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.

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 October 2, 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 October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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