What we’ve been reading: Week of February 16, 2015

Vector’s picks of recent pediatric healthcare, science and innovation news.

Hand of a Superhero: 3-D Printing Prosthetic Hands That Are Anything but Ordinary (The New York Times)
3D printers, it turns out, are an ideal solution for children who are missing fingers or hands. Prosthetics are rarely made for children; they tend to be too expensive, and children outgrow them far too quickly. Enter the 3D printer, which can create a D.I.Y. hand for as little as $20 to $50.

A Pancreas in a Capsule (MIT Technology Review)
Can stem cells solve the Type 1 diabetes puzzle? A handful of United States patients have had lab-grown pancreas cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, transplanted in a human safety trial. Tech Review documents the challenges, and potential, of turning stem cells into real, functioning pancreas cells.

HIV vaccine that transforms cell DNA brings fresh hope (BBC)
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California have employed gene therapy to outsmart HIV. The new approach to vaccination arms muscle cells with a new section of DNA that provides HIV-fighting properties. Research published in Nature showed that the vaccine protected monkeys from HIV infection for at least 34 weeks.

This man’s infected blood created the world’s first measles vaccine (The Toronto Star)
More than 60 years ago, 11-year-old David Edmondston was infected with the measles virus.  A research team that included Boston Children’s John Enders, MD, successfully isolated the measles strain in the blood and used it to develop the vaccine.

NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports Takes Lead As Health Care Role Model (Forbes)
A collaboration between Boston Children’s Peter Waters, MD, and Hendrick Motorsports has detailed and applied lessons learned from NASCAR racing to surgery and the health care industry. Outcomes of the collaboration include new communication techniques, methodology, simulation training and event evaluation processes that improve outcomes.