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  1. Abstract

    This paper outlines the design of a reconfigurable, partially disposable, tendon-driven robotic arm for providing assistance in laparoscopic surgery. The rationale for its development and design objectives are provided, followed by a description of its mechanical design. Kinematic simulations to assess workspace are presented, and a first-stage assessment of the functionality of a prototype using a custom test bench is also included.

  2. Abstract Background Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are intensely researched for applications in cell therapeutics due to their unique properties, however, intrinsic therapeutic properties of hMSCs could be enhanced by genetic modification. Viral transduction is efficient, but suffers from safety issues. Conversely, nonviral gene delivery, while safer compared to viral, suffers from inefficiency and cytotoxicity, especially in hMSCs. To address the shortcomings of nonviral gene delivery to hMSCs, our lab has previously demonstrated that pharmacological ‘priming’ of hMSCs with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone can significantly increase transfection in hMSCs by modulating transfection-induced cytotoxicity. This work seeks to establish a library of transfection priming compounds for hMSCs by screening 707 FDA-approved drugs, belonging to diverse drug classes, from the NIH Clinical Collection at four concentrations for their ability to modulate nonviral gene delivery to adipose-derived hMSCs from two human donors. Results Microscope images of cells transfected with a fluorescent transgene were analyzed in order to identify compounds that significantly affected hMSC transfection without significant toxicity. Compound classes that increased transfection across both donors included glucocorticoids, antibiotics, and antihypertensives. Notably, clobetasol propionate, a glucocorticoid, increased transgene production 18-fold over unprimed transfection. Furthermore, compound classes that decreased transfection across both donors included flavonoids, antibiotics,more »and antihypertensives, with the flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate decreasing transgene production − 41-fold compared to unprimed transfection. Conclusions Our screen of the NCC is the first high-throughput and drug-repurposing approach to identify nonviral gene delivery priming compounds in two donors of hMSCs. Priming compounds and classes identified in this screen suggest that modulation of proliferation, mitochondrial function, and apoptosis is vital for enhancing nonviral gene delivery to hMSCs.« less
  3. Most robots for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) are large, bulky devices which mimic the paradigm of manual MIS by manipulating long, rigid instruments from outside the body [1]. Some of these incorporate “wristed” instruments to place some local dexterity at or near the tool tip [2]. In contrast, a small number of MIS robot designs place all of the degrees of freedom inside the patient’s body in order to increase the local dexterity [3].