Artificial Heart: Researchers Use Focused Rotary Jet Spinning Technology for More Advanced Human Transplant

A representation of an artificial heart valve through a 3D Medical Animation

By Marie Morales 

The researchers of Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have devised the first-ever biohybrid model of beating cardiac cells aligned helically.

As a Healthclubfinder report specifies, “the future of cardiac medicine involves tissue engineering.” Specifically, it includes the development of a human heart intended for transplant.

The future of cardiac medicine involves tissue engineering. It includes the creation of a human heart for transplant.

This model revealed that the alignment of muscles does, in fact, substantially increase the amount of blood that the ventricle can pump with every contraction.

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DOCTORS GENE-EDIT PATIENT’S LIVER TO MAKE LESS CHOLESTEROL

 BY VICTOR TANGERMANN

THIS COULD BE A GAME CHANGER.

A team of researchers from US biotech company Verve Therapeutics have injected a gene-editing serum into a live patient’s liver with the goal of lowering their cholesterol, a watershed moment in the history of gene editing that could potentially save millions from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, MIT Technology Review reports.

The clinical trial kicked off with a patient in New Zealand receiving the unusual injection dubbed VERVE-101. Early experiments on monkeys have already yielded hopeful results.

The company claims that these genetic edits will be able to permanently lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, a fatty molecule that at excessive levels can lead to clogged arteries.

And that could be a gamechanger as other interventions such as hard-to-follow diets, exercise, and other prescribed medicine have only been able to make a small dent LDL levels. Many drugs have also remained wildly expensive, with insurers refusing to pay for them, according to MIT Tech.

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Scientists Discover First Effective Drug Treatment Against Hepatitis A

Fluorescence microscopy image of HAV-infected cultured human liver cell. viral RNA targeted by ZCCHC14 appears green, and the virus’s protein red. Credit: Maryna Kapustina, UNC School of Medicine

Scientists Discover Key to Hepatitis A Virus Replication, Show Drug Effectiveness

With no current treatments for hepatitis A, scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine led by Stanley M. Lemon, MD, discovered how a protein and enzymes interact to allow hepatitis A virus to proliferate, and they used a known drug to stop viral replication in an animal model.

The viral replication cycle is essential for a virus to spread inside the body and cause disease. Focusing on that cycle in the hepatitis A virus (HAV), University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine scientists discovered that replication requires particular interactions between the human protein ZCCHC14 and a group of enzymes called TENT4 poly(A) polymerases. They also discovered that the oral compound RG7834 stopped viral replication at a key step, preventing liver cell infection.

These findings are the first to demonstrate an effective drug treatment against HAV in an animal model of the disease. The study was published today (July 4, 2022) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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This Dissolvable Implant Could Revolutionize Pain Management

Researchers at Northwestern University created an implantable device that attaches to a nerve to deliver pain relief.

By Margaret Osborne

After some success on rats, researchers are hopeful this device could provide humans a more targeted and less addictive alternative to opioids.

Millions of Americans live with pain. While pain can be an important indicator of health, it can also be debilitating, causing fatigue, depression and a decreased quality of life. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University estimated that pain cost the United States $560 billion to $635 billion in 2011.

In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies claimed they had the answer: opioids. After being assured these drugs were not addictive, doctors prescribed opioids liberally, hoping to relieve their patients’ suffering.

But opioids are highly addictive, and as doctors prescribed more and more, drug abuse escalated. Some patients turned to heroin and synthetic opioids when they couldn’t get ahold of prescription drugs, and between 1999 and 2019, opioid overdoses killed nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. In 2017, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.

Since discovering the addictive properties of opioids, scientists have been searching for safer alternatives to relieve pain. Biomedical engineer John A. Rogers, of Northwestern University, thinks he may have created one—an implantable, dissolvable device that cools nerves in the body.

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Israeli-developed smart fabric uses electricity to fast-track repair of nerves

Silicone-based invention being tailored for human use after proving itself on rats; it wraps damaged nerves and electrically stimulates them using energy from light shone on skin

By NATHAN JEFFAY

A magnified image of the Israeli-developed material which speeds the repair of damaged nerves using electricity (courtesy of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology) 

Israeli researchers say they have developed a material that speeds the repair of damaged nerves using electricity.

The ultra-thin material — a high-tech fabric of sorts — can be wrapped around damaged nerves inside the body and then enable electricity derived from light to flow there after the wound is closed up.

Its inventors, from Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, have tested the material on rats and documented its effectiveness in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Materials.

The material speeded up nerve repair in rats by 33 percent, and now heads to development and testing on humans.

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Novel Tissue Model May Help Harness the Liver’s Regenerative Abilities

If up to 70% of the liver is removed, the remaining tissue can regrow a full-sized liver within a couple of months. MIT engineers sought to take advantage of this regenerative ability to help treat chronic liver disease. The team reported that they have created a novel liver tissue model that allows them to trace the steps involved in regeneration more precisely than seen before.

Their findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS) in an article titled, “A vascularized model of the human liver mimics regenerative responses.”

“The new model can yield information that couldn’t be gleaned from studies of mice or other animals, whose biology is not identical to that of humans,” explained Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD, the leader of the research team.

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New Technology Can Repair Heart Muscles After an Attack, Say Researchers

In a groundbreaking finding, researchers have developed a technology that can help effectively treat heart diseases in humans. The technology repairs heart muscles in mice after a heart attack and also successfully regenerates them. Researchers, from the University of Houston, have used a synthetic messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) to deliver mutated transcription factors to the heart of the mouse. The transcription factors are the proteins that control the conversion of DNA into RNA.

In their study, published in The Journal of Cardiovascular Aging, the team conducted an experiment to show that two mutated transcription factors, Stemin and YAP5SA, work closely to increase the replication of heart muscle cells or cardiomyocytes in mice.

“What we are trying to do is dedifferentiate the cardiomyocyte into a more stem cell-like state so that they can regenerate and proliferate,” said Siyu Xiao, Ph.D graduate and co-author of the study. According to another co-author Dinakar Iyer, Stemin transcription proved to be a game-changer in their experiment. While Stemin triggers stem-like properties in cardiomyocytes, YAP5SA works on organ growth resulting in more replication of the myocytes.

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Could an electronic tattoo revolutionise blood pressure monitoring?

Researchers have developed an electronic tattoo that delivers continuous blood pressure monitoring at high accuracy.

Blood pressure is the most vital indicator of heart health, and although there is a range of monitoring devices, it remains difficult to reliably measure outside of a clinical setting. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University have developed an electronic tattoo that could change the face of blood pressure monitoring forever.

“Blood pressure is the most important vital sign you can measure, but the methods to do it outside of the clinic passively, without a cuff, are very limited,” said Deji Akinwande, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin and one of the co-leaders of the project.

The findings are published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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New study could help fight bacterial infections without antibiotics

When the bacteria were exposed to an alternating magnetic field, there was a rapid rise in temperature, high enough to destroy them

Researchers at Mohali’s Institute of Nanoscience and Technology have found a novel way to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections — by inducing self-destruction in the bacteria.

Although many potent antibiotics are available in the market, our indiscriminate use has rendered them useless in treating several common bacterial infections. The bacteria have mutated and developed smart techniques to beat the effect of the drugs. Scientists are now actively researching alternative methods to combat drug-resistant bacterial strains, one among them being the nanotechnology-based approach.

Researchers at the Institute of Nanoscience and Technology (INST), Mohali, have found a novel way to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections: By inducing self-destruction in the bacteria.

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Creating human organs in space: How a Winston-Salem company is revolutionizing regenerative medicine

by: Michael Hennessey

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — The frontline of regenerative medicine has stood in Winston-Salem for decades. Today, with the leadership that’s been in place over that period of time, that technology is headed out of this world. 

“We started this work over 30 years ago, actually,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine director. “So, a long time ago.” 

As Atala explains, the institute creates tissues and organs, as well as therapies to help treat patients. At the start, he explained, the greatest challenge was trying to get cells to grow. Now, they can grow every major cell type. 

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A world first: Human liver was treated in a machine and then successfully transplanted

Prof. Pierre-Alain Clavien and Prof. Philipp Dutkowski during the transplantation of the liver treated in the machine.

The Liver4Life research has developed a perfusion machine that makes it possible to implant a human organ into a patient after a storage period of three days outside a body. The machine mimics the human body as accurately as possible, in order to provide ideal conditions for human livers. A pump serves as a replacement heart, an oxygenator replaces the lungs and a dialysis unit performs the functions of the kidneys. In addition, numerous hormone and nutrient infusions perform the functions of the intestine and pancreas.

Like the diaphragm in the human body, the machine also moves the liver to the rhythm of human breathing. In January 2020, the multidisciplinary Zurich research team—involving the collaboration of University Hospital Zurich (USZ), ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich (UZH)—demonstrated for the first time that perfusion technology makes it possible to store a liver outside the body for several days.

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Scientists May Have Found a Way to Inject Oxygen Into The Bloodstream Intravenously

By DAVID NIELD

There are many illnesses and injuries, including COVID-19, where the body struggles to get the amount of oxygen into the lungs necessary for survival.

In severe cases, patients are put on a ventilator, but these machines are often scarce and can cause problems of their own, including infection and injury to the lungs.

Scientists may have now found a breakthrough, and it’s one that that could significantly impact how ventilators are used. 

In addition to traditional mechanical ventilation, there’s another technique called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), where blood is carried outside the body so that oxygen can be added and carbon dioxide can be removed.

Thanks to a new discovery, oxygen may now be able to be added directly, and the patient’s blood can stay where it is. With a condition like refractory hypoxemia, which can be brought on by being on a ventilator, having this approach available could save lives.

“If successful, the described technology may help to avoid or decrease the incidence of ventilator-related lung injury from refractory hypoxemia,” the researchers write in their new paper.

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