Researchers develop bacteria that can detect tumor DNA

As seen in a dish, Acinetobacter baylyi (green) bacteria surround clumps of colorectal cancer cells. Credit: Josephine Wright/UC San Diego

Scientists at the University of California San Diego, along with colleagues in Australia, engineered bacteria capable of detecting the presence of tumor DNA in a live organism.

Previously, bacteria could perform diagnostic and therapeutic functions, according to the UC San Diego website. However, they lacked the ability to identify specific DNA sequences and mutations outside of cells.

The researchers say this innovation could create a pathway to new biosensors capable of identifying various infections, cancers and diseases. This “Cellular Assay for Targeted CRISPR-discriminated Horizontal gene transfer,” or “CATCH,” demonstrated success in detecting cancer in the colons of mice.

“As we started on this project four years ago, we weren’t even sure if using b…

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UCSD researchers develop injectable biomaterial for tissue healing

The biomaterial is based on a hydrogel that Christman’s lab developed. [Image courtesy of UCSD]

Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) developed a new biomaterial that promotes cell and tissue repair.

The injectable biomaterial reduces inflammation and promotes repair, the UCSD researchers say. Testing proved it effective in treating tissue damage caused by heart attacks in both rodent and large animal models. Researchers also provided proof of concept in a rodent model that the biomaterial could benefit patients with traumatic brian injury and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Karen Christman, professor of bioengineering at UCSD, and lead researcher on the team that developed the material, said they could begin a study on the biomaterial’s safety and efficacy in human subjects within 1-2 years. The team presented its findings in the Dec. 29 issue of Nature Biomedical Eng…

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UCSD researchers develop wearable ultrasound device

The UCSD wearable cardiac sensor technology. [Image courtesy of David Baillot, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego]

Engineers and physicians at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) developed a wearable ultrasound device for assessing heart function and structure.

The device, roughly the size of a postage stamp, features a wear time of up to 24 hours and works during strenuous exercise.

According to the university, the researchers aim to make ultrasound more accessible to a larger population. Sheng Xu, a professor of nanoengineering at UCSD, leads the project. Details of the work done so far published in the Jan. 25 issue of the journal Nature.

“The technology enables anybody to use ultrasound imaging on the go,” Xu said.

Researchers say that, thanks to custom AI algorithms, the device can measure how much blood the heart pumps.

The wearable monitoring system uses ultr…

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