06-19-2018  1:42 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Prosecutor: Oregon man justified in shooting near hotel

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A heavy equipment operator was legally justified when he shot and wounded a knife-wielding man last month outside an Oregon hotel, a prosecutor said Monday.However, Robert Garris was foolish to appoint himself "sheriff of the Days Inn" and initiate a confrontation with the...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDANHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed because of damage from a wildfire that scorched the area last year.The Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall Creek area near Eugene, also are...

Spokane man convicted in 2015 deadly shooting

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane man has been convicted of killing a Moses Lake teenager during a 2015 robbery attempt.The Columbia Basin Herald reports Jeremiah Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession...

Police seize 2,500 marijuana plants from 6 Tacoma homes

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say eight people have been arrested after police searched six Tacoma houses connected to an illegal marijuana growing operation.The News Tribune reports authorities seized at least 2,500 marijuana plants from the properties that police searched Monday...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

City where many slaves entered US to apologize for slavery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina city where almost half of all the slaves brought to the United States first set foot on American soil is ready to apologize for its role in the slave trade.The resolution expected to be passed by the Charleston City Council on Tuesday offers a...

School honoring Confederate general to be renamed for Obama

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia city is rebranding its only school named after a Confederate general to honor the United States' first black president.The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Richmond School Board voted 6-1 Monday to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School to Barack Obama...

ENTERTAINMENT

List of winners from the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Winners of the MTV Movie & TV Awards, presented Saturday at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California:Movie of the year: "Black Panther"Actor in a Movie: Chadwick Boseman, "Black Panther"Show of the Year: "Stranger Things"Actor in a Show: Millie Bobby Brown,...

In 'Jurassic World,' a dino-sized animal-rights parable

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" are many things. They are special-effects wonders. They are unruly house guests. And they are some of the biggest, most foot-stomping metaphors around.Since Steven Spielberg's 1993 original, the dinos of "Jurassic Park" — many of them...

Immigration detention policy becomes major issue in media

NEW YORK (AP) — In a phone conversation with her executive producer over the weekend, "CBS This Morning" anchor Gayle King wondered if there wasn't more the network could do on the story of children being separated from parents through the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

On a big night for 'Panther,' Boseman honors real-life hero

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — The MTV Movie & TV Awards gave "Black Panther" its first taste of awards...

US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether...

Looking for signs of global warming? It's all around you

GOTHIC, Colo. (AP) — David Inouye is an accidental climate scientist.More than 40 years ago, the University...

3 men die of 6 wounded in southern Sweden drive-by shooting

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Three of the six men who were injured in a drive-by shooting in the center of...

In Mexico, longtime foes 'AMLO' and elite getting pragmatic

MEXICO CITY (AP) — On the campaign trail, presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has railed...

AP Explains: War games between South Korea and United States

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States has formally suspended a major military exercise with South...

Lynn Debruin the Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A bio-art project to create bulletproof skin has given a Utah State researcher even more hope his genetically engineered spider silk can be used to help surgeons heal large wounds and create artificial tendons and ligaments.

Researcher Randy Lewis and his collaborators gained worldwide attention recently when they found a commercially viable way to manufacture silk fibers using goats and silkworms that had spider genes inserted into their makeup. The Skanner News Video: spider silk

Spider silk is one of the strongest fibers known and five times stronger than steel. Lewis' fibers are not that strong but much stronger than silk spun by ordinary worms.

With Lewis' help, Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi conducted an experiment weaving a lattice of human skin cells and silk that was capable of stopping bullets fired at reduced speeds.

"Randy and I were moved by the same drive I think, curiosity about the outcome of the project," Essaidi said in an email interview. "Both the artist and scientist are inherently curious beings."

Lewis thought the project was a bit off the wall at first, Essaidi acknowledged.

"But in the end, what curious person can say no to a project like this?" she said.

Essaidi, who used a European genetics-in-art grant to fund her project at the Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Awards, initially wanted to use Lewis' spider silk from goats to capitalize on the "grotesque factor" of the mammal-spider combination.

But Lewis didn't yet have enough of the spider goat silk to send hundreds of yards to Essaidi. So he sent her spools of silk from silkworms he had genetically engineered in a fashion similar to the goats.

Essaidi initially intended to fire .22 caliber bullets at the "skin" stretched in a frame. But she decided to place the "skin" on a special gelatin block used at the Netherlands Forensic Institute.

Using a high-speed camera, she showed a bullet fired at a reduced speed piercing the skin woven with an ordinary worm's silk But when tested with Lewis' genetically engineered worm's silk grafted between the epidermis and dermis, the skin didn't break. Neither was able to repel a bullet fired at normal speed from a .22 caliber rifle.

"We were more than a little surprised that the final skin kept the bullet from going in there," Lewis said of the tests at reduced speed. "It still ended up 2 inches into the torso, so it would not have saved your life. But without a doubt the most exciting part for us is the fact that they were able to recreate the skin on top of our fibers. It's something we haven't done. Nobody has worked in that area."

Essaidi was intrigued by the concept of spider silk as armor, and wanted to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, hence bulletproof.

"If human skin would be able to produce this thread, would we be protected from bullets?" she wondered on her blog. "I want to explore the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies."

She said it is legend that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel.

"Will we in the near future due to biotechnology no longer need to descend from a godly bloodline in order to have traits like invulnerability?" she asked.

Lewis downplayed the potential bulletproof applications of his research.

"I certainly would not discount that, but I don't see that as a tremendous application at the moment," he said.

He said bulletproof vests already exist. But being able to grow cells and use the material to replace large amounts of human skin could be significant for surgeons trying to cover large wounds, or treat people with severe burns.

He said the material's strength and elasticity would enable doctors to cover large areas without worrying about it ripping out - a big advantage over small skin grafts.

Lewis couldn't give a time frame for such a use because it would require FDA approval. But he hoped to do some animal testing within two years, and noted spider silk already has proven very compatible with the human body.

The next step is to generate more material to test what cells will grow on it - made easier with the "transgenic" silk worms and milk from goat spiders.

The real stuff is still the holy grail for fibers and textiles but not the easiest to come by as evidenced by an 11-by-4 foot tapestry unveiled two years ago at the New York Museum of Natural History that took millions of spiders to complete.

"We know some skin cells will grow (on our fibers), but can we get cells that make ligaments and tendons grow," Lewis said.

He said it may be easier to use the genetically engineered silk to make materials better than actual ligaments or tendons.

Essaidi, meanwhile, said she has plenty of wild ideas but wants to transplant the bulletproof skin.

She said Geert Verbeke, director of Verbeke Foundation in Belgium, the biggest Eco/BioArt museum, wants to wear the skin "as an ode to BioArt."

Back at Utah State's bio-manufacturing facility in Logan, Utah, Lewis just started breeding for the next round of milking in January. He has about three dozen of the genetically engineered goats. He extracts proteins from the special milk then spins them in a way that replicates the spider's method, resulting in a strong, light-weight fiber.

"Nothing is as strong as the natural fiber, yet," Lewis said of spider silk. "But we are working on solving that problem

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