Researchers from Stanford have identified human skeletal stem cells that become bone, cartilage, or stroma. Cells were recovered from fetal and adult bone marrow and were also derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. This discovery will open up new therapeutic possibilities. Read more

synthetic tissues

Researchers from the University of California have programmed synthetic cells to mobilize nearby natural cells into complex structures. At first, individual cells self-organized into multi-layered structures resembling simple organisms or the tissues from the first stages of embryonic development. The technology could have a bright future in repairing damaged tissue or re-growing injured organs. Read more

3D printing

Engineers from the University of Illinois built a 3D printer that produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened sugar alcohol, isomalt. These detailed biological structures are water-soluble, biodegradable glassy structures that could have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research, and device manufacturing. Read more

Nervous system

Researchers developed a new method for transforming adult human skin cells directly into motor neurons without the need for stem cells. The technique has the potential to help researchers better understand diseases of motor neurons and could lead to progress in regenerative medicine. Read more

Researchers developed a new approach to cell therapy that uses nanoparticles to deliver genetic material that induces changes in the cell´s transient gene expression. An approach that is faster and cheaper to develop, more customizable and as simple as ‘just add water’. Read more

Artificial womb to serve as a surrogate mother, a heart made of spider silk protein, a nose “growing” on your arm, bioengineered blood vessels and more. New technologies and techniques that will make us feel like we are living in a sci-fi movie are already here. Read more

Researchers at Harvard University developed an effective personalized cancer vaccine that seems to have prevented early tumour relapse in 12 skin cancer patients. The vaccine targeted 20 tumour-specific proteins unique to each of the patients enrolled, keeping all free of cancer over 2 years after the trial.

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An international consortium of scientists have found a way to produce a semi-synthetic strain of baker´s yeast with more than a third of its chromosomes artificially synthesized. Read more

Metabolic studies investigating the mechanics of cancer cell proliferation have been critical to understanding resource allocation driving tumorigenesis. Generally, proliferating cells eschew efficient energy production in favour of metabolic pathways that generate the essential macromolecular building blocks necessary to grow in size and number, classically termed the Warburg effect. Read more

As I was winding down my work for 2015, an article in “The Scientist” on shortage of agar in late November caught my eye. At the time, I was busy planning experiments that involved production of bacteriophages which infect and replicate within bacterial cells Read more