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Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering

Ross N Andrews, Carlos C Co, Chia-Chi Ho
Recent advances in dynamic biointerfaces enable spatiotemporal control over cell position and migration after attachment using substrates that employ chemical, optical, thermal, or electrical triggers. This review focuses on flexible and accessible methods for the fabrication of cellular arrays or co cultures for fundamental studies of cell biology or regenerative medicine.
March 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Molly Kozminsky, Yang Wang, Sunitha Nagrath
The second leading cause of death in the United States, cancer is at its most dangerous as it spreads to secondary locations. Cancer cells in the blood stream, or circulating tumor cells (CTCs), present an opportunity to study metastasis provided they may be extracted successfully from blood. Engineers have accelerated the development of technologies that achieve this goal based on exploiting differences between tumor cells and surrounding blood cells such as varying expression patterns of membrane proteins or physical characteristics...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Esak Lee, H-H Greco Song, Christopher S Chen
Cancer metastasis is a multi-step, secondary tumor formation that is responsible for the vast majority of deaths in cancer patients. Animal models have served as one of the major tools for studying metastatic diseases. However, these metastasis models inherently lack the ability to decouple many of the key parameters that might contribute to cancer progression, and therefore ultimately limit detailed, mechanistic investigation of metastasis. Recently, organ-on-a-chip model systems have been developed for various tissue types with the potential to recapitulate major components of metastasis...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Zen Liu, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic
The dominant roles of the tumor microenvironment in regulating tumor formation, progression, and metastasis have driven the application of tissue engineering strategies in cancer biology. Highly dynamic and reciprocal communication of tumor cells with their surroundings suggests that studying cancer in custom-designed biomaterial scaffolds may lead to novel therapeutic targets and therapeutic regimens more reliably than traditional monolayer tissue culture models. As tissue engineering becomes progressively more successful in recapitulating the native tumor environment, critical insights into mechanisms of tumor resistance may be elucidated, to impact clinical practice, drug development, and biological research...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
L E Barney, L E Jansen, S R Polio, S Galarza, M E Lynch, S R Peyton
Cancer spread (metastasis) is responsible for 90% of cancer-related fatalities. Informing patient treatment to prevent metastasis, or kill all cancer cells in a patient's body before it becomes metastatic is extremely powerful. However, aggressive treatment for all non-metastatic patients is detrimental, both for quality of life concerns, and the risk of kidney or liver-related toxicity. Knowing when and where a patient has metastatic risk could revolutionize patient treatment and care. In this review, we attempt to summarize the key work of engineers and quantitative biologists in developing strategies and model systems to predict metastasis, with a particular focus on cell interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM), as a tool to predict metastatic risk and tropism...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
David J Klinke, Marc R Birtwistle
Identifying the network of biochemical interactions that underpin disease pathophysiology is a key hurdle in drug discovery. While many components involved in these biological processes are identified, how components organize differently in health and disease remains unclear. In chemical engineering, mechanistic modeling provides a quantitative framework to capture our understanding of a reactive system and test this knowledge against data. Here, we describe an emerging approach to test this knowledge against data that leverages concepts from probability, Bayesian statistics, and chemical kinetics by focusing on two related inverse problems...
November 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Susan N Thomas, Alex Schudel
Despite drug formulation improving circulation times and targeting, efficacy is stymied by inadequate penetration into and retention within target tissues. This review highlights the barriers restricting delivery to the connective tissue interstitium, lymphatics, and lymph nodes as well as advances in engineering drug carriers to overcome these delivery challenges. Three-dimensional tissue physiology is discussed in the context of providing material design principles for delivery to these tissues; in particular the influence of interstitial and lymphatic flows as well as differential permeabilities of the blood and lymphatic capillaries...
February 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Laura A Lanier, Harry Bermudez
The specificity of DNA hybridization allows for the modular design of 2D and 3D shapes with wide-ranging applications including sensors, actuators, and even logic devices. The inherent biocompatibility of DNA and the ability to produce monodisperse structures of controlled shape and size make DNA nanostructures of interest as potential drug and gene delivery vehicles. In this review, we discuss several new approaches for the assembly of DNA nanostructures, advances in the modeling of these structures, and we highlight recent studies on the use of DNA nanotechnology for therapeutic applications such as drug delivery in tumor models...
February 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
David S Spencer, Amey S Puranik, Nicholas A Peppas
Treatment of cancer using nanoparticle-based approaches relies on the rational design of carriers with respect to size, charge, and surface properties. Polymer-based nanomaterials, inorganic materials such as gold, iron oxide, and silica as well as carbon based materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene are being explored extensively for cancer therapy. The challenges associated with the delivery of these nanoparticles depend greatly on the type of cancer and stage of development. This review highlights design considerations to develop nanoparticle-based approaches for overcoming physiological hurdles in cancer treatment, as well as emerging research in engineering advanced delivery systems for the treatment of primary, metastatic, and multidrug resistant cancers...
February 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Christopher P Jackman, Ilya Y Shadrin, Aaron L Carlson, Nenad Bursac
Engineered cardiac tissues hold great promise for use in drug and toxicology screening, in vitro studies of human physiology and disease, and as transplantable tissue grafts for myocardial repair. In this review, we discuss recent progress in cell-based therapy and functional tissue engineering using pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and we describe methods for delivery of cells into the injured heart. While significant hurdles remain, notable advances have been made in the methods to derive large numbers of pure human cardiomyocytes, mature their phenotype, and produce and implant functional cardiac tissues, bringing the field a step closer to widespread in vitro and in vivo applications...
February 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Yiannis N Kaznessis
The discovery of antibiotics is one of the most important advances in the history of humankind. For eighty years human life expectancy and standards of living improved greatly thanks to antibiotics. But bacteria have been fighting back, developing resistance to our most potent molecules. New, alternative strategies must be explored as antibiotic therapies become obsolete because of bacterial resistance. Mathematical models and simulations guide the development of complex technologies, such as aircrafts, bridges, communication systems and transportation systems...
November 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Patrick Smadbeck, Yiannis N Kaznessis
Stochasticity in the dynamics of small reacting systems requires discrete-probabilistic models of reaction kinetics instead of traditional continuous-deterministic ones. The master probability equation is a complete model of randomly evolving molecular populations. Because of its ambitious character, the master equation remained unsolved for all but the simplest of molecular interaction networks. With the first solution of chemical master equations, a wide range of experimental observations of small-system interactions may be mathematically conceptualized...
August 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Sung Jun Lim, Andrew Smith, Shuming Nie
Semiconductor nanocrystals are tiny fluorescent particles that have recently made a major impact in the biological and medical sciences by enabling high-sensitivity imaging of biomolecules, cells, and tissues. Spherical quantum dots are the prototypical material for these applications but recent synthetic advances have led to a diverse range of nanostructures with controllable sizes, shapes, and materials combinations that offer new dimensions of optical and structural tunability. Uniform anisotropic shapes with linearly polarized light emission allow optical imaging of particle orientation, planar structures have large flexible surfaces and ultra-narrow electronic transitions, and compact nanoparticles have enhanced diffusion in crowded biological environments...
May 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Heidi Culver, Adam Daily, Ali Khademhosseini, Nicholas Peppas
There is a bright future in the development and utilization of nanoscale systems based on intelligent materials that can respond to external input providing a beneficial function. Specific functional groups can be incorporated into polymers to make them responsive to environmental stimuli such as pH, temperature, or varying concentrations of biomolecules. The fusion of such "intelligent" biomaterials with nanotechnology has led to the development of powerful therapeutic and diagnostic platforms. For example, targeted release of proteins and chemotherapeutic drugs has been achieved using pH-responsive nanocarriers while biosensors with ultra-trace detection limits are being made using nanoscale, molecularly imprinted polymers...
May 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Viktor A Adalsteinsson, J Christopher Love
Sequencing-based analysis of single circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of metastatic cancer and improve clinical care. Technologies exist to enrich, identify, recover, and sequence single cells, but to enable systematic routine analysis of single CTCs from a range of cancer patients, there is a need to establish processes that efficiently integrate these specific operations. Such engineered processes should address challenges associated with the yield and viability of enriched CTCs, the robust identification of candidate single CTCs with minimal degradation of DNA, the bias in whole-genome amplification, and the efficient handling of candidate single CTCs or their amplified DNA products...
May 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Hang Xing, Kevin Hwang, Ji Li, Seyed-Fakhreddin Torabi, Yi Lu
This review highlights recent progress in developing DNA aptamers for personalized medicine, with more focus on in vivo studies for potential clinical applications. Examples include design of aptamers in combination with DNA nanostructures, nanomaterials, or microfluidic devices as diagnostic probes or therapeutic agents for cancers and other diseases. The use of aptamers as targeting agents in drug delivery is also covered. The advantages and future directions of such DNA aptamer-based technology for the continued development of personalized medicine are discussed...
May 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Suwei Zhu, Tatiana Segura
The ability to design artificial extracellular matrices as cell instructive scaffolds has opened the door to technologies capable of studying cell fates in vitro and to guide tissue repair in vivo. One main component of the design of artificial extracellular matrices is the incorporation of protein-based biochemical cues to guide cell phenotypes and multicellular organizations. However, promoting the long-term bioactivity, controlling the bioavailability and understanding how the physical presentations of these proteins impacts cellular fates are among the challenges of the field...
May 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Monica L Moya, Steven C George
There is significant interest within the tissue engineering and pharmaceutical industries to create 3D microphysiological systems of human organ function. The interest stems from a growing concern that animal models and simple 2D culture systems cannot replicate essential features of human physiology that are critical to predict drug response, or simply to develop new therapeutic strategies to repair or replace damaged organs. Central to human organ function is a microcirculation that not only enhances the rate of nutrient and waste transport by convection, but also provides essential additional physiological functions that can be specific to each organ...
February 1, 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Quinton Smith, Sharon Gerecht
Vascularization of tissue-engineered constructs, requiring the transport of oxygen, nutrients and waste through a thick and cellular dense meshwork, continues to hamper the success of the technology in addressing the donor organ shortage crisis. Microfluidic technology has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional in vitro platforms utilized by tissue engineers, to understand how the complex cellular microenvironment directs vascular cell behavior and functionality. In this review, the essence of microfluidic technology and transport phenomenon that make them unique for vascular tissue engineering will be briefly introduced...
February 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
E L Fong, M Santoro, M C Farach-Carson, F K Kasper, A G Mikos
The effect of fluid flow on cancer progression is currently not well understood, highlighting the need for perfused tumor models to close this gap in knowledge. Enabling biological processes at the cellular level to be modeled with high spatiotemporal control, microfluidic tumor models have demonstrated applicability as platforms to study cell-cell interactions, effect of interstitial flow on tumor migration and the role of vascular barrier function. To account for the multi-scale nature of cancer growth and invasion, macroscale models are also necessary...
February 2014: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
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