Stem Cells Captured for Regenerative Use

BOSTON, May 5 (UPI) — A U.S. chemical engineer has been awarded a $1.9 million federal grant to develop techniques for cultivating stem cells for use in damaged tissue replacement.

Northeastern University Assistant Professor Shashi Murthy will use the three-year grant to lead an international team of researchers in designing and building small devices to extract stem cells that help to grow new tissue for diseased or non-functional cardiac muscle or skin.

“Our goal is to advance regenerative-medicine technologies by more effectively extracting and cultivating stem cells to multiply and develop into new tissue,” Murthy said.

One focus of the work at Northeastern — in collaboration with Assistant Professor Rebecca Carrier — is the isolation of intestinal stem cells. The researchers said such cells are challenging to separate, since they tend not to survive after they’re extracted from their native environment.

Murthy will also collaborate with Assistant Professor Milica Radisic at the University of Toronto. They will explore ways of repairing diseased heart tissue by obtaining cardiac stem cells from normal tissue and implanting them into damaged tissue.

Other scientists involved in the research include Drs. John Mayer and Juan Melero-Martin of Children’s Hospital Boston and researchers Martin Yarmush and Yaakov Nahmias at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Shriners Burn Hospital.

The study is being funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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