How Canada's stem cell research breakthrough will alter medical practices
Canadian scientists say they have figured out a way to turn regular human blood cells into n...
Canada may have just stumbled upon a medical breakthrough.
Canadian scientists say they have figured out a way to turn regular human blood cells into nerve cells—an achievement that could lead to new advances for those suffering chronic pain or nerve diseases.
According to CTV News, stem cell researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario say they have learned how to convert cells from blood into both central nervous neural cells as well cells from the peripheral nervous system, which are the nerves in the rest of the body that are responsible for sensing pain, heat and itches.
Led by Mick Bhatia, director of McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, he was initially surprised by the results.
“Neural cells have a very distinct shape, but we thought we had done something wrong to the cells. They were behaving differently to make them elongate, moving from a round shape to a very long stretched-out shape,” he told the news station.
After repeating the procedure over several months, however, they realized that they had achieved something new.
While the idea itself isn’t new, no one has ever been able to actually complete the process of creating central nervous system neural cells and peripheral nervous system cells.
RELATED TOPIC: Are these medical breakthroughs or science fiction?
What this means for the medical community
With this achievement, doctors would ideally be able to take a blood sample from a patient and quickly produce a million sensory and central nervous neural cells, Bhaita said.
Those cells could then be studied to better understand why certain people feel pain or why others experience numbness—such as diabetics.
"Pain is really poorly understood right now, and the drugs available are not well characterized," Bhatia said. "Most are narcotics and opioids that are addictive and they're not very specific to the cells you're trying to target."
RELATED TOPIC: Why is everyone talking about stem cells?
The research will be published as a research paper in Cell Reports.
To keep up with the latest Canadian news, visit our sister brand Business Review Canada.
LG launches purpose-built smart TV for hospitals
LG Business Solutions USA has announced two new hospital TVs that are designed to improve patient management and engagement while adhering to critical safety standards for healthcare facilities.
One of the TVs is LG's biggest ever screen for a hospital - the 65-inch 4K Ultra HD model. It has LG’s NanoCell display technology, enabling it to display vivid pictures, and provides built-in support for hospital pillow speakers and embedded broadband LAN capability, so hospitals can deliver video on demand without requiring a separate set-top box in the patient room.
It also includes configuration software with an intuitive interface for setting up the TV to work in a hospital setting, plus a software-enabled access point feature that turns the TV into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The second TV screen is the 15-inch Personal Healthcare Smart Touch TV with a multi-touch screen. It is designed to be installed on an adjustable arm for use in shared spaces or smaller patient rooms and will support LG's new, modular LG AM-AC21EA video camera, and HD video communication.
Both include support for video conferencing, and are UL Certified for use in healthcare facilities, a global safety standard. They also feature LG’s integrated Pro:Centric hospital management solutions, allowing hospitals and LG’s patient engagement development partners to personalise a patient's room, providing entertainment, hospital information, services, patient education, and more.
Additionally its communication platform makes it possible to conduct video calls between patients and clinicians or family.
“Our newest LG hospital TVs reflect ongoing feedback from the industry and include capabilities integrated to meet the unique needs of a critical market” said Tom Mottlau, Director of Healthcare Solutions, LG Electronics USA.
“Our healthcare patient engagement development partners requested an upgradable version of webOS for our Pro:Centric smart TV platform so they could more easily introduce new features for their hospital customers. For the latest versions of webOS, LG worked closely with our partners to make their request a reality and to deliver a hospital TV platform that can evolve over time.”