Cornell bioengineers and physicians have created an artificial ear that looks and acts like a natural ear, giving new hope to thousands of children born with a congenital deformity called microtia.
In a study published online Feb. 20 in PLOS One, Cornell biomedical engineers and Weill Cornell Medical College physicians described how 3-D printing and injectable gels made of living cells can fashion ears that are practically identical to a human ear. Over a three-month period, these flexible ears grew cartilage to replace the collagen that was used to mold them.
PureMadi, a nonprofit University of Virginia organization, will introduce a new invention – a simple ceramic water purification tablet – during its one-year celebration event Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. at Alumni Hall.
Called MadiDrop, the tablet – developed and extensively tested at U.Va. – is a small ceramic disk impregnated with silver or copper nanoparticles. It can repeatedly disinfect water for up to six months simply by resting in a vessel where water is poured. It is being developed for use in communities in South Africa that have little or no access to clean water.
“Madi” is the Tshivenda South African word for water. PureMadi brings together U.Va. professors and students to improve water quality, human health, local enterprise and quality of life in the developing world. The organization includes students and faculty members from engineering, architecture, medicine, nursing, business, commerce, economics, anthropology and foreign affairs.
During the past year, PureMadi has established a water filter factory in Limpopo province, South Africa, employing local workers. The factory produced several hundred flowerpot-like water filters, according to James Smith, a U.Va. civil and environmental engineer who co-leads the project with Dr. Rebecca Dillingham, director of U.Va.’s Center for Global Health.
One of the greatest threats to public health in the Third World is strains of tuberculosis bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics and other traditional medicines.
Now, scientists in Japan and Switzerland have witnessed a previously unknown method a certain bacterium uses to evade the best weapons in the medical armory. The discovery, made in a bacterium similar to the one that causes TB, could potentially lead to more effective drugs.
Reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, the finding also casts doubt on the conventional explanation of how bacteria develop resistance to drugs.
Making drugs that are more effective against tuberculosis is not a minor matter. According to the World Health Organization, there are parts of the world where one-quarter of all TB patients have a drug-resistant form of the disease, called multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB. WHO reports that 440,000 people had MDR-TB in 2008 worldwide and a third of them did not survive. Half the cases are in India and China. There is an extreme version, XDR-TB, that is even worse.
Measles vaccine given with painless and easy-to-administer microneedle patches can immunize against measles at least as well as vaccine given with conventional hypodermic needles, according to research done by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the study, the researchers developed a technique to dry and stabilize the measles vaccine – which depends on a live attenuated virus – and showed that it remained effective for at least 30 days after being placed onto the microneedles. They also demonstrated that the dried vaccine was quickly released in the skin and able to prompt a potent immune response in an animal model.
At the Eye Department of Ullevål University Hospital, stem cell research is producing important results. By using components from the patient's own blood and the patient's own tissue, it is now possible to preserve sight even if the cornea is destroyed.
In every form of transplantation, there is a risk that the body will reject the transplanted tissue through an immune reaction because it perceives the transplant as a foreign body.
Previously, researchers used a number of components from animals when they cultured tissue for transplantation. The problem was that these foreign animal elements gave a high risk both of strong immune reactions and of spreading disease from animals to humans. Now, the animal components are replaced by serum from the patients themselves - and with great success.
That green muck you see on a pond’s surface is one step closer to becoming a solar-powered source of some of the stuff you use everyday. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Stanford University have developed a way to send molecules and proteins across the cell wall of algae, a feat that opens the door for a new way to study and manipulate these tiny organisms.
In recent years, algae have become a hot prospect as a way to synthesize biofuels, chemical building blocks, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and other useful compounds. The idea is to engineer algae to secrete fuel for your car or other compounds using sunlight as an energy source and carbon dioxide as a carbon source.
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