Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Can't Believe It's Not Bone Marrow!

Well, actually it is bone marrow. It's just bone marrow that's created artifically, and not meant to be implanted into the human body. Still, it cranks out red and white blood cells just like the real thing, and that's Kind Of A Big Deal.

If, like me, you're wondering why anyone should bother making bone marrow if they're not going to put it into people, the University of Michigan has some ideas. Hell, that's why they created it in the first place. This artificial marrow is supposed to allow new ways to test drugs in development, allow for closer study of problems with the immune system, and most importantly (to me) generate a supply of blood for transfusions. If it means that I won't have people begging me to give blood anymore, I'm all for it!

What impresses me is the amount of work that went into it. They had to design a tiny 3-D scaffold to develop the material. Because of the conditions inside the human body, they were very particular about where the openings were for the cells and how large they were so that the cells interacted properly. I suck at sculpture, and can't even put together furniture from IKEA, so it's not something I would have been able to do.

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1 comment:


Last time Michigan University had an idea, Rich Rodriquez was hired as football coach. This season, Rodriquez's first, Michigan had their worst record in like 70 years. No more ideas, please...

The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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