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Archive - Mar 29, 2013

Article Reviews Advances in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Explosive growth in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine has led to innovative and promising applications and techniques, many of which are now being tested in human clinical trials. Hot topics, research advances, and transformative publications that are driving the field forward are highlighted in a comprehensive overview of the field presented in Tissue Engineering, Part B, Reviews, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers ( The article is available on the Tissue Engineering website ( Matthew Fisher, Ph.D., and Robert Mauck, Ph.D., Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, identify four key areas in which the field is progressing. The first main theme, in the area of tissue engineering, focuses on advances in grafts and materials, including human or animal tissue from which the cells are removed and the remaining scaffold is used to regenerate new tissues, as well as scaffolds made of new types of biomaterials. Second, in the field of regenerative medicine, the authors highlight the role of novel scaffolds and various growth and control factors in promoting tissue formation and, for example, bone healing. In the article "Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine: Recent Innovations and the Transition to Translation," ( the authors identify two additional areas that signal progress in the field: the increasing number of applications advancing into clinical trials; and the growing use of novel types of cells, such as induced pluripotent stem cells.

Gene Discovery May Yield Lettuce That Will Sprout in Hot Weather

A team of researchers, led by a University of California (UC), Davis, plant scientist, has identified a lettuce gene and related enzyme that put the brakes on germination during hot weather — a discovery that could lead to lettuces that can sprout year-round, even at high temperatures. The study also included researchers from Arcadia Biosciences in Davis, California, and Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University in India. The finding is particularly important to the nearly $2 billion lettuce industries of California and Arizona, which together produce more than 90 percent of the nation’s lettuce. The study results were published online in March 2013 in the journal The Plant Cell. “Discovery of the genes will enable plant breeders to develop lettuce varieties that can better germinate and grow to maturity under high temperatures,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Kent Bradford, a professor of plant sciences and director of the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center. “And because this mechanism that inhibits hot-weather germination in lettuce seeds appears to be quite common in many plant species, we suspect that other crops also could be modified to improve their germination,” he said. “This could be increasingly important as global temperatures are predicted to rise.” Most lettuce varieties flower in spring or early summer and then drop their seeds — a trait that is likely linked to their origin in the Mediterranean region, which, like California, characteristically has dry summers. Scientists have observed for years that a built-in dormancy mechanism seems to prevent lettuce seeds from germinating under conditions that would be too hot and dry to sustain growth. While this naturally occurring inhibition works well in the wild, it is an obstacle to commercial lettuce production.

New Metabolite-Based Diagnostic Test Could Detect Pancreatic Cancer Early

A new diagnostic test, developed in Japan, that uses a scientific technique known as metabolomic analysis may be a safe and easy screening method that could improve the prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer through earlier detection. Japanese researchers examined the utility of metabolomic analysis of serum as a diagnostic method for pancreatic cancer and then validated the new approach, according to study results published online on March 29, 2013 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. "Although surgical resection can be a curative treatment for pancreatic cancer, more than 80 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer have a locally advanced or metastatic tumor that is unresectable at the time of detection," said Masaru Yoshida, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and chief of the Division of Metabolomics Research at Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Kobe, Japan. "Conventional examinations using blood, imaging, and endoscopy are not appropriate for pancreatic cancer screening and early detection, so a novel screening and diagnostic method for pancreatic cancer is urgently required." Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, the researchers measured the levels of metabolites in the blood of patients with pancreatic cancer, patients with chronic pancreatitis, and healthy volunteers. The scientists randomly assigned 43 patients with pancreatic cancer and 42 healthy volunteers to a training set and 42 patients with pancreatic cancer and 41 healthy volunteers to a validation set. They included all 23 patients with chronic pancreatitis in the validation set.