Innovative silicon nanochip can reprogram biological tissue in living body

A silicon device that can change skin tissue into blood vessels and nerve cells has advanced from prototype to standardized fabrication, meaning it can now be made in a consistent, reproducible way. As reported in Nature Protocols, this work, developed by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, takes the device one step closer to potential use as a treatment for people with a variety of health concerns.

The technology, called tissue nanotransfection, is a non-invasive nanochip device that can reprogram tissue function by applying a harmless electric spark to deliver specific genes in a fraction of a second. In laboratory studies, the device successfully converted skin tissue into blood vessels to repair a badly injured leg. The technology is currently being used to reprogram tissue for different kinds of therapies, such as repairing brain damage caused by stroke or preventing and reversing nerve damage caused by diabetes.

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Yale researchers develop mRNA-based lyme disease vaccine

Yale researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine that targets the antigens found in tick saliva in order to alert individuals to tick bites as well as prevent the tick from feeding correctly, thereby reducing its ability to transmit pathogens. 

By Cate Roser

Yale researchers have developed an mRNA vaccine against lyme disease that triggers an immune response at the site of a tick bite and provides partial protection against the disease-causing bacteria. 

In a paper published on Nov. 17 in the Science Translational Medicine journal, scientists studied specific ticks called “Ixodes scapulari” that carry a lyme-disease-causing bacteria called “Borrelia burgdorferi.”According to Gunjan Arora, one of the co-first authors of the paper and an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine, lyme disease is the fastest-growing vector-borne illness in the United States, with close to half a million people affected every year. Currently, there are no commercially available vaccines for lyme disease. This novel vaccine is unique in that it targets the vector of transmission, the tick, rather than the actual pathogen itself. “Lyme disease is the most common Tick–borne human illness in the United States, leaving an urgent need for either therapies or preventative strategies, such as a vaccine,” Jacqueline Mathias dos Santos, a co-first author on the paper and a postdoctoral associate at the School of Medicine, wrote in an email to the News. “Our vaccine is unique in that we don’t actually target the pathogen, we target the vector … instead. This strategy can work for Borrelia because it takes around 24 hours of tick feeding for the pathogen to be transmitted. This offers a unique opportunity to disrupt transmission. Additionally, by targeting the vector, we don’t expect this to drive resistance by the pathogen.”

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Researchers develop ultra-thin ‘computer on the bone’ using NFC for bone health monitoring

By Tom Phillips 

Researchers at the University of Arizona in the US have developed an ultra-thin NFC sensor that could be directly attached to human bone and enable physicians to monitor a patient’s bone health and healing from fractures and other traumatic injuries.

The battery-free osseosurface electronics device is as thin as a sheet of paper and “roughly the size of a [US] penny” and draws power from and communicates information to an NFC-enabled smartphone or other NFC reader.

The device’s thin structure means that it can form a “tight interface” with a bone without irritating surrounding tissue, while the adhesive that the researchers have developed to attach it contains calcium particles that allow it to “form a permanent bond to the bone and take measurements over long periods of time”.

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This Holographic Camera Can See Around Corners, Under Human Skin

By Robert Lea

Researchers have invented a new high-resolution camera that may be able “see the unseen.”

The camera could utilize scattered light to see around corners, and potentially even see through skin to allow doctors to observe organs inside the human body.

The camera represents an advance in research in a new field of science called non-line-of-sight imaging, which concerns picturing objects that are obscured or surrounded by material that prevents them from being viewed.

“Our technology will usher in a new wave of imaging capabilities,” Northwestern University researcher Florian Willomitzer said. “Our current sensor prototypes use visible or infrared light, but the principle is universal and could be extended to other wavelengths.”

The method used by the team also has the potential to image fast-moving objects, such as a beating heart through the chest or speeding cars around a street corner.

Willomitzer is the author of a paper detailing the development of the camera published in the journal Nature Communications. 

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Harnessing T-Cell Biology To Develop Living Drugs

Superresolution image of a group of killer T cells (green and red) surrounding a cancer cell (blue, center). Credit: Alex Ritter, Jennifer Lippincott Schwartz, Gillian Griffiths/ National Institutes of Health

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher Leonardo Ferreira, Ph.D., well-regarded for his pioneering work with regulatory T-cells, published a paper in Frontiers in Immunology that describes his experience using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) regulatory T-cells to address the challenge of transplant tolerance.

Ferreira, who joined the Medical University of South Carolina’s Department of Immunology on July 1, is changing the rules of the game by exploiting the unique biology of regulatory T-cells, or Tregs. His overall research goal is to understand Treg biology more thoroughly in order to use the cells to treat a range of autoimmune problems.

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First Prototype Bioartificial Kidney Successful: Man-Made Organ May Solve Medical Problems, Giving Hope to Dialysis Patients

By Ron Jefferson 

The first bioartificial kidney developed by The Kidney Project earned a $650,000 prize from the KidneyX’s Artificial Kidney Prize. The man-made kidney technology is expected to be among the most promising solutions in today’s medical advancements that could end challenging kidney problems. Among the key interests of the bioartificial kidney is to implant the device on patients instead of treating them through dialysis machines and decrease the patients on the waiting lists of transplant procedures. The Kidney Project was led by UC San Francisco and Vanderbilt University Medical Center experts Shuvo Roy and William Fissel.

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The future of personalized medicine: Technion team built blood tree from scratch

Currently, transplanted grafts need to be implanted into a healthy part of the body so that the patient can generate new blood vessels to support it.


Engineered blood vessels in Technion study. Vascular structures in the scaffold lumen (brown) communicate with vessels located in the surrounding hydrogel (green).(photo credit: Courtesy)AdvertisementSkin flaps, bone grafts, implanted tissue – recent advancements in medicine have changed the face of surgery in terms of autologous – meaning self – transplantations.While extensive damage to organs once meant a nearly sure amputation or need for an external transplant, today’s science focuses on harvesting cells and tissue from a person’s own body to complete the injured pieces of the puzzle, using grafts and flaps to repair skin, vessels, tubes and bones.Yet, ask any surgeon attempting to insert a flap and they would tell you that the most important – and restrictive – component of a graft’s success is ample blood supply.

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Fully synthetic proteins make tailored medicines

The company was founded to commercialise a peptide ligation reaction developed by Jeffrey Bode’s research group


Bright Peak Therapeutics makes modified protein drugs from scratch.

Jeffrey Bode from ETH Zurich in Switzerland has a fitting analogy for why synthetic proteins are a compelling next step for the development of therapeutic molecules. ‘Almost all modern antibiotics have been found or produced in nature, but were then modified with synthetic chemistry to make a better drug,’ he says. ‘In the same way, natural proteins often have fantastic biological activity but limitations in terms of, for example, toxicity. They can be made better and safer by using synthetic chemistry.’

Bode is a co-founder of Bright Peak Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company based in San Diego, US, and Basel, Switzerland, that is commercialising fully synthetic proteins for use in cancer immunotherapy and autoimmune diseases.

The company’s most advanced product is a synthetic version of cytokine signalling protein interleukin-2 called BPT-143. It is currently in chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) manufacturing – an integral part of any pharmaceutical product application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which the manufacturing process, testing regimes and and product characteristics are developed to ensure they are consistent across batches. ‘As far as we know, no one has brought such a sophisticated synthetic molecule so far along clinical development,’ Bode says.

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Researchers develop a prototype of electronic nose

By University of Notre Dame 

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

But how does one measure that smell?

There’s no energy in a smell to help estimate how potent the coffee might be. Instead, it’s the gases emitted from brewed coffee that contribute to the invigorating scent.

The human nose captures those gases in a way that Nosang Vincent Myung, the Bernard Keating Crawford Professor of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, is working to duplicate in a device with sensors.

He and his team have developed a prototype of an electronic nose, using nanoengineered materials to tune the sensitivity and selectivity to mimic the performance and capabilities of a human nose.

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Nanoparticle-based disinfectant could be a powerful weapon against pathogenic viruses

Reviewed by Emily Henderson

University of Central Florida researchers have developed a nanoparticle-based disinfectant that can continuously kill viruses on a surface for up to seven days – a discovery that could be a powerful weapon against COVID-19 and other emerging pathogenic viruses.

The findings, by a multidisciplinary team of the university’s virus and engineering experts and the leader of an Orlando technology firm, were published this week in ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

Christina Drake, a UCF alumna and founder of Kismet Technologies, was inspired to develop the disinfectant after making a trip to the grocery store in the early days of the pandemic. There she saw a worker spraying disinfectant on a refrigerator handle, then wiping off the spray immediately.

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New gene therapies may soon treat dozens of rare diseases, but million-dollar price tags will put them out of reach for many

Zolgensma – which treats spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic disease that damages nerve cells, leading to muscle decay – is currently the most expensive drug in the world. A one-time treatment of the life-saving drug for a young child costs US$2.1 million.

While Zolgensma’s exorbitant price is an outlier today, by the end of the decade there’ll be dozens of cell and gene therapies, costing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for a single dose. The Food and Drug Administration predicts that by 2025 it will be approving 10 to 20 cell and gene therapies every year.

I’m a biotechnology and policy expert focused on improving access to cell and gene therapies. While these forthcoming treatments have the potential to save many lives and ease much suffering, health care systems around the world aren’t equipped to handle them. Creative new payment systems will be necessary to ensure everyone has equal access to these therapies. 

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Every 10 minutes someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list in the US. 

As of May 2021, there were over 100,000 people waiting for replacement organs across the country. 

And countless more people in need of “spare parts” never even make it onto the waiting list. On average, 17 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of US deaths could be prevented or postponed with access to organ replacements. 

That’s why the recent announcement of the first successful human transplant of an artificial heart in a US patient is such a big development. 

The artificial heart used in the transplant was created by medical technology company Carmat, which won FDA approval for human trials just last year. Discussing the latest developments in biotech—using biology as technology—is a key focus of my year-round coaching program Abundance360.

In today’s blog, we’ll discuss how Carmat’s artificial heart works and how it fits into the broader objective of regenerative medicine. 

Let’s dive in…