April 12th, 2022 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have developed a technique that lets them screen the interactions of drug candidates with target molecules extremely rapidly, inexpensively, and with very small amounts of starting materials and reagents. The highly efficient method , which the researchers have called “single particle combinatorial lipidic nanocontainer fusion based on DNA mediated fusion (SPARCLD),” involves combining small amounts of the molecules within liposomes. The technology could simplify drug discovery and vaccine development, and help us to turbocharge our response to future public health emergencies, such as another...Read More

April 11th, 2022 by Conn Hastings
A team at Florida Atlantic University created a microfluidic chip that can sort and collect healthy sperm cells for fertility procedures. The chip takes advantage of the fact that healthy sperm will naturally swim against cervical mucus flows and uses fluid flow to guide the cells to swim into a collection chamber. The simple approach ensures that the collected cells are intact and motile, unlike currently used centrifugation techniques, which can take a long time, with multiple steps, and which can actually damage sperm cells in the process. Sperm cells...Read More
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University developed a COVID-19 testing technology that is based on surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) coupled with machine learning. The technique does not require sample preparation or special training and can deliver results in as little as 25 minutes, with an accuracy that is comparable to that of PCR, the current gold standard. Interestingly, the sensor material can be deployed in a standard chip format for personalized testing, but it can also be applied to frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, or even as a...Read More
Researchers at Rice University developed a tiny neurostimulation device that can be delivered intravascularly and which does not require a battery or wired connection. At approximately the size of a grain of rice, the device can be advanced through the vasculature until it lies near a target nerve, and a clinician can then attach it to the the vessel wall for long-term implantation. The stimulator is battery-free and is powered through an external magnetic transmitter. The researchers hope that the technology could lead to a replacement for bulkier neurostimulation devices...Read More

April 8th, 2022 by Conn Hastings
Bioprinted cell-rich bioconstructs showing controlled, complex 4D shape transformations (Eben Alberg) Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have developed a method to create 3D printed cell-loaded bioink constructs that can change shape over time, just like tissues in the body do. Incorporating crosslinking molecules into the printed hydrogels, some of which are UV light-sensitive, allows the constructs to undergo shape changes after printing. The technique could help scientists model the development of tissues that also undergo shape changes in response to external stimuli, such as bone or cartilage, or...Read More
Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital in Canada have been investigating the potential of extracellular vesicles that are derived from umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to protect the lungs and brain in very premature babies. Such babies require supplemental oxygen, but this can damage their lungs, causing a condition called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). In the meantime their brains are also at risk because of low oxygen. These researchers have been investigating the potential of MSCs to help protect and regenerate such tissues, and a recent study in mice suggests that...Read More

April 5th, 2022 by Conn Hastings
Researchers at Okayama University in Japan developed a novel technique to induce cancer cell apoptosis using light. The technology involves modifying the cells to express a light-sensitive protein that rapidly pumps hydrogen ions out of the cell when it is stimulated with light. This increase in cell alkalinity causes it to undergo apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death. The researchers hope that the technology could pave the way for cancer therapies that are more gentle than current treatments, which often result in cell necrosis, a more traumatic form of...Read More
Vektor Medical, a medtech company based in San Diego, created the vMap system, a mapping solution for cardiac arrhythmias. The system is the first to identify arrhythmia sources anywhere in the heart, including the septal wall, outflow tracts, and all four chambers. The company reports that the technology takes less than three minutes to provide a result. The system uses 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) data to pin-point the location of an arrythmia, and so is non-invasive. Accurate mapping of arrythmia sources is important in ensuring that subsequent treatment is successful. In...Read More
Researchers at Osaka Prefecture University in Japan developed a wearable and wireless electrocardiogram monitor that employs kirigami, an ancient art of folding and cutting paper, to ensure better skin contact, stretchability, and breathability. The kirigami design lets the researchers minimize the size of their sensor and the technology allows for long-term vitals measurements with wireless data transmission to a smartphone app. Consisting of a film made of polyethylene terephthalate that the researchers printed with silver electrodes, the sensor includes ingenious cuts that allow it to better conform to the ever-undulating...Read More
A team at Northwestern University created a new type of nanoparticle-based vaccine that employs structure-function relationships during the design phase to maximize efficacy. Called a spherical nucleic acid (SNA) vaccine, the technology consists of globular DNA nanoparticles that contain a DNA sequence that can stimulate the immune system (ie. an adjuvant) and an inner portion containing an antigen, which in this case was the spike protein of the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus. Packaging the antigen and adjuvant together in this specific way resulted in impressive efficacy in a rodent model of severe...Read More
A team at Columbia University created a 3D microscope that can be used to image living tissues. The technology can help clinicians identify features in tissues without the need for histology or biopsies, and could be invaluable during surgical procedures. One application involves a surgeon using the scope to identify the boundaries of a tumor during a surgical procedure, without having to take tissue samples for rapid histological analysis. The technology also lets clinicians and researchers to roam over a tissue with the scope and then convert these data into...Read More

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