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Posts Tagged ‘Tissue engineering’


Use of 3D Bioprinting for Development of Toxicity Prediction Models

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

SOT FDA Colloquium on 3D Bioprinted Tissue Models: Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a workshop on “Alternative Methods for Predictive Safety Testing: 3D Bioprinted Tissue Models” on Tuesday, April 9, at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Maryland. This workshop is the latest in the series, “SOT FDA Colloquia on Emerging Toxicological Science: Challenges in Food and Ingredient Safety.”

Human 3D bioprinted tissues represent a valuable in vitro approach for chemical, personal care product, cosmetic, and preclinical toxicity/safety testing. Bioprinting of skin, liver, and kidney is already appearing in toxicity testing applications for chemical exposures and disease modeling. The use of 3D bioprinted tissues and organs may provide future alternative approaches for testing that may more closely resemble and simulate intact human tissues to more accurately predict human responses to chemical and drug exposures.

A synopsis of the schedule and related works from the speakers is given below:

 

8:40 AM–9:20 AM Overview and Challenges of Bioprinting
Sharon Presnell, Amnion Foundation, Winston-Salem, NC
9:20 AM–10:00 AM Putting 3D Bioprinting to the Use of Tissue Model Fabrication
Y. Shrike Zhang, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Boston, MA
10:00 AM–10:20 AM Break
10:20 AM–11:00 AM Uses of Bioprinted Liver Tissue in Drug Development
Jean-Louis Klein, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, PA
11:00 AM–11:40 AM Biofabrication of 3D Tissue Models for Disease Modeling and Chemical Screening
Marc Ferrer, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH, Rockville, MD

Sharon Presnell, Ph.D. President, Amnion Foundation

Dr. Sharon Presnell was most recently the Chief Scientific Officer at Organovo, Inc., and the President of their wholly-owned subsidiary, Samsara Sciences. She received a Ph.D. in Cell & Molecular Pathology from the Medical College of Virginia and completed her undergraduate degree in biology at NC State. In addition to her most recent roles, Presnell has served as the director of cell biology R&D at Becton Dickinson’s corporate research center in RTP, and as the SVP of R&D at Tengion. Her roles have always involved the commercial and clinical translation of basic research and early development in the cell biology space. She serves on the board of the Coulter Foundation at the University of Virginia and is a member of the College of Life Sciences Foundation Board at NC State. In January 2019, Dr. Presnell will begin a new role as President of the Amnion Foundation, a non-profit organization in Winston-Salem.

A few of her relevant publications:

Bioprinted liver provides early insight into the role of Kupffer cells in TGF-β1 and methotrexate-induced fibrogenesis

Integrating Kupffer cells into a 3D bioprinted model of human liver recapitulates fibrotic responses of certain toxicants in a time and context dependent manner.  This work establishes that the presence of Kupffer cells or macrophages are important mediators in fibrotic responses to certain hepatotoxins and both should be incorporated into bioprinted human liver models for toxicology testing.

Bioprinted 3D Primary Liver Tissues Allow Assessment of Organ-Level Response to Clinical Drug Induced Toxicity In Vitro

Abstract: Modeling clinically relevant tissue responses using cell models poses a significant challenge for drug development, in particular for drug induced liver injury (DILI). This is mainly because existing liver models lack longevity and tissue-level complexity which limits their utility in predictive toxicology. In this study, we established and characterized novel bioprinted human liver tissue mimetics comprised of patient-derived hepatocytes and non-parenchymal cells in a defined architecture. Scaffold-free assembly of different cell types in an in vivo-relevant architecture allowed for histologic analysis that revealed distinct intercellular hepatocyte junctions, CD31+ endothelial networks, and desmin positive, smooth muscle actin negative quiescent stellates. Unlike what was seen in 2D hepatocyte cultures, the tissues maintained levels of ATP, Albumin as well as expression and drug-induced enzyme activity of Cytochrome P450s over 4 weeks in culture. To assess the ability of the 3D liver cultures to model tissue-level DILI, dose responses of Trovafloxacin, a drug whose hepatotoxic potential could not be assessed by standard pre-clinical models, were compared to the structurally related non-toxic drug Levofloxacin. Trovafloxacin induced significant, dose-dependent toxicity at clinically relevant doses (≤ 4uM). Interestingly, Trovafloxacin toxicity was observed without lipopolysaccharide stimulation and in the absence of resident macrophages in contrast to earlier reports. Together, these results demonstrate that 3D bioprinted liver tissues can both effectively model DILI and distinguish between highly related compounds with differential profile. Thus, the combination of patient-derived primary cells with bioprinting technology here for the first time demonstrates superior performance in terms of mimicking human drug response in a known target organ at the tissue level.

A great interview with Dr. Presnell and the 3D Models 2017 Symposium is located here:

Please click here for Web based and PDF version of interview

Some highlights of the interview include

  • Exciting advances in field showing we can model complex tissue-level disease-state phenotypes that develop in response to chronic long term injury or exposure
  • Sees the field developing a means to converge both the biology and physiology of tissues, namely modeling the connectivity between tissues such as fluid flow
  • Future work will need to be dedicated to develop comprehensive analytics for 3D tissue analysis. As she states “we are very conditioned to get information in a simple way from biochemical readouts in two dimension, monocellular systems”  however how we address the complexity of various cellular responses in a 3D multicellular environment will be pertinent.
  • Additional challenges include the scalability of such systems and making such system accessible in a larger way
  1. Shrike Zhang, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology

Dr. Zhang currently holds an Assistant Professor position at Harvard Medical School and is an Associate Bioengineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research interests include organ-on-a-chip, 3D bioprinting, biomaterials, regenerative engineering, biomedical imaging, biosensing, nanomedicine, and developmental biology. His scientific contributions have been recognized by >40 international, national, and regional awards. He has been invited to deliver >70 lectures worldwide, and has served as reviewer for >400 manuscripts for >30 journals. He is serving as Editor-in-Chief for Microphysiological Systems, and Associate Editor for Bio-Design and Manufacturing. He is also on Editorial Board of BioprintingHeliyonBMC Materials, and Essays in Biochemistry, and on Advisory Panel of Nanotechnology.

Some relevant references from Dr. Zhang

Multi-tissue interactions in an integrated three-tissue organ-on-a-chip platform.

Skardal A, Murphy SV, Devarasetty M, Mead I, Kang HW, Seol YJ, Shrike Zhang Y, Shin SR, Zhao L, Aleman J, Hall AR, Shupe TD, Kleensang A, Dokmeci MR, Jin Lee S, Jackson JD, Yoo JJ, Hartung T, Khademhosseini A, Soker S, Bishop CE, Atala A.

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 18;7(1):8837. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08879-x.

 

Reconstruction of Large-scale Defects with a Novel Hybrid Scaffold Made from Poly(L-lactic acid)/Nanohydroxyapatite/Alendronate-loaded Chitosan Microsphere: in vitro and in vivo Studies.

Wu H, Lei P, Liu G, Shrike Zhang Y, Yang J, Zhang L, Xie J, Niu W, Liu H, Ruan J, Hu Y, Zhang C.

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 23;7(1):359. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00506-z.

 

 

A liver-on-a-chip platform with bioprinted hepatic spheroids.

Bhise NS, Manoharan V, Massa S, Tamayol A, Ghaderi M, Miscuglio M, Lang Q, Shrike Zhang Y, Shin SR, Calzone G, Annabi N, Shupe TD, Bishop CE, Atala A, Dokmeci MR, Khademhosseini A.

Biofabrication. 2016 Jan 12;8(1):014101. doi: 10.1088/1758-5090/8/1/014101.

 

Marc Ferrer, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH

Marc Ferrer is a team leader in the NCATS Chemical Genomics Center, which was part of the National Human Genome Research Institute when Ferrer began working there in 2010. He has extensive experience in drug discovery, both in the pharmaceutical industry and academic research. Before joining NIH, he was director of assay development and screening at Merck Research Laboratories. For 10 years at Merck, Ferrer led the development of assays for high-throughput screening of small molecules and small interfering RNA (siRNA) to support programs for lead and target identification across all disease areas.

At NCATS, Ferrer leads the implementation of probe development programs, discovery of drug combinations and development of innovative assay paradigms for more effective drug discovery. He advises collaborators on strategies for discovering small molecule therapeutics, including assays for screening and lead identification and optimization. Ferrer has experience implementing high-throughput screens for a broad range of disease areas with a wide array of assay technologies. He has led and managed highly productive teams by setting clear research strategies and goals and by establishing effective collaborations between scientists from diverse disciplines within industry, academia and technology providers.

Ferrer has a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He received a B.Sc. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Barcelona in Spain.

 

Some relevant references for Dr. Ferrer

Fully 3D Bioprinted Skin Equivalent Constructs with Validated Morphology and Barrier Function.

Derr K, Zou J, Luo K, Song MJ, Sittampalam GS, Zhou C, Michael S, Ferrer M, Derr P.

Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2019 Apr 22. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2018.0318. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Determination of the Elasticity Modulus of 3D-Printed Octet-Truss Structures for Use in Porous Prosthesis Implants.

Bagheri A, Buj-Corral I, Ferrer M, Pastor MM, Roure F.

Materials (Basel). 2018 Nov 29;11(12). pii: E2420. doi: 10.3390/ma11122420.

 

Mutation Profiles in Glioblastoma 3D Oncospheres Modulate Drug Efficacy.

Wilson KM, Mathews-Griner LA, Williamson T, Guha R, Chen L, Shinn P, McKnight C, Michael S, Klumpp-Thomas C, Binder ZA, Ferrer M, Gallia GL, Thomas CJ, Riggins GJ.

SLAS Technol. 2019 Feb;24(1):28-40. doi: 10.1177/2472630318803749. Epub 2018 Oct 5.

 

A high-throughput imaging and nuclear segmentation analysis protocol for cleared 3D culture models.

Boutin ME, Voss TC, Titus SA, Cruz-Gutierrez K, Michael S, Ferrer M.

Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 24;8(1):11135. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29169-0.

A High-Throughput Screening Model of the Tumor Microenvironment for Ovarian Cancer Cell Growth.

Lal-Nag M, McGee L, Guha R, Lengyel E, Kenny HA, Ferrer M.

SLAS Discov. 2017 Jun;22(5):494-506. doi: 10.1177/2472555216687082. Epub 2017 Jan 31.

 

Exploring Drug Dosing Regimens In Vitro Using Real-Time 3D Spheroid Tumor Growth Assays.

Lal-Nag M, McGee L, Titus SA, Brimacombe K, Michael S, Sittampalam G, Ferrer M.

SLAS Discov. 2017 Jun;22(5):537-546. doi: 10.1177/2472555217698818. Epub 2017 Mar 15.

 

RNAi High-Throughput Screening of Single- and Multi-Cell-Type Tumor Spheroids: A Comprehensive Analysis in Two and Three Dimensions.

Fu J, Fernandez D, Ferrer M, Titus SA, Buehler E, Lal-Nag MA.

SLAS Discov. 2017 Jun;22(5):525-536. doi: 10.1177/2472555217696796. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

 

Other Articles on 3D Bioprinting on this Open Access Journal include:

Global Technology Conferences on 3D BioPrinting 2015 – 2016

3D Medical BioPrinting Technology Reporting by Irina Robu, PhD – a forthcoming Article in “Medical 3D BioPrinting – The Revolution in Medicine, Technologies for Patient-centered Medicine: From R&D in Biologics to New Medical Devices”

Bio-Inks and 3D BioPrinting

New Scaffold-Free 3D Bioprinting Method Available to Researchers

Gene Editing for Gene Therapies with 3D BioPrinting

 

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3D Print Shape-Shifting Smart Gel

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Hydrogel scaffolds that mimic the native extracellular matrix (ECM) environment play a crucial role in tissue engineering and they are ubiquitously in our lives, including in contact lenses, diapers and the human body.

Researchers at Rutgers have invented a printing method for a smart gel that can be used to create materials for transporting small molecules like drugs to human organs. The approach includes printing a 3D object with a hydrogel that changes shape over time when temperature changes. The potential of the smart hydrogels could be to create a new are of soft robotics and enable new applications in flexible sensors and actuators, biomedical devices and platforms or scaffolds for cells to grow.

Rutgers engineers operated with a hydrogel that has been in use for decades in devices that generate motion and biomedical applications such as scaffolds for cells to grow on. The engineers learned how to precisely control hydrogel growth and shrinkage. In temperatures below 32 degrees Celsius, the hydrogel absorbs more water and swells in size. When temperatures exceed 32 degrees Celsius, the hydrogel begins to expel water and shrinks, the study showed.

According to the Rutgers engineers, the objects they can produce with the hydrogel range from the width of a human hair to several millimeters long. The engineers also showed that they can grow one area of a 3D-printed object by changing temperatures.

Source

https://news.rutgers.edu/rutgers-engineers-3d-print-shape-shifting-smart-gel/20180131

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Skin Regeneration Therapy One of First Tissue Engineering Products Evaluated by FDA

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Under the provisions of 21st Century Cures Act the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved StrataGraft regenerative skin tissue as the first product designated as a Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) produced by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. StrataGraft is shaped using unmodified NIKS cells grown under standard operating procedures since the continuous NIKS skin cell line has been thoroughly characterized. StrataGraft products are virus-free, non-tumorigenic, and offer batch-to-batch genetic consistency.

Passed in 2016, the 21st Century act allows FDA to grant accelerated review approval to products which meet an RMAT designation. The RMAT designation includes debates of whether priority review and/or accelerated approval would be suitable based on intermediate endpoints that would be reasonably likely to predict long-term clinical benefit.

The designation includes products

  • defined as a cell therapy, therapeutic tissue engineering product, human cell and tissue product, or any combination product using such therapies or products;
  • intended to treat, modify, reverse, or cure a serious or life-threatening disease or condition; and
  • preliminary clinical evidence indicates the drug has the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition.

According to Steven Romano, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President, Mallinckrodt “We are very pleased the FDA has determined StrataGraft meets the criteria for RMAT designation, as this offers the possibility of priority review and/or accelerated approval. The company tissue-based therapy is under evaluation in a Phase 3 trial to assess its efficacy and safety in the advancement of autologous skin regeneration of complex skin defects due to thermal burns that contain intact dermal elements.

SOURCE

https://www.rdmag.com/news/2017/07/skin-regeneration-therapy-one-first-be-evaluated-fda

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Fibrin-coated Electrospun Polylactide Nanofibers Potential Applications in Skin Tissue Engineering

Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD

 

Fibrin plays an essential role during wound healing and skin regeneration and is often applied for the treatment of skin injuries. Fibrin is formed after thrombin cleavage of fibrinopeptide A from fibrinogen Aalpha-chains, thus initiating fibrin polymerization. Double-stranded fibrils form through end-to-middle domain (D:E) associations, and concomitant lateral fibril associations and branching create a clot network. In addition, its primary role is to provide scaffolding for the intravascular thrombus.

Dr. Lucie Bacakova and her colleagues from Department of Biomaterials and Tissue engineering at Czech Academy of Sciences prepared electrospun nanofibrious membranes made from poly(L-lactide) modified with a thin fibrin nanocoating. The cell-free fibrin nanocating remained stable in cell culture medium for 14 days and did not change its morphology. The rate of fibrin degradation is correlated to the degree of cell proliferation on membrane populated with human dermal fibroblasts. It was shown that the cell spreading, mitochondrial activity and cell population density were higher on membranes coated with fibrin than on nonmodified membranes. The cell performance was improved by adding ascorbic acid in the cell culture medium. At the same time, fibrin stimulated the expression and synthesis of collagen I in human dermal fibroblasts. The expression of beta-integrins was improved by fibrin. And it is shown that the combination of nanofibrous membranes with a fibrin nanocoating and ascorbic acids is beneficial to tissue engineering.

Source

https://www.dovepress.com/articles.php?article_id=25743#

 

 

 

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New Scaffold-Free 3D Bioprinting Method Available to Researchers

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

 

UPDATED ON 2/6/2016

Kenzan

SOURCE

Bio 3D Printer Regenova with Kenzan method

http://https://www.3dprintingbusiness.directory/news/kenzan-method-3d-bioprinting-cyfuses-regenova-system/

SOURCE

Cyfuse and Cyberdyne Are Pushing the Boundaries of 3D Printed Human Engineering With Regenova

by TE Halterman | Mar 3, 2015 | 3D Printers3D PrintingHealth 3D Printing |

http://3dprint.com/48312/cyfuse-and-cyberdyne-3d-printed-human-engineering/

 

Scafold-free

SOURCE

PUBLIC RELEASE: 3-FEB-2016

New scaffold-free 3-D bioprinting method available for first time in North America

Cell Applications primary cells and Regenova 3D Bio Printer from Cyfuse Biomedical combine to print robust 3-D tissue without introduction of extraneous scaffolding material

 

VIEW VIDEO

Regenova, Bio 3D Printer by Cyfuse

 

Cyfuse Biomedical K.K. and Cell Applications.Inc. publicized on February 3, 2016 that advanced tissue engineering services using 3D bioprinting approach will be available in North America. The services involved using Cyfuse Biomedica’s Regenova 3D Bio Printer, a state of the art robotic system that produces 3D tissues from cell and Cell Applications has created a pay by service bio-printing model that produces scaffold-free tissue available immediately to scientists in the U.S. and Canada for research use.

According to James Yu, Founder and CEO of Cell Applications having the Regenova 3D Bio Printer at our San Diego headquarters offers researchers an end-to-end, customized solution for creating scaffold-free, 3D-engineered tissues that diminish costs by reducing the lengthy processes typical in pharmaceutical drug discovery. In addition , Koji Kuchiishi, CEO of Cyfuse Biomedical having the Regenova 3D Bio Printer, combined with Cell Applications’ comprehensive, high-quality primary cell bank, offers researchers streamlined access to a nearly limitless selection of three dimensional tissues including those mimicking blood vessels, human neural tissue and liver constructs.

Unlike the other bioprinters on the market the bio-printer made by Regenova does not depend on scaffolding made of biomaterials such as collage or hydrogel to construct 3D tissue, the instrument assembles three dimensional microscopic tissue by forming spheroids, one at the time and lancing them on a fine needle array. The spheroids are guided by pre-programmed software which can be design and constructed into rods, spheres, tubes, sheets and other tissue configurations. In order for the engineered tissue to mature a bioreactor chamber is used. As the cells mature, they self-organize promoting strong, reliable tissue that can be further optimized by design of bio printer’s needle array that allows for optimum circulation of culture medium.

Source
http://www.cyfusebio.com/en/

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Cells from Cow Knee Joints Used to Grow New Cartilage Tissue

Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD

Researchers at Umea University in Sweden used cartillage cell from cow knee joints in an effort to help lead to a new treatment cure for osteoarthritis using stem cell-based tissue engineering. Osteoarthritis can mean the loss of the entire cartilage tissue in the joint. While the condition causes pain and immobility for the individual, it also loads society with extra medical costs.

In their experiments, the researchers at Umeå University developed new methods to produce cartilage-like “neotissues” in a laboratory enviroment. In the engineering process, the cells, the signaling molecules and the scaffold, i.e. artificial support material, are combined to regenerate tissue at the damaged site in the joint.

Using primary bovine chondrocytes, i.e. cartilage cells from cows, the researchers improved methods to grow cartilage tissue in a laboratory environment, producing tissue similar to tissue normally present in the human joints. In the future, these results may help the development of neocartilage production for actual cartilage repair.

Source

http://www.mdtmag.com/news/2016/01/cells-cow-knee-joints-used-grow-new-cartilage-tissue

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UPDATE 

6/7/2020

3D PRINT CELLULOSE-BASED HYDROGEL WITH PROGRAMMABLE DEFORMATION

Scientists at University of Stuttgart, University of Virgnia and Koc Universityhave 3D printed multimaterial parts with multidirectional stiffness gradients. By mixing their expertise in materials engineering and digital processing, scientists create a series of sets of cellulose-based filaments with modifying mechanical and rheological properties, despite having similar compositions. The materials were then used in conjunction with each other to program specific deformation profiles into complex parts.

Functionally graded materials (FGMs) have a gradually changing composition or structure and can be designed to create a precise stiffness profile in each part was then generated. When printed, the samples could be deformed in distinctive profiles due the alteration in stiffness across the geometry of the parts. Eventually, scientists had ‘programmed’ a set of desired deformation geometries.

SOURCE

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/8/eaay0929/tab-article-info

 

Three-dimensional printed microfibers used to reinforce hydrogels

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

The field of tissue engineering has continued to evolve with the intention to restore, replace and regenerate loss and damaged tissues. Engineered tissues have been able to help millions of people which why their development and design is important. The tree components that are needed for this are cells, scaffold and bioactive factors. 

The scaffold is responsible for providing the structure and support needed to provide tissue development but they differ in composition, design, material properties, structure properties etc. In the spite of everything,  the concept of a scaffold is to mimic the function of the native extracellular matrix by creating similar architectural, biological and mechanical features.

One classic material that is used for tissue engineering are hydrogels, which are designed to provide a hydrated 3D environment of the cells which act as cell carriers. But, hydrogels are unable to provide the needed mechanical properties needed to form extracellular matrix.

Taking the account the limitation, scientists from Medical Center at Utrecht University created a 3D dimensional microfiber network through melt electrospinning to reinforce hydrogel architecture, in order to provide mechanical and biological stable environment for engineered constructs. They took into account that they hydrogel mechanical properties should match those of the target tissue to promote enhanced performance. 

Researchers in the past have tried to mimic  the architecture of native tissues including reinforced nanofibers, woven scaffolds, non-woven scaffolds and microfibers. The typical manufacturing technique used is electrospinning which is advantageous because it creates a more accurate structural mimic of the native tissue extracellular matrix. 

In the study published by researchers at University of Utrecht Medical Center, use melt electrospinning. This electrospinning assembles the fibers layer by layer, supplying regulated control over assembly architecture. The researchers aimed to create a support for gelatin methacrylamide hydrogels with high porosity fiber scaffolds made of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). The composite was created by infusing and crosslinking methacrylamide hydrogels within the PCL scaffolds. To stimulate the level of hydrogel reinforcement, a mathematical model was developed using the scaffold parameters. 

The study showed that the reinforced hydrogel stiffness was identical to that of articular cartilage as it increased up to 54-fold compared to hydrogels or microfiber scaffolds alone. The microfiber network can be used by various types of hydrogels which indicates that  they can offer mechanically and biologically favorable environments for various types of engineered tissues.

This current development in the field of tissue engineering will allow for the creation and use of resistant and effectual hydrogels to treat tissue loss or damage. The organized fibrous PCL scaffolds within the hydrogel allow for a healthy and diversified cell culture environment, because the hydrogel degrades over a few months which allows for new tissue to integrate into the scaffold. The PCL scaffold will in turn disintegrate within years, acting as a reinforcing network that will develop functional tissue. This reinforced hydrogel represents a step towards creating biomechanical functional tissue constructs and hopefully, more research will someday lead to the creation of the ideal, modify according to individual specifications engineered tissue replacement.

Source

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150428/ncomms7933/full/ncomms7933.html#access

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Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

The history of gold nanoparticles in the use of advanced Medicine is about 15 years old. Dr. Barliya wrote on Diagnosing lung cancer in exhaled breath using gold  in 12/2012.nanoparticles

Alchemia commented on an MIT NEWS article on “New cardiac patch uses gold nanowires to enhance electrical signaling between cells” 9/26, 2011

I would respectfully point out that the use of almost nano sized gold particles carrying a positive electrical charge have been developed and used as ultrafine colloidal gold for over ten years and used as a treatment helping to maintain the heart’s natural rhythm, as well as for helping calm the effects of brain related limb tremors.

This ultrafine colloidal gold has also been used successfully to help calm and control the entire neural system and relieve stress related neural pain over the same past ten year period using Ultrafine Colloidal Gold by Alchemedica Intl.

It is in the light of your brilliant nano technology breakthrough, that we feel our own pioneering efforts developing and pushing the boundery in the field of ultrafine colloidal gold, silver, copper and zinc vindicated.

I salute your unorthodox approach and its successful conclusion”

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/gold-nanowire-heart-0926.html

As an Introduction to the Genetics of Conduction Disease, we selected the following article which represents the MOST comprehensive review of the Human Cardiac Conduction System presented to date:

I. The Cardiac Conduction System

  1. David S. Park, MD, PhD;
  2. Glenn I. Fishman, MD

Circulation.2011; 123: 904-915 doi: 10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.110.942284

II.  On the Genetics of the Human Conduction System

Genetics of Conduction Disease: Atrioventricular (AV) Conduction Disease (block): Gene Mutations – Transcription, Excitability, and Energy Homeostasis

III. A Promise for the MI Patient: A new cardiac patch uses Gold Nanowires to enhance Electrical Signaling between heart cells

Key term: 

Colloidal gold is a suspension (or colloid) of sub-micrometre-sized particles of gold in a fluid – usually water. The liquid is usually either an intense red colour (for particles less than 100 nm), or blue/purple (for larger particles).[1][2][3] Due to theunique optical, electronic, and molecular-recognition properties of gold nanoparticles, they are the subject of substantial research, with applications in a wide variety of areas, including electron microscopyelectronicsnanotechnology,[4][5] andmaterials science.

Properties and applications of colloidal gold nanoparticles strongly depend upon their size and shape.[6] For example, rodlike particles have both transverse and longitudinal absorption peak, and anisotropy of the shape affects their self-assembly.[7]

SOURCE and References for the Key term

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colloidal_gold

A heart of gold

New cardiac patch uses gold nanowires to enhance electrical signaling between cells, a promising step toward better treatment for heart-attack patients.
Emily Finn, MIT News Office 7/25/2013
March 20, 2013
A heart of gold

A scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of nanowire-alginate composite scaffolds. Star-shaped clusters of nanowires can be seen in these images.
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE DISEASE BIOPHYSICS GROUP, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
September 26, 2011
A team of researchers at MIT and Children’s Hospital Boston has built cardiac patches studded with tiny gold wires that could be used to create pieces of tissue whose cells all beat in time, mimicking the dynamics of natural heart muscle. The development could someday help people who have suffered heart attacks.The study, reported this week in Nature Nanotechnology, promises to improve on existing cardiac patches, which have difficulty achieving the level of conductivity necessary to ensure a smooth, continuous “beat” throughout a large piece of tissue.“The heart is an electrically quite sophisticated piece of machinery,” says Daniel Kohane, a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) and senior author of the paper. “It is important that the cells beat together, or the tissue won’t function properly.”

The unique new approach uses gold nanowires scattered among cardiac cells as they’re grown in vitro, a technique that “markedly enhances the performance of the cardiac patch,” Kohane says. The researchers believe the technology may eventually result in implantable patches to replace tissue that’s been damaged in a heart attack.

Co-first authors of the study are MIT postdoc Brian Timko and former MIT postdoc Tal Dvir, now at Tel Aviv University in Israel; other authors are their colleagues from HST, Children’s Hospital Boston and MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, including Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor.

Ka-thump, ka-thump

To build new tissue, biological engineers typically use miniature scaffolds resembling porous sponges to organize cells into functional shapes as they grow. Traditionally, however, these scaffolds have been made from materials with poor electrical conductivity — and for cardiac cells, which rely on electrical signals to coordinate their contraction, that’s a big problem.

“In the case of cardiac myocytes in particular, you need a good junction between the cells to get signal conduction,” Timko says. But the scaffold acts as an insulator, blocking signals from traveling much beyond a cell’s immediate neighbors, and making it nearly impossible to get all the cells in the tissue to beat together as a unit.

VIEW VIDEO
Video courtesy of the Disease Biophysics Group, Harvard University
Video courtesy of Youtube.com
To solve the problem, Timko and Dvir took advantage of their complementary backgrounds — Timko’s in semiconducting nanowires, Dvir’s in cardiac-tissue engineering — to design a brand-new scaffold material that would allow electrical signals to pass through.“We started brainstorming, and it occurred to me that it’s actually fairly easy to grow gold nanoconductors, which of course are very conductive,” Timko says. “You can grow them to be a couple microns long, which is more than enough to pass through the walls of the scaffold.”

From micrometers to millimeters

The team took as their base material alginate, an organic gum-like substance that is often used for tissue scaffolds. They mixed the alginate with a solution containing gold nanowires to create a composite scaffold with billions of the tiny metal structures running through it.

Then, they seeded cardiac cells onto the gold-alginate composite, testing the conductivity of tissue grown on the composite compared to tissue grown on pure alginate. Because signals are conducted by calcium ions in and among the cells, the researchers could check how far signals travel by observing the amount of calcium present in different areas of the tissue.

“Basically, calcium is how cardiac cells talk to each other, so we labeled the cells with a calcium indicator and put the scaffold under the microscope,” Timko says. There, they observed a dramatic improvement among cells grown on the composite scaffold: The range of signals conduction improved by about three orders of magnitude.

“In healthy, native heart tissue, you’re talking about conduction over centimeters,” Timko says. Previously, tissue grown on pure alginate showed conduction over only a few hundred micrometers, or thousandths of a millimeter. But the combination of alginate and gold nanowires achieved signal conduction over a scale of “many millimeters,” Timko says.

“It’s really night and day. The performance that the scaffolds have with these nanomaterials is just much, much better,” Kohane says.

“It’s very beautiful work,” says Charles Lieber, a professor of chemistry at Harvard University. “I think the results are quite unambiguous, and very exciting — both in showing fundamentally that they’ve improved the conductivity of these scaffolds, and then how that clearly makes a difference in enhancing the collective firing of the cardiac tissue.”

The researchers plan to pursue studies in vivo to determine how the composite-grown tissue functions when implanted into live hearts. Aside from implications for heart-attack patients, Kohane adds that the successful experiment “opens up a bunch of doors” for engineering other types of tissues; Lieber agrees.

“I think other people can take advantage of this idea for other systems: In other muscle cells, other vascular constructs, perhaps even in neural systems, this is a simple way to have a big impact on the collective communication of cells,” Lieber says. “A lot of people are going to be jumping on this.”

 

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Author: Tilda Barliya PhD

Annual treatment costs for musculoskeletal diseases in the US are roughly 7.7% (~ $849 billion) of total gross domestic product. Such disorders are the main cause of physical disability in US (I). The challenges of drug delivery for bone regeneration and reconstruction has been previously reported here by Dr. Aviral Vatsa (I-IV), herein, we will discussed the different needs for bone regeneration and the potential use if nanotechnology.

Bone regeneration is a complex, well-orchestrated physiological process of bone formation, which can be seen during normal fracture healing, and is involved in continuous remodelling throughout adult life. However, there are complex clinical conditions in which bone regeneration is required in large quantity, such as for skeletal reconstruction of large bone defects created by trauma, infection, tumour resection and skeletal abnormalities, or cases in which the regenerative process is compromised, including avascular necrosis, atrophic non-unions and osteoporosis (1,2).

Regenerative medicine offers a way to improve  ‘local’ strategies in terms of tissue engineering and gene therapy, or even ‘systemic’ enhancement of bone repair. To make regenerative medicine successful, three elements are required: stem cells, scaffolds, and growth factors (3).

Bones

Bone is a tough supporting tissue and functions in both movement and the maintenance of postural stability by working cooperatively with muscles as well as play a role in calcium metabolism. Despite its hard structure it exist in a dynamic turnover known as bone remodeling. There are two types of bone structures that naturally remodel during the a year:

  • cortical bone (~3%/year)
  • cancellous bone (~30%/year)
148261.fig.001

Jimi J et al. The schematic outlines of the bone remodeling cycle and the balance of bone resorption and bone formation

At the remodeling sites, osteoblasts produce new bone, while osteoclasts resorb existing bone. Each cell type seems to be regulated by a variety of hormones and by local factors. If the balance between bone formation and resorption is lost by uncontrolled production of these regulators, the bone structure will be damaged, and the subject would be susceptible to osteoporosis and osteopetrosis (2).

Current Clinical approaches:

Standard approaches widely used in clinical practice to stimulate or augment bone regeneration include distraction osteogenesis and bone transport.

As well as the use of a number of different bone-grafting methods, such as (1):

  • Autologous bone grafts – considered as the ‘gold standard‘ bone-grafting material, as it combines all properties required in a bone-graft material: osteoinduction (bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and other growth factors), osteogenesis (osteoprogenitor cells) and osteoconduction (scaffold)
  • Allografts – obtained from human cadavers or living donors, which bypasses the problems associated with harvesting and quantity of graft material. Allogeneic bone is available in many preparations, including demineralised bone matrix (DBM), morcellised and cancellous chips, corticocancellous and cortical grafts, and osteochondral and whole-bone segments, depending on the recipient site requirements.
  • Bone-graft substitutes or growth factors – developed as alternatives to autologous or allogeneic bone grafts. They consist of scaffolds made of synthetic or natural biomaterials that promote the migration, proliferation and differentiation of bone cells for bone regeneration. Commonly performed surgical procedure to augment bone regeneration in a variety of orthopaedic and maxillofacial procedures.

The Masquelet technique is a two-step procedure for bone regeneration and reconstruction of long-bone defects. It is based on the concept of a “biological” membrane, which is induced after application of a cement spacer at the first stage and acts as a ‘chamber’ for the insertion of non-vascularised autograft at the second stage (2, 4).

There are  non-invasive methods of biophysical stimulation, such as low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) and pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) (1).

Limitations of Current approaches: Most of the current strategies for bone regeneration exhibit relatively satisfactory results. However, there are associated drawbacks and limitations to their use and availability, and even controversial reports about their efficacy and cost-effectiveness.

New Approaches:

New methods for studying this process, such as quantitative three-dimensional microcomputed tomography analyses, finite element modelling, and nanotechnology have been developed to further evaluate the mechanical properties of bone regenerate at the microscopic level. Here are some examples of the latest developments as reviewed by Dimitriou R at el (1).

BMPs and growth factors – They induce the mitogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and other osteoprogenitors, and their differentiation towards osteoblasts. BMP-2 and BMP-7 have been licensed for clinical use since 2002 and 2001 respectively (5). These two molecules have been used in a variety of clinical conditions including non-union, open fractures, joint fusions, aseptic bone necrosis and critical bone defects. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDFG), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-b), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) have been also implicated in bone regeneration, with different functions in terms of cell proliferation, chemotaxis and angiogenesis. One current approach to enhance bone regeneration and soft-tissue healing by is local application of growth factors is the use of platelet-rich plasma alongside the autograph. BMPs are also being used in bone-tissue engineering.

MSCs – The current approach of delivering osteogenic cells directly to the regeneration site includes use of bone-marrow aspirate from the iliac crest, which also contains growth factors. It is a minimally invasive procedure to enhance bone repair, and produces satisfactory results (1). Overall, however, there are significant ongoing issues with quality control with respect to delivering the requisite number of MSCs/osteoprogenitors to effect adequate repair responses. Issues of quantity and alternative sources of MSCs are being extensively investigated. Novel approaches in terms of cell harvesting, in vitro expansion and subsequent implantation are promising.

Scaffolds and Bone substitutes – synthetic bone substitutes and biomaterials are already widely used in clinical practice for osteoconduction. DBM (Demineralized bone matrix)  and collagen are biomaterials, used mainly as bone-graft extenders, as they provide minimal structural support. A large number of synthetic bone substitutes are currently available, such as HA, β-TCP and calcium-phosphate cements, and glass ceramics. These are being used as adjuncts or alternatives to autologous bone grafts. Especially for regeneration of large bone defects, where the requirements for grafting material are substantial, these synthetics can be used in combination with autologous bone graft, growth factors or cells (6). Improved biodegradable and bioactive three-dimensional porous scaffolds are being investigated, as well as novel approaches using nanotechnology, such as magnetic biohybrid porous scaffolds acting as a crosslinking agent for collagen for bone regeneration guided by an external magnetic field or injectable scaffolds for easier application.

Tissue Engineering – The tissue-engineering approach is a promising strategy added in the field of bone regenerative medicine, which aims to generate new, cell-driven, functional tissues, rather than just to implant non-living scaffolds. In essence, bone-tissue engineering combines progenitor cells, such as MSCs (native or expanded) or mature cells (for osteogenesis) seeded in biocompatible scaffolds and ideally in three-dimensional tissue-like structures (for osteoconduction and vascular ingrowth), with appropriate growth factors (for osteoinduction), in order to generate and maintain bone (7). Bone-tissue engineering is in its early stages, and there are many issues of efficacy, safety and cost to be addressed before general clinical application can be achieved.

Gene Therapy – This involves the transfer of genetic material into the genome of the target cell, allowing expression of bioactive factors from the cells themselves for a prolonged time. Gene transfer can be performed using a viral (transfection) or a non-viral (transduction) vector, and by either an in vivo or ex vivo gene-transfer strategy. There are issues of cost, efficacy and biological safety that need to be answered.

Nanotechnology and Bone Regeneration

Nanotechnology has been greatly utilized for bone tissue engineering strategies. It has been employed to overcome some of the current limitations associated with bone regeneration methods including insufficient mechanical strength of scaffold materials, ineffective cell growth and osteogenic differentiation at the defect site, as well as unstable and insufficient production of growth factors to stimulate bone cell growth (8,9).

To mimic the natural bone nanocomposite architecture, novel biomaterials and nanofabrication techniques are currently being employed and many different nanostructures have already been designed and tested. Electrospinning has been extensively applied to create bone nanofiber scaffolds and biomaterials typically used for this purpose, including synthetic organic polymers such as PCL, PLGA, PLLA, Chitosan, and silk fibroin.

Among the materials used for bone-reconstruction, PLLA is a biocompatible polymer with the advantage of being highly. biodegradable. For this reason, PLLA have received the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be use in bone reconstructive surgery (10).

PLLA nanofibers are often functionalized to improve their biological performance with peptides such as RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp); with osteogenic molecules such as hydroxyapatite; or with proteins such as collagen and the growth factor bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP-2). It was found that direct incorporation of BMP-2 into PLLA nanofibers enhances the osteoinductivity of the scaffolds.

Current orthopedic implants fail in an appropriate osteo-integration limiting implant lifespan. Titanium, as a biocompatible material, has been used to enhance implant incorporation in bone for dental, craniofacial, and orthopedic applications. Studies have demonstrated that nanoporous titanium dioxide (TiO2) surface modification alters nanoscale topography improving soft tissue attachment on titanium implants surface (11). For example, the uses of nanoporous TiO2 surface-modified implants, in a human dental clinical study, showed that TiO2 thin film increased adherence in early healing of the human oral mucosa and reduced marginal bone resorption (11).

Another example are rosette nanotubes. Bioactive helical rosette nanotubes are self-assembled nanomaterials, formed in water from synthetic DNA base analogs that mimic the helical nanostructure of collagen in bone. This technology has been used to create a biomimetic nanocomposite combined with nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite, and biocompatible hydrogels which increased osteoblast adhesion.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are other suitable scaffold materials that have proved to support osteoblast proliferation. CNTs possess exceptional mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties, facilitating their use as reinforcements or, in combination with other biomaterials, to improve and to support bone growth.

Nanotechnology and clinical trials

Clinical therapies implying the use of nanotechnology in bone regeneration are still in the beginning stages.

BDSint –  Recently, the bone healing ability of a nanocomposite (DBSint®), approved for clinical use, constituted by biomimetic nanostructured Mg-hydroxyapatite and human demineralized bone matrix has been investigated.  The clinical-radiographic and histomorphometry study in subjects undergoing high tibial osteotomy, demonstrated that these nanocomposites are safe and effective. Yet the long term outcome is still to be defined (8, 12).

BioOsss and BioGides –  Schwarz et al. undertook a four-year study of patients treated of moderate intrabony peri-implantitis defects using either a nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite or a natural bone mineral (BioOsss spongiosa granules) in combination with a collagen membrane (BioGides) and found bone reconstruction (8, 13).

Here are some of the ongoing clinical trials for use of nanotechnology in bone regeneration (Perán M et al (8)):

NCT00729716 – Comparison of BioCart™II With Microfracture for Treatment of Cartilage Defects of the Femoral Condyle BioCart™II scaffold Cartilage ————Phase 2.

NCT01183637  – Evaluation of “Kensey Nash Corp” an Acellular Osteochondral Graft for Cartilage Lesions Pilot Trial (EAGLE Pilot) bioresorbable scaffold Bone/ Cartilage————-Phase 2

NCT01218945 –  Development of Bone Grafts Using Adipose-Derived Stem Cells and Different Scaffolds Bone scaffold Bone——– recruiting participants

NCT01435434 – Mononucleotide Autologous Stem Cells and Demineralized Bone Matrix in the Treatment of Non-Union/Delayed Fractures Ignite®ICS injectable scaffold Bone——————Not yet recruiting

Summary:

The advantages of nanomaterials as therapeutic and diagnostic tools are vast, due to design flexibility, small sizes, large surface-to-volume ratio, and ease of surface modification.  The potential of these bio-devices has shown promising results in vitro, and some of them have also been successfully tested in vivo with animal models. Nevertheless, the gap between laboratory and medical application of these nanotechnological advances is still wide (8).

Although some successful devises have already being tested in clinical trials and the data produced by these studies is highly encouraging, the safety of nanomedicine is not yet fully defined and more clinical studies still need to be conducted to translate nanotechnological devices to the clinic.

Reference:

1. Dimitriou R, Jones E, McGonagle D and Giannoudis P.V. Bone regeneration: current concepts and future directions. BMC Medicine 2011, 9:66. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/66

2. Jimi E.,  Hirata S., Osawa K.,  Terashita M., Kitamura C.,  and Fukushima H. The Current and Future Therapies of Bone Regeneration to Repair Bone Defects. International Journal of Dentistry Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 148261. doi:10.1155/2012/148261. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijd/2012/148261/

3. G. C. Gurtner, M. J. Callaghan, and M. T. Longaker, “Progress and potential for regenerative medicine,” Annual Review of Medicine, vol. 58, pp. 299–312, 2007. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17076602

4. Masquelet AC, Begue T: The concept of induced membrane for reconstruction of long bone defects. Orthop Clin North Am 2010, 41(1):27-37. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19931050

5. Food and Drug Administration: Medical devices. [http:/ / www.fda.gov/ MedicalDevices/ ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ DeviceApprovalsandClearances/ Recently-ApprovedDevices/ default.htm

6. Giannoudis PV, Dinopoulos H, Tsiridis E: Bone substitutes: an updateInjury 2005, 36(Suppl 3):S20-27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16188545

7. Jones E, English A, Churchman SM, Kouroupis D, Boxall SA, Kinsey S, Giannoudis PG, Emery P, McGonagle D: Large-scale extraction and characterization of CD271+ multipotential stromal cells from trabecular bone in health and osteoarthritis: implications for bone regeneration strategies based on uncultured or minimally cultured multipotential stromal cells. Arthritis Rheum 2010, 62(7):1944-1954.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.27451/abstract;jsessionid=4573A69E4561194C83A97EC302CD20CB.d04t02

8. Perán M., García MA., Lopez-Ruiz E., Jiménez G and Marchal JA. How Can Nanotechnology Help to Repair the Body?Advances in Cardiac, Skin, Bone, Cartilage and Nerve Tissue Regeneration. Materials 2013, 6, 1333-1359; doi:10.3390/ma6041333 http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/6/4/1333

9. Kim K and Fisher JP. Nanoparticle technology in bone tissue engineering. J Drug Target. 2007 May;15(4):241-52.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17487693

10.  Schofer, M.D.; Roessler, P.P.; Schaefer, J.; Theisen, C.; Schlimme, S.; Heverhagen, J.T.; Voelker, M.; Dersch, R.; Agarwal, S.; Fuchs-Winkelmann, S.; Paletta, J.R. Electrospun PLLA nanofiber scaffolds and their use in combination with BMP-2 for reconstruction of bone defects. PLoS One 2011, 6, e25462. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182232/

11.  Wennerberg, A.; Frojd, V.; Olsson, M.; Nannmark, U.; Emanuelsson, L.; Johansson, P.; Josefsson, Y.; Kangasniemi, I.; Peltola, T.; Tirri, T.; et al. Nanoporous TiO(2) thin film on titanium oral implants for enhanced human soft tissue adhesion: a light and electron microscopy study. Clin. Implant. Dent. Relat. Res. 2011, 13, 184–196. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19681943

12. Dallari, D.; Savarino, L.; Albisinni, U.; Fornasari, P.; Ferruzzi, A.; Baldini, N.; Giannini, S. A prospective, randomised, controlled trial using a Mg-hydroxyapatite-demineralized bone matrix nanocomposite in tibial osteotomy. Biomaterials 2012, 33, 72–79. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21955688

13. Schwarz, F.; Sahm, N.; Bieling, K.; Becker, J. Surgical regenerative treatment of peri-implantitis lesions using a nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite or a natural bone mineral in combination with a collagen membrane: a four-year clinical follow-up report. J. Clin. Periodontol. 2009, 36, 807–814.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19637997

Other articles from our Open Access Journal

I. By: Aviral Vatsa PhD MBBS. Targeted delivery of therapeutics to bone and connective tissues: current status and challenges- Part I. https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/23/targeted-delivery-of-therapeutics-to-bone-and-connective-tissues-current-status-and-challenges-part-i/

II. By: Aviral Vatsa PhD MBBS. Targeted delivery of therapeutics to bone and connective tissues: current status and challenges- Part II. https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/30/targeted-delivery-of-therapeutics-to-bone-and-connective-tissues-current-status-and-challenges-part-ii/

III. By: Aviral Vatsa PhD MBBS. Osteocytes: A Special Issue in Bone.  https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/06/osteocytes-a-special-issue-in-bone/

IV. By: Aviral Vatsa PhD MBBS. Bone remodelling in a nutshell. https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/06/22/bone-remodelling-in-a-nutshell/

V. By: Ritu Saxena PhD. Dual protection of bone by Sema3a. https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/05/10/dual-protection-of-bone-by-sema3a-2/

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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Top 5 Fastest Growing Jobs for Life Scientists

5/13/2013 3:51:54 PM

Top 5 Fastest Growing Jobs for Life ScientistsHelp employers find you! Check out all the scientist jobs and post your resume.

By BioSpace.com

At a time when many graduates are finding it difficult to land jobs, it is interesting to note that life science graduates have a few options they can depend on. This is good news, considering that the media outlets are filled with horror stories of graduates languishing at home without jobs, or having to make do with terrible part-time jobs without benefits. Life science encompasses many different jobs, but here is an overview of five that are growing very rapidly (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and promise to be lucrative for job seekers in the next few years.

1. Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers analyze problems in medicine and biology, and come up with the appropriate solutions. Their ultimate goal is to improve the efficiency of patient care. They work in diverse industries such as universities, medical institutions, research centers, manufacturing industries, and many others. The BLS expects demand for biomedical engineers to be approximately 62 percent for the decade ending 2020. This demand is way above the average for all jobs, and it will likely be fueled by the expected increase in public appreciation of biomedical engineering. With an annual median pay of $81,540 (May 2010), aspiring biomedical engineers should not worry about the job market.

2. Medical Science

Medical scientists are primarily concerned with researching different ways of improving human health. They use different investigative methods in their line of work, such as clinical trials. Medical scientists tend to work in teams rather than individually. They work in laboratories as well as in offices. Job openings for medical scientists are expected to increase by 36 percent for the decade ending 2020, an increase that is very much larger than the industry-wide average. Aspiring medical scientists, however, should be prepared to get PhDs in appropriate life sciences because that is what most employers need. It is totally worth it because the annual median salary is $76,700 (May 2010).

3. Biochemistry and Biophysics

Biochemists and biophysicists deal with chemical and physical properties of living things. They also study biological processes, for example, heredity, growth and cell development. The majority of biophysicists and biochemists work full time in laboratories. This field is also growing, with a growth projection of 31 percent for the period from 2010 to 2020. This high rate of growth will mainly be due to the increased demand for biological products needed to improve life standards for people across the globe. Most employers will require PhDs for advanced positions and graduates with master’s or bachelor’s degrees may start in entry-level positions. BLS indicates the median annual salary as $79, 390 (May 2010).

4. Epidemiology

Epidemiologists study diseases and different public health problems to determine their causes. Their major aim in doing this is to prevent occurrences or recurrences of diseases. Most, but not all, epidemiologists work for the government in different work environments such as laboratories, health centers, and universities, among others. The job outlook for epidemiologists is bright too, given that the industry is expected to grow by 24 percent for the decade ending 2020. A master’s degree is needed in this occupation, but some epidemiologists also hold PhDs. According to the BLS, the median salary for epidemiologists in 2010 was $63,010.

5. Microbiology

Microbiologists are concerned with the study of microscopic organisms, such as fungi and algae. They do most of their work in laboratories. Although it is be possible to get an entry level microbiology job with a bachelor’s degree, most microbiologists have PhDs. The industry is expected to grow by approximately 13 percent for the decade ending 2020, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. Microbiologists command a nice annual average salary of $65, 920 (May 2010).

It is clear from the above discussions that careers in life sciences are going to hold some of the best job opportunities in the next decade. Most of the fast growing occupations may be considered non-traditional, but they are fast becoming mainstream occupations. An examination of the Bright Outlook Occupations section of U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*Net) website reveals that most of them are in life science.

Help employers find you! Check out all the scientist jobs and post your resume.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter – May 16, 2013.

Sign up for the free weekly Career Insider eNewsletter.

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