Cells constantly exchange material with their surroundings. At one end of the ingestion scale, nutrients are adsorbed by mechanisms such as endocytosis. At the other end, entire cells can be swallowed by another cell. Terms such as entosis, emperitosis, phagoptosis and, simply, cannibalism, describe these fascinating phenomena.
3D bioprinting enables the production of cell-laden models in which cells, biomolecules and biomaterials are deposited in a spatially predefined 3D position. As 3D bioprinting capabilities become more sophisticated, the potential to fabricate functional tissues and organs for drug testing and transplantation is being realized. But with simple stem cell procedures costing $5,000 to $50,000, how many will be able to afford these innovations?
16 years on from the groundbreaking development of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs), the scientific community has generated an explosion of applications in the areas of high throughput drug discovery and developmental biology research. Personalised regenerative medicine and cell-based therapies are also on the horizon. But after all these years, iPSC-based therapy remains in its infancy. What are the future prospects?
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.
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.
In addition to substrate elasticity (durotaxis) and chemical gradients (chemotaxis), which we explored in previous blog articles, surface topography also impacts cell movement and behavior. Cells develop and function embedded within in a highly complex, and evolving, extracellular matrix (ECM) environment. Various biochemical and biophysical ECM cellular cues and their subsequent cell responses shape the development and homeostasis of tissues. An important component of this extracellular environment, governing cell function and behaviour, is the differing micro-/nanotopographical features.
Since as early as the 1990s, a myriad of AI-driven healthcare technology has successfully reached the market. Perhaps one of most astoundingâ€”and maybe slightly unsettlingâ€”inventions of all involves the development of Xenobots, a new class of synthetic organisms that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds.
GFP has given rise to a powerful and versatile molecular toolbox. Cycles of rational design and directed mutagenesis, as well as the isolation of entirely new fluorophores from different species, are continuously pushing the capabilities of fluorescent protein (FP) biosensors to photophysical and biochemical extremes.
The impact of CRISPR-Cas9 technology is undeniable. Yet, it is not without limitations. As such, researchers have since adopted modifications to the original technology as well as alternatives that address some of these limitations.
Free radicals, reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, oxidation, antioxidants; these terms are used in both scientific and non-scientific contexts, though their meaning and relationships with one another often get confused. These molecules have very important biological roles. First, letâ€™s unravel these terms.