Skip to Content

Tissue Tester

Tissue engineers are working on ways to grow skin, cartilage, and bone in the lab so that injury victims don’t have to rely on replacement tissues extracted from donors or from their own bodies. One obstacle researchers face is that while they can easily examine the health of cells on a tissue’s surface, checking whether the cells deep inside are thriving or dying remains tricky. Chemical engineer Zhanfeng Cui of Oxford University has developed a small polymer probe that determines the cells’ health instantaneously. A fraction of a millimeter in diameter, the needlelike probe can be inserted into growing tissue and measures the levels of certain key substances, such as nutrients or cellular waste products. The probe is made of a porous membrane that the target molecules can pass through; the number of molecules that enter correlates with their concentration in the tissue. Cui hopes to license the technology for commercial development or find investors for a startup to manufacture the probes. As commercial products, the probes could speed the development of tissue engineering-delivering new hope to desperate patients.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

seeing is believing concept
seeing is believing concept

Our brains exist in a state of “controlled hallucination”

Three new books lay bare the weirdness of how our brains process the world around us.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.