Patrick Cox's Tech Digest - View by Tag "regenerative medicine"

Ghost Organs, Stem Cells, and Frankenstein’s Transplant Technology

August 6, 2014

If you’re a biotech investor, you’re undoubtedly aware of the buzz regarding 3D bioprinting. There have been scores of articles and video presentations in popular outlets heralding the end to transplant organ shortages.

Using living cells rather than inanimate construction materials, 3D printing technologies have been used to build models of organs and other tissues. Excitement about the possibility of mass-produced bioprinted transplant organs has fueled a massive inpouring of capital into companies working on this seemingly science fiction technology.

Tissue Regeneration Using Anti-Inflammatory Nanomolecules

August 25, 2014

New work appearing in the journal Biomaterials reveals the creation of self-assembling peptide-based nanomaterials, which could aid in tissue repair and help offset or eliminate the inflammatory response that slows healing. In the case of skin grafting, for instance, foreign materials used to help the graft take hold can slow the healing process. This new material, however, shows promise to keep inflammation in check, as early tests of this new material platform in bladder scaffolding tests have shown encouraging results.

BAT Science: The Dark Fat Returns

September 4, 2014

At an early age, we are familiarized with our most vital organs. We learn that we would not be able to survive without the heart, the stomach, the intestines, the lungs, or the brain that controls them all. Most of us learn about the liver and kidneys, and maybe even learn that the skin itself, as unintuitive as it may be, is also considered an organ. The science you learned as a child, however, is not settled. The revolution in biological knowledge includes truly exciting discoveries about an organ that you’ve probably not heard of. I’m talking about fat.

Potential for “In Body” Muscle Regeneration, Rodent Study Suggests

September 5, 2014

Wake Forest University scientists have reported new advances in harnessing stem cells for muscle recovery inside the body in the journal Acta Biomaterialia. By targeting proteins which control cell communication and muscle formation, stem cells can be caused to collect at a scaffolding material site and begin to regenerate muscle tissue. Currently damaged muscle is replaced with muscle from another part of the body. This new procedure, if it advances from early testing, could speed and streamline the process of recovering muscle by accelerating the body’s own healing mechanisms.

Biologists Delay the Aging Process by “Remote Control”

September 9, 2014

UCLA scientists have revealed a new technique which extended the lives of fruit flies by up to 30% and positively impacted overall health in a recent study published in Cell Reports. By activating a gene called AMPK in the intestines of the flies, which serves as an “energy sensor” in cells, the researchers were able to boost the rate at which those cells use energy. Humans also have the AMPK gene; if activated, it could benefit a variety of anti-aging and regenerative medicine related studies already underway.

Simple Method Turns Human Skin Cells into Immune-Fighting White Blood Cells

September 11, 2014

Salk Institute scientists report the discovery of a new technique capable of turning typical skin cells into transplantable white blood cells in the journal Stem Cells. Used to combat infection, white blood cells transplanted into patients who lack them could lead to new ways to treat cancers or immune disorders. Improving on prior research in this space, this new technique takes only two weeks to accomplish and engrafts better into recipient bone marrow or organs than previous white blood cell-creation experiments. Due to the relative ease with which white blood cells can be transferred, this new process has profound implications for regenerative medicine research.

Ultimate Human Stem Cells Created in the Lab

September 15, 2014

University of Cambridge researchers discuss the in-lab creation of what could be a truly “blank” stem cell capable of being coaxed into becoming any cell type in the body in the journal Cell. Typically, gene activation or the process of methylation either turns a cell into a type for a certain organ or shuts down the development of that cell entirely. These new cells, however, appear to show promise for being any tissue type. Future studies will seek to determine just how useful these new cells are, and if they function in testing as well as they appear capable of performing from these early tests.

The $1 Million Race for the Cure to End Aging

September 16, 2014

Eleven scientific teams have formally entered the Palo Alto Longevity Prize competition, seeking to “end aging” and claim the $1 million prize. Teams from Stanford and George Washington universities, as well as the University of North Carolina, among other schools and hospitals, will approach the problem of ending aging from a variety of research angles. Among the listed areas of focus were gene modification, hypothalamic regulation, stem cells, and inflammatory tissues. Combined with support from angel investors and leading Silicon Valley venture capital firms, the goal of the competition is to incentivize the research that will lengthen and improve lives.

GDF11: Good for the Head and the Heart

September 17, 2014

When you think of heart disease, heart attacks probably come to mind first. Like most things biological, however, there’s more to the story. The most common sort of heart failure is actually caused by a process whereby the walls of the heart thicken and slow down. This is often called diastolic heart failure or cardiac hypertrophy.

On-Off Switch for Critical Stem Cell Gene Discovered

December 16, 2014

University of Toronto scientists, writing in the journal Genes & Development, discuss new findings related to the function of the Sox2 gene in mice and the role it plays in cell differentiation. The researchers found that Sox2 influences other parts of the genome, which control pluripotency, or the ability for a stem cell to develop into a variety of cell types. Further research of Sox2, and study of how it is turned on and turned off, could lead to compounding advances in regenerative medicine that help prevent the onset of disease.

Bone Stem Cells Identified that Can Regenerate Bones and Cartilage

January 19, 2015

Columbia University researchers, writing in the journal Cell, report the discovery of a specific stem cell in bone marrow that could lead to advances in regenerative medicine techniques for bone and cartilage repair. The study, which located the stem cell, took place in mice, and results must first be found to translate to human bone marrow before possible applications for this stem cell can be further investigated. If the results translate, this exciting new work could inform osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, as well as bone fracture and repair research.

Why Treating Age as a Disease Will Save Our Failing Healthcare System

July 2, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in an article for the TransTech Digest about a potentially transformative meeting that has presumably already taken place. If things went as planned, a group of researchers that included Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AICM) met with the FDA to explore the possibility of moving anti-diabetes drug Metformin into clinical trials for life extension.

mHealth, Genomics, and Interracial Marriage

September 4, 2015

In my digest piece last week, I included a video presentation by Dr. Eric Topol, the cardiologist, geneticist, researcher, and writer who serves as director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California. Topol is predicting rapid and radical change in the ways that healthcare is delivered; I’m currently reading his new book, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands.

History’s Biggest Breakthrough in Anti-Aging Medicine

July 5, 2016

Michael West, known as the father of regenerative medicine, gave a talk last week that historians will remember as the world’s first look at the biotechnology that changed everything forever. At the annual meeting of Mensa, he reported on the progress of regenerative medicine—from the stem cell breakthroughs that he pioneered to his current research.

AI Will Help Us Find the Key to Immortality

July 11, 2016

The field of anti-aging medicine has finally entered the mainstream. It’s no longer controversial for scientists to talk about extending health spans by delaying the systems failures that spawn age-related disease. In fact, we’ve made great strides in identifying methods that will allow people to live closer to their approximately 120-year maximum life spans.

The 21st Century Cures Act Won’t Cure Our Healthcare Problems

December 5, 2016

Having passed the House with overwhelming support, the $6 billion 21st Century Cures Act is on track to become law. Its original purpose (before lobbyists spent more than $100 million to influence the legislation) was to accelerate the development and approval of new drugs and medical devices.

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