Hello there. I haven’t had a whole lot to write about. I’ve been focusing on the job search and some home repair things that unfortunately, keep jumping in price. It’s so much fun to find out the previous owner installed something wrong!
I do have a little exciting news: A paper I co-authored has been accepted for publication! The paper examines cell viability when encapsulated in superporous hydrogels. This paper was originally written by a previous Master’s student, but had been rejected for publication. I rewrote the intro and conclusion, and one of my labmates rewrote some of the methods and discussion in addition to improving the quality of the images. “Macroporous Hydrogel Scaffolds: A Platform for Cell Encapsulation” will be published in Biomedical Materials in April.
In the news:
Pharmacy on a chip gets closer: Researchers at MIT performed a clinical trial with an implantable drug delivery device for osteoporosis patients. This is the first implantable drug delivery device I’ve read about that uses electronics; typically the release is governed by diffusion or degradation. Externally programmable pacemakers exist, so why not a drug delivery chip?
FDA to review inhalable caffeine: Aeroshot was actually developed by a bioengineering professor at Harvard. As a Diet Coke addict, I approve of this development 🙂 At $2.99 a tube, it’s cheaper than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
The folks at Gizmodo were impressed by a controlled drug delivery system using carbon nanotubes. The nanotube capsule is implanted under the skin and releases a drug or protein when exposed to a stimulus. For example, a capsule for a diabetic would release insulin in response to high blood sugar. The creator also proposed putting cells in the nanotubes that would secrete a necessary protein.
There are a number of examples of stimulus responsive drug delivery systems in the literature. The cell angle is unique, but I think there’s a lot of challenges to this sort of system. Can cells secrete enough of the protein to have a therapeutic impact? Is the trigger for release sufficiently sensitive? I also wondered about the long term viability of the cells, but the system’s creator, Dr. Loftus, addresses this in an update to the article.
Next up: New jaw for woman fabricated using 3-D printer. I’ve always been fascinated by 3-D printing, and I’ve read predictions that someday we’ll be using 3-D printers to create vital organs. I am worried about what happens to body parts when you’re printing and run low on toner!