Organ-on-a-chip - the mini organs of the future? -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: An image of a colored tissue section; Copyright: UC San Diego Health Sciences

AI predicts how patients with viral infections will fare

16/06/2021

Gene expression patterns associated with pandemic viral infections provide a map to help define patients' immune responses, measure disease severity, predict outcomes and test therapies - for current and future pandemics.
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Image: A man with a smartwatch on his wrist; Copyright: PantherMedia/Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Controlling insulin production with a smartwatch

15/06/2021

Many modern fitness trackers and smartwatches feature integrated LEDs. The green light emitted, whether continuous or pulsed, penetrates the skin and can be used to measure the wearer's heart rate during physical activity or while at rest.
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Image: An old man is looking at his palms with a puzzled face; Copyright: PantherMedia/AndrewLozovyi

Neurology: chemical reactions as the key to understanding Alzheimer's

15/06/2021

Research teams from TU Darmstadt, British and US universities are focusing on one possible main process that leads to the death of brain cells – chemical reactions between different proteins in the brain and essential metals such as copper and iron – in their investigation of the causes and mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease.
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Image: Two men next to a monitor that shows a tissue section – Philipp Sodmann, Matthias Griebel; Copyright: Universität Würzburg

Pathology: diagnoses with Deepflash

14/06/2021

In medicine, it is still standard practice to evaluate microscopy images of tissue sections by hand. This is used, for example, to assess how many cancer cells are in a lymph node.
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Image: A woman is putting her arms through holes into a plastic tent; Copyright: NASA

Better ways to culture living heart cells on the ISS

10/06/2021

As part of preparing for an experiment aboard the International Space Station, researchers explored new ways to culture living heart cells for microgravity research.
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Image: Three men in a library; Copyright: Klaus Pichler, CeMM

New method for ultra-high-throughput RNA sequencing in single cells

07/06/2021

RNA sequencing is a powerful technology for studying cells and diseases. In particular, single-cell RNA sequencing helps uncover the heterogeneity and diversity of our body. This is the central technology of the "Human Cell Atlas" in its quest to map all human cells.
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Image: biomedical structure created with the new NEST3D technique; Copyright: RMIT University

Breaking the mould for 3D printing medical implants

27/05/2021

Researchers have flipped traditional 3D printing to create some of the most intricate biomedical structures yet, advancing the development of new technologies for regrowing bones and tissue.
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Image: Nuclei of a human pancreatic organoid; Copyright: Carla A. Gonçalves / DanStem

New miniature organ to understand human pancreas development

25/05/2021

The pancreas is a little organ behind the stomach and has two main functions – digestion and blood sugar regulation. How the human pancreas develops has been relatively unexplored for ethical and practical reasons.
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Image: Man holding samples in a laboratory; Copyright: UPV

Biosensor developed to aid early diagnosis of breast cancer

24/05/2021

A team of Spanish researchers have developed, at the laboratory level, a prototype of a new biosensor to help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.
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Image: A self-organizing cardioid; Copyright: Mendjan/IMBA

Cardioids – Heartbeat, heartbreak and recovery in a dish

24/05/2021

Self-organizing heart organoids developed at IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – are also effective injury- and in vitro congenital disease models. These “cardioids” may revolutionize research into cardiovascular disorders and malformations of the heart. The results are published in the journal Cell.
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Image: Red dots and shapes and a chemical formula on black ground; Copyright: Yoshikatsu Sato

Unprecedentedly versatile new DNA staining probe

20/05/2021

A group of scientists at Nagoya University, Japan, have developed an incredibly versatile DNA fluorescent dye, named 'Kakshine' after a former NU student of its members, Dr. Kakishi Uno, but it also means to make the nucleus shine brightly, since the nucleus is pronounced 'Kaku' in Japanese.
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Image: Bright green dots and stripes on a black background; Copyright: Salvatore Girardo/MPZPM

Microfluidics: efficiently smuggling drugs into cells

19/05/2021

A new, patented method called Progressive Mechanoporation makes it possible to mechanically disrupt the membranes of cells for a short time period and let drugs or genes inside cells. In this way, researchers can test new therapies more easily than before.
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Image: 3-D printed scaffold of a nose; Copyright: WSU

Researchers advance 3D printing to aid tissue replacement

07/05/2021

Professor Arda Gozen looks to a future someday in which doctors can hit a button to print out a scaffold on their 3-D printers and create custom-made replacement skin, cartilage, or other tissue for their patients.
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Image: 3-D printed cartilage shaped into a curve; Copyright: University of Alberta

3-D 'bioprinting' to create nose cartilage

05/05/2021

A team of University of Alberta researchers has discovered a way to use 3-D bioprinting technology to create custom-shaped cartilage for use in surgical procedures. The work aims to make it easier for surgeons to safely restore the features of skin cancer patients living with nasal cartilage defects after surgery.
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Image: Voltaglue patch applied to a deflated catheter; Copyright: NTU

System to deliver glue for sealing defects in broken blood vessels

03/05/2021

A team of researchers led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a device that offers a quicker and less invasive way to seal tears and holes in blood vessels, using an electrically-activated glue patch applied via a minimally invasive balloon catheter.
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Image: A hand with a glove holding a biopsy needle with an attached cable; Copyright: Aalto University

21st century medical needles for high-tech cancer diagnostics

29/04/2021

Modern medicine needs better quality samples than traditional biopsy needles can provide. Ultrasonically oscillating needles can improve treatment and reduce discomfort.
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Image: Coloured image of a bacterial cell; Copyright: Empa

Fighting harmful bacteria with nanoparticles

28/04/2021

In the arms race "mankind against bacteria", bacteria are currently ahead of us. Our former miracle weapons, antibiotics, are failing more and more frequently when germs use tricky maneuvers to protect themselves from the effects of these drugs.
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Image: data epiction of cancer; Copyright: Ella Maru Studio/MPI f. Mol. Genet.

New cancer genes identified with the help of machine learning

13/04/2021

In cancer, cells get out of control. They proliferate and push their way into tissues, destroying organs and thereby impairing essential vital functions. This unrestricted growth is usually induced by an accumulation of DNA changes in cancer genes – i.e. mutations in these genes that govern the development of the cell.
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Image: A spoon with a small amount of hydrogel; Copyright: UPV

Hydrogel cuts in half recovery time from muscle injuries

05/04/2021

A team from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the CIBER Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) has designed and tested, at a preclinical level, a new biomaterial for the treatment and recovery of muscle injuries.
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Image: 3D-reconstruction of the sarcomere; Copyright: MPI of Molecular Physiology

Zooming in on Muscle Cells

26/03/2021

Scientists have produced the first high-resolution 3D image of the sarcomere, the basic contractile unit of skeletal and heart muscle cells, by using electron cryo-tomography (cryo-ET).
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Image: micrograph of a bone cross-section; Copyright: MPICI

Researchers link breast cancer and bone growth

25/03/2021

A research team consisting of materials scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPICI) in Potsdam and biologists from Cornell University in Ithaca, USA revealed that bones may grow in response to certain signals from a distant breast tumor. This may be a preemptive defense mechanism against skeletal metastasis.
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Image: stamp for cells; Copyright: UPF / Nature Communications

Biological device capable of computing by printing cells on paper

22/03/2021

The Research Group on Synthetic Biology for Biomedical Applications at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, has designed a cellular device capable of computing by printing cells on paper. For the first time, they have developed a living device that could be used outside the laboratory without a specialist, and it could be produced on an industrial scale at low cost.
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Image: cell matrix; Copyright: TU Wien

Multi-photon lithography: printing cells with micrometer accuracy

01/12/2020

How do cells react to certain drugs? And how exactly is new tissue created? This can be analyzed by using bioprinting to embed cells in fine frameworks. However, current methods are often imprecise or too slow to process cells before they are damaged. At the TU Vienna, a high-resolution bioprinting process has now been developed using a new bio-ink.
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Image: 3D printer with a human heart inside, next to a box with

Bioprinting: life from the printer

01/12/2020

It aims at the production of test systems for drug research and gives patients on the waiting lists for donor organs hope: bioprinting. Thereby biologically functional tissues are printed. But how does that actually work? What are the different bioprinting methods? And can entire organs be printed with it? These and other questions are examined in our Topic of the Month.
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Image: Illustrations of various 3D-printed prostheses, implants and organs; Copyright: PantherMedia/annyart

Printed life – possibilities and limits of bioprinting

01/12/2020

Implants, prostheses and various other components made of plastic, metal or ceramics are already being produced by additive manufacturing. But skin, blood vessels or entire organs from the printer – is that possible? For years now, intensive research has been underway into the production of biologically functional tissue using printing processes. Some things are already possible with bioprinting.
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Image: three vials, one with hydrogels, one with bio ink and one with unmodified gelatine; Copyright: Fraunhofer IGB

"Cells are highly sensitive" – material development for bioprinting

01/12/2020

The big hope of bioprinting is to someday be able to print whole human organs. So far, the process has been limited to testing platforms such as organs-on-a-chip. That's because the actual printing process already poses challenges. Scientists need suitable printing materials that ensure the cell's survival as it undergoes the procedure. The Fraunhofer IGB is researching and analyzing this aspect.
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Image: The shoulder of a man with a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/JPCPROD

Regenerative medicine: helps the body healing

03/02/2020

Severe wounds heal slowly and leave scars. This is why we have been using regenerative therapies for some time now to accelerate and improve healing. They also help to avoid permanent damage. Still, complex applications like replacing organs or limbs will rather remain vision than become reality for a long time.
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Image: Computer-generated image of an arborizing blood vessel; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ugreen

Angiogenesis: light shows blood vessels the way

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to replace damage in the body with functional tissue and restore normal function. The first defense for large defects are implants made of hydrogels, designed to promote cell growth. They need their own blood supply, which is a problem when it comes to larger implants because you cannot regulate where and how the blood vessels grow - until now.
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Image: Volker Bruns; Copyright: Fraunhofer ISS

AI software: "iSTIX opens your world to the possibilities of digital pathology"

08/10/2019

The healthcare market offers a multitude of microscopes that make cells visible to the human eye. The same applies to AI-based software for image analysis. After taking the microscopic images, scientist are faced with large volumes of scans with usually low resolution. Yet when all aspects merge together, they open up a the world of digital pathology.
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Image: Graphic rendering of several cells in a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/dani3315

Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?

01/02/2019

Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities.
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Image: Man and woman in a laboratory presenting a multi-organ chip; Copyright: TissUse GmbH

Multi-Organ Chips – The Patients of Tomorrow?

01/02/2019

The liver, nervous tissue or the intestines: all are important human organs that have in the past been tested for their function and compatibility using animal or in vitro test methods. In recent years, TissUse GmbH, a spin-off of the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), has launched multi-organ chip platforms. But that’s not all.
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Image: Cell cultivation in a Petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net / matej kastelic

Organ-on-a-chip – Organs in miniature format

01/02/2019

In vitro processes and animal tests are used to develop new medications and novel therapeutic approaches. However, animal testing raises important ethical concerns. Organ-on-a-chip models promise to be a feasible alternative. In a system the size of a smartphone, organs are connected using artificial circulation.
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From algorithm to rapid test – Artificial Intelligence classifies blood cells

21/11/2018

Our blood reveals a lot about our physical health. The shape of our blood cells sheds light on several hereditary diseases for example. For a diagnosis, the cells must first be examined under the microscope and categorized into a specific cell class. We met with Dr. Stephan Quint and Alexander Kihm of the Institute of Physics at the Saarland University, who explained how this classification works.
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Image: Small brown mole on the back of a hand; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Mario Hahn

Early detection: Tattoo signals cancer – and more

09/07/2018

People who are not ill and do not show any symptoms typically do not visit the doctor. And while most people know that preventive medical checkups for cancer, for example, are important, they still avoid them. They tend to be very hesitant because the doctor might detect a serious illness. In the future, a new type of implant could make it easier to go to a screening test.
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Image: AcCellerator research device at an exhibition stand; Copyright: Daniel Klaue, ZELLMECHANIK DRESDEN GmbH

Cells in the speed trap – diagnosis in a matter of seconds

22/06/2018

A drop of blood provides a lot of valuable information. However, it takes several hours to analyze the blood of a patient and make a diagnosis. This takes away a lot of time that's crucial for treatment. A new method intends to considerably speed up this process by testing the cells in the blood in terms of their deformability and immune response.
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Image: Two hands are holding a tubular frame that is carrying a glistening wet, white tube; Copyright: Leibniz University of Hanover/Institute of Technical Chemistry

Tissue engineering: how to grow a bypass

23/04/2018

A bypass is a complicated structure. It is either made of synthetic materials that can cause blood clots and infections or created by using the patient’s veins. However, the latter often does not yield adequate material. A newly developed bioreactor could solve this problem in the future. It is designed to tissue engineer vascular grafts by using the body’s own material.
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Image: yellow tape measure with capsules in front of it; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Jiri Hera

Personalized cancer medicine: customized treatment

01/03/2018

Everyone is different. This statement also applies to our health. Cancer, in particular, can look and progress differently depending on the individual person. That’s why every patient ideally also needs a customized treatment that is tailored to their individual needs. But how feasible is this idea?
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Image: a container with the nutrient medium for cancer cells; Copyright: Dr. Markus Wehland

Cells in space – extraterrestrial approaches in cancer research

22/02/2018

Here on Earth, all experiments are bound by gravitation. Yet, freed from gravity's grip, tumor cells, for example, behave in an entirely different way. As part of the "Thyroid Cancer Cells in Space" project by the University of Magdeburg, smartphone-sized containers carrying poorly differentiated thyroid cancer cells are sent into space.
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"Spray-On" muscle fibers for biomimetic surfaces

08/01/2018

Few patients with heart failure are fortunate enough to receive a donor's heart. Ventricular assist devices (or heart pumps) have been around for several years and are designed to buy time as patients wait for a transplant. Unfortunately, the body doesn't always tolerate these devices.
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