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Duke U. Mends Broken Hearts

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on October 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm


Duke University research is predated by the cardiac research by Prof Doris Taylor.  In 2005, Dr Taylor rinses rat hearts with detergent until the cells washed away and all that remained was a skeleton of tissue translucent as wax paper. She then injected the scaffold with fresh heart (stem) cells from newborn rats.  Four days later, “We could see these little areas that were beginning to beat.  By eight days, we could see the whole heart beating.”  The experiment, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, marked the first time scientists had created a functioning heart in the lab from biological tissue.

Duke U. Mends Broken Hearts

By mimicking the way embryonic stem cells develop into heart muscle in a lab, Duke University bioengineers believe they have taken an important first step toward growing a living “heart patch” to repair heart tissue damaged by disease.


In a series of experiments using mouse embryonic stem cells, the bioengineers used a novel mold of their own design to fashion a three-dimensional “patch” made up of heart muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes. The new tissue exhibited the two most important attributes of heart muscle cells -– the ability to contract and to conduct electrical impulses. The mold looks much like a piece of Chex cereal in which researchers varied the shape and length of the pores to control the direction and orientation of the growing cells.


CHex Cereal

The researchers grew the cells in an environment much like that found in natural tissues. They encapsulated the cells within a gel composed of the blood-clotting protein fibrin, which provided mechanical support to the cells, allowing them to form a three-dimensional structure. They also found that the cardiomyocytes flourished only in the presence of a class of “helper” cells known as cardiac fibroblasts, which comprise as much as 60 percent of all cells present in a human heart.


Fibroblast Cells

via New strategy for mending broken hearts? | Machines Like Us.


Obama’s Nobel Peace prize and International Politics

In OFF THE BEATEN PATH on October 11, 2009 at 10:56 am

2009: Barack Obama - In a surprise announcement on Oct. 9, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the American president for 'extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.' In this photo, President Obama addresses the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23.

You’re way better than Bush!  The world hates America a whole lot less these days!  Here’s a Nobel Prize! Huh?

Chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, holds up a photo of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama at The Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo Friday.

The international politics behind Obama’s Nobel Peace prize

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Barack Obama appears to be an effort to spur on, rather than reward, peacemaking.

By Dan Murphy and Tom Sullivan | Staff writer 10.09.09

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN; and BOSTON — The surprise decision to award President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had much of the world scratching its head on Friday, even among the president’s most ardent fans. Less than a year into office, the young president has made lofty promises, committed his administration to diplomacy, and convinced the world that a less belligerent America is in the offing.

But he is also the commander-in-chief for the Afghan and Iraq wars, as well as ongoing lower-scale US military efforts in Pakistan, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines. Later on Friday, Obama will hold a strategy session with his war cabinet that could lead to a commitment of more combat troops to Afghanistan. A commentator on Britain’s Sky News captured the mood well when he said it appeared Obama had won the prize for “not being George Bush.”

America’s international standing was at a nadir by the end of the Bush administration, and Obama’s decision to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program (already bearing some fruit) and promises to reinvigorate US efforts in Israel-Palestinian peacemaking have quickly remade America’s international image, with the US leaping into the top spot in a recent survey on the world’s most admired countries. That’s especially so in Europe, where Obama’s decision to cancel a planned missile-shield system in Eastern Europe that had rankled Russia has been widely praised.

And the five-member Norwegian committee that picks the annual peace-prizewinner clearly has something more in mind than simply giving Obama a $1 million high-five for being such a popular guy. Unlike the other Nobels, which are given for a lifetime of generally indisputable high achievement in areas like physics, chemistry, and literature, the peace prize has often been awarded more in hope than hindsight — and with an eye to nudging world events.

via The international politics behind Obama’s Nobel Peace prize | csmonitor.com.

Let’s compare his efforts to other recent winners:

2008: Martti Ahtisaari – Finland’s former president received the award in 2008 ‘for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts.’ Ahtisaari worked to find peaceful solutions in Kosovo, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa in his long diplomatic career.

2007: Al Gore – The former US vice-president and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 ‘for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.’

2006: Muhammad Yunus – The Bangladeshi banker and economist and the Bangladeshi Grameen Bank were given the prize in 2006 ‘for advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, especially women, through their pioneering microcredit work.’ Yunus discovered that lending small amounts to the poor can make a disproportionally large impact on the fight against poverty.

2005: Mohamed ElBaradei – The Austrian-based International Atomic Energy Agency and its Egyptian Director General were awarded the prize in 2005 ‘for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way.’

2004: Wangari Muta Maathai – The Kenyan political activist and founder of the Green Belt Movement, an organization promoting sustainable development, women’s rights, and conservation, received the award in 2004 ‘for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

2003: Shirin Ebadi – The Iranian lawyer and human rights activist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 ‘for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.’ Ebadi is the founder of the Iranian Centre for the Defence of Human Rights.

2002: Jimmy Carter – The former American president was given the 2002 award ‘for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.’

2001: Kofi Annan – The United Nations and its Secretary General, Kofi Annan, were awarded the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize ‘for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.’

2000: Kim Dae Jung – The South Korean President was given the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize ‘for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular.’ Kim’s ‘Sunshine Policy’ reopened diplomatic relations between North and South Korea and was hailed by many as a major accomplishment, despite North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Il’s failure to keep some of his promises.

Jaw bone created from stem cells – BBC News

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on October 11, 2009 at 10:48 am

Jaw bone created from stem cells

New bone created in the lab

The new bone was created from bone marrow stem cells

Scientists have created part of the jaw joint in the lab using human adult stem cells.

They say it is the first time a complex, anatomically-sized bone has been accurately created in this way.

It is hoped the technique could be used not only to treat disorders of the specific joint, but more widely to correct problems with other bones too.

The Columbia University study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The bone which has been created in the lab is known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

The availability of personalized bone grafts engineered from the patient’s own stem cells would revolutionise the way we currently treat these defects

Problems with the joint can be the result of birth defects, arthritis or injury.

Although they are widespread, treatment can be difficult.

The joint has a complex structure which makes it difficult to repair by using grafts from bones elsewhere in the body.

The latest study used human stem cells taken from bone marrow.

These were seeded into a tissue scaffold, formed into the precise shape of the human jaw bone by using digital images from a patient.

The cells were then cultured using a specially-designed bioreactor which was able to infuse the growing tissue with exactly the level of nutrients found during natural bone development…

via BBC NEWS | Health | Jaw bone created from stem cells.

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