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We Could Soon Have Unlimited Transplant Organs

Futuristic ‘smart’ tissues could grow into any organ and automatically connect to the bodies of transplant patients, study reveals

Scientists have created synthetic tissues that can rebuild themselves into any part of the body, a new study reveals.

The researchers developed a new compound that mimics DNA’s instructions for cells to turn into various tissues.

Using this method, the University of California, San Francisco team could effectively automate these cells to take on various structures and colors, a process akin to what happens in the early stages of natural embryonic development.

Exerting this level of control to create complex biological forms indicates that scientists may soon be able to stop 3D-printing organs and grow them the way nature does instead. read more

New Drug Delivery for Brain Cancer

An artist's rendition of MIT's new nanoparticles, which can carry two forms of drug to combat...
An artist’s rendition of MIT’s new nanoparticles, which can carry two forms of drug to combat brain cancer(Credit: Stephen Morton)

Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Affecting the brain, those unlucky enough to receive a diagnosis don’t have many treatment options – and usually a median life expectancy of just over a year. Now, researchers at MIT have developed nanoparticles that could provide hope, crossing the blood-brain barrier and delivering two types of drugs to fight tumors. read more

Enzymes Cause Cancer to Die of Old Age

Cancer hijacks a natural anti-aging enzyme to make itself immortal, and now scientists have found a...
Cancer hijacks a natural anti-aging enzyme to make itself immortal, and now scientists have found a way to counteract that process(Credit: Sashkin7/Depositphotos)

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.

Now, scientists at EPFL have found a way to manipulate that mechanism to effectively turn off cancer’s immortality, letting it die slowly and naturally. read more

Supplement May Reverse Aging

Researchers have found that a commercially available supplement can improve dilation of a subjects’ arteries by...
Researchers have found that a commercially available supplement can improve dilation of a subjects’ arteries by 42 percent in response to increased blood flow(Credit:idcde/Depositphotos)

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. read more

Tobacco Antibiotics Attacks Superbugs

La Trobe researchers have isolated a peptide from tobacco flowers that could be a promising new...
La Trobe researchers have isolated a peptide from tobacco flowers that could be a promising new antibiotic candidate(Credit: La Trobe University)

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. read more

Oral Insulin Moving to Final Stages of Testing

Insulin in a pill is one step closer to reality as clinical trials progress
Insulin in a pill is one step closer to reality as clinical trials progress(Credit: SergIllin/Depositphotos)

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. read more

Handheld Skin Printer

From left to right, associate professor Axel Guenther, Navid Hakimi and Richard Cheng with the skin...
From left to right, associate professor Axel Guenther, Navid Hakimi and Richard Cheng with the skin printer(Credit: Liz Do)

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. read more

A Cancer Kill Switch

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a way to trigger an ancient cancer "kill switch" hidden...
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a way to trigger an ancient cancer “kill switch” hidden in our genes(Credit: ralwel/Depositphotos)

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. read more

Harvard Breaking Down Bacterial Walls

In this artist's rendition of a bacterium, the blue dots represent the cell wall-building protein RodA...
In this artist’s rendition of a bacterium, the blue dots represent the cell wall-building protein RodA – and disrupting that protein’s function could be key to a new class of antibiotic(Credit: Harvard Medical School)

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. read more

STINGel Doesn’t Give Cancer a Chance

A scanning electron microscope image of the injectable cancer-fighting hydrogel, dubbed STINGel
A scanning electron microscope image of the injectable cancer-fighting hydrogel, dubbed STINGel(Credit: Hartgerink Research Group/Rice University)

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.

Put the two into a ring, and the immune system will win every round against cancer. To give itself a fighting chance, the Big C instead focuses its attention on stealth attacks, using a variety of tactics to evade detection by the immune system until it can grow strong enough to overwhelm the body. read more