Rutgers team studies stem cells, creates better biosensor technology

<p>KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, led the development of new biosensor technology over the course of four years</p>

KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, led the development of new biosensor technology over the course of four years


A Rutgers team, led by senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, has used its findings regarding stem cells to advance biosensor technology. The technology may help develop safer stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, along with other neurological disorders, according to an article on Rutgers Today.

The biosensor technology monitors stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) that is involved in turning these cells into brain cells, according to a study in the journal Nano Letters. The technology features a unique graphene, gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, according to the article. 

“Our technology, which took four years to develop, has demonstrated great potential for analyzing a variety of interactions in stem cells,” said Lee, according to the article. 

Because stem cells can become many different types of cells, stem cell therapy shows promise for regenerative treatment of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke and spinal cord injury, that have diseased stem cells needing replacement or repair, according to the article. 

In order for stem cells to be used in treatments, characterizing them and controlling them must be resolved. The formation of tumors and uncontrolled transformation of stem cells are key barriers, according to the article. 

“A critical challenge is ensuring high sensitivity and accuracy in detecting biomarkers – indicators such as modified genes and proteins — within the complex stem cell microenvironment,” Lee said.

The team’s biosensing platform consists of various ultrathin graphene layers and gold nanostructures. This platform is combined with high-tech imaging and detects genes, and characterizes different kinds of stem cells with greater reliability, selectivity and sensitivity than today’s biosensors, according to the article. 

The team aims to facilitate treatment of neurological disorders through stem cell therapy, according to the article. 

Stem cells could become a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues for the treatment of diseases including macular degeneration, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), according to the article.


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