Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category

Oct 4, 2023

Nano-mechanoelectrical approach increases DNA detection sensitivity by 100 times

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology

UMass Amherst researchers have pushed forward the boundaries of biomedical engineering one hundredfold with a new method for DNA detection with unprecedented sensitivity.

“DNA detection is in the center of bioengineering,” says Jinglei Ping, lead author of the paper that appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ping is an assistant professor of mechanical and , an adjunct assistant professor in and affiliated with the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences. “Everyone wants to detect the DNA at a low concentration with a high sensitivity. And we just developed this method to improve the sensitivity by about 100 times with no cost.”

Oct 3, 2023

Dr. Alex Colville, Ph.D. — Co-Founder and General Partner — age1

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, finance, genetics, life extension

Venture Investing To Catalyze The Next Generation Of Founder-Led, Longevity Biotech Companies — Dr. Alex Colville, Ph.D., Co-Founder and General Partner — age1.

Dr. Alex Colville, Ph.D. is Co-Founder and General Partner of age1 (, a venture capital firm focused on catalyzing the next generation of founder-led, longevity biotech companies, with a strategy of building a community of visionaries advancing new therapeutics, tools, and technologies targeting aging and age-related diseases.

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Oct 2, 2023

“Inverse vaccine” shows potential to treat multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, neuroscience

A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognize a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. The new “inverse vaccine” does just the opposite: it removes the immune system’s memory of one molecule. While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, in which the immune system attacks a person’s healthy tissues.

The inverse vaccine, described in Nature Biomedical Engineering, takes advantage of how the liver naturally marks molecules from broken-down cells with “do not attack” flags to prevent autoimmune reactions to cells that die by natural processes. PME researchers coupled an antigen — a molecule being attacked by the immune system— with a molecule resembling a fragment of an aged cell that the liver would recognize as friend, rather than foe. The team showed how the vaccine could successfully stop the autoimmune reaction associated with a multiple-sclerosis-like disease.

“In the past, we showed that we could use this approach to prevent autoimmunity,” said Jeffrey Hubbell, the Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and lead author of the new paper. “But what is so exciting about this work is that we have shown that we can treat diseases like multiple sclerosis after there is already ongoing inflammation, which is more useful in a real-world context.”

Oct 1, 2023

Longevity Summit Dublin

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

The last 2 questions and the answers are great. The first starts at 30 minutes. And I like his answer to the 2nd question especially, the time is 33:54. “What is giving me great hope is that we’re entering the phases where we have more than enough tools to get really get close to escape velocity.”

Genome Engineering for Healthy Longevity – George Church at Longevity Summit Dublin 2023.

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Sep 30, 2023

Examining the genesis of CRISPR’s molecular scissors

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Genome engineering may be the future of medicine, but it relies on evolutionary advances made billions of years ago in primordial bacteria, the original masters of gene editing.

Modern day genome engineers like Columbia’s Sam Sternberg are always looking forward, modifying these ancient systems and pushing them to perform ever more complex feats of gene editing.

But to uncover , it sometimes pays to look backward in time to understand how bacteria first created the original systems, and why.

Sep 30, 2023

Newly engineered CRISPR enzyme for editing DNA could improve patient treatment

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, genetics

A new CRISPR-based gene-editing tool has been developed which could lead to better treatments for patients with genetic disorders. The tool is an enzyme, AsCas12f, which has been modified to offer the same effectiveness but at one-third the size of the Cas9 enzyme commonly used for gene editing. The compact size means that more of it can be packed into carrier viruses and delivered into living cells, making it more efficient.

Researchers created a library of possible AsCas12f mutations and then combined selected ones to engineer an AsCas12f with 10 times more editing ability than the original unmutated type. This engineered AsCas12f has already been successfully tested in mice and has the potential to be used for new, more effective treatments for patients in the future.

By now you have probably heard of CRISPR, the gene-editing tool which enables researchers to replace and alter segments of DNA. Like genetic tailors, scientists have been experimenting with “snipping away” the genes that make mosquitoes malaria carriers, altering food crops to be more nutritious and delicious, and in recent years begun to overcome some of the most challenging diseases and genetic disorders.

Sep 29, 2023

Science Fiction Meets Neuro-Reality: Organoids to Rebuild the Brain

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, neuroscience

This is leading to even better brain engineering 👏 🙌 👌 😀 😄.

Computer-augmented brains, cures to blindness, and rebuilding the brain after injury all sound like science fiction. Today, these disruptive technologies aren’t just for Netflix, “Terminator,” and comic book fodder — in recent years, these advances are closer to reality than some might realize, and they have the ability to revolutionize neurological care.

Neurologic disease is now the world’s leading cause of disability, and upwards of 11 million people have some form of permanent neurological problem from traumatic brain injuries and stroke. For example, if a traumatic brain injury has damaged the motor cortex — the region of the brain involved in voluntary movements — patients could become paralyzed, without hope of regaining full function. Or some stroke patients can suffer from aphasia, the inability to speak or understand language, due to damage to the brain regions that control speech and language comprehension.

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Sep 25, 2023

ChatGPT: Will It Transform the World of Health Care?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, health, robotics/AI

The recent introduction of the breathtaking AI tool ChatGPT has sparked a national dialogue about the future of artificial intelligence in health care, education, research, and beyond. In this session, four UCSF experts discuss AI’s current and potential uses, in areas ranging from research to education to clinical care. After a brief presentation by each speaker, DOM Chair Bob Wachter moderates a far-ranging panel discussion on the health care applications of ChatGPT.

Atul Butte, MD, PhD, professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics; director, UCSF Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute; chief data scientist, University of California Health System.

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Sep 25, 2023

Gene Editing Tool Improves Immunotherapy

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics

There are many therapies that target cancer. The most well-known is chemotherapy, which is a toxic chemical that is directed at a tumor to kill the cells. This is currently the standard of care for most types of cancer. However, as science advances, less toxic and more direct therapies are discovered. The most recently discovered therapy is known as ‘immunotherapy’, which redirects the immune system to kill the tumor. There are many successful treatments with immunotherapy among different types of cancers, including melanoma and lung cancer. Unfortunately, immunotherapy is limited in many solid tumors due to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME is a pro-tumor environment that the cancer has made by releasing specific proteins that allow it to progress. In this environment the tumor can remain undetected from the immune system and progress throughout the body. Different immune cells in the TME become polarized and alter their functions to help the tumor proliferate and grow. It is now becoming more common to pair therapies together including immunotherapy with chemotherapy. Scientists are still trying to find ways to improve treatment and completely eradicate the tumor.

In San Francisco, California, a group of scientists, led by Dr. Alex Marson, are working to modify gene expression to reprogram or change immune cells in the TME to attack cancer. There has been some success, but this immunotherapy does not help treat all patients. In addition, the screening process to determine genetic changes to determine which cells would result in the greatest treatment efficacy is a long, arduous process. A group at the Gladstone Institutes has worked with Marson at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to develop a strategy that helps pair different genetic combinations in a faster amount of time to determine the most beneficial treatment outcomes. This screening technique is called Pooled Knockin Screening (ModPoKI). ModPoKI finds the best genetic modifications to express in immune cells that will have prolonged anti-tumor efficacy.

The study that demonstrated ModPoKI was published recently in Cell, which demonstrates our ability to now understand how to combine genetic programs. ModPoKI combines genes into long lines of DNA to generate roughly 10,000 combinations to match with a genetically engineered immune cell known as a T cells are major immune cells that primarily target foreign antigens, like cancer cells, and kill them. Once the optimal gene modification is found, it is put into the engineered immune cells that are polarized to kill cancer. After further investigation, the combinations made by ModPoKI resulted in the most polarized anti-tumor T cells.

Sep 24, 2023

Scientists Successfully Genetically Modify Individual Cells in Living Animals

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

One proven method for tracking down the genetic origins of diseases is to knock out a single gene in animals and study the consequences this has for the organism. The problem is that for many diseases, the pathology is determined by multiple genes, complicating the task for scientists trying to pinpoint the contribution of any single gene to the condition. To do this, they would have to perform many animal experiments – one for each desired gene modification.

Researchers led by Randall Platt, Professor of Biological Engineering at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel, have now developed a method that will greatly simplify and speed up research with laboratory animals: using the CRISPR-Cas gene scissors, they simultaneously make several dozen gene changes in the cells of a single animal, much like a mosaic.

While no more than one gene is altered in each cell, the various cells within an organ are altered in different ways. Individual cells can then be precisely analyzed. This enables researchers to study the ramifications of many different gene changes in a single experiment.

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