This Microfluidic Chip Can Remove Risky Cells.

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Advances in medical science are happening so quickly that it is almost impossible to keep up with the latest developments. Some new treatments are helping patients with spinal cord injuries. Now a small plastic device may be added to a variety of treatments.

A tiny device built by scientists at MIT and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology might be used to improve therapy treatments for patients suffering from spinal cord injuries.

In cell therapy, clinicians create induced pluripotent stem cells by reprogramming some skin or blood cells taken from a patient. To treat a spinal cord injury, these pluripotent stem cells can become progenitor cells, which differentiate into spinal cord cells. These progenitors are then transplanted back into the patient.

These new cells can regenerate part of the injured spinal cord. However, pluripotent stem cells that don’t fully change into progenitors can form tumors. These are the risky cells that need to be removed.

This research team developed a microfluidic cell sorter that can remove about half of the cells that can potentially become tumors without causing any damage to the fully formed progenitor cells.

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