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UK SCIENTISTS MAKE BODY PARTS IN LAB

Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:29 Published in Health & Fitness

LONDON (AP) -- In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells.

It is among several labs around the world, including in the U.S., that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab.

While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far- including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes - researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world's first nose made partly from stem cells.

"It's like making a cake," said Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort. "We just use a different kind of oven."

During a recent visit to his lab, Seifalian showed off a sophisticated machine used to make molds from a polymer material for various organs.

Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his to cancer. Scientists added a salt and sugar solution to the mold of the nose to mimic the somewhat sponge-like texture of the real thing. Stem cells were taken from the patient's fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to cover the nose scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man's forearm so that skin would grow to cover it.

Seifalian said he and his team are waiting for approval from regulatory authorities to transfer the nose onto the patient's face but couldn't say when that might happen

The potential applications of lab-made organs appear so promising even the city of London is getting involved: Seifalian's work is being showcased on Tuesday as Mayor Boris Johnson announces a new initiative to attract investment to Britain's health and science sectors so spin-off companies can spur commercial development of the pioneering research.

The polymer material Seifalian uses for his organ scaffolds has been patented and he's also applied for patents for their blood vessels, tear ducts and windpipe. He and his team are creating other organs including coronary arteries and ears. Later this year, a trial is scheduled to start in India and London to test lab-made ears for people born without them.

"Ears are harder to make than noses because you have to get all the contours right and the skin is pulled tight so you see its entire structure," said Dr. Michelle Griffin, a plastic surgeon who has made dozens of ears and noses in Seifalian's lab.

"At the moment, children who need new ears have to go through a really invasive procedure involving taking cartilage from their ribs," Griffin said, adding that taking fat cells from patients' abdomens to add to a lab-made ear scaffold would be far easier than the multiple procedures often necessary to carve an ear from their ribs. Griffin added they plan to eventually create an entirely synthetic face but must first prove their polymer scaffolds won't accidentally burst out of the skin.

"Scientists have to get things like noses and ears right before we can move onto something like a kidney, lungs or a liver, which is much more complicated," said Eileen Gentleman, a stem cell expert at King's College London, who is not involved in Seifalian's research.

"Where Seifalian has led is in showing us maybe we don't need to have the absolutely perfect tissue for a (lab-made) organ to work," she said. "What he has created is the correct structure and the fact that it's good enough for his patients to have a functional (windpipe), tear duct, etc. is pretty amazing."

Some scientists predicted certain lab-made organs will soon cease to be experimental.

"I'm convinced engineered organs are going to be on the market soon," said Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, a professor of transplantation biology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She has transferred lab-made blood vessels into a handful of patients and plans to offer them more widely by 2016, pending regulatory approval. Still, she acknowledged doctors will have to watch closely for any long-term side effects, including the possibility of a higher cancer risk.

Seifalian estimated about 10 million pounds ($16 million) has gone into his research since 2005 but said he hoped lab-made organs would one day be available for a few hundred dollars.

"If people are not that fussy, we could manufacture different sizes of noses so the surgeon could choose a size and tailor it for patients before implanting it," he said. "People think your nose is very individual and personal but this is something that we could mass produce like in a factory one day."

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A Florissant middle school student is alive today thanks to the quick actions of school officials and the School Resource Officer.

According to Florissant police, Officer Kim Berry was at her post at Cross Keys Middle School on March 31, when she was asked to respond to the school gymnasium for a report of a student having seizures.

When Officer Berry arrived, she discovered that a 14 year old male student was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

Officer Berry and physical education teacher Scott McMurry immediately began CPR while the principal and school nurse arrived from the school office with the Automated External Defibrillator or AED.

One shock was delivered and CPR was continued until the student began to breathe on his own.  

Paramedics from the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District arrived quickly and the victim was then transported to an area hospital where he is recuperating and is expected to make a full recovery.  

The AED used in this incident was purchased by the Ferguson-Florissant School District, which has them in every district building.  

Missouri indefinitely suspends WR Green-Beckham

Monday, 07 April 2014 23:34 Published in Sports
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was suspended indefinitely Monday for an unspecified violation of team rules, three months after he and two friends were arrested on suspicion of felony drug distribution when police found a pound of marijuana in their car.
 
Coach Gary Pinkel announced the suspension without mentioning the January incident in which the standout receiver was arrested in his Missouri hometown of Springfield. No criminal charges have been filed in that case against any of the three men arrested.
 
"It's unfortunate, but it's the right thing to do for our football program, for the athletic department, and also for Dorial," Pinkel said in a prepared statement. "We have high standards related to the expectations that come along with being a Missouri Tiger, and Dorial has not met those recently."
 
Pinkel said he consulted athletic director Mike Alden on the suspension, which includes spring practices and other team activities. Green-Beckham will continue to have access to the football team's academic resources.
 
Green-Beckham was also charged in October 2012 with marijuana possession in Columbia and later pleaded guilty to second-degree trespassing. He and two teammates were reportedly smoking pot in a campus parking lot near Memorial Stadium.
 
Green-Beckham led Missouri with 59 receptions as a sophomore last season and scored 12 touchdowns, including a school single-game record of four scores against Kentucky. Some recruiting services ranked the 6-foot-6, 225-pound receiver as the nation's top prep prospect coming out of Springfield Hillcrest High. He caught six passes for 144 yards and two scores in the SEC championship game against Auburn and was considered the Tigers' top returning pass catcher.
 
"Representing Mizzou and our fans is a privilege, and we'll work with him during this process," Pinkel said. "It's been disappointing to have this, and other issues which have taken place lately. It's frustrating, because we work very hard to instill responsibility and discipline in our young men so that our program represents Mizzou the right way. These actions aren't representative of those expectations, and we are addressing these issues head-on."
 
Springfield police have said they first stopped the Jeep Cherokee driven by John McDaniel because of an expired license and then searched the vehicle after an officer smelled marijuana.
 
Court records show that Patrick Prouty said he owned the drugs but said his supply was for personal use. McDaniel said he had hidden one gram of marijuana in the car's glove box. Police found no drugs in the possession of Green-Beckham, who denied McDaniel's assertion that the three men had just smoked a marijuana cigarette in the car before being pulled over.
 
Tyson Martin, Green-Beckham's attorney in the Springfield drug case, could not be reached for comment Monday.
 
Last week, Missouri basketball player Zach Price was suspended after being arrested twice for allegedly assaulting his roommate and a woman.

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