Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Devices aim to deliver on stem-cell therapies


Bendable needle increases reach of a single injection to the brain


Neurosurgeon Daniel Lim’s injection system can bend sideways, delivering therapeutic stem cells to the brain through fewer holes in the skull (credit: J. Bardi/UCSF)
Working with bioengineers and neurosurgeons, Daniel Lim, a neurosurgeon and stem-cell scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, has designed a needle that bends for for delivering stem cells to the brain,  
The device can deposit cells anywhere within a 2-centimetre radius along a track, a volume bigger than an entire mouse brain.
Several researchers hope to use Lim’s device for clinical trials in brain cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
Lim’s device could cut down on the number of injections required for cell treatments and give more precise control of the volume of cells delivered and ensure that the cells delivered into the brain stay in the brain, avoiding the problem of reflux, in which cells injected using straight needles flow back out to the brain surface along the needle’s path.
Also, unlike other needles used for cell therapies, Lim’s device contains no ferromagnetic metals and so is compatible with MRI.
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