A Tattoo That Can Save Your Life

Engineers from the University of Texas at Austin have designed a wearable electronic tattoo also known as an “e-tattoo”. This e-tattoo is able to monitor a persons cardiac health. And because you wear it for most of the day it gives you a very accurate picture of your heart’s health.

The device is made from thermoplastic polyvinylidene fluoride and graphene, which makes it ultra thin, flexible, and impermeable to liquids. Other benefits to device are that it is wirelessly monitored via your smartphone and compared to traditional ECG systems, e-tattoos are much cheaper to produce.

The Future of Colon Cancer Detection

London scientists have created a robotic capsule that can take images inside the colon. This device known as Sonopill could eventually replace the invasive procedure of endoscopy to detect cancer.

The Sonopill is the culmination of a decade of research by an international consortium of engineers and scientist. Based on the principle that magnets can attract and repel one another, a robotic arm passes over the patient and interacts with a magnet inside the capsule, guiding it through the colon. An AI system makes sure the capsule is positioned correctly against the gut wall to get the best quality images. The advantage to this system is, it’s harmless to the patient and doesn’t require a physical connection between the robotic arm and the capsule.  Read the full article to learn more.

Micro-Submarines Could Bring Medicine to the Body Without Surgery

Engineers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have developed micro-submarines powered by nano-motors that can navigate through the human body to deliver medicine to diseased organs without surgery.

These micro-submarines navigate in a unique way according to Dr. Kang Liang, of both the School of Biomedical Engineering and School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW, “we designed nano-motors that no longer rely on external manipulation to navigate to a specific location. Instead, they take advantage of variations in biological environments to automatically navigate themselves.”

Once the micro-submarines reach the specific site in the body, it then enters the cells releasing drug-loaded particles in a very targeted and efficient way.  Read the full article to learn more.

New Laser Microscope Can Diagnose and Treat Disease

An interesting type of microscope has been developed at the University of British Columbia. The device is a specialized type of multiphoton excitation microscope that can diagnose diseases such as skin cancer, with the added benefit of treating the disease without cutting the skin.

Since the microscope is so accurate and allows medical professionals to target the exact location of a malformation. It could be used to treat any structure of the body that is reached by light and that requires extremely precise treatment, including nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eye, brain or other vital structures.  Read the full article.

Gene-editing tool used to create an antidote for the world’s most venomous animal

A team of researchers has created a new way to block the venom of the most deadly jellyfish using a powerful gene-editing tool, known as CRISPR. The team tested box jellyfish venom in human cells grown in the lab. Using CRISPR, which can make precise DNA edits, the team were able to create human cells with specific genes turned off. If they then applied the jellyfish venom to the cells, they could see which cells lived or died and determine which genes were important for keeping the cell alive.

In the end, the researchers were able to determine which human genes caused the jellyfish venom to be so deadly and which pathway the venom used to destroy cells. Using this information along with currently available drugs that block these pathways the team decided to see how those drugs work in preventing the venom from acting on human cells. According to the team leader Greg Neely, the drugs worked and amazingly blocked the venom even 15 minutes after toxins were delivered.  Read the full article.


Nanoyarn can speed up recovery for muscle injuries

The human body is held together by an intricate cable system of tendons and muscles, engineered by nature to be tough and highly stretchable. An injury to any of these tissues, particularly in a major joint like the shoulder or knee, can require surgical repairs and weeks of limited mobility to fully heal.

Now MIT engineers have come up with a tissue engineering design that may enable a flexible range of motion in injured tendons and muscles during healing.

The team has engineered small coils lined with living cells, that they say could act as stretchy scaffolds for repairing damaged muscles and tendons. The coils are made from hundreds of thousands of biocompatible nanofibers, tightly twisted into coils resembling miniature nautical rope, or yarn.  Read the full article.

First 3D-printed heart engineered from the patient’s own materials and cells.

Tel Aviv University researchers have “printed” the world’s first 3D vascularised engineered heart using a patient’s own cells and biological materials. Until now the field of regenerative medicine has only been successful in printing simple tissues without blood vessels. “This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers,” says Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. Heart transplantation is currently the only treatment available to patients with end-stage heart failure. Given the dire shortage of heart donors, the need to develop new approaches to regenerate the diseased heart is urgent.  Read the full article.