Wireless Electronic Implants Stop Staph, Then Harmlessly Dissolve

29 01 2015

Researchers at Tufts University, in collaboration with a team at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, have demonstrated a resorbable electronic implant that eliminated bacterial infection in mice by delivering heat to infected tissue when triggered by a remote wireless signal.  The silk and magnesium devices then harmlessly dissolved in the test animals. The technique had previously been demonstrated only in vitro. The research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition the week of November 24-28, 2014.

“This is an important demonstration step forward for the development of   on-demand medical devices that can be turned on remotely to perform a therapeutic function in a patient and then safely disappear after their use, requiring no retrieval,” said senior author Fiorenzo Omenetto, professor of biomedical engineering and Frank C. Doble professor at Tufts School of Engineering. “These wireless strategies could help manage post-surgical infection, for example, or pave the way for eventual ' wi-fi’ drug delivery.”

Implantable medical devices typically use non-degradable materials that have limited operational lifetimes and must eventually be removed or replaced. The new wireless therapy devices are robust enough to survive mechanical handling during surgery but designed to harmlessly dissolve within minutes or weeks depending on how the silk protein was processed, noted the papers first author, Hu Tao, Ph.D., a former Tufts post-doctoral associate who is now on the faculty of the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Each fully dissolvable wireless heating device consisted of a serpentine resistor and a power-receiving coil made of magnesium deposited onto a silk protein layer. The magnesium heater was encapsulated in a silk “pocket” that protected the electronics and controlled its dissolution time.

Devices were implanted in vivo in S. aureus infected tissue and activated by a wireless transmitter for two sets of 10-minute heat treatments. Tissue collected from the mice 24 hours after treatment showed no sign of infection, and surrounding tissues were found to be normal. Devices completely dissolved after 15 days, and magnesium levels at the implant site and surrounding areas were comparable to levels typically found in the body.

The researchers also conducted in vitro experiments in which similar remotely controlled devices released the antibiotic ampicillin to kill E. coli and S. aureus bacteria. The wireless activation of the devices was found to enhance antibiotic release without reducing antibiotic activity.

Omenetto holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts as well as appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering.

In addition to Omenetto and Tao, authors on the paper were co-first author Suck-Won Hwang, formerly of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and now at KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology,  Korea University; Benedetto Marelli, Bo An, Jodie E. Moreau, Miaomiao Yang, and Mark A. Brenckle, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University; Stanley Kim, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology,and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratoryy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; David L. Kaplan, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University; and co-corresponding author John A. Rogers, Department of Materials Science and Engineering,Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technologyy, Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignn.

Research reported in this paper was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award number P41-EB002520 and by the National Science Foundation under grant number DMR-1242240.

“Silk-based resorbable electronic devices for remotely controlled therapy and in vivo infection abatement,” http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1407743111

Located on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus, Tufts’ School of Engineering offers a rigorous engineering education in a unique environment that blends the intellectual and technological resources of a world-class research university with the strengths of a top-ranked liberal arts college. Close partnerships with Tufts’ excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, coupled with a long tradition of collaboration, provide a strong platform for interdisciplinary education and scholarship. The School of Engineering's mission  is to educate engineers committed to the innovative and ethical application of science and technology in addressing the most pressing societal needs, to develop and nurture twenty-first century leadership qualities in its students, faculty, and alumni, and to create and disseminate transformational new knowledge and technologies that further the well-being and sustainability of society in such cross-cutting areas as human health, environmental sustainability, alternative energy, and the human-technology interface.



Now.tufts.edu [en línea] Boston, MA (USA): now.tufts.edu, 29 in January of 2015 [REF. 24 November of 2014] Available on Internet:http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/wireless-electronic-implants-stop-staph-then-harmlessly-dissolve

Project Virtual 3D Ecography

26 01 2015

UPC students, in collaboration with the IDIBELL and HUB, they present new technologies to improve the treatment of neuropathic pain

3D Virtual Ecography is the first fruit of the collaboration agreement between the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), the Institute of biomedical research of Bellvitge (IDIBELL) and the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge (HUB) to boost biomedical research and technology transfer.


UPC students know about the problem posed by professionals puncture ecoguide

On the one hand, the agreement enables UPC students learn about the needs of the workforce to develop innovative solutions in the hospital environment and, on the other hand, It provides researchers access to existing technologies in the UPC, specifically to the research groups associated with the school technical Superior de Ingeniería de Telecomunicación of Barcelona (ETSETB). The innovation unit at the IDIBELL participates in the management and monitoring of this collaboration vehiculando relations between partners.


The 3D Virtual Ecography project comes from a real problem identified by Dr. Thomas Sunday, medical unit of the pain of the service of anesthesia unit, Resuscitation and pain therapeutics of the HUB. It's improve ecoguide puncture to treat pain by design, construction and validation of a system allowing to obtain a 3D image, enabling you to visualize the position and orientation of the needle into the tissue of the patient in such a way that reduces puncture time and discomfort for the patient.


Two teams of 10 students each carried out a proposal for a solution within the subject project advanced engineering, referring to the third course of the degrees of the ETSETB from the UPC. This is one of the three subjects of projects that students following the methodology CDIO, which is intended to have design experiences that solve real problems. Solutions include hardware that determines the position of the probe and a processing software image that generates the 3D visualization from 2D images acquired by the ultrasound.

For the realization of the project, Sonosite company has yielded an ultrasonic device (M-TURBO) with a longitudinal probe and a convex, so that students can make in-situ tests and reach a technological solution to the problem.



Idibell.cat [en línea] Barcelona (ESP): idibell.cat, 26 de enero de 2015 [REF. 14 in January of 2015] Available on Internet: http://modul/noticias/es/748/estudiantes-de-la-upc-en-colaboracion-con-el-idibell-y-el-hub-presentan-nuevas-tecnologias-para-mejorar-el-tratamiento-del-dolor-neuropatico www.idibell.cat/

Danish Researchers one-step closer towards a cocaine antidote

22 01 2015

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have gained new insight into the mechanism behind a protein dopamine transporter that could help in the development of future medical treatment against cocaine addiction.

"If we have a better understanding of the dopamine transporter function we will become more proficient in developing an antidote against cocaine addiction,"says Associate Professor Claus Juul Lolland from the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology. Currently there is no available medical treatment for cocaine addiction. The results have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Discovery of crucial mechanism

Dopamine is a signaling molecule in the brain which is involved in our sensation of reward, motivation and, thus, addiction. The dopamine transporter functions as a molecular vacuum cleaner removing the released dopamine, thereby controlling its signaling. The researcher's discovery is an interaction, a so-called gate, which controls access for dopamine to its binding site in the protein. "We found two amino acids in the proteins that dynamically breaks and forms an interaction. The dynamic is therefore crucial for the transport process,"says Lolland.

Besides controlling function, the constellation of the two amino acids is important for the overall structure of the protein: "The breakage of the interaction could therefore be a signature for the binding of cocaine and cocaine-like drugs,” he adds.

Towards a cocaine antidote

Cocaine acts as an inhibitor of the dopamine transporter but the researchers found other inhibitors that even though they did bind to the dopamine transporter with the same strength as cocaine, did not produce the same stimulatory response when administered to rats.

By using molecular pharmacology and biochemistry, they were able to characterize dopamine transporter mutants and how their function deviated from the non-mutated transporter. In contrast to cocaine, the non-stimulatory – or atypical – drugs seem to bind a more closed form of the dopamine transporter.

If the researchers can figure out – on the molecular level – why they are different then they will be better prepared for the targeted development of non-stimulatory inhibitors that will prohibit the subsequent binding of cocaine and help them towards producing an antidote. "Our objective here is that cocaine will not then work anymore as the antidote will inhibit the stimulatory response of taking this drug,"concludes Lolland.

Effects of cocaine on brain: Once in the brain, cocaine works in large part by occupying, or blocking, dopamine transporter sites in the terminal buttons of neurons in the brain. This prevents the reuptake of dopamine by the neurons that release it, allowing higher concentrations of dopamine to remain in the synapse for an extended period of time and what causes the initial euphoria and reward commonly reported by cocaine abusers. According to the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, cocaine is the second most commonly used illegal drug in Europe, after cannabis.

The dopamine transporter: The dopamine transporter is a protein located in the membrane of dopaminergic neurons. It mediates the re-uptake of released dopamine by coupling its binding to sodium (Na ), using this gradient across the cell membrane as driving force to pump dopamine into the cell. Also other illicit drugs such as amphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin) and modafinil (Provigil) work by inhibiting the dopamine transporter. The dopamine transporter is structurally closely related to the transporters for other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, glycine and GABA.

To access the research go to Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Contact: Claus Juul LollandPhone: 0045 2875 6407


Healthsciences.ku.dk [en línea] Copenhagen (DEN): healthsciences.ku.dk, 22 de enero de 2015 [REF. 13 in January of 2015] Available on Internet:http://healthsciences.ku.dk/news/news2015/danish-researchers-one-step-closer-towards-a-cocaine-antidote/


Link found between vitamin D deficiency and depression

19 01 2015

Vitamin D deficiency is not just harmful to physical health – it also might impact mental health, according to a team of researchers that has found a link between seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and a lack of sunlight.

QUT Professor Michael Kimlin looked at vitamin D deficiency and depression.

Rather than being one of many factors, vitamin D could have a regulative role in the development of SAD,” said Alan Stewart of the University of Georgia College (UGA) of Education.

An international research partnership between UGA, the University of Pittsburgh (US) and the Queensland University of Technology in Australia reported the finding in the November 2014 issue of the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Stewart and Michael Kimlin from QUT’ s School of Public Health and Social Work conducted a review of more than 100 leading articles and found a relationship between vitamin D and seasonal depression.

“Seasonal affective disorder is believed to affect up to 10 per cent of the population, depending upon geographical location, and is a type of depression related to changes in season,” said Stewart, an associate professor in the department of counseling and human development services.

“People with SAD have the same symptoms every year, starting in fall and continuing through the winter months.”

Stewart said, based on the team’ s investigations, vitamin D was likely to be a contributing factor in seasonal depression.

“We believe there are several reasons for this, including that vitamin D levels fluctuate in the body seasonally, in direct relation to seasonally available sunlight,” he said.

“For example, studies show there is a lag of about eight weeks between the peak in intensity of ultraviolet radiation and the onset of SAD, and this correlates with the time it takes for UV radiation to be processed by the body into vitamin D.”

Vitamin D is also involved in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine within the brain, both chemicals linked to depression, according to the researchers.

“Evidence exists that low levels of dopamine and serotonin are linked to depression, therefore it is logical that there may be a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms,” said Kimlin, a Cancer Council Queensland Professor of Cancer Prevention Research.

“Studies have also found depressed patients commonly had lower levels of vitamin D.”

Vitamin D levels varied according to the pigmentation of the skin. People with dark skin often record lower levels of vitamin D, according to the researchers.

“Therefore it is suggested that persons with greater skin pigmentation may experience not only higher risks of vitamin D deficiency, but also be at greater risk of psychological and psychiatric conditions,” he said.

Kimlin, who heads QUT’ s National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence in Sun and Health, said adequate levels of vitamin D were essential in maintaining bone health, with deficiency causing osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.

Vitamin D levels of more than 50 nanomoles per liter are recommended by the US Institute of Medicine.

“What we know now is that there are strong indications that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D are also important for good mental health,” Kimlin said.

“A few minutes of sunlight exposure each day should be enough for most people to maintain an adequate vitamin D status.

“Queensland is known as the Sunshine State in Australia but that doesn’ t mean all Queenslanders get enough vitamin D.

“This research is of international importance because no matter where you live, low levels of vitamin D can be a health concern.”

Paper is available here


Media contact:Sandra Hutchinson, QUT Media (Tue, Wed), 07 3138 9449 or media@qut.edu.au After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901




Qut.edu.au [en línea] Brisbane (AUS): qut.edu.au, 19 in January of 2015 [REF. 03 in December of 2014] Available on Internet: https://www.qut.edu.au/health/about/news/news?news-id = 82896

Mayo Researchers Find Cancer Biopsies Do Not Promote Cancer Spread

15 01 2015

A study of more than 2,000 patients by researchers at Mayo Clinic's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, has dispelled the myth that cancer biopsies cause cancer to spread. In the Jan. 9 online issue of Gut, they show that patients who received a biopsy had a better outcome and longer survival than patients who did not have a biopsy.


The image shows a pancreas tumor being biopsied with a needle as visualized by endoscopic ultrasound. The endoscope was located within the stomach (passed via the mouth). An ultrasound probe at the tip of the endoscope allows visualization of the pancreas which is located immediately next to the stomach. A long needle is guided through the endoscope and into the tumor under ultrasound guidance.

The researchers studied pancreatic cancer, but the findings likely apply to other cancers because diagnostic technique used in this study — fine needle aspiration — is commonly used across tumor types, says the study's senior investigator and gastroenterologist Michael Wallace, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine.

Fine needle aspiration is a minimally invasive technique that uses a thin and hollow needle to extract a few cells from a tumor mass. A long-held belief by a number of patients and even some physicians has been that a biopsy can cause some cancer cells to spread.

While there have been a few case reports that suggest this can happen — but very rarely — there is no need for patients to be concerned about biopsies, says Dr. Wallace.

"This study shows that physicians and patients should feel reassured that a biopsy is very safe,” he says. "We do millions of biopsies of cancer a year in the U.S., but one or two case studies have led to this common myth that biopsies spread cancer. "

Biopsies offer "very valuable information that allow us to tailor treatment. In some cases, we can offer chemotherapy and radiation before surgery for a better outcome, and in other cases, we can avoid surgery and other therapy altogether,” Dr. Wallace says.

Surgery for pancreatic cancer is "a very big operation,"and" most people should want to make sure they have cancer before they undergo surgery,” he says. One study has shown that 9 percent of patients who underwent surgery because of suspected pancreatic cancer actually had benign disease.

Dr. Wallace and his team have conducted two separate studies to examine the risk of biopsy.

In a 2013 study published in Endoscopy, the researchers examined outcomes in 256 pancreatic cancer patients treated at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. They found no difference in cancer recurrence between 208 patients who had ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) and the 48 patients who did not have a biopsy.

In the current study, they examined 11 years (1998–2009) of Medicare data on patients with non-metastatic pancreatic cancer who underwent surgery. The researchers examined overall survival and pancreatic cancer-specific survival in 498 patients who had EUS-FNA and 1,536 patients who did not have a biopsy.

During a mean follow-up time of 21 months, 285 patients (57 percent) in the EUS-FNA group and 1,167 patients (76 percent) in the non-EUS-FNA group died. Pancreatic cancer was identified as the cause of death for 251 patients (50 percent) in the EUS-FNA group and 980 patients (64 percent) in the non-EUS-FNA group.

Median overall survival in the EUS-FNA group was 22 months compared to 15 months in the non-EUS-FNA group.

"Biopsies are incredibly valuable. They allow us to practice individualized medicine — treatment that is tailored for each person and designed to offer the best outcome possible,” Dr. Wallace says.

Co-authors include researchers from Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit mayoclinic.com or newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 904-953-0746.Email: punsky.kevin@mayo.edu


by Kevin Punsky


Newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org [en línea] Jacksonville, FL (USA): newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org, 15 de enero de 2015 [REF. 08 in January of 2015] Available on Internet:http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-researchers-find-cancer-biopsies-do-not-promote-cancer-spread/

Neuroprosthetics for paralysis: an new implant on the spinal cord

12 01 2015

New therapies are on the horizon for individuals paralyzed following spinal cord injury. The e-Dura implant developed by EPFL scientists can be applied directly to the spinal cord without causing damage and inflammation. The device is described in an article appearing online January 8, 2015, in Science.

 YouTube Preview Image

EPFL scientists have managed to get rats walking on their own again using a combination of electrical and chemical stimulation. But applying this method to humans would require multifunctional implants that could be installed for long periods of time on the spinal cord without causing any tissue damage. This is precisely what the teams of professors Stéphanie Lacour and Grégoire Courtine have developed. Their e-Dura implant is designed specifically for implantation on the surface of the brain or spinal cord. The small device closely imitates the mechanical properties of living tissue, and can simultaneously deliver electric impulses and pharmacological substances. The risks of rejection and/or damage to the spinal cord have been drastically reduced. An article about the implant will appear in early January in Science Magazine.

So-called "surface implants" have reached a roadblock; they cannot be applied long term to the spinal cord or brain, beneath the nervous system's protective envelope, otherwise known as the "dura mater,"because when nerve tissues move or stretch, they rub against these rigid devices. After a while, this repeated friction causes inflammation, scar tissue buildup, and rejection.


An easy-does-it implant

Flexible and stretchy, the implant developed at EPFL is placed beneath the dura mater, directly onto the spinal cord. Its elasticity and its potential for deformation are almost identical to the living tissue surrounding it. This reduces friction and inflammation to a minimum. When implanted into rats, the e-Dura prototype caused neither damage nor rejection, even after two months. More rigid traditional implants would have caused significant nerve tissue damage during this period of time.

The researchers tested the device prototype by applying their rehabilitation protocol — which combines electrical and chemical stimulation – to paralyzed rats. Not only did the implant prove its biocompatibility, but it also did its job perfectly, allowing the rats to regain the ability to walk on their own again after a few weeks of training.

"Our e-Dura implant can remain for a long period of time on the spinal cord or the cortex, precisely because it has the same mechanical properties as the dura mater itself. This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for patients suffering from neurological trauma or disorders, particularly individuals who have become paralyzed following spinal cord injury,"explains Lacour, co-author of the paper, and holder of EPFL's Bertarelli Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology.


Flexibility of tissue, efficiency of electronics

Developing the e-Dura implant was quite a feat of engineering. As flexible and stretchable as living tissue, it nonetheless includes electronic elements that stimulate the spinal cord at the point of injury. The silicon substrate is covered with cracked gold electric conducting tracks that can be pulled and stretched. The electrodes are made of an innovative composite of silicon and platinum microbeads. They can be deformed in any direction, while still ensuring optimal electrical conductivity. Finally, a fluidic microchannel enables the delivery of pharmacological substances – neurotransmitters in this case – that will reanimate the nerve cells beneath the injured tissue.

The implant can also be used to monitor electrical impulses from the brain in real time. When they did this, the scientists were able to extract with precision the animals motor intention before it was translated into movement.

"It's the first neuronal surface implant designed from the start for long-term application. In order to build it, we had to combine expertise from a considerable number of areas,"explains Courtine, co-author and holder of EPFL's IRP Chair in Spinal Cord Repair. "These include materials science, electronics, neuroscience, medicine, and algorithm programming. I don't think there are many places in the world where one finds the level of interdisciplinary cooperation that exists in our Center for Neuroprosthetics. "

For the time being, the e-Dura implant has been primarily tested in cases of spinal cord injury in paralyzed rats. But the potential for applying these surface implants is huge – for example in epilepsy, Parkinson disease and pain management. The scientists are planning to move towards clinical trials in humans, and to develop their prototype in preparation for commercialization.


Actu.epfl.ch [en línea] Lausanne (CH): actu.epfl.ch, 12 de enero de 2015 [REF. 08 in January of 2015] Available on Internet:http://actu.epfl.ch/news/neuroprosthetics-for-paralysis-an-new-implant-on-t/

New MRI technique allows detailed imaging of complex muscle structures and muscle damage

8 01 2015

TU/e and the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam have together developed a technique that allows detailed 3D imaging of complex muscle structures of patients. It also allows muscle damage to be detected very precisely. This new technique opens the way to much better and more patient-friendly diagnosis of muscular diseases. It also allows accurate, non-invasive muscle examinations among top athletes. Martijn Froeling will receive a PhD for this research at TU/e today, Monday 29 October.

muscle structure pelvis | image: Martijn Froeling

Froeling uses diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an MRI technique that allows the movements of water molecules in living tissue to be viewed. Because muscles are made of fibers, the movements of water molecules in the direction of the fibers are different from those in other directions. This characteristic allows muscles to be imaged with a high level of detail. This was already possible on a small scale with simple muscles, but thanks to Froeling's work it can now also be done on a larger scale and with complex muscle structures. More importantly, this improved technique also reveals very small muscle damage, because of the different movements of the water molecules in damaged muscle fibers.

3D images

To reach these results, Froeling improved the data acquisition process – the way the MRI scanner images the muscle under examination. This has to be performed relatively quickly, because it is uncomfortable for patients to lie in an MRI scanner for a long time, but at the same time it has to provide sufficiently detailed data. He also improved the processing of the acquired data into reliable 3D images. Physicians can now easily view complex muscle structures from all angles on-screen. No new equipment was needed; the researchers used standard widely available clinical systems.

Marathon runners

As a practical study, Froeling imaged a range of subjects including the thighs of marathon runners at different times: one week before a marathon, two days after it, and again three weeks after. He was able to visualize the muscle damage following the marathon. This was still visible after three weeks, even though the runners themselves in many cases no longer reported any pain in their muscles. Another study was of the pelvic floor in women; a good example of a highly complex muscle structure. The technique has proved to be capable of imaging this structure with great accuracy, which makes it potentially very valuable for the diagnosis of conditions such as uterine prolapse.

Wide application area

AMC Amsterdam and TU/e now intend to use this technique in studies of post polio syndrome and spinal muscular atrophy. Froeling believes there are numerous potential applications: there are around 600 different types of muscle disease and damage, and the new technique will improve the ability to study these. However further studies will first be needed: although the technique allows muscle disease or injury to be imaged it does not reveal the precise cause, which may be tearing, fat infiltration or other abnormalities. Clarification is also still needed on what are the normal values for healthy men and women of different ages, to provide a reference framework for identifying abnormalities in different groups of patients. Another kind of application is in examinations of top athletes, to allow timely detection of muscle damage or better estimation of the recovery time needed after injuries.

Martijn Froeling will gain his PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology on Monday 29 October for his thesis entitled ' DTI of Human Skeletal Muscle, From Simulation to Clinical Implementation '. His thesis supervisor is prof.dr. Klaas Nicolay, professor of Biomedical NMR at TU/e. Co-supervisors are dr.ir. Gustav Strijkers (TU/e) and dr.ir. Art Nederveen (AMC).


Tue.nl [en línea] Eindhoven (NL): tue.nl, 08 in January of 2015 [REF. 29 October of 2012] Available on Internet:http://www.tue.nl/en/university/departments/biomedical-engineering/news/29-10-2012-new-mri-technique-allows-detailed-imaging-of-complex-muscle-structures-and-muscle-damage/

Liposomes: a possible alternative to antibiotics

5 01 2015

Scientists from the University of Bern have developed a novel substance for the treatment of severe bacterial infections without antibiotics, which would prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.


Credit: Eric Erbe, Christopher Pooley, Wikipedia

Ever since the development of penicillin almost 90 years ago, antibiotics have remained the gold standard in the treatment of bacterial infections. However, the WHO has repeatedly warned of a growing emergence of bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance. Once antibiotics do no longer protect from bacterial infection, a mere pneumonia might be fatal.

Alternative therapeutic concepts which lead to the elimination of bacteria, but do not promote resistance are still lacking.

A team of international scientists has tested a novel substance, which has been developed by Eduard Babiychuk and Annette Draeger from the Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern in Switzerland. This compound constitutes a novel approach for the treatment of bacterial infections: the scientists engineered artificial nanoparticles made of lipids, “liposomes” that closely resemble the membrane of host cells. These liposomes act as decoys for bacterial toxins and so are able to sequester and neutralize them. Without toxins, the bacteria are rendered defenseless and can be eliminated by the cells of the host’ s own immune system. The study will be published in Nature Biotechnology Nov 2.


Artificial bait for bacterial toxins

In clinical medicine, liposomes are used to deliver specific medication into the body of patients. Here, the Bernese scientists have created liposomes which attract bacterial toxins and so protect host cells from a dangerous toxin attack.

“We have made an irresistible bait for bacterial toxins. The toxins are fatally attracted to the liposomes, and once they are attached, they can be eliminated easily without danger for the host cells”, says Eduard Babiychuk who directed the study.

“Since the bacteria are not targeted directly, the liposomes do not promote the development of bacterial resistance”, adds Annette Draeger. Mice which were treated with the liposomes after experimental, fatal septicemia survived without additional antibiotic therapy.


Explore further: Old drug may be key to new antibiotics

More information: Brian D. Henry, Daniel R. Neill, Katrin Anne Becker, Suzanna Gore, Laura Bricio-Moreno, Regan Ziobro, Michael J. Edwards, Kathrin Mühlemann, Jörg Steinmann, Burkhard Kleuser, Lukasz Japtok, Miriam Luginbühl, Heidi Wolfmeier, André Scherag, Erich Gulbins, Aras Kadioglu, Annette Draeger & Eduard B. Babiychuk: “Engineered liposomes sequester bacterial exotoxins and protect from severe invasive infections in mice,” Nature Biotechnology, 2.11.2014, DOI: 10.1038/nbt. 3037

Journal reference: Nature Biotechnology

Provided by University of Bern



Phys.org [en línea] Douglas, Isle of Man (UK): phys.org, 05 in January of 2015 [REF. 04 November of 2014] Available on Internet:http://phys.org/news/2014-11-alternative-antibiotics.html

Reconstruction of an ear from a 3D copy

1 01 2015

Employs a team of surgeons in the Hospital San Juan de Dios, for the first time in Spain, a copy in 3D to rebuild the ear of a boy who was born without it

A team of plastic surgeons from the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu Barcelona, led by Dr. Francisco Parri, been used for the first time in Spain a copy in 3D to rebuild the ear of a teenager who was born with this underdeveloped body. Surgeons were based on CT scan (TAC) healthy ear to order one copy mirror (inverted) in three dimensions, which serve as them model to build the new ear. With the copy in 3D - so far used a copy flat- Surgeons earn much precision in the reconstruction of the ear, It is very difficult to rebuild given the multitude of reliefs and folds that presents.

The operated boy has microtia, a congenital malformation that makes that you one of each 10.000 children are born with one or two underdeveloped ears. In milder cases, the child has the outer ear smaller than normal and in the most serious cases, have not heard. In both the middle ear and the ear canal are malformed but the inner ear is in good condition because it has other embryonic origin. In severe cases the malformation is accompanied by other problems of development and syndromes.

In a first phase, professionals focus their efforts to assess levels of hearing of both ears child and work to ensure that hearing loss that often is associated with does not interfere in the child's learning and development. In many cases they put an external vibrator to maintain the functionality of the auditory nerve, being healthy.

The lack or underdevelopment of an ear may be, In addition to a problem of deafness, an aesthetic problem that often arouses comments from environment and psychologically affect the child and his family. Some children affects them both that they opt to undergo a reconstruction of ear starting from the age of 10 años, that is the age in which it is considered that this body has reached adult size and now will not grow more. The case presented is that of a Girona guy's 17 añoyears

The reconstruction of the ear process is long and involves two interventions:

1. In the first speech, Surgeons removed four cartilages of the ribs of the patient to build “the skeleton” new ear using as model reverse in three dimensions of healthy ear has been previously done a copy operation. Below, implanted this cartilaginous skeleton of the new ear in the place where it should go, under the skin of the patient, so this will be adapting to the mould and acquiring the reliefs and folds.

2. A year later, the patient returns to operating room to which surgeons you “Peel off” the ear of the skull by placing a skin graft taken from the capillary zone.

The Hospital Sant Joan de Déu is the reference Center for plastic reconstruction of microtia accredited by the Ministry of health (CSUR CONO). Each year the unit receives 20 new cases of children with microtia candidates to a plastic reconstruction and carried out a dozen of interventions of pinna reconstruction. Since the year 2009 to the present day, San Juan de Dios surgeons have made 56 complete reconstruction of the auricle procedures and 378 partial reconstructions.

The unit is currently working so that all children born with this malformation in Spain, and that demonstrate willingness to undergo a reconstruction of ear are referred to San Juan de Dios. In Catalonia, commissioning, in 2010, neonatal hearing screening program has made it possible.

Microtia awareness campaign

The Association microtia Spain (AME), the Spanish Federation for rare diseases (FEDER) e Imaginarium have launched a campaign to publicize the microtia in a delicate and natural way and to get children to accept the difference through knowledge. Imaginarium, Mark Spanish leader in the field of play and early childhood education, you have created a new version of Teddy KicoNico, having one smaller than the other ear, as children born with microtia. For each network KicoNico that is sold, Imaginarium will give 5 euros to the AME and FEDER. The campaign also encouraged buyers to take a picture of KicoNico in everyday situations and circulate it through social networks with the hashtag #microtiared and #donakikonicored.



Hsjdbcn.org [en línea] Barcelona (USA): hsjdbcn.org, 01 in January of 2015 [REF. 16 in December of 2014] Available on Internet:http://portal/es/web/2149152853/ctnt/dD98/_/_/znip90/Un-equipo-de-cirujanos-del-Hospital-San-Juan-de-Dios-emplea-por-primera-vez-en-Es.html www.hsjdbcn.org/