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Science Technology

Plasma-Filled Bags Could Replace the Petri Dish 43

Zothecula writes "The humble Petri dish may soon be a thing of the past. A team of researchers in Germany have developed a new technique for treating plastic bags with plasma to turn them into sealed, sterile containers suitable for microbiology work with much less chance of contamination than traditional containers. This holds the promise of not only decreasing the possibility of contamination in stem cell and live-cell therapy techniques, but also the potential for cultivating whole human organs for transplant surgery."
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Plasma-Filled Bags Could Replace the Petri Dish

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  • HeLa (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:33PM (#38049264) Homepage

    Contamination has been a huge issue in human cell research. A line called HeLa contaminated [] a large number of experiments, meaning that basically all the research on human cells in vitro from an entire era was called into doubt. The story of the HeLa line is remarkable; they are immortal cancer cells from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. The cells weren't just contaminants; they played a major positive role in a lot of science. Lacks was never asked her permission, and her family never knew for decades afterward that her cells had made such a contribution to medicine.

  • Not that new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:34PM (#38049272)

    The ways in which one atmosphere plasmas modify material properties, such as with this plastic bag, aren't new at all. My college professor in a graduate course on nuclear fusion (an elective while I was an undergrad) discussed them more than a decade ago. The only thing I see that is remotely new is creating the plasma after the bag is sealed, rather than creating the plasma externally and then piping it into the bag.

    Unfortunately the technology got all tangled up with the government, and then a number of people (including my former professor) were arrested for sharing "secrets" about this technology with "foreign nationals". So of course now all the public scientific advances in this field have to come from some other country. []

  • Re:HeLa (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mortiss ( 812218 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:45PM (#38049402)
    Not to mention, she can be regarded as a first truly genetically immortal human being in a sense of her cells (or whatever is left of her original DNA given that these cells have been passaged so many times). Someone here has once mentioned her mass if they put together all cells from all the labs in the world. I recall it was ranging into tonnes..

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus