Engineering the Body: How Regenerative Medicine Changes Disease

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When the body loses its normal abilities—due to stroke, blindness or cancer, for example—doctors must tap their creativity to engineer new ways to restore function. Researcher Molly Shoichet of the University of Toronto shares three stories from this field, regenerative medicine, in a public lecture. The lecture can be viewed here

Shoichet’s lab recently invented a new polymer called a hydrogel that can deliver protein drugs or stem cells to the brain and spinal cord. She has also worked on a way to use newly engineered biomaterials to deliver replacements for dead cells in an eye after blindness sets in. “Our dream is to take an invention from the lab and turn it into a product that will make a difference in someone’s life,” she says in a teaser video for the lecture.

In her talk, Shoichet offers details about three instances in which her team found fascinating ways to make up for the body’s shortcomings, and she focuses on explaining the underlying biology, chemistry and engineering that made it possible. Her presentation, titled “Engineering Change in Medicine,” is part of a public lecture series at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario.

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Published November 7, 2017