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Research conducted by Irish scientists could mean the end of organ donors

New technology uses sound waves to target specific cells.

Image: stem cell research via shutterstock

A TEAM OF scientists in NUI Galway have developed new technology that could help eradicate the need for donors in transplant operations.

The new technology used sound waves to identify individual stem cells in a bone marrow sample.

This new method offers scientists a quick and cost effective method of identifying these cells. Current methods are often time consuming and costly.

The experiment involved scientists dispensing stem cells one at a time using sound waves.

After being dispersed, the cells continued to grow, giving reason for optimism that the same technology could be used for tissue engineering.

Speaking about the technology, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, said:

If we try to look into the future, it is possible to envisage that human tissues could be manufactured using this kind of technology, thus avoiding the need to identify tissue donors for transplants.

The immediate impact of the technology will allow researchers to use drug compounds on individual single cells.

However there is hope that this method can be used to engineer human tissue. This would eradicate the need for organ donors in transplant operations.

The research is at the proof-of-concept stage and has been developed by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway in conjunction with Irish company Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd.

The method makes possible distribution of proteins, antibodies and DNA. It also allows for sending industrial solutions like adhesives, lubricants and coatings.

The research to produce this single cell innovation was carried out under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund.

In January this year Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) was opened in NUI Galway. The new facility has allowed stem cell testing on human clinical trials to take place in Ireland for the first time.

Stem cell research has been taking place at the REMDI facility since 2003.

Read: Red blood cells grown in a lab to be trialled in humans

Also: New stem cell discovery made – but Ireland “far behind” with legislation

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