By using swarms of untethered grippers, each as small as a speck of dust, Johns Hopkins engineers and physicians say they have devised a new way to perform biopsies that could provide a more effective way to access narrow conduits in the body as well as find early signs of cancer or other diseases. In two recent peer-reviewed journal articles, the team reported successful animal testing of the tiny tools, which require no batteries, wires or tethers as they seize internal tissue samples.
Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University
This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.
Growing new blood vessels in the lab is a tough challenge, but a Johns Hopkins engineering team has solved a major stumbling block: how to prod stem cells to become two different types of tissue that are needed to build tiny networks of veins and arteries. The team’s solution is detailed in an article appearing in the journal Cardiovascular Research. The work is important because networks of new blood vessels, assembled in the lab for transplanting into patients, could be a boon to people whose circulatory systems have been damaged by heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a jelly-like material and wound treatment method that, in early experiments on skin damaged by severe burns, appeared to regenerate healthy, scar-free tissue. In the Dec. 12-16 Early Online Edition of Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, the researchers reported their promising results from mouse tissue tests. The new treatment has not yet been tested on human patients. But the researchers say the procedure, which promotes the formation of new blood vessels and skin, including hair follicles, could lead to greatly improved healing for injured soldiers, home fire victims and other people with third-degree burns.
Any way you slice it, bread that contains critical nutrients could help combat severe malnutrition in impoverished regions. That is the goal of a group of Johns Hopkins University undergraduate students who are using synthetic biology to enhance common yeast so that it yields beta carotene, the orange substance that gives carrots their color. When it’s eaten, beta-carotene turns into vitamin A.
The Johns Hopkins University is now accepting applications for the Master’s in Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (MBEE) – a unique graduate degree launching in spring 2012 that is grounded in the life sciences, but intended for biotechnology professionals working outside the research setting to commercialize biotechnology products.
Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a protein “switch” that instructs cancer cells to produce their own anti-cancer medication. In lab tests, the researchers showed that these switches, working from inside the cells, can activate a powerful cell-killing drug when the device detects a marker linked to cancer. The goal, the scientists said, is to deploy a new type of weapon that causes cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy tissue.
Faculty members associated with the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology have received a $13.6 million five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to establish a Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.