The disease is responsible for approximately $560 million in lost revenue for farmers in the US each year, according to OiE. According to a press release from the University of Edinburgh, combined with losses in Europe, that number rises to $2.5bn in lost revenue annually. 

The same statement also says that vaccines have so far proven to be largely ineffective against the disease, which is endemic in most pig-producing countries.

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Scientists devise a battery-free pacemaker that can be absorbed by the body

By Kevin Lin 

Scientists have designed a temporary, battery-free pacemaker that can be broken down by the patient’s body when its work is done, the latest advance in the emerging field of bioelectronics.

In a paper published this week in Nature Biotechnology, researchers report that the device reliably kept the heart’s pace in check in tests on mice, rats, and other animals, as well as in human heart tissue in a dish. And while the research is still in the early stages, the scientists say the pacemaker was able to overcome key limitations of existing devices.

“There are about 1 million people a year who receive pacemaker implantations worldwide. It’s a huge, huge medical field, but mostly pacemakers are permanent,” said Igor Efimov, a biomedical engineer and professor at George Washington University and co-author of the new paper.

Unlike traditional pacemakers, which are left inside a patient for the rest of their life or until the battery dies, a traditional temporary pacemaker is implanted and later removed. The devices are typically for children with congenital heart defects or adults who have had a coronary artery bypass graft, who may need a temporary pacemaker to correct a slowed heart rhythm for only a few days or weeks.

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He Inherited A Devastating Disease. A CRISPR Gene-Editing Breakthrough Stopped It

Patrick Doherty volunteered for a new medical intervention of gene-editor infusions for the treatment of genetically-based diseases.Patrick Doherty

Patrick Doherty had always been very active. He trekked the Himalayas and hiked trails in Spain.

But about a year and a half ago, he noticed pins and needles in his fingers and toes. His feet got cold. And then he started getting out of breath any time he walked his dog up the hills of County Donegal in Ireland where he lives.

“I noticed on some of the larger hill climbs I was getting a bit breathless,” says Doherty, 65. “So I realized something was wrong.”

Doherty found out he had a rare, but devastating inherited disease — known as transthyretin amyloidosis — that had killed his father. A misshapen protein was building up in his body, destroying important tissues, such as nerves in his hands and feet and his heart.

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New Technique Allows Researchers to Custom 3D Print Bacteria-Resistant Medical Devices

By Vanesa Listek

A team of engineers and health experts led by mechanics professor Ricky Wildman from the University of Nottingham, UK, found a new way to design and manufacture custom medical devices to boost performance and bacterial resistance. Using a combination of multi-material inkjet 3D printing and genetic algorithms, the researchers designed tailored composite artificial body parts and other medical devices with built-in functionality that offer better shape and durability while cutting the risk of bacterial infection at the same time. The study opens the possibility of a new manufacturing concept to produce devices with spatially distributed, customizable material functionalities in a cost-effective manner.

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No lab required: New technology can diagnose infections in minutes


McMaster University researcher Richa Pandey displays new technology that can analyze a medical sample and return an accurate, definitive result in minutes. Credit: McMaster University

The idea of visiting the doctor’s office with symptoms of an illness and leaving with a scientifically confirmed diagnosis is much closer to reality because of new technology developed by researchers at McMaster University.

Engineering, biochemistry and medical researchers from across campus have combined their skills to create a hand-held rapid test for bacterial infections that can produce accurate, reliable results in less than an hour, eliminating the need to send samples to a lab.

Their proof-of-concept research, published today in the journal Nature Chemistry, specifically describes the test’s effectiveness in diagnosing urinary tract infections from real clinical samples. The researchers are adapting the test to detect other forms of bacteria and for the rapid diagnosis of viruses, including COVID-19. They also plan to test its viability for detecting markers of cancer.

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A Bioprinted Pancreas Could Spell the End for Diabetes

The newly printed pancreas secretes a spectrum of critical hormones like insulin.

By  Loukia Papadopoulos

We have all heard of diabetes and its debilitating effects on those afflicted with it. Scientists have been looking for a cure for this disease for years and they may have now stumbled on one in the form of a bioprinted pancreas.

How does it work? And who is leading this medical breakthrough? Readily3D, a spin-off of EPFL, has engineered a new method to print biological tissues using a biological gel that contains the patient’s stem cells. 

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New molecules could be used to treat autoimmune diseases in the future

by Barry Fitzgerald , Eindhoven University of Technology

When something is awry with your immune system, your digestion or your endocrine systems, nuclear receptors, as they are called, may well be involved. If need be, the operation of these regulator proteins can be altered with medicinal drugs, but this carries the very real risk of unpleasant side effects. Doctoral candidate Femke Meijer looked for—and found—molecules that might well be used as medications for autoimmune diseases, but with fewer side effects. Meijer defends her thesis at the department of Biomedical Engineering on June 23.

Our body has exactly 48 types of nuclear receptor. These are proteins that float about in our cells and can be activated by all sorts of signal molecules such as hormones. When this happens, the nuclear receptor in question issues an instruction in the cell nucleus to produce other particular proteins. Shutting down or conversely activating these nuclear receptors is the mechanism by which one in six medicines achieves its intended effect. The best-known example is most probably the contraceptive pill. “This acts on the estrogen and progesterone receptors,” says doctoral candidate Femke Meijer.

As part of her research, Meijer studied another nuclear receptor, RORỿt, which regulates the production of cytokines and as such plays a role in the genesis of inflammatory reactions. Certain drugs for autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatism, psoriasis, asthma, and Crohn’s disease, turn this function to their advantage and aim to shut down this nuclear receptor. “They do this by blocking what’s known as its binding site with a molecule, so that this particular nuclear receptor, RORỿt, is deactivated,” explains Meijer.

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Injectable microspheres to repair failing hearts

Stem cells grown over the surface of the microspheres. Credit: University College London

by Mark Greaves , University College London

Biodegradable microspheres can be used to deliver heart cells generated from stem cells to repair damaged hearts after a heart attack, according to new findings by UCL researchers. This type of cell therapy could one day cure debilitating heart failure, which affects an estimated 920,000 people in the UK and continues to rise as more people are surviving a heart attack than ever before.

Scientists have been trying to use stem cells to repair damaged hearts for a number of years. However, these cells often don’t remain in the heart in a healthy state for long enough to provide a sustained benefit.

Now, a UCL team, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), has grown human stem cell-derived heart cells on tiny microspheres, each only a quarter of a millimeter wide, engineered from biological material. The cells attach to and grow on the microspheres, make connections with each other and are able to beat for up to 40 days in a dish. The small size of the microspheres means they can be easily injected into the heart muscle using a needle.

The researchers have also taken this one step further by developing state-of-the-art technology to visualize the injected microspheres and confirm they remain in place. Barium sulfate (BaSO4), which shines bright on X-rays and CT scans, was added to the microspheres and injected into rat hearts. Whole body CT scans confirmed that the microspheres remained in place for up to six days after injection.

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Bio-Inspired Scaffolds Help Promote Muscle Growth

Aligned myotubes formed on electrospun extracellular matrix scaffolds produced at Rice University. The staining with fluorescent tags shows cells’ expression of myogenic marker desmin (green), actin (red) and nuclei (blue) after seven days of growth. Credit: Mikos


Original story from Rice University

Rice University bioengineers are fabricating and testing tunable electrospun scaffolds completely derived from decellularized skeletal muscle to promote the regeneration of injured skeletal muscle.

Their paper in Science Advances shows how natural extracellular matrix can be made to mimic native skeletal muscle and direct the alignment, growth and differentiation of myotubes, one of the building blocks of skeletal muscle. The bioactive scaffolds are made in the lab via electrospinning, a high-throughput process that can produce single micron-scale fibers.

The research could ease the burden of performing an estimated 4.5 million reconstructive surgeries per year to repair injuries suffered by civilians and military personnel.

Current methods of electrospinning decellularized muscle require a copolymer to aid in scaffold fabrication. The Rice process does not.

“The major innovation is the ability to prepare scaffolds that are 100% extracellular matrix,” said Rice bioengineer and principal investigator Antonios Mikos. “That’s very important because the matrix includes all the signaling motifs that are important for the formation of the particular tissue.”

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