Cell Guidance Systems Blog

Green fingers: Plant scaffolds for body parts

Green fingers: Plant scaffolds for body parts

Wood, bamboo and other plant-derived materials are widely used to provide structural integrity for buildings. It turns out that plant-derived scaffolds can also be used, on a much smaller scale, to support the culture of cells grown in 3D. Importantly, as well as providing structure, plant structures can provide vasculature, on a similar scale to our own, enabling nutrients and signalling molecules to be carried to cells that are distant from the surface.

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Cytokine storm in a teacup: Growth factor dynamics in cell culture

Cytokine storm in a teacup: Growth factor dynamics in cell culture

Recombinant cytokines and other growth factors underpin cell culture and are as important to biotechnology as semi-conductors are to information technology. They also provide a source of cell-based assay variability. Understanding cytokine dynamics is important to the design of better cell-based assays and manufacturing systems.

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Exosome dominoes: How acute pancreatitis leads to lung injury

Exosome dominoes: How acute pancreatitis leads to lung injury

Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a sudden and severe inflammation of the pancreas sometimes caused by gallstones. In the most severe cases, AP can also lead to injury of the lung. The pathway from pancreatic disease to lung injury is anything but direct and a fundamental role for exosomes has emerged.

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Cancer wars: the return of the cytokine

Cancer wars: the return of the cytokine

In the 1890s, William Coley (pictured) pioneered techniques that boost immune activity against cancer by injecting pathogens into cancer patients to stimulate their immune system. The modern emergence of onco-immunotherapy began with the therapeutic development of cytokines. These messenger proteins modulate both innate and adaptive immunity. Although they have been overshadowed by checkpoint inhibitors for the last decade, there is renewed interest in targeting and harnessing cytokines for cancer immunotherapy.

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Gut instincts: the mucosal immune system treads a thin line

Gut instincts: the mucosal immune system treads a thin line

Mucosal surfaces are the primary interface between an individual and pathogens and are particularly vulnerable to infection. Yet, they also come into regular contact with a host of antigens that need to be tolerated. To allow tolerance and deal with a constant threat of infection, a dynamic and complex array of immune mechanisms provide a finely calibrated first response to these invasive microbial threats.

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Cancer models are getting better

Cancer models are getting better

More than any other disease, the complexity of cancer has frustrated the development of effective therapeutics. The varying and evolving landscape of genetic changes between and within tumors and the complex interaction of the cancer cells with the immune system make this disease extremely difficult to simulate. A range of models now exists that better replicate cancers complexity.

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Whatever happed to the Endostatin?

Whatever happed to the Endostatin?

Cancer drug candidates sometimes emerge with exceptional promise but ultimately fall short. In the late 1990s, endostatin gained huge prominence and was widely viewed as an exceptional cancer drug candidate. But things didn’t quite work out. Although endostatin is now approved by the FDA, in the West it is largely forgotten, eclipsed by newer treatments. But look East, notably to China, and endostatin is very much at the forefront of cancer therapy, particularly in combination with chemotherapy. Why have its fortunes varied geographically and will it ever make a global impact?

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PODS-PeptiGels for improved 3D cell culture launched

PODS-PeptiGels for improved 3D cell culture launched

Cell Guidance Systems and Manchester BIOGEL collaborate to launch PODS-PeptiGels for 3D cell culture • PODS-PeptiGels combine two stand-out technologies in a single customisable cell culture environment • Provides researchers with a predictable and controlled system, with potential for long-term experiments and reduced hands-on time

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Taming inflammation

Taming inflammation

Inflammation is critical for maintaining health, but, paradoxically, can also generate disease: Chronic inflammation is strongly associated with the development of cancer and is also a key driver of the ageing process. In addition, auto-immune diseases, of which there are very many, are debilitating and can lead to high rates of morbidity and mortality. Drugs that are able to specifically target the damaging aspects inflammatory responses whilst leaving critical functions intact can be hugely successful.

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Covid's natural born victims

Covid's natural born victims

Why do some people fall seriously ill and die with Covid whilst others are asymptomatic? A remarkable characteristic of Covid-19 is the way it affects individuals so differently: Around 40% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic. A further 40% experience mild, upper respiratory tract symptoms. The remaining 20% develop pneumonia, of which 10% will become hypoxic, leading to critical illness in around 3%. In addition to age, sex and underlying health issues, the ability to deploy key immunomodulatory cytokines has emerged as an important risk factor for mortality.

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