Novosti iz biotehnologije

Smart contact lens as a new diagnostic tool

Google, Novartis, California University and partners are developing smart contact lens for diagnostic purposes1. Project was started in 2015, and the clinical studies are expected to be finished in 2016. The idea for the project comes from Sensimed company who first designed sensor contact lens for monitoring intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients2,5. However, this project has a wide range of possible applications in diagnosis and it could be used for measuring blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, correcting presbyopia or detecting environment allergens1,3,4. Also, this contact lens could measure a wide range of carrier's biological data such as body temperature, alcohol levels etc., primarily analyzing physiological characteristics of tears4. Lens could be integrated with smartphones or computers for constant monitoring of physiological markers and data. Project is ecologically friendly since the lens are solar powered.
 

Sources:

1. Google, Novartis Smart Lens To Be Ready For Human Trials In 2016 by Jof Enriquez, September 2015.
2. From www.popsci.com, Sensor equipped contact lens monitors glaucoma sympthoms around clock
3. From https://googleblog.blogspot.hr, Introducing our smart contact lens project
4. By Cadie Thompson, October 2015.
5. Piso et al., Modern Monitoring Intraocular Pressure Sensing Devices Based On Application Specific Integrated Circuits, Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology, 2012,3,301-309

Tissue regeneration using Pixie dust

Earlier this year, a team of scientists from the McGowan Institute at the University of Pittsburgh succeeded to regenerate entire tissues using what they call “Pixie Dust”. The substance they used is actually pulverized Extracellular Matrix (ECM) isolated from a pig's bladder that they applied to a cleaned wound after a man lost his finger. They stitched the wound back together and followed his condition. It took three months for the wound to heal and it was replaced by healthy bone, soft tissue and even a finger nail.

Dr. Stephen Badylak, Professor at the Department of Surgery and the head of the team, reports that they have been focused on two areas. Besides digit extension where they are able to regrow fingers cut of under the fingernails, they have also been working on treatment of burns.  

Extracellular Matrix was in this case obtained by purification of pig's bladder which was cleaned from all cell debris and DNA, but ECM can also be purified from other animal species, like dogs and cat. This scientific breakthrough has great potential for use in military and civil purposes and is also recognized by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) which should ensures its transfer to practical use.                

Sources:

1. Man Regrows Finger Tip With Pigs Bladder. Human Limb Regeneration. [cited 2015 Dec 17]. 
2. Coakley DN, Shaikh FM, O’Sullivan K, Kavanagh EG, Grace PA, McGloughlin TM. In vitro evaluation of acellular porcine urinary bladder extracellular matrix – A potential scaffold in tissue engineered skin. Wound Med. 2015 Dec;10–11:9–16.
3. Schilling R. Tissue Repair With Extra Cellular Matrix. 2015 [cited 2015 Dec 17]

New Treatment for Heart Failure

 A new drug combination developed by Novartris (LCZ696) proved superior to angiotensin-converting–enzyme (ACE) inhibitor enalapril, which has been the mainstay treatment for heart failure for almost 25 years. LCZ696 comprises two drugs: (1) sacubitril (AHU377), neprilysin inhibitor which blocks the degradation of endogenous vasoactive peptides, such as natriuretic peptides, bradykinin, and adrenomedullin, and (2) valsartan, as angiotensin-receptor blocker.
 
LCZ696 was more effective than enalapril in several outcomes such as reduced hospitalization, reduced symptoms and physical limitations of heart failure, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular deaths by 20%.

The results were so significant that the PARADIGM-HF trial comparing LCZ696 to enalapril, the largest heart failure study ever done, was terminated early due to obvious superiority of LCZ696.
 

For more information see:            
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1409077#t=articleBackground


Or press releases:
http://time.com/3224444/new-heart-drug-saves-lives/

http://www.novartis.com/newsroom/media-releases/en/2014/1852531.shtml

Inhibition of invadopodia on tumor cells blocks extravasation and metastasis

A new study has shed light on tentacle-like structures called "invadopodia" in cancer metastasis. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of invadopodia entirely blocked cancer spread by stopping extravasation at endothelial junctions.
 
 
 
 
Graphical abstract for the publication: Invadopodia Are Required for Cancer Cell Extravasation and Are a Therapeutic Target for Metastasis, by Leong et, Cell Reports, 2014.
 
Article summary:

Tumor cell extravasation is a key step during cancer metastasis, yet the precise mechanisms that regulate this dynamic process are unclear. We utilized a high-resolution time-lapse intravital imaging approach to visualize the dynamics of cancer cell extravasation in vivo. During intravascular migration, cancer cells form protrusive structures identified as invadopodia by their enrichment of MT1-MMP, cortactin, Tks4, and importantly Tks5, which localizes exclusively to invadopodia. Cancer cells extend invadopodia through the endothelium into the extravascular stroma prior to their extravasation at endothelial junctions. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of invadopodia initiation (cortactin), maturation (Tks5), or function (Tks4) resulted in an abrogation of cancer cell extravasation and metastatic colony formation in an experimental mouse lung metastasis model. This provides direct evidence of a functional role for invadopodia during cancer cell extravasation and distant metastasis and reveals an opportunity for therapeutic intervention in this clinically important process.
 
Article link: http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/abstract/S2211-1247(14)00634-2?_returnURL=http%3A%2%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124714006342%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

Scientists Create Artificial Blood That Can Be Produced On An Industrial Scale

Scientists have found a way to produce human blood, potentially on an industrial scale — thanks to a certain University of Edinburgh professor, Marc Turner, and his program’s funds from the Wellcome Trust.

With this new method, scientists hope they’ll produce a sort of “limitless” supply of type-O red blood cells, free of diseases and able to be transfused into any patient. Blood transfusions are used to replace lost blood after an injury or surgery. According to the National Institutes of Health, every year five million Americans require blood transfusions.


More at: http://www.medicaldaily.com/scientists-create-artificial-blood-can-be-produced-industrial-scale-limitless-supply-blood-276830