Robots can grow humanoid mini-organs from stem cells faster and better than people

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Automated robots now have the tools to grow imitation, simplified human organs out of stem cells. Thankfully, we weren’t transported to a sci-fi dystopia where the machines have risen up and started to farm humans, but rather a world where pharmaceutical and other biomedical research just became much easier and faster.

Give these robots some pluripotent stem cells (stem cells that can become any type of cell), and 21 days later they’ll have finished a complicated experiment testing out the effects of a drug or genetic manipulation on some human-like, lab-grown kidneys. According to research published yesterday, May 17, in Cell: Stem Cell, the process is much faster and more reliable than when humans grow the same mini-organs.

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How to grow functioning human muscles from stem cells

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… and microscale robot exoskeleton muscles from graphene and glass.

A cross section of a muscle fiber grown from induced pluripotent stem cells, showing muscle cells (green), cell nuclei (blue), and the surrounding support matrix for the cells (credit: Duke University)

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have grown the first functioning human skeletal muscle from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). (Pluripotent stem cells are important in regenerative medicine because they can generate any type of cell in the body and can propagate indefinitely; the induced version can be generated from adult cells instead of embryos.)

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How Down Syndrome Protects Against Cancer

How Down Syndrome Protects Against Cancer

 Using customized stem cells, researchers showed that Down syndrome protects against cancer by preventing tumors from forming their own blood vessels. 

For decades scientists have known that people with Down syndrome, who have an extra copy of chromosome 21, get certain types of cancer at dramatically lower rates than normal. Now, partly by using stem cells derived from the skin of an individual with Down syndrome, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have pinpointed the gene that appears to underlie the cancer-protective effect.

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