Football-Shaped Particles Bolster The Body’s Defense Against Cancer

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TTEC Seminar Speaker

Monday, June 17, 2013
1:30pm – 2:30pm
Smith Building, ATRIUM (first floor)

Lino Ferreira
Center of Neurosciences and Cell Biology (CNC)/Biocant (Coimbra)

Bioengineering strategies to modulate stem cell differentiation and improve cell engraftment
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Congratulations to Stephanie Tzeng

Congrats to Stephany Tzeng, member of the Green Group, on her receipt of the Society For Biomaterials’ 2013 Student Award for Outstanding Research.

Congratulations to Evan Smith

Congratulations to Evan Smith, an Ingenuity Project student working in the Green Group, on winning the Baltimore Science Fair.

New material could help repair damaged cartilage

A jiggly material called hydrogel, similar in texture to Jell-O, may help mend damaged cartilage, keeping joints moving and people active.

The slippery hydrogel can jump-start cartilage growth and reduce pain, compared with the most common procedure now used in surgery, a group of scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Jordan Green named Maryland Outstanding Young Engineer

Jordan J. Green, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute, JHU School of Medicine has been named the 2012 Maryland Outstanding Young Engineer (“OYE”) by the Maryland Academy of Sciences and the Maryland Science Center. The OYE award recognizes Maryland residents 35 years of age or younger who have distinguished themselves early in their careers for noteworthy scientific accomplishments. [Read more…]

Shark fin science project

TTEC Director, Jennifer Elisseeff, and her daughter, were recently featured in article on JHU news website HUB:

TTEC Inauguration

TTEC was officially inaugurated in the Smith Building Atrium.  Peter McDonnell, Andy Lee, Elliot McVeigh, and TTEC Director Jennifer Elisseeff spoke about the importance of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine at Johns Hopkins and the exciting new opportunities that will now be available.

Jordan Green Wins BMES Young Investigator Award


July 2011—The Biomedical Engineering Society presented Jordan Green, Ph.D., with the 2011 Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award for his work developing a set of biodegradable polymers—large molecules built from many small repeated molecules—which transfer genetic material that destroys glioblastoma cancer cells found in fast-growing brain tumors. The polymers transfer DNA with a high level of success compared to other materials tried in the past, and they can be stored for up to three months before use. Many of the polymers showed a preference for bonding with tumor cells over the body’s normal cells, meaning that they could be used to target and destroy the cancer cells.

Green, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory, will be presented a $1,000 award and a recognition plaque during the 2011 BMES Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 15, in Hartford, Connecticut. He will also present a 20-minute Rita Schaffer Memorial Lecture at the meeting. The award is given in recognition of a scientist within five years of receiving his or her highest degree who displays a high level of originality and ingenuity in biomedical engineering.

Green’s work focuses on understanding and controlling delivery of genetic material and drugs to cells for therapeutic purposes. He uses nanoparticles—materials one to 100 billionth of a meter in size—that can be biodegradable and can be better for the body than viral delivery methods, which can sometimes mutate and damage the body. Green works to engineer nanoparticles that are efficiently delivered and will be useful for drug release as well as gene therapy. He is using such particles in new, targeted approaches to treating cancer.

–Sarah Lewin

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Faculty interview: Warren Grayson

How did you become interested in making tissues?

 I used to play a lot of soccer and I had a lot of sports injuries.  In one of my visits to the orthopedic surgeon, I began to take an interest in orthopedics. At that time I was getting an engineering degree, so the engineering and the medicine kind of melded together in this scenario.

Besides fixing your own sports injuries, why are you engineering bone and cartilage?

GRAYSON: One of the visions of tissue engineering is to use biological replacements rather than synthetic replacements for surgeries like hip and knee replacements.  The ultimate goal would to be able to put into a person a biological graft rather than metal or plastic, since these synthetic materials cannot fully ‘regenerate’ the affected tissues.  Also, with people living longer, more active lives, these synthetic grafts may need to be revised one or two times within the person’s lifetime.  For biological grafts, preferably we would use a patient’s own cells to regenerate tissue for that repair. The risks associated with using transplanted cells from other donors are disease transmission and immune rejection. The tissue engineering approach which uses the patient’s own cells helps to circumvents all these issues.

Your lab uses stem cells to make these tissues. How is that done?

GRAYSON: We use adult stem cells; typically they are fat or bone marrow derived cells, which are able to give rise to bone, cartilage and vascular cells. We put these stem cells in three-dimensional scaffolds (made from naturally occurring biomaterials)–not in Petri dishes, because cells in the body do not grow on flat surfaces. We incubate these cells in bioreactors to provide the environment for guiding these cells to form functional tissue. The bioreactor is essentially a small incubator that controls temperature, pH, adds growth factors and can give physiological signals by controlling all the mechanical and biophysical forces to help guide cell development. We try to mimic what happens in the body that will result in tissue growth. The idea is to have these tissues grown for several weeks outside the body to give rise to a “functional tissue.”

Why did you choose to use adult stem cells?

GRAYSON: They are more readily available. They have an advantage over embryonic stem cells in having fewer ethical concerns, which seem to hinder the potential applications of embryonic stem cells.  But, also from a scientific perspective, they are easier to control. Embryonic stem cells can form any tissue type but they continue to grow and form tumors if implanted in the body.  We don’t have this problem if we use adult derived stem cells.  They also provide us with the ability to use a patient’s own cells for therapeutic purposes.

How far are we towards being able to have our own tissues repair our injuries?

GRAYSON: Most of the work we’ve done so far has been performed outside of living organisms, but we are starting to work on animal models. We are erring on the side of caution and taking a scientifically rigorous approach. Lots of work has been done where stem cells have been used for a number of different ’therapies’. And in some cases people are just injecting cells inside of patients to see what happens. It’s great if you see an improvement, but you don’t know why these improvements occur. While we have this huge vision about what we can accomplish with stem cells, we try to take a step-by-step approach and be fairly rigorous as to understand the mechanistic approach before we apply this in the clinic.

Warren Grayson on creating bone grafts from a patient’s own stem cells:

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