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NJIT engineer poised to take stem cell research a step forward

with bio-degradable scaffolds that mimic fibers found in human cartilage tissue. They will test different scaffolds and determine which biomaterial is the best catalyst for stem cell differentiation. Again, their hope is that stem cells can soon be used to treat patients with damaged cartilage.

Arinzeh and Jaffe are collaborating on this project with Louis Rizio, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports doctor at Mountainside Hospital, Montclair/Glen Ridge. Rizio, who specializes in cartilage repair and arthroscopic surgery, will design and interpret the animal models used to test the stem cell repair of cartilage. Rizio will also teach Arinzeh, and some of her students, how to insert stem cells in to patients' knees during surgery.

Arinzeh's drive to advance the science of stem cell research has gained her national recognition. Two years ago, she earned the highest honor given to a young researcher by President Bush: The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Her research has also led to two major stem-cell discoveries: One showing that stem cells, when mixed with scaffolds, can help regenerate bone growth; and another proving that stem cells taken from one person can be successfully implanted into another. A list of conditions for which stem-cell treatment holds promise grows almost daily: It now includes Parkinson's, diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer and traumatic brain injury.

"Treena's research is exciting because she has had success in crafting the right environment for stem cells to grow into other cells," said William Hunter, chairman of the biomedical-engineering department at NJIT. "She is working in a brand-new world of medical therapy."

Her studies could lead to medical breakthroughs that would help a host of patients. Stem cell implantation could help cancer patients who've had large tumors removed from bone, Arinzeh says. In many such surgeries, patients lose their limbs. But if her method of
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Source:New Jersey Institute of Technology


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