Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health

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Grantee News • March 6, 2018
When it comes to concocting the complex mix of molecules that makes up fibers of natural silk, nature beats human engineering hands down. Despite efforts to synthesize the material, artificial varieties still cannot match the natural fiber’s strength.
Grantee News • March 5, 2018

Scientists peer inside mammalian cells, producing intricately detailed, 3-D images of the tiny structures within and tracking molecules' subtle movements. Read more at Stanford News.

Grantee News • March 5, 2018
MIT team of scientists have created a hair-thin implant that can drip medications deep into the brain by remote control and with pinpoint precision.

Read more at The Seattle Times.

Science Highlights • February 26, 2018
Pharmaceuticals can target specific molecules involved in disease processes, but get distributed throughout the body where they can cause unwanted side effects. An approach known as electroceuticals aims to avoid systemic exposure by using small wires to electrically monitor individual nerves that control organ function and carry information about disease. The promise of electroceuticals has been challenging due to the lack of biocompatible wires. Now, NIBIB-funded researches have spun carbon nanotubes into flexible, nerve-sized yarns capable of long-term connections in live animals. The development of these biocompatible yarns opens the possibility of new bioelectric diagnostics and therapies through regulation of organ function at the single nerve level.
Science Highlights • February 22, 2018
When cardiovascular disease causes blocked blood vessels, tissues die because the oxygen carried by blood cells cannot reach the tissue. Surgery can remove blockages in large vessels in the heart or legs but is not possible in small vessels. To address this problem, researchers funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) designed 3D-printed patches seeded with vessel-inducing endothelial cells in various geometric patterns. Using a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia, the researchers identified specific patch patterns that induced growth of organized, tissue-saving blood vessels, demonstrating the potential for the novel technology to address this significant public health problem.
Grantee News • February 15, 2018

Biomedical engineers are growing tracheas by coaxing cells to form three distinct tissue types after assembling them into a tube structure-without relying on scaffolding strategies currently being investigated by other groups. Read more from Case Western Reserve University Daily.

Science Highlights • February 9, 2018
NIH-supported researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are studying an alternative to current contrast agents used for magnetic resonance imaging. In a recent study, they showed that the experimental alternative, which is a manganese-based compound, performs as well as approved contrast agents. Their study appeared online Nov. 15, 2017, in Radiology.
Science Highlights • February 8, 2018
Creating an artificial implantable kidney would be an epic advance in medicine and could address a chronic shortage of donor kidneys needed for transplant. Researchers have been at this quest for the past 15 years and keep coming upon one extremely knotty problem: how to keep the blood flowing smoothly through the artificial device without clotting. To surmount this problem, recipients of NIBIB Quantum Awards combined rare expertise in artificial kidney development and in computer simulation of blood flow, in a study in the Journal of Biomechanics.
Grantee News • February 7, 2018
Making the leap from research project to commercialized product is a daunting challenge. Several years ago, NIBIB-funded researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launched a start-up company to help facilitate this process. Their efforts were recently recognized at the SPIE Startup Challenge during the Photonics West event held in San Francisco, CA. The device they developed—a hand-held, low-cost imaging platform for diagnosing middle ear infections—was named winner of the Challenge. Read more at optics.org
Science Highlights • February 5, 2018
Cancer fighting nanovaccines have shown significant promise, but clinical application has been hampered by complications in large-scale manufacturing, quality control, and safety. Biomedical engineers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) developed a new technology that enables nanovaccines to bind to the albumin protein naturally present in the body. The albumin protein then delivers these nanocomplexes to the lymph nodes, resulting in potent immune activation against multiple tumor types in mouse cancer models. The use of natural albumin as a universal vaccine shuttle is a significant step towards the application of cancer nanovaccine immunotherapy in humans.

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