MIT and University of Rochester researchers report important advances toward a therapeutic device that has the potential to capture cells as they flow through the blood stream and treat them. Among other applications, such a device could zapp cancer cells spreading to other tissues, or signal stem cells to differentiate.
Their concept leverages cell rolling, a biological process that slows cells down as they flow through blood vessels. As the cells slow, they adhere to the vessel walls and roll, allowing them to sense signals from nearby tissues that may be calling them to work. Immune cells, for example, can be slowed and summoned to battle an infection."Through mimicking a process involved in many important physiological and pathological events, we envision a device that can be used to selectively provide signals to cells traveling through the bloodstream," said Jeffrey M. Karp of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. "This technology has applications in cancer and stem cell therapies and could be used for diagnostics of a number of diseases."
Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT News Office
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