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Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering

Christopher P Long, Maciek R Antoniewicz
Adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) has emerged as a powerful tool in basic microbial research and strain development. In the context of metabolic science and engineering, it has been applied to study gene knockout responses, expand substrate ranges, improve tolerance to process conditions, and to improve productivity via designed growth coupling. In recent years, advancements in ALE methods and systems biology measurement technologies, particularly genome sequencing and 13 C metabolic flux analysis (13 C-MFA), have enabled detailed study of the mechanisms and dynamics of evolving metabolism...
December 2018: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Kevin B Weyant, Dominic C Mills, Matthew P DeLisa
Recent advances in chemical synthesis, conjugation chemistry, engineered biosynthesis, and formulation design have spawned a new generation of vaccines that incorporate carbohydrate antigens. By providing better immunity against a variety of pathogens or malignant cells and lowering the cost of production, these developments overcome many of the limitations associated with conventional vaccines involving polysaccharides. Moreover, the resulting vaccine candidates are shedding light on how the immune system responds to carbohydrates and providing mechanistic insight that can help guide future vaccine design...
March 2018: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Ellen K Wagner, Jennifer A Maynard
Serum therapy fell out of favor 80 years ago, but antibodies against infectious diseases are now experiencing a renaissance. With the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the emergence of new pathogens, and a growing population of immunocompromised individuals coupled with improvements in antibody manufacturing and biological efficacy, antibodies are an increasingly attractive therapeutic option. In this review, we highlight successful clinical strategies and discuss recent applications of advanced antibody engineering approaches to combat infectious diseases...
March 2018: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Jillian Rosenberg, Jun Huang
CD8+ T cells and NK cells are both cytotoxic effector cells of the immune system, but the recognition, specificity, sensitivity, and memory mechanisms are drastically different. While many of these topics have been extensively studied in CD8+ T cells, very little is known about NK cells. Current cancer immunotherapies mainly focus on CD8+ T cells, but have many issues of toxicity and efficacy. Given the heterogeneous nature of cancer, personalized cancer immunotherapy that integrates the power of both CD8+ T cells in adaptive immunity and NK cells in innate immunity might be the future direction, along with precision targeting and effective delivery of tumor-specific, memory CD8+ T cells and NK cells...
March 2018: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Marco Pc Marques, Nicolas Szita
Scale-down approaches have long been applied in bioprocessing to resolve scale-up problems. Miniaturized bioreactors have thrived as a tool to obtain process relevant data during early-stage process development. Microfluidic devices are an attractive alternative in bioprocessing development due to the high degree of control over process variables afforded by the laminar flow, and the possibility to reduce time and cost factors. Data quality obtained with these devices is high when integrated with sensing technology and is invaluable for scale-translation and to assess the economical viability of bioprocesses...
November 2017: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Abbygail A Foster, Laura M Marquardt, Sarah C Heilshorn
Stem cell delivery by local injection has tremendous potential as a regenerative therapy but has seen limited clinical success. Several mechanical challenges hinder therapeutic efficacy throughout all stages of cell transplantation, including mechanical forces during injection and loss of mechanical support post-injection. Recent studies have begun exploring the use of biomaterials, in particular hydrogels, to enhance stem cell transplantation by addressing the often-conflicting mechanical requirements associated with each stage of the transplantation process...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Vijesh J Bhute, Xiaoping Bao, Sean P Palecek
Stem cells undergo extensive metabolic rewiring during reprogramming, proliferation and differentiation, and numerous studies have demonstrated a significant role of metabolism in controlling stem cell fates. Recent applications of metabolomics, the study of concentrations and fluxes of small molecules in cells, have advanced efforts to characterize and maturate stem cell fates, assess drug toxicity in stem cell tissue models, identify biomarkers, and study the effects of environment on metabolic pathways in stem cells and their progeny...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Sze Yue Wong, Jennifer Soto, Song Li
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell reprogramming and direct reprogramming are promising approaches for disease modeling and personalized medicine. However, these processes are yet to be optimized. Biomaterials are increasingly integrated into cell reprogramming strategies in order to engineer the microenvironment, improve reprogramming efficiency and achieve effective in situ cell reprogramming. Although there are some studies on the role of biomaterials in iPS cell reprogramming, their effect on direct cell conversion has not been fully explored...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Thekla Cordes, Christian M Metallo
Metabolism coordinates the conversion of available nutrients toward energy, biosynthetic intermediates, and signaling molecules to mediate virtually all biological functions. Dysregulation of metabolic pathways contributes to many diseases, so a detailed understanding of human metabolism has significant therapeutic implications. Over the last decade major technological advances in the areas of analytical chemistry, computational estimation of intracellular fluxes, and biological engineering have improved our ability to observe and engineer metabolic pathways...
November 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Maryam Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh, Emily Hartzell, J Vincent Price, Wilfred Chen
The use of protein nanoparticles for biosensing, biocatalysis and drug delivery has exploded in the last few years. The ability of protein nanoparticles to self-assemble into predictable, monodisperse structures is of tremendous value. The unique properties of protein nanoparticles such as high stability, and biocompatibility, along with the potential to modify them led to development of novel bioengineering tools. Together, the ability to control the interior loading and external functionalities of protein nanoparticles makes them intriguing nanodevices...
August 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Ross N Andrews, Carlos C Co, Chia-Chi Ho
Recent advances in dynamic biointerfaces enable spatiotemporal control over cell position and migration after attachment using substrates that employ chemical, optical, thermal, or electrical triggers. This review focuses on flexible and accessible methods for the fabrication of cellular arrays or co cultures for fundamental studies of cell biology or regenerative medicine.
March 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
LiKang Chin, Yuntao Xia, Dennis E Discher, Paul A Janmey
Tissue stiffness is tightly controlled under normal conditions, but changes with disease. In cancer, tumors often tend to be stiffer than the surrounding uninvolved tissue, yet the cells themselves soften. Within the past decade, and particularly in the last few years, there is increasing evidence that the stiffness of the extracellular matrix modulates cancer and stromal cell mechanics and function, influencing such disease hallmarks as angiogenesis, migration, and metastasis. This review briefly summarizes recent studies that investigate how cancer cells and fibrosis-relevant stromal cells respond to ECM stiffness, the possible sensing appendages and signaling mechanisms involved, and the emergence of novel substrates - including substrates with scar-like fractal heterogeneity - that mimic the in vivo mechanical environment of the cancer cell...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Molly Kozminsky, Yang Wang, Sunitha Nagrath
The second leading cause of death in the United States, cancer is at its most dangerous as it spreads to secondary locations. Cancer cells in the blood stream, or circulating tumor cells (CTCs), present an opportunity to study metastasis provided they may be extracted successfully from blood. Engineers have accelerated the development of technologies that achieve this goal based on exploiting differences between tumor cells and surrounding blood cells such as varying expression patterns of membrane proteins or physical characteristics...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Esak Lee, H-H Greco Song, Christopher S Chen
Cancer metastasis is a multi-step, secondary tumor formation that is responsible for the vast majority of deaths in cancer patients. Animal models have served as one of the major tools for studying metastatic diseases. However, these metastasis models inherently lack the ability to decouple many of the key parameters that might contribute to cancer progression, and therefore ultimately limit detailed, mechanistic investigation of metastasis. Recently, organ-on-a-chip model systems have been developed for various tissue types with the potential to recapitulate major components of metastasis...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Zen Liu, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic
The dominant roles of the tumor microenvironment in regulating tumor formation, progression, and metastasis have driven the application of tissue engineering strategies in cancer biology. Highly dynamic and reciprocal communication of tumor cells with their surroundings suggests that studying cancer in custom-designed biomaterial scaffolds may lead to novel therapeutic targets and therapeutic regimens more reliably than traditional monolayer tissue culture models. As tissue engineering becomes progressively more successful in recapitulating the native tumor environment, critical insights into mechanisms of tumor resistance may be elucidated, to impact clinical practice, drug development, and biological research...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
L E Barney, L E Jansen, S R Polio, S Galarza, M E Lynch, S R Peyton
Cancer spread (metastasis) is responsible for 90% of cancer-related fatalities. Informing patient treatment to prevent metastasis, or kill all cancer cells in a patient's body before it becomes metastatic is extremely powerful. However, aggressive treatment for all non-metastatic patients is detrimental, both for quality of life concerns, and the risk of kidney or liver-related toxicity. Knowing when and where a patient has metastatic risk could revolutionize patient treatment and care. In this review, we attempt to summarize the key work of engineers and quantitative biologists in developing strategies and model systems to predict metastasis, with a particular focus on cell interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM), as a tool to predict metastatic risk and tropism...
February 2016: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
David J Klinke, Marc R Birtwistle
Identifying the network of biochemical interactions that underpin disease pathophysiology is a key hurdle in drug discovery. While many components involved in these biological processes are identified, how components organize differently in health and disease remains unclear. In chemical engineering, mechanistic modeling provides a quantitative framework to capture our understanding of a reactive system and test this knowledge against data. Here, we describe an emerging approach to test this knowledge against data that leverages concepts from probability, Bayesian statistics, and chemical kinetics by focusing on two related inverse problems...
November 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Susan N Thomas, Alex Schudel
Despite drug formulation improving circulation times and targeting, efficacy is stymied by inadequate penetration into and retention within target tissues. This review highlights the barriers restricting delivery to the connective tissue interstitium, lymphatics, and lymph nodes as well as advances in engineering drug carriers to overcome these delivery challenges. Three-dimensional tissue physiology is discussed in the context of providing material design principles for delivery to these tissues; in particular the influence of interstitial and lymphatic flows as well as differential permeabilities of the blood and lymphatic capillaries...
February 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
Laura A Lanier, Harry Bermudez
The specificity of DNA hybridization allows for the modular design of 2D and 3D shapes with wide-ranging applications including sensors, actuators, and even logic devices. The inherent biocompatibility of DNA and the ability to produce monodisperse structures of controlled shape and size make DNA nanostructures of interest as potential drug and gene delivery vehicles. In this review, we discuss several new approaches for the assembly of DNA nanostructures, advances in the modeling of these structures, and we highlight recent studies on the use of DNA nanotechnology for therapeutic applications such as drug delivery in tumor models...
February 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
David S Spencer, Amey S Puranik, Nicholas A Peppas
Treatment of cancer using nanoparticle-based approaches relies on the rational design of carriers with respect to size, charge, and surface properties. Polymer-based nanomaterials, inorganic materials such as gold, iron oxide, and silica as well as carbon based materials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene are being explored extensively for cancer therapy. The challenges associated with the delivery of these nanoparticles depend greatly on the type of cancer and stage of development. This review highlights design considerations to develop nanoparticle-based approaches for overcoming physiological hurdles in cancer treatment, as well as emerging research in engineering advanced delivery systems for the treatment of primary, metastatic, and multidrug resistant cancers...
February 2015: Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering
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