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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Scientists grow cells on a robot skeleton (but don’t know what to do with them yet) 

The cells were placed in a replica shoulder joint that was moved around to stimulate growth.

By James Vincent

A new method of tissue engineering is only a proof of concept for now.

The science of tissue engineering — or growing human cells for use in medicine — is very much in its infancy, with only the simplest lab-grown cells able to be used in experimental treatments today. But researchers say a new method of tissue engineering could potentially improve the quality of this work: growing the cells on a moving robot skeleton. 

Typically, cells used in this sort of regenerative medicine are grown in static environments. Think: petri dishes and miniature 3D scaffolds. A few experiments in the past have shown that cells can be grown on moving structures like hinges, but these have only stretched or bent the tissue in a single direction. But researchers from the University of Oxford and robotics firm Devanthro thought that, if you want to grow matter designed to move and flex like tendons or muscles, it’d be better to recreate their natural growing environment as accurately as possible. So they decided to approximate a mobile human body. THE THEORY IS THAT MOVING CELLS AS THEY WOULD IN YOUR BODY WILL HELP THEM GROW

Growing cells in an actual person creates all sorts of difficulties, of course, so the cross-disciplinary team decided to approximate the human musculoskeletal system as best they could using a robot. As described in a paper published in Communications Engineering, they adapted an open-source robot skeleton designed by the engineers at Devanthro and created a custom growing environment for the cells that can be fitted into the skeleton to bend and flex as required. (Such growing environments are known as bioreactors.) 

The site they choose for this tissue agriculture was the robot’s shoulder joint, which had to be upgraded to more accurately approximate our own movements. Then, they created a bioreactor that could be fitted into the robot’s shoulder, consisting of strings of biodegradable filaments stretched between two anchor points, like a hank of hair, with the entire structure enclosed within a balloon-like outer membrane.

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Smaller than a pinhead: New 3D printed micro device provides breakthrough for IVF and regenerative medicine

Researchers have developed a tiny, 3D-printed cell “cradle” to boost IVF success, with the treatment of cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and spinal cord injury also advanced by the invention.

By Lynne Minion

A tiny new medical device has been developed by Australian researchers that will transform the only fertility treatment procedure available for men with low sperm counts, with implications for the success of IVF and beyond into regenerative medicine.

A research team led by the University of Adelaide, in partnership with medical technology company Fertilis, has created the groundbreaking technology that allows injection of a single sperm into an egg for fertilisation with greater ease and accuracy, according to an article in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.

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Designer Neurons Offer New Hope for Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Summary: Researchers have designed a new method of converting non-neural cells into functioning neurons that are able to form synapses, dispense dopamine, and restore the function of neurons undermined by Parkinson’s associated destruction of dopaminergic cells.

Neurodegenerative diseases damage and destroy neurons, ravaging both mental and physical health. Parkinson’s disease, which affects over 10 million people worldwide, is no exception. The most obvious symptoms of Parkinson’s disease arise after the illness damages a specific class of neuron located in the midbrain. The effect is to rob the brain of dopamine—a key neurotransmitter produced by the affected neurons.

In new research, Jeffrey Kordower and his colleagues describe a process for converting non-neuronal cells into functioning neurons able to take up residence in the brain, send out their fibrous branches across neural tissue, form synapses, dispense dopamine and restore capacities undermined by Parkinson’s destruction of dopaminergic cells.

The current proof-of-concept study reveals that one group of experimentally engineered cells performs optimally in terms of survival, growth, neural connectivity, and dopamine production, when implanted in the brains of rats.

The study demonstrates that the result of such neural grafts is to effectively reverse motor symptoms due to Parkinson’s disease.

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Scientists Reverse Ageing In Old Mice Using Brain Fluid From Younger Mice

By Bharat Sharma

Scientists recently “rejuvenated” old mice using injections containing brain fluid sourced from younger mice. According to a new study that was published in the journal Nature, memory problems associated with old age (in mice) can be reversed by taking cerebrospinal fluid from young mice. The study essentially examined the link between memory and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the composition of which changes with age

Scientists recently “rejuvenated” old mice using injections containing brain fluid sourced from younger mice. According to a new study that was published in the journal Nature, memory problems associated with old age (in mice) can be reversed by taking cerebrospinal fluid from young mice.

The study essentially examined the link between memory and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the composition of which changes with age. 

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How patient-on-a-chip tech could be the future of drug discovery

By Ben Hargreaves

Testing drug compounds on a chip designed to mimic human organs sounds closer to science fiction than reality, yet the technology already exists and is already being put to use. Ben Hargreaves discovers how the technology could provide more accurate safety predictions and even discover new treatments.

The limits of animal models in drug discovery are well known. If you are reading this then you are likely not a mouse, and as a result, will react to drug compounds differently. In testing new treatments, what is promising in animal models may not transfer particularly well to humans, which helps to explain why there is a 90% failure rate during clinical development. The low rate of success is one of the contributors to the high cost and the slow R&D process that takes promising compounds through early testing and into the clinic. Moreover, there is the question of the ethics of using animals, numbering in the millions each year, in clinical trials, which sees most euthanized at the end of the process.

The challenge that the pharma industry faces is the lack of better alternatives to animal models. There are existing alternatives, with one being human cell culture systems, which provide an environment that is closer to that which will eventually receive treatment but do not contain the complexity of a complete organism. An organoid system approach takes self-organising clusters of cells that grow in three dimensions, closely resembling real tissue and organs. Despite the potential, there are limiting factors such as the need to provide optimal culturing conditions for different types of organoid, with each potentially containing a range of cells types. An alternative to these systems is one that is growing in popularity and commercial application, a technology referred to as ‘organ-on-a-chip’.

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App could soon provide at-home test for brain diseases via ‘eye selfies’

A smartphone user can image the eye using the RGB selfie camera and the front-facing near-infrared camera included for facial recognition. Measurements from this imaging could be used to assess the user’s cognitive condition.

By John Anderer
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — You may soon be able to screen yourself for neurological diseases like dementia and ADHD using nothing but a smartphone. All you’d have to do is take a selfie — of your eyes. Researchers at the University of California-San Diego are developing a new app that uses eye recordings to assess cognitive health.

The app uses both a near-infrared camera (built into most new smartphones available today) and a “regular selfie camera” to track pupil size dilations. Those pupil measurements can then help to assess a person’s cognitive condition, study authors explain.

“While there is still a lot of work to be done, I am excited about the potential for using this technology to bring neurological screening out of clinical lab settings and into homes,” says first study author Colin Barry, an electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego, in a university release. “We hope that this opens the door to novel explorations of using smartphones to detect and monitor potential health problems earlier on.”

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Anti-aging technology is coming. Here’s how you can be ready for it

Billionaires like Jeff Bezos believe that aging is a disease that can be slowed, stopped, even reversed. But you have to be ready to receive its benefits.

The world’s billionaires are pouring money into age-reversal investments.

Last September, it came out that Jeff Bezos had invested in Altos Labs, a company pursuing biological reprogramming technology. “Reprogramming” is the scientific term for turning old cells young again. It was discovered in 2012 by Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, who called it a potential “elixir of life.” The Nobel Prize in Medicine Committee seemed to agree.

Bezos—and Altos—aren’t the only ones.

There’s Google-backed Calico Labs, also focused on longevity via reprogramming. And Lineage Cell Therapeutics, backed by BlackRock, Raffles Capital Management, Wells Fargo, and others.

Coinbase Co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong recently invested in a company working to radically extend human healthspan using epigenetic reprogramming therapies. Altogether, the anti-aging industry is expected to grow to over $64 billion by 2026, a 45% increase from its 2020 value ($44 billion).

So, why are billionaires like Jeff Bezos investing in age-reversal or “anti-aging” tech?

Because they have a Longevity Mindset.

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This robot could help surgeons treat stroke remotely

By Jennifer Chu.

MIT engineers have developed a telerobotic system to help surgeons quickly and remotely treat patients experiencing a stroke or aneurysm.

With a modified joystick, surgeons in one hospital may control a robotic arm at another location to safely operate on a patient during a critical window of time that could save the patient’s life and preserve their brain function.

The robotic system, whose movement is controlled through magnets, is designed to remotely assist in endovascular intervention — a procedure performed in emergency situations to treat strokes caused by a blood clot.

Such interventions normally require a surgeon to manually guide a thin wire to the clot, where it can physically clear the blockage or deliver drugs to break it up.

One limitation of such procedures is accessibility: Neurovascular surgeons are often based at major medical institutions that are difficult to reach for patients in remote areas, particularly during the “golden hour” — the critical period after a stroke’s onset, during which treatment should be administered to minimize any damage to the brain.

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