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-fidrug 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 paper’s 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 silkpocketthat 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 Suk-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 Laboratory, 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 Technology, Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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 TuftsMedford/Somerville campus, TuftsSchool 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 Tuftsexcellent 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 [on-line] Boston, MA (USA): now.tufts.edu, 29 Xaneiro 2015 [ref. 24 de noviembre de 2014] Dispoñible en Internet:http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/wireless-electronic-implants-stop-staph-then-harmlessly-dissolve

Proyecto 3D Virtual Ecography

26 01 2015

Estudiantes de la UPC, en colaboración con el IDIBELL y el HUB, presentan nuevas tecnologías para mejorar el tratamiento del dolor neuropático

3D Virtual Ecography es el primer proyecto fruto del convenio de colaboración entre la Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña (UPC), el Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL) y el Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge (HUB) para impulsar la investigación biomédica y la transferencia de tecnología.


Los estudiantes de la UPC conocen de cerca el problema que plantea a los profesionales la punción ecoguiada

Por un lado, el acuerdo permite a los estudiantes de la UPC conocer de cerca las necesidades del personal sanitario para desarrollar soluciones innovadoras en el entorno hospitalario y, por otro, facilita a los investigadores el acceso a las tecnologías existentes en la UPC, específicamente a los grupos de investigación asociados a la Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería de Telecomunicación de Barcelona (ETSETB). La Unidad de Innovación del IDIBELL participa en la gestión y seguimiento de esta colaboración vehiculando las relaciones entre los socios.


El proyecto 3D Virtual Ecography proviene de una problemática real identificada por el Dr. Tomás Domingo, médico de la Unidad la Unidad del Dolor del Servicio de Anestesia, Reanimación y Terapéutica del Dolor del HUB. Se trata de mejorar la punción ecoguiada para tratar el dolor mediante el diseño, construcción y validación de un sistema que permita obtener una imagen 3D que facilite visualizar la posición y orientación de la aguja dentro del tejido del paciente de forma que se reduce el tiempo de punción y la molestia para el paciente.


Dos equipos de 10 estudiantes cada uno han llevado a cabo una propuesta de solución dentro de la asignatura Proyecto Avanzado de Ingeniería, que se refiere al tercer curso de los grados de la ETSETB de la UPC. Esta es una de las tres asignaturas de proyectos que hacen los estudiantes siguiendo la metodología CDIO, con la que se pretende que tengan experiencias de diseño que solucionen problemas reales. Las soluciones incluyen un hardware que determina la posición de la sonda y un software de procesado de imagen que genera la visualización 3D a partir de las imágenes 2D adquiridas por el ecógrafo.

Para la realización del proyecto, la empresa Sonosite ha cedido un aparato de ultrasonidos (M-TURBO) con una sonda longitudinal y una convexa, para que los estudiantes puedan hacer pruebas in-situ y llegar a una solución tecnológica del problema.



Idibell.cat [on-line] Barcelona (ESP): idibell.cat, 26 de enero de 2015 [ref. 14 Xaneiro 2015] Dispoñible en Internet: http://www.idibell.cat/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

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 Loland 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 Loland.

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 atypicaldrugs seem to bind a more closed form of the dopamine transporter.

If the researchers can figure out – on the molecular levelwhy 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 Loland.

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 LolandPhone: 0045 2875 6407


Healthsciences.ku.dk [on-line] Copenhagen (DEN): healthsciences.ku.dk, 22 de enero de 2015 [ref. 13 Xaneiro 2015] Dispoñible en 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 healthit 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 [on-line] Brisbane (AUS): qut.edu.au, 19 Xaneiro 2015 [ref. 03 de diciembre de 2014] Dispoñible en 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 [on-line] Jacksonville, FL (USA): newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org, 15 de enero de 2015 [ref. 08 Xaneiro 2015] Dispoñible en 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.

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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 protocolwhich 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 animal’s 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’s 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 [on-line] Lausanne (CH): actu.epfl.ch, 12 de enero de 2015 [ref. 08 Xaneiro 2015] Dispoñible en 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. Aart Nederveen (AMC).


Tue.nl [on-line] Eindhoven (NL): tue.nl, 08 Xaneiro 2015 [ref. 29 de octubre de 2012] Dispoñible en 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, “liposomesthat 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 [on-line] Douglas, Isle of Man (UK): phys.org, 05 Xaneiro 2015 [ref. 04 de noviembre de 2014] Dispoñible en Internet:http://phys.org/news/2014-11-alternative-antibiotics.html

Reconstrucción de una oreja a partir de una copia 3D

1 01 2015

Un equipo de cirujanos del Hospital San Juan de Dios emplea, por primera vez en España, una copia en 3D para reconstruir la oreja de un chico que nació sin ella

Un equipo de cirujanos plásticos del Hospital Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona, liderado por el Dr. Francisco Parri, ha empleado por primera vez en España una copia en 3D para reconstruir la oreja de un adolescente que nació con este órgano subdesarrollado. Los cirujanos se basaron en una tomografía computarizada (TAC) de la oreja sana para encargar una copia espejo (invertida) en tres dimensiones que les sirviera de modelo para construir la nueva oreja. Con la copia en 3D -hasta ahora utilizaban una copia plana- los cirujanos ganan mucha precisión en la reconstrucción de la oreja, que es muy difícil de reconstruir dada la multitud de relieves y pliegues que presenta.

El chico operado tiene microtia, una malformación congénita que hace que uno de cada 10.000 niños nazcan con una o las dos orejas subdesarrolladas. En los casos más leves, el niño tiene el oído externo más pequeño de lo normal y en los casos más graves, no tiene oído. En ambos el oído medio y el conducto auditivo están malformados pero el oído interno está en buenas condiciones porque tiene otro origen embrionario. En los casos graves la malformación viene acompañada de otros problemas de desarrollo y síndromes.

En una primera fase, los profesionales centran sus esfuerzos a evaluar los niveles de audición del niño de ambas orejas y trabajan para garantizar que la pérdida auditiva que a menudo va asociada no interfiera en el desarrollo y aprendizaje del niño. En muchos casos les colocan un vibrador externo para mantener la funcionalidad del nervio auditivo, que está sano.

La falta o subdesarrollo de una oreja puede ser, además de un problema de sordera, un problema estético que a menudo suscita comentarios del entorno y afectan psicológicamente al niño y su familia. A algunos niños les afecta tanto que optan por someterse a una reconstrucción de oreja a partir de la edad de 10 años, que es la edad en que se considera que este órgano ha alcanzado el tamaño adulto y ya no crecerá más. El caso presentado es el de un chico gerundense de 17 años.

El proceso de reconstrucción de la oreja es largo e implica dos intervenciones:

1. En la primera intervención, los cirujanos extraen cuatro cartílagos de las costillas del paciente para construirel esqueletode la nueva oreja usando como modelo una copia inversa en tres dimensiones de la oreja sana que se ha hecho previamente a la operación. A continuación, implantan este esqueleto cartilaginoso de la nueva oreja en el lugar donde debe ir, bajo la piel del paciente, para que esta se vaya adaptando al molde y adquiriendo los relieves y pliegues.

2. Un año después, el paciente vuelve a ir a quirófano para que los cirujanos ledespeguenla oreja del cráneo colocando un injerto de piel extraído de la zona capilar.

El Hospital Sant Joan de Déu es el centro de referencia para el tratamiento de reconstrucción plástica de la microtia acreditado por el Ministerio de Sanidad (CSUR). Cada año la unidad recibe 20 nuevos casos de niños con microtia candidatos a una reconstrucción plástica y lleva a cabo una decena de intervenciones de reconstrucción del pabellón auricular. Desde el año 2009 hasta la actualidad, los cirujanos de San Juan de Dios han hecho 56 procedimientos de reconstrucción completa del pabellón auricular y 378 reconstrucciones parciales.

La unidad está trabajando actualmente para que todos los niños que nacen con esta malformación en España y que manifiestan su deseo de someterse a una reconstrucción de oreja sean derivados a San Juan de Dios. En Cataluña, la puesta en marcha, en 2010, del programa de cribado auditivo neonatal lo ha hecho posible.

Campaña de sensibilización sobre la microtia

La Asociación microtia España (AME), la Federación Española de Enfermedades Raras (FEDER) e Imaginarium han puesto en marcha una campaña para dar a conocer la microtia de una manera delicada y natural y para que los niños acepten la diferencia a través del conocimiento. Imaginarium, la marca española líder en el ámbito del juego y la educación infantil, ha creado una nueva versión del peluche KicoNico, que tiene una oreja más pequeña que la otra, como los niños que nacen con microtia. Por cada KicoNico Red que se venda, Imaginarium dará 5 euros al AME y FEDER. La campaña anima también a los compradores a hacer una fotografía de KicoNico en situaciones cotidianas y difundirla a través de las redes sociales con el hashtag #microtiared y #donakikonicored.



Hsjdbcn.org [on-line] Barcelona (USA): hsjdbcn.org, 01 Xaneiro 2015 [ref. 16 de diciembre de 2014] Dispoñible en Internet:http://www.hsjdbcn.org/portal/es/web/2149152853/ctnt/dD98/_/_/znip90/Un-equipo-de-cirujanos-del-Hospital-San-Juan-de-Dios-emplea-por-primera-vez-en-Es.html