Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

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September 28th- 4th October

highlights October 5th

Breakthrough: Scientists Isolate Human Muscle Stem Cells, Big leap for Regenerative Medicine

Researchers at UC San Francisco have successfully isolated human muscle stem cells and have shown that the cells when grafted onto an injured site, robustly replicated and repaired damaged muscles! This study could pave way for potential treatments for patients with paralysis, severe muscle injury or genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy.  The findings were reported in Stem Cell Reports. “We’ve shown definitively that these are bona-fide stem cells that can self-renew, proliferate and respond to (Click here to read more)

Innervation to Innovation! 3D printing makes regeneration of nerves, possible

With the advent of tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting, a world of possibilities has opened up and the creativity of scientists can lead to nothing short of a miracle! A team of researchers have created a 3D printed silicone nerve guide, a first-of-its-kind, which can produce physical and biochemical cues for the regeneration of both motor and sensory nerves, a rare phenomenon in actuality. This ‘nerve guide’ or the ‘nerve channel pathways’ when grafted onto rat’s severed nerves in vivo could regenerate the damaged tissue. The rat under experimentation was on its feet within 10 to 12 weeks and its ability to walk was improved! (Click here to read more)

Stanford scientists discover key mechanism in gene expression

Every person originates from a single cell that multiples into a number of cells and differentiates to form an organism. Each cell in a person’s body originated from the same single cell. As a result, all the cells possess the same genetic instructions. However, the cells in one tissue are different from another. This difference is brought about by the expression of genes required for each type of cell. RNA Polymerase II is an enzyme that is largely responsible for the expression of this type of specific gene expression. A team of researchers in Stanford University have observed the DNA being transcribed by this enzyme in real time. This discovery could potentially lead to a leap in genetic engineering as understand the mechanism can play a crucial role in alleviating genetic disorders. (Click here to read more)

Evidence for human transmission of Alzheimer’s pathology

Prions are misfolded proteins that trigger misfolding and aggregation of normal proteins and are responsible for some rare diseases such as the mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. Between 1958 and 1985, several individuals who were short in stature were treated with human growth hormone purified from the pituitary glands of cadavers. Following treatment, some of these individuals developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a rare and fatal brain disorder… A study led by Zane Jaunmuktane and John Collinge explored the possibility of human to human transmission of Alzheimer’s pathology. This pioneering work first explores the possibility of human transmission of pathological proteins. (Click here to read more)

UK Scientists Apply for License to Edit Genes in Human Embryos

The world of genome editing has taken the scientific community by storm in the past few years with the rapid development of the now familiar CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The ancient antiviral mechanism first discovered in bacteria has since been tailored into a molecular tool-kit for gene editing that surpasses its predecessors in its ease of manipulation, range of application and most importantly its specificity and precision. This makes it an attractive candidate for approaching a hitherto flammable area of research: genome editing in human embryos, referred to as ‘germ-line’ editing. Now, a team of scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London have applied for permission to edit genomes of early human embryos to “provide fundamental insights into the early stages of human development.. (Click here to read more)

Say Hello to Granular Gels-The Radical New Face of 3D Printing

3D printing, as the name suggests, is the direct printing of three-dimensional structures wherein successive materials are laid down under computer control. 3-D printing has been around in the scene for a couple of decades now, but its significance and potential in biomedical science has only been realized lately. While some bioprinted objects such as human ears are being tested for viability, soft structures that have little to no internal support are still difficult if not impossible to print. But now, thanks a group of engineers led by Tapomoy Bhattacharjee and Thomas Angelini from the University of Florida, these soft structures can be easily printed using their revolutionary 3D bioprinting technology (Click here to read more)