Image: Red killer cells and green immunocytes; Copyright: AG Kastenmüller/Universität Bonn

Infection defense: call for support by the killer cells

15/02/2017

A few days after a viral infection, countless killer cells swarm out to track down and kill infected body cells. In this way, they are highly effective at preventing pathogens from being able to spread further. An international research team has now explained an important mechanism behind building this army. The work under the aegis of the University of Bonn is published in the journal Immunity.
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Image: Different kinds of nuts; Copyright: panthermedia.net/fotokris44

Hard shell - healthy kernel

10/02/2017

Roasted and salted, ground as a baking ingredient or fresh from the shell - for all those who enjoy eating nuts, there is good news from nutritionists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). Their latest research shows that nuts can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
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Image: Colored cells under the microscope; Copyright: Laboratoire Bourquin - UNIFR/UNIGE

Method for screening the most useful nanoparticles for medicine

10/02/2017

The use of nanoparticles - small, virus-sized elements developed under laboratory conditions - is increasingly widespread in the world of biomedicine. This rapidly-evolving technology offers hope for many medical applications, whether for diagnosis or therapies.
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Image: Colored image of cells in tissue; Copyright: Song et al./Cell Reports

Basement membrane protein influences connection of blood vessel cells

06/02/2017

Which molecular mechanisms are at work when, in the case of inflammation, immune cells migrate from the blood vessel into the tissue? Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence at Münster University have gained new insights into this question. The study has been published in the journal Cell Reports.
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Image: elderly woman at a doctor's office; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Barbara Reddoch

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging

23/01/2017

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that elderly women who sit for more than 10 hours a day with low physical activity have cells that are biologically older by eight years compared to women who are less sedentary.
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Image: Drawings of scar tissues and colored tissue samples in comparison; Copyright: Penn Medicine

Using fat to help wounds heal without scars

19/01/2017

Doctors have found a way to manipulate wounds to heal as regenerated skin rather than scar tissue. The method involves transforming the most common type of cells found in wounds into fat cells - something that was previously thought to be impossible in humans.
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Image: Close-up of an arm with small hairs and drops of sweat; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Kwanchai Chai-udom

Research on sweat glands suggests a route to better skin grafts

17/01/2017

As early humans shed the hairy coats of their closest evolutionary ancestors, they also gained a distinct feature that would prove critical to their success: a type of sweat gland that allows the body to cool down quickly. Those tiny glands are enormously useful, allowing us to live in a wide variety of climates, and enabling us to run long distances.
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Image: Coloured image of tissue; Copyright: Cincinnati Children's

Scientists tissue-engineer part of human stomach in laboratory

17/01/2017

Scientists report in Nature using pluripotent stem cells to generate human stomach tissues in a petri dish that produce acid and digestive enzymes. Publishing their findings online, researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center grew tissues from the stomach's corpus/fundus region.
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Image: A grey background with two magnifying glasses and some coloured spots; Copyright: Eric Jonas, CC-BY.

Classic video game system used to improve understanding of the brain

13/01/2017

The complexity of neural networks makes them difficult to analyze, but manmade computing systems should be simpler to understand.
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Image: Stylized Image of Prostate Cancer From a Man with a Brca2 Mutation; Copyright: Monash University

Aggressive prostate cancer secrets revealed in landmark study

11/01/2017

A landmark study, led by Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute with the involvement of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, has revealed the reason why men with a family history of prostate cancer who also carry the BRCA2 gene fault have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer.
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Image: Computer-generated image of a virus docking at a cell; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ugreen

Autoimmunity and infections: When the body fights itself

10/01/2017

Basel-based doctors are on the trail of a possible connection between autoimmune diseases and infections: errors can occur when immune cells absorb certain proteins from pathogen cells. These findings were reported in the journal PNAS by researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel, as well as colleagues in the USA.
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Image: Green Staphylococci bacteria and black Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that divide and grow; Copyright: Sorgt et al. / University of Groningen

Antibiotic resistance just became more complex

05/01/2017

Bacteria that are susceptible to antibiotics can survive when enough resistant cells around them are expressing an antibiotic-deactivating factor. This new take on how the microbial context can compromise antibiotic therapy was published by a team of microbiologists from the University of Groningen microbiologists, together with colleagues from San Diego, in the journal "PLOS Biology".
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Researchers identify key proteins that may make Zika so deadly

03/01/2017

Until it burst onto the scene earlier this year, Zika was an obscure, little-known virus. As a result, scientists know little about how it works. Over the past year, they have learned that it can cause a range of dangerous health problems, including birth defects such as microcephaly and neurological problems such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.
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Image: Bacteria in a culture dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Anna Puhan

Using 'fire to fight fire' to combat disease could make it worse

03/01/2017

A treatment billed as a potential breakthrough in the fight against disease, including cancer, could back-fire and make the disease fitter and more damaging, new research has found. Ground-breaking research has found that introducing 'friendlier' less-potent strains into a population of disease-causing microbes can lead to increased disease severity.
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Image: Diagram of a cell; Copyright: ETH Zurich

New weapon against Diabetes

23/12/2016

ETH Researchers have used the simplest approach yet to produce artificial beta cells from human kidney cells. Like their natural model, the artificial cells act as both sugar sensors and insulin producers.
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Image: A bowl filled with red chili peppers; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Nitrub

Spicy molecule inhibits growth of breast cancer cells

22/12/2016

Capsaicin, an active ingredient of pungent substances such as chilli or pepper, inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells. This was reported by a team headed by the Bochum-based scent researcher Prof. Hanns Hatt and Dr Lea Weber, following experiments in cultivated tumour cells.
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Image: Automated laboratory device is filling sampling tubes; Copyright: panthermedia.net/luchschen

Immunotherapy: identifying suitable tumor antigens by mass spectrometry

20/12/2016

New cancer therapies harness the immune system to fight tumors. One of the main principles behind these therapies is to find out precisely which molecules on cancer cells trigger an immune response. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry has for the first time identified suitable protein structures directly from patients' tumor cells.
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Image: A coloured image of lung tissue; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München

COPD: What causes the lungs to lose their ability to heal?

19/12/2016

In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the patients’ lungs lose their ability to repair damages on their own. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) now have a new idea as to why this might be so.
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Image: Alpha cell; Copyright: Cell Press

Breakthrough in diabetes research: Cells produce insulin instead upon artemisinin treatment

14/12/2016

FDA-approved artemisinins, since decades used to treat malaria, transform glucagon-producing alpha cells in the pancreas into insulin producing cells – thereby acquiring features of beta cells, the cell type damaged in type 1 diabetes.
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Image: Young woman with brown hair sitting in her lab ; Copyright: KU Leuven - Rob Stevens

Aggressive form of leukemia linked to defective 'protein factory'

09/12/2016

20 to 40 percent of the patients with multiple myeloma - a type of leukaemia - have a defect in the ribosome, the protein factory of the cell.
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Image: Zebrafish brain, fluorescence image (left) and 3D image (right); Copyright: private

"A 3D movie of the brain in action"

08/12/2016

Watching millions of neurons in the brain interacting with each other – for a long time this was possible only to a limited extent. The current techniques can visualize only superficial layers or the imaging they use is too slow. But now, Prof Daniel Razansky and his team have found a new method to visualize the brain activity – by using optoacoustics.
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Image: Operation table with medical instruments; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Jörg Horstmann

A new probe may aid in complete removal of cancer tissue during surgery

02/12/2016

An optical fiber probe can distinguish cancer tissue and normal tissue at the margins of a tumor being excised, in real time, by detecting the difference in pH between the two types of tissue. This has the potential to help surgeons avoid removing too much healthy tissue during surgery and also avoid performing additional surgeries later to remove any cancer tissue left behind.
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Image: Graphic of a green ball with purple logs attached to it; Copyright: Victor Kostyuchenko, Duke-NUS Medical School

First steps to neutralizing Zika

28/11/2016

As Zika spreads throughout the world, the call for rapid development of therapeutics to treat Zika rings loud and clear. Taking a step further in identifying a possible therapeutic candidate, a team of researchers have discovered the mechanism by which C10, a human antibody previously identified to react with the Dengue virus, prevents Zika infection at a cellular level.
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Image: Two researchers in a cleanroom; Copyright: SINTEF

Microscopic sensor for more precise radiology treatments

24/11/2016

A team of Norwegian, French and Australian researchers is the first in the world to succeed in quantifying the effects of radiation on individual cancer cells. This means that radiation therapies can now be tailored to individual tumors and thus be more effective.
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Image: User interface of a software; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München

Cell under observation: "The software lets us study the development on video"

08/08/2016

What happens when stem cells differentiate? What molecular characteristics do they have? Questions that can now be easier answered with the help of a new open-source software. We spoke with Prof. Fabian Theis at the Helmholtz Center Munich, who participated in the software development.
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Image: Closed eyes of a patient. Electrodes are attached above the eyebrows; Copyright: savir-center.com

Electrical Stimulation: Using Electrical Pulses to Combat Blindness

22/07/2016

Millions of people all over the world suffer from partial blindness – caused by glaucoma, a stroke or traumatic brain injury. For years, the loss of vision was deemed irreversible. But now a new treatment makes it possible to improve eyesight and vision.
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Photo: two physicians working at a test set-up

Atherosclerosis: Getting to the root of the problem with a turbo gene

09/02/2016

Many people suffer from atherosclerosis, especially in developed countries. The buildup of fatty deposits inside the arterial blood vessels leads to strokes and heart attacks. Now, a new method is designed to get to the root of the problem, and with the help of nanoparticles inject new turbo replacement cells into the blood vessels which are intended to exert their curative effect.
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Photo: child with broken arm

Different specialties, one goal – treating children right

01/02/2016

Children, especially newborns, are generally no longer simply considered to be small adults whose treatment just needs to be "reduced". This is why a pediatrician’s education includes several specialties because ultimately everything in terms of care comes together here.
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Photo: pipette in petri dish

Great leaps forward thanks to new methods

01/02/2016

Self-healing powers like a superhero on the big screen? That’s the aim of regenerative medicine; at least in a very broad sense. This promising field of biomedicine is currently highly dynamic with innovative technologies and development. New methods are designed to help propel medicine into a whole new sphere.
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From the periodic table of elements into medicine: silicon for theranostics

01/10/2015

Semiconductor nanoparticles for biomedical applications have been researched for some time now. Not only are they millionths of a millimeter in size, they also offer great potential for cancer diagnostics and therapy, so-called theranostics. They enter cells, are activated by ultrasonic radiation and destroy the cells using the generated vibration.
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Hospital crisis communication: A crisis knows no rules

02/03/2015

Crises come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s poor hygiene, thefts or treatment errors – once the crisis has arrived, things need to move quickly. For hospitals in particular, the right crisis communication is key. Yet many medical facilities still neglect the fact that crisis communication starts before the actual crisis takes place.
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Photo: Tissue sections on object slides

Digital pathology: From microscope slide to virtual microscopy

02/02/2015

The digitization of medicine moves on. Researchers, physicians and patients equally benefit from this development – thanks to improved diagnostics with highly sensitive devices, today findings can be comprehensively analyzed and treatment decisions made on a broadened basis. Digitization also offers the area of pathology interesting fields of application.
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Photo: interaction between the proteins

IBD: When genetics and environment interact

05/01/2015

T-cells are the guardians of our immune system. When they show changes, it can lead to severe inflammatory responses in the body. It is believed that the T-cells in persons who are affected by inflammatory bowel disease don’t work properly. Two proteins that can be found on activated T-cells and that interact with each other are now being analyzed.
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Wound treatment with fish skin

03/11/2014

The treatment of chronic wounds is extremely problematic. Chronic wounds can take months or years to heal and some even never heal resulting in over 100.000 amputations taking place annually in the US alone. A new technology from Iceland, that is based on fish skin and is already used clinically, allows for improved healing of chronic and burn wounds.
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Xenon magnetic resonance imaging: making pathological changes in the body visible

03/11/2014

As an imaging procedure, magnetic resonance tomography has become essential in clinical practice, since it can easily make organs and tissue visible. However, until now abnormal cancer cells or small centers of inflammation remained almost invisible. Now cell biologists from Berlin, Germany, have succeeded in fixing this problem with xenon magnetic resonance imaging.
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Photo: Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt

Laboratory in Space: Hot on the Trails of Cartilage Degradation

01/10/2014

On November 10, 2014, astronaut Alexander Gerst will return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). He is not just anxiously expected by his family, but also by Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt from the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University Cologne
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Cultured skin makes large-scale transplantations possible

01/07/2014

Large burns require skin grafting. Surgeons remove split-thickness skin grafts and apply them to the injured areas. Now skin that has been made in a laboratory is meant to help in covering burns as well as chronic wounds and thus promote the healing process. Researchers in Zurich have been working on this for more than 13 years.
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Diagnosing Parkinson's: the skin is revealing

01/07/2014

In patients with Parkinson's, neural cells in the brain die off that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Certain physical symptoms that can indicate the disease follow years later. But a reliable diagnosis can only be made through examination of the brain after the patient's death, and not during his lifetime.
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Fat is the best medicine: "Adipose tissue contains many multipotent stem cells, approximately 500 times more than bone marrow"

01/07/2014

The not so popular “love handles“ could revolutionize medicine in the near future. In cooperation with the University of Rostock (Professor Hermann Seitz), the human med AG Company currently seeks to develop a device that is able to gently remove adipose tissue during surgery and subsequently isolate stem cells.
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"We don’t know why certain pharmaceuticals bind especially well while others bind barely at all"

10/02/2014

Prof. Joachim Heberle from the Free University of Berlin wants to make the smallest protein structures visible under the microscope. He wants to accomplish this with an infrared microscope, originating in the field of physics. He told MEDICA.de which technology is behind all this and what he also wants to examine with it in the future.
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Surgery: "Our camera detects the tiniest remainder of a tumor"

03/02/2014

Differentiating tumor tissue from healthy tissue isn’t always easy for surgeons. Scattered cancer cells and early cancer are often hard to detect with the naked eye. A special camera now makes even the tiniest remainder of a tumor visible during surgery.
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"The immunosensory system goes beyond the actual immune cells"

22/01/2014

It guards the body but can become its enemy: the immune system defends us from intruding pathogens; it is also able to cause severe diseases if it falsely recognizes the body itself as a threat. Molecular receptors in the whole body enable the immune system to “sense” what happens within.
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