One of the several problems with organ transplantation is the actual procurement of needed organs. The number of patients requiring transplants far exceeds the number of available organs. Thus, tissues and organs from different species (xenografts) may offer help to many more potential organ donors, and consequently may help the organ shortage. However, many obstacles still remain with xenografts, with the major challenge being tissue/organ rejection. The need to reduce this rejection and the injury it can inflict upon the transplanted tissue/organ therefore remains high. Vanderbilt researchers have patented a technology that helps to prevent the rejection of transplanted tissues/organs and the injury that occurs to these tissues. This technology inhibits specific pathways that regulate platelet adhesion and aggregation, which have been linked to the rejection of transplanted tissues/organs.
Researchers at Vanderbilt have developed a peptide therapeutic that rendered non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice diabetes-free and insulin-independent for at least one year after only 2 days of treatment at the early stage of disease.
Vanderbilt researchers report the isolation and characterization of a human cDNA encoding the high affinity, hemicholinium-3 sensitive choline transporter. This transporter is expressed in cholinergic terminals, and it provides for transport into cholinergic terminals of choline, the precursor for acetylcholine biosynthesis. The cDNA, through HC-3 radio ligand binding assays or choline transport assays, allows for high-throughput screening of choline transporter directed agents or as a negative screen to insure specificity for nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptor-directed agents (as well as other pharmaceutics). The choline transporter in vivo is highly regulated, and the human choline transporter's regulation is poorly understood. Use of the cDNA may allow for the development of novel cholinergic therapeutics targeted at choline transporter modulation. Antibodies directed against the human choline transporter should be useful probes of human cholinergic neurons. Sequences in the human choline transporter cDNA should allow for the generation of transporter specific gene probes that can be queried by in situ hybridization, PCR analyses of transporter gene expression or gene chip approaches evaluating alterations in presynaptic cholinergic function.
The loss of DA neurons is a major feature of Parkinson's disease and other neuro-generative disorders. Vanderbilt researchers have established an in vivo screen for DA neuron protective agents and genes using the nematode C. elegans. Using green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in C. elegans DA neurons, researchers have established that the nematode is sensitive to the mammalian neurotoxins that target DA neurons in mammalian models, consistent with an environmentally triggered loss of DA neurons. They also demonstrate that agents that block the nematode DA transporter or genetic ablation of the DA transporters protect these DA neurons. Thus, researchers have established lines and conditions that can allow for the facile screening, in a high throughput format, for agents or genes that may protect DA neurons from exogenous or endogenous neurotoxin-induced cell death. The system should also be useful for identifying novel pathway controlling presynaptic DA neuron function with potential applications to Schizophrenia, ADHD and addiction, where altered DA signaling has been proposed.
Summary: This technology, developed at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Software Integrated Systems, uses radio interferometry to locate tangible objects and attains, simultaneously, a higher degree of accuracy (within 3 centimeters), considerably longer range (up to 160 meters) and lower cost than other technologies.
Vanderbilt researchers have designed a cell line with stable expression of the human heart potassium channel, HERG. This cell line has robust and very consistent cell-to-cell HERG activity without detectable endogenous ionic currents, making it ideal to use in preclinical drug screening.
During open heart surgery and organ transplant, surgeons have to disrupt the blood supply to the organ. Recent studies suggest that free radical production and oxidative stress can occur when the blood supply is returned to the organ, causing complications and tissue damage. Vanderbilt researchers have identified a treatment for oxidative injury that can be administered during surgery to prevent organ damage.
Vanderbilt researchers have created the first isoform-selective phospholipase D (PLD) inhibitors. These highly potent inhibitors can significantly reduce PLD activity, creating a new class of anti-metastatic agents.
Scientists at Vanderbilt have developed a sterile kit to collect blood cultures that results in substantially fewer contaminated cultures compared to the current standard of care for collecting culture specimens.
NanoBioreactors recreate the microenvironments of normal tissue, non-adherent cells, tumor-infected tissue and wounded tissue in vitro. These microfabricated bioreactors provide independent control of chemokine and growth factor gradients, shear forces, cellular perfusion and the permeability of physical barriers to cellular migration. This fine control allows detailed optical and electrochemical observations of normal, immune and cancerous cells during activation, division, cell migration, intravasation, extravasation and angiogenesis.
This technology eliminates the need to place cortical fiducial markers during image guided neurosurgery. As an additional and important feature, the technology is able to compensate for brain shift due to deformation of the brain during surgery.
Utilizing force sensors mounted on the friction stir welding tool, Vanderbilt inventors have developed a technique to keep a weld tool on track. This technology is especially benefi cial in real time corrections for deviations in travel in the case of robotic FSW or "blind" welds. The technique is cost- effective in that no additional sensors such as cameras, thermocouples, acoustic emission receivers, etc. are required.
Vanderbilt researchers have developed a device that allows for a more accurate and precise detection of brain tumor borders in real time. This allows neurosurgeons to remove all tumor tissue without removing critical normal tissue in surgical brain resections.