April 11, 2014

Like scaffolding that props up a building, scientists are now using temporary frameworks to create custom-designed, complex new organs, which they've successfully implanted in several patients. These breakthroughs were revealed in two extraordinary studies on the engineering of body parts published Thursday in The Lancet.

Here's the basics of how the process works: Doctors first extract cells from a patient's muscle and tissue, then use those cells to seed 3-D biodegradable scaffolding of the target organ that they've constructed from scans of the patient's body. After a few weeks in an incubator, the seed cells have spread across the scaffolding to produce a layer of tissue, and the new organ is implanted in the patient. The scaffolding is absorbed into the body as the cells continue to grow.

One team worked on creating nasal cartilage, while another grew new vaginas. "This is a move forward to even more challenging [organs]," Ian Martin, a professor of tissue engineering at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland and co-author of the nasal cartilage study, told CNN. "All these incremental steps finally have demonstrated that it is possible to engineer tissue that can help patients."

The reproductive organ study involves four teenagers born with a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome. The women were all born either without or with a deformed uterus or vagina. According to CNN, after receiving their new sex organs, the patients all indicated that they had "normal levels of desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and painless intercourse." Two of the patients now also menstruate.

The patients in the nasal tissue study were all elderly and had recently undergone cancer surgery. Ordinarily, doctors reconstruct noses with big pieces of cartilage taken from the ear, septum, or ribs — a very painful process. This time, scientists removed a tiny piece of tissue from each patient's nasal septum — roughly half the size of the tip of a pen — and put it onto a scaffold. The cells formed a thin layer of cartilage that was then transplanted to the patient.

Scientists hope that these amazing findings will help more people in the future, including those who need replacement cartilage or whose reproductive systems have been damaged. "Tissue engineering is finally demonstrating that it can deliver on expectations," Martin said. Catherine Garcia

12:01 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders raised $25.8 million in April, the campaign said Sunday. That's a sharp drop from the $44 million he pulled in in March.

The campaign put a positive spin on the news, noting it surpasses the campaign's monthly average of $17 million.

Hillary Clinton holds a large delegate lead over Sanders in the Democratic presidential race. In April, the struggling Sanders campaign announced layoffs of hundreds of staff members. Julie Kliegman

11:21 a.m. ET
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Malia Obama will attend Harvard University in 2017 after taking a gap year, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama announced Sunday. The decision to take a year off will theoretically lessen the spotlight in college, as her father will be out of office well before she starts classes.

Harvard's acceptance rate this year was just 5.2 percent, the lowest in the institution's history, The New York Times reports. Obama will join a storied club of presidential children that have attended Harvard as undergraduates or graduates, which includes figures ranging from Robert Lincoln to George W. Bush. Julie Kliegman

10:58 a.m. ET

In April, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) made a seriously uncomfortable joke at a comedy show.

Here's a quick refresher: De Blasio, joking about his chronic lateness, said he was running on "CP Time." Colored People's Time has long been a reference to the racist stereotype that black people are frequently late. Clinton jumped in, jokingly claiming the acronym really means "Cautious Politician Time."

President Obama took Clinton and de Blasio to task Saturday during his speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He apologized for being late and said he was running on CPT, which stands for "Jokes That White People Should Not Make." Watch the zinger below. Julie Kliegman

10:19 a.m. ET

Rev. Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest influential in forming U.S. opposition to the Vietnam War, died Saturday at age 94, The New York Times reports.

In 1968, Berrigan and his brother led other activists in seizing hundreds of local draft records in Catonsville, Maryland, and setting them on fire with homemade napalm. Berrigan was imprisoned. His activism and subsequent arrests continued in his later years.

"The day after I'm embalmed, that's when I'll give it up," he said in 2001. Julie Kliegman

10:05 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump leads the Republican presidential race in Indiana with 49 percent support among likely voters, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll out Sunday.

Ted Cruz sits 15 percentage points behind, with 34 percent support, and John Kasich notched just 13 percent. The margin of error is 3.9 percentage points.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders, 50 percent to 46 percent, ahead of Tuesday's primaries. That's smaller than the poll's 4.6-point margin of error. Julie Kliegman

8:11 a.m. ET
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) picked up about 80 delegates of more than 170 on the table at local and state conventions Saturday, Politico reports.

He snagged a majority of delegates in Arizona and Virginia, two states that strongly backed Donald Trump in primaries. Cruz also made gains in Missouri. Trump fared well in Massachusetts, Alaska, and Arkansas.

Most delegates are obligated to support the winner of their state's nominating contest on the Republican National Convention's first ballot, but can switch allegiances in future rounds of voting. Cruz's strategy banks on Trump not being able to grab the minimum of 1,237 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination outright. Julie Kliegman

7:40 a.m. ET

President Obama spared no one when he took the stage Saturday at his final White House Correspondents' Dinner. He poked fun at journalists, Democrats, and Republicans alike, saving his harshest jokes for Donald Trump, who didn't attend.

"You have a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras. And he says no. Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he be possibly doing instead?" Obama said. "Eating a Trump Steak? Tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What's he doing?"

The president proceeded to end his speech with a literal mic drop. Julie Kliegman

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