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Thread: Using Magnets in Stem Cell Research

  1. #1
    Senior Member Norm's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Media, PA

    Thumbs up Using Magnets in Stem Cell Research

    CNN: How did you get the idea for using magnets in stem cell research?
    A few years ago, I was talking to some artists about whether you could use magnets to levitate people, move things around, even heal people. A couple of weeks later we were in the lab having a conversation around stem cells. Stem cells are special types of cells that can turn into all sorts of cells -- heart cells, brain cells, liver cells and so on; and in principle they should be able to regenerate damaged tissue. But how do you get these stem cells to go to the heart or the brain, the liver or the kidneys?
    I remembered the conversation I'd had with the artists about these magnets and I thought, well, maybe if we pack the stem cells with thousands of very tiny iron filings, perhaps we could somehow guide the stem cells to the brain or the heart with magnets so that they could regenerate the damaged tissue.
    So we rushed away and started writing to one of the grant bodies about a stem cell and engineering initiative to try to pull these new theories together. We've now been awarded one of the largest grants to do stem cell and engineering work to see whether magnets will help target stem cells to repair damaged tissue.
    I do not believe that we'd have come up with this crazy idea unless I'd had those conversations with artists several years ago. Those conversations allowed me to change the way I think.
    CNN: What stage has the research reached now?
    Lythgoe: We've been developing both the nanotechnology side of things -- the small iron filings that we're able to put into the stem cells -- and the different types of magnets so that we can attract the stem cells to the site of the damaged blood vessel when they are loaded up with the iron filings.
    CNN: Finally, can you tell us your ultimate goal?
    Lythgoe: I have two main aims, really. From the point of view of science I would love to be able to make a genuine difference to people's lives. I would love to find a treatment for the kids that we see at the hospital who have epilepsy or stroke.
    But also, I get up every day and look at the world differently because of the science and art collaborations that I've had, and I hope that people will look at the world slightly differently when they see the products of those collaborations, like I did when I first came into science.
    "Some people say that, the longer you go the better it gets the more you get used to it, I'm actually finding the opposite is true."

    -Christopher Reeve on his Paralysis

  2. #2

    Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)

    Because numerous studies indicate EMF influences stem-cell proliferation, including neuronal stem cells, EMF-associated regenerative effects may be partially mediated through such cells. Some speculate that EMF could be the much-needed physiological steering wheel that directs the difficult-to-control, theoretically powerful embryonic stem cells to the desired terminal destination.

  3. #3
    NASA scientists have shown that electromagnetic fields can influence human neuronal progenitor cells: (


    The present investigation details the development of model systems for growing two- and three dimensional human neural progenitor cells within a culture medium facilitated by a time-varying electromagnetic field (TVEMF).

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