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Ke Cheng, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2019
For contributions in designing new biomaterials and targeted cell therapies for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

Researchers Identify MicroRNA That Shows Promise for Hair Regrowth

Via NC State University | July 27, 2020

Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a microRNA (miRNA) that could promote hair regeneration. This miRNA – miR-218-5p – plays an important role in regulating the pathway involved in follicle regeneration, and could be a candidate for future drug development.

Hair growth depends on the health of dermal papillae (DP) cells, which regulate the hair follicle growth cycle. Current treatments for hair loss can be costly and ineffective, ranging from invasive surgery to chemical treatments that don’t produce the desired result. Recent hair loss research indicates that hair follicles don’t disappear where balding occurs, they just shrink. If DP cells could be replenished at those sites, the thinking goes, then the follicles might recover.

A research team led by Ke Cheng, Randall B. Terry, Jr. Distinguished Professor in Regenerative Medicine at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and professor in the NC State/UNC Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, cultured DP cells both alone (2D) and in a 3D spheroid environment. A spheroid is a three-dimensional cellular structure that effectively recreates a cell’s natural microenvironment… Continue reading.

Off-the-Shelf Artificial Cardiac Patch Repairs Heart Attack Damage in Rats, Pigs

Via NCSU | April 8, 2020

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed an “off-the-shelf” artificial cardiac patch that can deliver cardiac cell-derived healing factors directly to the site of heart attack injury. In a rat model of heart attack, the freezable, cell-free patch improved recovery. The researchers also found similar effects in a pilot study involving a pig model of heart attack.

Cardiac patches are being studied as a promising future option for delivering cell therapy directly to the site of heart attack injury. However, current cardiac patches are fragile, costly, time-consuming to prepare and, since they use live cellular material, increase risks of tumor formation and arrhythmia.

“We have developed an artificial cardiac patch that can potentially solve the problems associated with using live cells, yet still deliver effective cell therapy to the site of injury,” says Ke Cheng, Randall B. Terry, Jr. Distinguished Professor in Regenerative Medicine at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and professor in the NC State/UNC Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering… Continue reading.

Platelet Microparticles Give Antibody Drug ‘Piggyback Ride’ to Repair Damaged Heart

Via NC State | February 5, 2020

New research from North Carolina State University shows that platelet microparticles are an effective way to deliver therapeutic drugs directly to the heart following a heart attack. This method increases drug concentration at the site and could help heart attack patients reduce side effects from drugs used to aid recovery.

The damage from a heart attack doesn’t stop when the initial event ends. Following a heart attack, inflammatory cells release a protein called Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), which induces an inflammatory response and promotes scarring on the heart over time. IL-1β blocking drugs have shown promise in phase three clinical trials, but they have significant risks and side effects… Continue reading.

Suntanner, Heal Thyself: Exosome Therapy May Enable Better Repair of Sun, Age-Damaged Skin

Via NC State News | September 18, 2019

In the future, you could be your very own fountain of youth – or at least your own skin repair reservoir. In a proof-of-concept study, researchers from North Carolina State University have shown that exosomes harvested from human skin cells are more effective at repairing sun-damaged skin cells in mice than popular retinol or stem cell-based treatments currently in use. Additionally, the nanometer-sized exosomes can be delivered to the target cells via needle-free injections.

Exosomes are tiny sacs (30 – 150 nanometers across) that are excreted and taken up by cells. They can transfer DNA, RNA or proteins from cell to cell, affecting the function of the recipient cell. In the regenerative medicine field, exosomes are being tested as carriers of stem cell-based treatments for diseases ranging from heart disease to respiratory disorders.

“Think of an exosome as an envelope with instructions inside – like one cell mailing a letter to another cell and telling it what to do,” says Ke Cheng, professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State, professor in the NC State/UNC-Chapel Hill Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and corresponding author of a paper describing the work. “In this case, the envelope contains microRNA, non-coding RNA that instructs the recipient cell to produce more collagen… Continue reading.

Dr. Ke Cheng Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Via AIMBE | March 28, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Ke Cheng, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacy, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, to its College of Fellows.

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering and medicine research, practice, or education” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education.”

Dr. Cheng was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for “contributions in designing new biomaterials and targeted cell therapies for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine”