Stem Cells


Artificial Human Embryos Are Coming, and No One Knows How to Handle Them

MIT Technology Review

Two years ago, Shao, a mechanical engineer with a flair for biology, was working with embryonic stem cells, the kind derived from human embryos able to form any cell type. The work in Michigan is part of a larger boom in organoid research--scientists are using stem cells to create clumps of cells that increasingly resemble bits of brain, lungs, or intestine (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies: Brain Organoids"). Scientists have started seeking ways to coax stem cells to form more complicated, organized tissues, called organoids. Following guidelines promulgated last year by Kimmelman's international stem-cell society, Fu's team destroys the cells just five days after they're made.


Prospect of Synthetic Embryos Sparks New Bioethics Debate

MIT Technology Review

Two years ago, Shao, a mechanical engineer with a flair for biology, was working with embryonic stem cells, the kind derived from human embryos able to form any cell type. The work in Michigan is part of a larger boom in organoid research--scientists are using stem cells to create clumps of cells that increasingly resemble bits of brain, lungs, or intestine (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies: Brain Organoids"). Scientists have started seeking ways to coax stem cells to form more complicated, organized tissues, called organoids. Following guidelines promulgated last year by Kimmelman's international stem-cell society, Fu's team destroys the cells just five days after they're made.


From bone marrow transplant to winning medals

BBC News

Innovation in this area is being helped by the UK National Health Service's (NHS) Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), which has been rolled out over the last few years. It enables doctors to send prescriptions direct to pharmacies electronically without any need for paper. Such efficiencies have saved the NHS £137m; doctors' practices £328m; pharmacies £59m; and patients £75m, between 2013 and 2016, NHS Digital says. So his company spent three-and-a-half years building a platform, PharmacyOS, to handle every aspect of the repeat prescription process: prescribing, dispensing, delivering, billing, handling insurance claims, as well as pill-taking monitoring.


#Artificialintelligence can predict the success of IVF embryos better than do...

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Science Daily explores the issue in more depth (4 July 2017): "However, because the artificial intelligence system is a technique which analyses the embryo through mathematical variables, it offers low subjectivity and high repeatability, making embryo classification more consistent. "Nevertheless," said Professor Rocha, "the artificial intelligence system must be based on learning from a human being -- that is, the experienced embryologists who set the standards of assessment to train the system."" See also EurekAlert (4 July 2017): "The system utilizes a sophisticated architecture of multi-class deep neural networks (DNNs) and DNN ensembles trained on thousands of samples of carefully selected cells of multiple classes: embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, progenitor stem cells, adult stem cells and adult cells to recognize the class and embryonic state of the sample, achieving high accuracy in simulations. The sample sets were augmented with carefully selected and manually curated data from public repositories coming from multiple experiments and generated on different platforms.


Machine learning predicts the look of stem cells

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The Allen Cell Explorer, produced by the Allen Institute for Cell Science in Seattle, Washington, includes a growing library of more than 6,000 pictures of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) -- key components of which glow thanks to fluorescent markers that highlight specific genes. Rick Horwitz, director of the Allen Institute for Cell Science, says that the institute's images may hasten progress in stem cell research, cancer research and drug development by revealing unexpected aspects of cellular structure. The Allen Institute's visual emphasis on stem cells dovetails with a number of efforts to catalogue other aspects of cells. Aviv Regev, a computational biologist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is working on the Human Cell Atlas, says that the Allen Cell Explorer complements her project by focusing on the look of cellular features as opposed to how genes, RNA and proteins interact within the cell.


Scientists Use Stem Cells To Create Functional Artificial Blood

International Business Times

In one new study, researchers created a mix of different types of blood stem cells that produced different kinds of human blood cells when transfused into mice, The Independent reported. This is an important step toward making artificial human blood, as doctors believe that figuring out a way to turn stem cells into blood artificially will eventually lead to this breakthrough. For example, in a study published in March, scientists in England were able to produce about 50,000 red blood cells by coaxing stem cells into transforming into red blood cells. Another problem that stands in our way of successfully making limitless artificial blood is the risk of these new blood cells becoming cancerous, The Independent reported.


Working brain circuitry grown in a lab dish for first time

Daily Mail

Scientists hope to use the mini-brains to watch in real time the triggers for epilepsy, when brain cells become hyperactive, and autism, where they are thought to form bad connections. Human skin cells are transformed into pluripotent stem cells, capable of becoming any part of the body, using four genes in a petri dish. Dr Selina Wray, Alzheimer's Research UK senior research fellow at UCL Institute of Neurology, said: 'This technology will provide researchers with insights into brain development and disease which have not previously been possible.' Human skin cells are transformed into pluripotent stem cells, capable of becoming any part of the body, using four genes in a petri dish.


MESO-BRAIN Initiative to 3D Nanoprint Brain's Neural Networks - 3Printr.com

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The MESO-BRAIN project, awarded with € 3.3 million in funding from the European Commission as part of its Future and Emerging Technology scheme, aims at 3D printing human neural networks mimicking the brain's structure and function. Additionally, it aims at the development of large-scale human cell-based assays to test the effects of pharmacological and toxicological compound on the neural network activity of the brain. Being able to extract and replicate neural networks from the brain through 3D nanoprinting promises to change this. The MESO-BRAIN consortium consists of experts in the fields of photonics, physics, 3D nanoprinting, electrophysiology, molecular biology, stem cells, imagining and commercialisation from Aston University, the Cell & Tissue Biomedical Research Group, Axol Bioscience Ltd., Laser Zentrum Hannover, University of Barcelona, the Insitute of Photonic Science and KITE Innovation.


3 Exciting Biotech Trends to Watch Closely in 2017

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That fiction is now becoming a reality with cell therapies from companies like Juno (curing two infants with leukemia of their previously treatment resistant cancers with engineered T-cells), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) pioneered by the Nobel prize winning scientist, Shinya Yamanaka that can become any cell in the body, growing organoids (mini organs with some function of a fully grown organ like the stomach organoids grown by researchers in Ohio), and entirely re-grown organs. United Therapeutics is focused on growing humanized organs in Xenograph models (pigs), OneSkin is focused on growing and regenerating human skin, and companies like Scaled Biolabs have grown kidney organoids in the lab (with six cell types present in a full kidney present in the mini-organ). Using the same imaging protocol, it was estimated it would take 17 million years to image the human brain, but luckily, technology continues to advance and accelerate in neuroscience. Continued improvements in knowledge of other species, better resolution technologies from MRIs, CAT scans and EEGs, combined with machine learning, have resulted in dramatically improved understanding of the human brain's functioning.


2017 Biotech Trends–Regrown Organs, Augmented Brains, and AI Diagnosis - Techonomy

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That fiction is now becoming a reality with cell therapies from companies like Juno (curing two infants with leukemia of their previously treatment-resistant cancers with engineered T-cells); induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS) pioneered by the Nobel prize winning scientist Shinya Yamanaka that can become any cell in the body; growing organoids (mini organs with some function of a fully grown organ like the stomach organoids grown by researchers in Ohio); and entirely re-grown organs. United Therapeutics is focused on growing humanized organs in Xenograph models (Pigs), OneSkin is focused on growing and regenerating human skin, and companies like Scaled Biolabs have grown kidney organoids in the lab (with all 27 cells present in a full kidney present in the mini-organ). Continued improvements in knowledge of other species, better resolution technologies from MRI's, CAT scans and EEG's, combined with machine learning, have resulted in dramatically improved understanding of the human brain's functioning. Other companies like Mendel.ai are focusing on unleashing machine learning on understanding individual cancer cases and recommending clinical trials at first, but with the aim of eventually recommending treatments for patients that should exceed any one oncologist's knowledge base with the latest published data.