MEng (HB1V), BEng (HBD8), MEng (HB18), BEng (HBC8)
Bioengineers to grow a human tumour in the lab
Thursday 16th January 2014
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are aiming to transform the field of cancer cell research by using bioengineering techniques to grow the first complex 3-dimensional human tumor microenvironment in the laboratory.
The CANBUILD project (E2.43million grant from the European Research Council) is led by Prof Fran Balkwill and is using the latest advances in tissue engineering, biomechanics, imaging and stem cell biology to engineer the tumor microenvironment. Prof Knight, a bioengineer from the School of Engineering and Materials Science is involved in characterising the biomechanics of the specific high grade serous ovarian cancers and exploring the role of biomechanics in providing the necessary stimuli to enable the tumor to develop.
New film highlights pioneering research into bone substitute materials at Queen Mary
Thursday 12th December 2013
Queen Mary has led the development of bone substitute materials which are now used in 100,000s of patients across the globe. Two spin out companies from Queen Mary, Progentix Orthobiology and Apatech (acquired in 2010 by Baxter International) have commercialised research into these important biomaterials. In 2010, the bone substitute materials sold by Apatech, had 4% of the US bone graft market, an annual revenue of £220 million and had treated over 120,000 patients in 9 countries. Dr Karin Hing has recently been recorded for a short film explaining her pioneering research on development of bone graft substitutes at Queen Mary.
Bioengineering associated with medical implants
Saturday 17th August 2013
Queen Mary University of London has produced a new short film highlighting different medical implants including total knee replacement, prosthetic legs, artificial bone, breast implants and urological stents.
The film includes clips showing implants being developed, tested, manufactured, implanted and used. It has been used as part of bioengineering public engagement activity and demonstrates the importance of medical engineers and medical materials scientists in developing these implants and the medical treatments of tomorrow.
Queen Mary scientists discover promising protein to treat osteoarthritis
Saturday 13th July 2013
New research from the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London, suggests that a protein found predominantly in healthy cartilage, a type of tissue that allows the smooth movement of joints, could hold the key to treating osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that results from the cartilage breaking down at the joints and leads to difficulties in moving around and being active. Researchers created a synthetic gel of damaged cartilage similar to osteoarthritis in the lab, and added a protein called C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) that is naturally found in healthy cartilage tissue. The researchers compressed the gel which exposed it to a level of deformation which is similar to when a person does moderate exercise in real life. Upon examining the gel samples following the compression, the researchers found two new protective proteins that have anti-inflammatory and reparative effects. The team also discovered that the effects of CNP change as person gets older and has more diseased cartilage.
“While these are early results, the findings could be useful in treating osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than 8 million people in the UK,” explains Dr Nick Peake. Lead researcher, Dr Tina Chowdhury, said: “We are very excited about the potential for this work and the next step is to replicate results in a diseased animal model before the benefits can be translated to patients.
Arthritis Research UK’s Medical director, Professor Alan Silman welcomed the results of the study, adding: “This is an exciting piece of research. We know that exercise is essential to keep cartilage healthy and protect the joints against arthritis.
“Applying this knowledge to the treatment of osteoarthritis, where cartilage loss is substantial, has been challenging. If these preliminary results are validated in further research they could offer a novel and much needed approach to treating the underlying cause of this distressing disorder and not just reducing the symptoms.
The research is funded by Arthritis Research UK and published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
Tiny livers grown from stem cells could repair damaged organs
Friday 5th July 2013
The Daily Telegraph reports that 'Patients suffering from liver failure could be injected with tiny replacement organs grown from their own stem cells within the next ten years following new research'. Using a combination of three different types of stem cells, scientists in Japan have grown miniature precursors to human livers, known as liver buds. Whilst a leading stem cell expert, Professor Malcolm Allison from Queen Mary University of London, was not involved in the study, his comments have appeared across national media. He acknowledges the significance of the study, noting that this breakthrough “opens up the distinct possibility of being able to create mini-livers from the skin cells of a patient dying of liver failure, and when transplanted, would not be subjected to immune rejection as happens with conventional liver transplants today.”