Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pioneering Research Could Lead To Treatment Of Spinal Cord Injuries

Date:
January 8, 1999
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
Two Michigan Tech researchers have found a way to move some of Nature's most delicate objects with the precision of pieces on a chess board. With their new technique, they hope to lay the foundation for constructing custom-made, living tissues, possibly even creating bridges of nerves to repair spinal cord injuries.

HOUGHTON, MI -- Two Michigan Tech researchers have found a way to move some of Nature's most delicate objects with the precision of pieces on a chess board. With their new technique, they hope to lay the foundation for constructing custom-made, living tissues, possibly even creating bridges of nerves to repair spinal cord injuries.

Related Articles


Assistant professors David Odde (chemical engineering) and Michael Renn (physics) use lasers to push nerve cells taken from embryonic chicks into position on a glass chip. Then the embryonic cells can be teased with a glass needle to send out connections to other nerve cells, forming a disciplined network of living tissue.

"You can potentially set up mimics of neural architectures in the body, reproducing tissues on the chip," Odde said.

"It's a non-contact method. We push the cells with a laser," Renn said, adding, "Who'd have thought that they wouldn't just heat up and die?"

You can't push just anything around with a laser. It has to be smaller than 10 microns across, or about one-tenth the width of a human hair. Renn has been experimenting in the field for several years, using a laser to guide atoms along a hollow optical fiber and then planting them on a substrate. The researchers began their collaboration when Odde heard of Renn's work and thought it might have applications in biomedical engineering.

Renn explains. "In a spinal cord injury, scar tissue blocks the nerve impulses coming from the brain," he said. "Maybe this technique could be used to build a bridge of nerve cells that could be placed over the injured area." The tissue could also be used to better understand and perhaps develop cures for neurological disorders.

And, while they haven't tried this technique, known as direct-write lithography, on other cells, they envision much broader applications. "Suppose we could deliver new cells to a damaged region, say the liver," Odde said. "Could we make some tissue equivalent that would support liver function?"

"And we can manipulate almost any kind of material, so you could mix electronic as well as biological materials on one chip," Renn said. He hopes to commercialize direct-write lithography to make circuits on an unlimited variety of substrates. Though the technique is not as fast as the photolithography now used to make computer chips, it can function on a much smaller scale, with "wires" only 20 nanometers in diameter--one-five-hundredth the width of a single neuron.

"When people ask us "What's next?" I don't know what to say," Odde said. "The possibilities are enormous. We can put an arbitrary pattern of arbitrary particles on an arbitrary surface--When I think about it, I get really excited."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "Pioneering Research Could Lead To Treatment Of Spinal Cord Injuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990108081026.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (1999, January 8). Pioneering Research Could Lead To Treatment Of Spinal Cord Injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990108081026.htm
Michigan Technological University. "Pioneering Research Could Lead To Treatment Of Spinal Cord Injuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990108081026.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins