One Step Closer to Understanding In Situ Limb Regeneration

A group of scientists at University of Florida learned that a particular mouse strain recovered from certain wounds in a very interesting manner. Ashley W. Seifert, et. al found that African Spiny mice ( Acomys kempi and Acomys percivali ) regrow skin tissue and parts of limbs that they loose much like salamanders. Their skin is particularly fragile with tensile energy characteristics which are 77 times less than most other mouse and rat species. As a result when they struggle in an investigators hands the African Spiny mouse skin peels off. Even more remarkably within 30 days the skin replaces itself with little or no scarring.

Limb and tissue regeneration of this type is called autotomization. This article is apparently the first time that skin autotomy has been demonstrated in mammals.

Skin shedding and tissue regeneration in African spiny mice (Acomys)

Biotechnology: Artificial Trachea Grown From Stem Cells And Implanted

Harvard Biosciences and a team of international surgeons and scientists have successfully collaborated to create and implant a bioartificial trachea. The trachea was created by growing stem cells onto a spongy scaffold with appropriate physical properties. The growth phase of the process took between 10 to 12 days and included chemical or physical triggers to guide stem cell differentiation . The accomplishment was made by applying an extension of the processes originally developed and demonstrated by an international group of researchers.   In this case an artificial scaffold replaced donor tissues.
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Original Biomaterials article describing research

A double-chamber rotating bioreactor for the development of tissue-engineered hollow organs: From concept to clinical trial

Collection of news articles at Harvard Bioscience Webpage describing latest advance

Breakthroughs in Regenerative Medicine!

Top Ten Companies Patenting Multicell Organisms ( Life ) or Parts

So why do we want to know who is patenting multicellular organisms or their parts?  That will depend on whether the reader is interested in getting into a company that is actively considering commercialization possibilities in this particular area or a Research/Development  Engineer trying to determine who is actively patenting for competitive intelligence purposes.  Agricultural companies are particularly active in this area.  Next several posts will cover top ten schools and corporations in the area of medical devices, prosthetics, drugs, etc.  These articles will be of interest to any job seekers who want to narrow down their list of possibilities.  The following companies have the highest number of total patents over the last 5 years.  The actual numbers of patents and patent titles over a five year period are available for all the companies listed plus many others for a nominal fee.  There seem to be quite a number of individually owned patents in this area.  Contact Me If You Are Interested

ASSIGNEE
Monsanto Technology, LLC
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Stine Seed Farm, Inc.
Syngenta Participations AG
E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And Company
Individually Owned Patent
Mertec LLC
Basf Plant Science GMBH
D&Pl Technology Holding Corp.
Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Inc.
Agrigenetics, Inc.

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Top Ten Schools Patenting Multicell Organisms or Parts

So why do we want to know who is patenting multicellular organisms or their parts?  That will depend on whether the reader is interested in getting into a school that is actively considering commercialization possibilities in this particular area or a Research/Development  Engineer trying to determine who in the academic world is actively patenting.  Agricultural companies are particularly active in this area.  Next several posts will cover top ten schools and corporations in the area of medical devices, prosthetics, drugs, etc.  These articles will be of interest to any job seekers who want to narrow down their list of possibilities as well as practicing engineers, program managers looking for competitive intelligence.  Actual number of patents over a five year period is available for all the schools and companies listed.  Contact me if you are interested.

SCHOOL
University Of California, The Regents Of
Michigan State University
North Carolina State University
Iowa State University Research Foundation Inc.
Rutgers University
University Of Arizona
Louisiana State University
Ohio State Research Foundation
University Of Arkansas
University Of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

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Biotechnology: Messenger Triphosphate

About a year and a half ago Scientific American published an article called “The Double Life of ATP”.  It is a fascinating review of how ATP’s dual role was determined and how it functions as a messenger molecule impacting long term and short term responses in the nervous system, during fetal development, as an epigenetic factor, etc.  The implications are very significant introducing a whole new area of risk and reward for drug and medical device product development. It may explain why drugs have different potency depending on different individuals. It introduces another variable to consider during brain or nervous system research. Research into neural interfaces for mechanical and visual prosthetics might benefit from a review of this literature.

The Double Life of ATP

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Twinkling Quantum Dots May Be Useful For Medical Applications

The nanometer sized fragments of semiconductor absorb light and then radiate the absorbed energy in several different customizable colors.  Their twinkling is considered a result of quantum mechanical effects.  These nano-sized fragments are small enough to attach to and track molecules.  Although tracking molecules would be useful another of their characteristics may be more interesting.  When molecules which are tagged with two  different colors, red and green, come together and blink their proximity produces a third color, yellow.  This characteristic could provide more detailed insights into cellular biochemistry.

Another expected use is that of tracking fluid and nano-particle flow in microfluidic components.  The technology may be useful in researching fluid flow of molecularly complex biological samples in these extremely small channels and cavities.  The technology could be useful answering questions about mixing, separation and rate of diffusion between fluid streams in microfluid channels.

This technology was developed by Jessica Winter, and Gang Ruan at Ohio State Universities Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the Center for Emergent Materials.

OSU Research News article;

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, QUANTUM DOT – NEW PARTICLES CAN CHANGE COLORS AND TAG MOLECULES

Nano Letters Published Article;

Alternating-Color Quantum Dot Nanocomposites for Particle Tracking

Jessica Winter, and Gang Ruan Website;

Neural Nanoprobes and Prosthetic Devices

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Biotechnology: From Tissue to Organ Safety Testing

Tissue testing new drugs for safety has been around for many years.  An old criticism of this approach is that it doesn’t reflect the impact of the potential drug on the entire spectrum of tissues and systems within the body.  The only way to test a drug in that manner today is animal or human testing.   An alternative appears to be coalescing as advances in biologically engineered organs become more prevalent.  Organ system testing comes closer every day as researchers push forward to create organs from patient tissue.  As scientists and engineers have become more familiar with growing tissues in three dimensional scaffolds organ structures are being created from a patient’s own cells which have the potential to mimic full function.   One laboratory, Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, in particular exemplifies the possibilities as it pushes forward with research to grow livers, kidneys, ears, etc.  Although not strictly focused on developing organs for safety testing the advances being researched and demonstrated in this laboratory and Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine,  suggest the full range of biologically engineered organs and systems that will be available in the future.

Although not for the squeamish it doesn’t take much imagination to envision a testing laboratory filled with organs of all the major systems.  Connected by a biologically engineered vascular system this multiple organ testing platform would take its place in the FDA testing regimen potentially reducing the amount of animal testing and leaving human testing for the most promising drugs.

Although it is easy to imagine this approach would likely be very expensive to develop and maintain.  Launching the such a testing system commercially would be fraught with many ethical, technical, regulatory and scientific challenges.  Still it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about how it would come together.  Single organ and smaller subsystem safety testing platforms could be stepping stones to a full system.  The technology used to monitor and maintain these smaller testing platforms would potentially provide valuable information stream for the developing biological systems engineering field and vice-versa.


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