Breaking News
October 16, 2018 - MDI Biological Laboratory receives $1.2 million SEPA grant to promote data literacy
October 16, 2018 - Vast majority of dementia cases may arise from spontaneous genetic errors
October 16, 2018 - New project aims to deliver fast, effective treatment for autoimmune rheumatic diseases
October 16, 2018 - Study identifies molecular switch that controls fate of milk-producing breast cells
October 16, 2018 - Research shows diet has little influence on precursor to gout
October 16, 2018 - “Without Dr. Shumway doing his miracle work, three generations would not be here”: A Stanford heart transplant patient’s story
October 16, 2018 - Researchers demonstrate integrated technique to control production of cell therapeutics
October 16, 2018 - Breast tomosynthesis detects 34% more tumors than traditional mammography
October 16, 2018 - Rhode Island Hospital, Brown receive $800,000 grant to keep up fight against opioid epidemic
October 16, 2018 - UVA partners with health systems in AVIA network’s Medicaid Transformation Project
October 16, 2018 - Trevena Announces Oliceridine FDA Advisory Committee Meeting Outcome
October 16, 2018 - Study reveals early warning signs of heart problems in patients with newly diagnosed lupus
October 16, 2018 - Connecting the dots of Alzheimer’s disease
October 16, 2018 - New publication offers evidence-based content for global breast imaging medical community
October 16, 2018 - ‘EinsteinVision’ that improves hand-eye coordination of surgeons introduced at Harefield Hospital
October 16, 2018 - WRAIR clinical study evaluates safety and immunogenicity of Marburg vaccine
October 16, 2018 - Ketamine can be considered as alternative to opioids for short-term pain control in ED
October 16, 2018 - Endurance exercise training beneficially alters gut microbiota composition
October 15, 2018 - FDA Approves Yutiq (fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant) for Chronic Non-Infectious Posterior Segment Uveitis
October 15, 2018 - Birthing Options for Full-Term Pregnancy
October 15, 2018 - Stressed, toxic, zombie cells seen for first time in Alzheimer’s
October 15, 2018 - Concussion researchers study head motion in high school football hits | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Neuropsychiatric symptoms related to earliest stages of Alzheimer’s brain pathology
October 15, 2018 - Neck collar device may help protect the brain of female high school soccer players
October 15, 2018 - Research reveals how the inner ear processes speech
October 15, 2018 - Many parents still skeptical about safety and effectiveness of flu shot, survey finds
October 15, 2018 - Payer Policies May Discourage Non-Pharma Tx for Low Back Pain
October 15, 2018 - Exercise may delay cognitive decline in people with rare Alzheimer’s disease
October 15, 2018 - Researchers modify CRISPR to reorganize genome | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Innovative brain tumor operation set to tailor to patients’ needs
October 15, 2018 - Findings offer new insight into early changes that occur during AD pathology
October 15, 2018 - Neurons regulating reproductive hormone release have different activity in epileptic mice
October 15, 2018 - More parents are concerned about taking babies swimming in public pools
October 15, 2018 - Health Tip: Know the Risk Factors for Lower Back Pain
October 15, 2018 - Study shows cigarillo flavors enhanced by high-intensity sweeteners
October 15, 2018 - Study traces hospital-acquired bloodstream infections to patients’ own bodies | News Center
October 15, 2018 - Abnormal vision in childhood can affect development of brain areas responsible for attention
October 15, 2018 - Study highlights need for increased support for alcohol-related liver disease patients
October 15, 2018 - Color-changing contact lens could help doctors to monitor eye disease medications
October 15, 2018 - Tobacco heating products cause less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes
October 15, 2018 - Young adults who are obese can expect to lose up to 10 years in life expectancy
October 15, 2018 - Scientists uncover how proteins meet on the cell membrane
October 15, 2018 - Affordable housing with supportive social services for senior citizens can reduce hospital use
October 15, 2018 - Schiller Easy Pulse Saves Lives
October 15, 2018 - The latest ECG device from Schiller
October 15, 2018 - Following a Tissue Sample
October 15, 2018 - Prisoners need drug and alcohol treatments but AA programs aren’t the answer
October 15, 2018 - Andrea Califano and Jordan Orange Elected to National Academy of Medicine
October 15, 2018 - The impending risk of African Swine Fever Virus
October 15, 2018 - Breastfeeding reduces the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in infant gut
October 15, 2018 - Researchers develop comprehensive molecular atlas of postnatal mouse heart development
October 15, 2018 - ObsEva SA Presents Clinical Data from Phase III IMPLANT 2 Trial of Nolasiban in IVF at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Meeting
October 15, 2018 - Engineering teratoma-derived fibroblasts to enhance osteogenesis
October 15, 2018 - Lab study shows effectiveness of potential therapy for treatment-resistant hypothyroidism
October 15, 2018 - JCU study firms up association between diet and depression
October 15, 2018 - Researchers to study the use of CRISPR on human liver on-a-chip platform
October 15, 2018 - Sub-concussive impacts not associated with decline in neurocognitive function
October 15, 2018 - Researchers find potential treatment to halt premature labor and birth
October 15, 2018 - As U.S. suicides rates rise, Hispanics show relative immunity
October 15, 2018 - FDA Issues a Complete Response Letter to Acacia Pharma for Barhemsys
October 15, 2018 - Photoactive bacteria bait may help in fight against MRSA infections
October 15, 2018 - Increasing vigorous exercise reduces risk factors of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease in children
October 15, 2018 - First-of-its-kind study to test a personalized vaccine in cancer patient
October 15, 2018 - Extension trial assesses benefit of switching from flash monitoring to RT-CGM for hypoglycemia
October 15, 2018 - Half of parents say young children are afraid of doctor’s visits
October 15, 2018 - Study shows how fingerprint-based drug screening works on the living and deceased
October 15, 2018 - Study reveals potential to monitor progression of Alzheimer’s disease by measuring brain antioxidant levels
October 15, 2018 - FDA Approves Xarelto to Reduce the Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events in Patients with Chronic Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
October 15, 2018 - Promising new therapeutic approach against Ebola virus identified
October 15, 2018 - Study unravels how cancer stem cells use normal genes in abnormal ways
October 15, 2018 - Healthcare systems fail to deliver at affordable prices finds report
October 15, 2018 - Intensive BP Therapy in Diabetes May Lower Risk for CV Events
October 15, 2018 - Muscle relaxants increase risk of respiratory complications
October 15, 2018 - Female birds become more promiscuous after hatchings fail in the first breeding attempt
October 15, 2018 - Humans occupied Madagascar thousands of years later than previously thought
October 15, 2018 - Is Kidney Dialysis Always Needed When Septic Shock Strikes?
October 15, 2018 - Study shows invasive lung cancer surgery can lead to long-term opioid use
October 15, 2018 - Sugar, a “sweet” tool to understand brain injuries
October 14, 2018 - King’s commemorates activities and research on World Arthritis Day
October 14, 2018 - Humana and VFW NY team up on Stop 22 initiative to increase awareness of veterans committing suicide
New tool measures cell strength 100 times faster than current technologies

New tool measures cell strength 100 times faster than current technologies

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Engineers, doctors and scientists at UCLA and Rutgers University have developed a tool that measures the physical strength of individual cells 100 times faster than current technologies.

The new device could make it easier and faster to test and evaluate new drugs for diseases associated with abnormal levels of cell strength, including hypertension, asthma and muscular dystrophy. It could also open new avenues for biological research into cell force. It is the first high-throughput tool that can measure the strength of thousands of individual cells at a time.

“We took a fresh approach to identify molecules that could serve as drugs to meet an unmet need for new treatments to treat or cure chronic disease,” said Dr. Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., study coauthor and professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“Our new experimental platforms are capable of screening millions of molecules to identify the best drug candidates for the right patients,” said Panettieri, Vice Chancellor, Clinical & Translational Science and director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science. “The system leverages the state of the art bioengineering techniques and use of human cells derived from patients with chronic diseases that offers greater likelihood of predicting therapeutic responses.”

“Our tool tracks how much force individual cells exert over time, and how they react when they are exposed to different compounds or drugs,” said Dino Di Carlo, professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and the project’s principal investigator. “It’s like a microscopic fitness test for cells with thousands of parallel stations.”

The team’s work is described in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Cells use physical force for essential biological functions — both as individual cells, for example in cell division or immune function, and as large groups of cells in tissue, for example, when muscles contract.

Disruptions in a cell’s ability to control the levels of force they exert can lead to diseases or loss of important bodily functions. For example, asthma is caused by the smooth muscle cells that line the airways squeezing more than normal. And abnormally weak cell forces are associated with heart failure, muscular dystrophy and migraine headaches.

“Apart from demonstrating the feasibility of screening compounds for drug discovery, we also discovered that the conventional notion that increases in calcium levels within a cell are essential to control cell shortening or migration that is important in asthma or cancer metastasis was incorrect,” Panettieri said. “Our observations using this novel platform offer a new paradigm regarding cell activation and approaches to screen molecules to target such processes.”

The device is called fluorescently labeled elastomeric contractible surfaces, or FLECS. Its key component is a flexible rectangular plate with more than 100,000 uniformly spaced X-shaped micropatterns of proteins that are sticky so cells settle on and attach to them.

The X’s embedded in the plate are elastic, so they shrink when the cells contract. The X’s are made fluorescent with a molecular marker to enable imaging and quantification of how much the shapes shrink.

“Our platform can markedly improve the speed and fidelity of screening of millions of potential molecules in order to find new candidates that can rapidly progress through the approval process to become new drugs in asthma, cancer and heart disease,” Panettieri said.

The X pattern the researchers built into FLECS are just one option for how the plate can be configured. It can be adjusted to screen for a broad range of cell types by altering the patterns’ shapes, stiffness and molecular composition.

To test the tool, the researchers analyzed drugs that make cells either contract or relax, using human smooth muscle cells that line airways in the body — in effect, simulating an asthma attack in the lab. The researchers compared the results of those tests to what was already known about how lung tissue reacts to the drugs and found that FLECS captured the same types of reactions — only more precisely because it could analyze the reactions in cell-by-cell detail.

The researchers conducted additional testing to further demonstrate the device’s versatility and effectiveness. For example, they tested the force of macrophages, cells in the immune system that rid the body of potentially harmful particles, bacteria and dead cells. They found that when a typical macrophage receives a signal that an infection is present, it can exert force approximately 200,000 times its own weight in water. But some macrophages were more than three times stronger than that.

The researchers also used FLECS to analyze cell force and then compared the results of that test to a current standard test, which judges cell force by analyzing the amount of calcium in the cells. They were surprised that the results of the calcium test did not correlate well with how much cells contracted. The finding suggests that the calcium test may be limited, because — unlike that test — FLECS looks at a level of detail down to an individual cell.

In collaboration with researchers from the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science, the UCLA researchers found that individuals cells from people who had died from severe asthma contract with more force, both generally and during an asthma attack, than they do in healthy people.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles