At the cellular level, aging and cancer are two sides of the same coin. The mechanism that limits a cell’s lifespan can be slowed down, but that can turn them cancerous, as they divide unchecked.
Much mystery surrounds the physiological processes by which humans age, but scientists are learning more all the time. With this knowledge come new possibilities around how we can not only slow them down, but possibly even reverse them. A new breakthrough at the University of Colorado is the latest advance in the area, demonstrating how a chemically altered nutritional supplement may well reverse aging of the blood vessels, in turn giving cardiovascular health a vital boost.
The world is in desperate need of new antibiotics, as bacteria continue to evolve and develop resistance to the ones we have. Now, researchers at La Trobe University have found a peptide in the flower of a tobacco plant that could be the first of a brand new kind of antibiotic, hopefully helping us avoid the looming doomsday of superbugs.
For decades researchers have worked to find a way to orally administer insulin effectively to patients with diabetes. Now this game-changing treatment is one step closer to reality, with pharmaceutical company Oramed embarking on a final Phase 2b human clinical trial to prove the efficacy of its oral insulin before moving to the final stages of trials and registrations that could bring the treatment to market within a few short years.
Four years ago, we heard how researchers had created a microwave-oven-sized 3D printer that could produce sheets of skin for treating burns. Now, some of the same scientists have developed a handheld device that prints skin directly onto deep wounds.
Cancer is one of our most persistent enemies, but while we now have advanced immune systems to fight the good fight, how did early multicellular life manage to stave it off? A genetic “kill switch” seems to have been the original weapon of choice, and now researchers at Northwestern University believe they’ve discovered a way to trigger that mechanism. This knowledge could potentially pave the way to a therapy where cancer cells commit suicide, which would be impossible for cancer cells to adapt a resistance to.
Bacteria can be hardy little creatures, thanks mostly to their strong cell walls that can protect them against drugs, viruses and other dangers. Finding ways to disarm these defenses is a key component of antibiotics, and now researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified a structural weakness that seems to be built into a range of bacterial species, potentially paving the way for a new class of widely-effective antibacterial drugs.
The cure for cancer might have been inside us all along – our own immune system. The trick is to give it a boost to find and destroy those rogue cells, and that’s the focus of the field of immunotherapy. To that end, a new hydrogel has been developed that can be injected directly to the site of a tumor, where it stays to slowly release its payload of immunotherapy drugs for longer.
Harvard has reported a breakthrough flat artificial eye just 30 microns in depth which can exceed the capabilities of the human eye. The technology, which builds on so-called metalens technology by adding electrically-controlled flexible muscles, could make a real impact in all manner of optical fields, including those in cameras, telescopes, microscopes, glasses and even virtual reality.
A stunning medical breakthrough has seen human kidney tissue capable of producing urine grown in the lab, in a world first.
Experts used stem cells to create mini-kidneys that were implanted into mice, with tests revealing they were able to filter and excrete waste.
The research will allow medical researchers to model kidney diseases using the new structures, advancing our understanding of a number of conditions.
It is also a key step in creating working kidneys for transplant, grown from a patient’s own tissue, a more realistic possibility in the future.