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: 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: A stretchy optical fiber with yellow, blue and green regions; Copyright: MIT

Stretchy optical fibers for implanting in the body

15/11/2016

Researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have developed a biocompatible and highly stretchable optical fiber made from hydrogel — an elastic, rubbery material composed mostly of water. The fiber, which is as bendable as a rope of licorice, may one day be implanted in the body to deliver therapeutic pulses of light or light up at the first sign of disease.
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Image: Microwell plate; Copyright: ETH Zurich / Olivier Frey

Award for innovative cell culture technology

04/11/2016

A team headed by scientists from the Department of Biosystems at ETH Zurich in Basel has developed a cell culture technology platform for testing interactions between chemical and pharmaceutical compounds and three-dimensional body tissue samples.
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Image: Doctor looks at an X-ray image of a lung; Copyright: panthermedia.net/minervastock

Immune cell insight offers hope for tackling deadly lung condition

04/11/2016

Fresh insights into a life-threatening lung condition triggered by blood poisoning could signal a new approach to treating the disease, researchers found. Scientists have found that a drug, which targets key immune cells, could help to curb excessive inflammation in the lungs that is linked to the condition.
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Image: Scheme of the medical usage of the specific surface antigen GFRA2; Copyright: Osaka University

Discovery of molecular marker specific to early embryonic heart development

03/11/2016

Researchers centered at Osaka University identify molecule specifically expressed on one of the first cell populations to emerge as a precursor of the heart in embryos, which enables the cells to be isolated and studied, and potentially transplanted as a treatment for heart failure.
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Image: White paper with IBD written on it. Pills are lying around the letters; Copyright: panthermedia.net/lbrfzhjpf.gmail.com

New model to study inflammatory bowel disease in human biopsy samples

03/11/2016

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex condition that requires a lifetime of care and increases a person's cancer risk. But its origins are still a mystery. Now, a team of researchers have created a new culture model of the human intestine where living tissue from a patient biopsy can be preserved and studied for days.
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Image: fat tissue with light red stained adipocytes; Copyright: Delphine Duteil

When fat cells change their colour

01/11/2016

The epigenetic enzyme Lsd1 plays an important role in maintaining brown fat tissue.
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Image: DNA strand on the left, viruses on the right; Copyright: panthermedia.net/cuteimage

Grant for nerve tumour research

31/10/2016

Research investigating how DNA from a virus millions of years old may affect the development of nerve tumours, has been awarded funding.
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Image: Autumn tree on a meadow with leaves in the shape of a head, which back is already leafless; Copyright: panthermedia.net/lightsource

Structure of toxic tau aggregates determines type of dementia

31/10/2016

The distinct structures of toxic protein aggregates that form in degenerating brains determine which type of dementia will occur, which regions of brain will be affected, and how quickly the disease will spread, according to a study from the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.
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Image: Colourful book cover; Copyright: Mary Ann Liebert

Study shows functional effects of human stem cell delivery to heart muscle after heart attack

20/10/2016

Researchers delivered human stem cells seeded in biological sutures to the damaged heart muscles of rats following induced acute myocardial infarction and assessed the effects on cardiac function one week later.
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Image: Graphic of a E. coli outer membrane; Copyright: Courtesy of Wonpil Im, Lehigh University

Scientists model outer membrane of 12 bacterial species to speed new drugs for 'bad bugs'

19/10/2016

Led by Lehigh University professor, the team utilized biomolecular systems simulation to reveal the membrane properties of 21 distinct Lipid A types from 12 Gram-negative bacterial species--a crucial step toward new antibiotic drug development.
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Image: A protected, inactive form of the peptide on the left, and a free, active form of the peptide on the right side; Copyright: Empa

Peptides vs. superbugs

18/10/2016

Several peptides have an antibacterial effect - but they are broken down in the human body too quickly to exert this effect. Empa researchers have now succeeded in encasing peptides in a protective coat, which could prolong their life in the human body. This is an important breakthrough because peptides are considered to be a possible solution in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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Image: Cancer cell; Copyright: panthermedia.net/vitanovski

New advances in imaging to enhance the detection of GI cancers

17/10/2016

A new imaging technique is under development with the aim of detecting and characterizing early cancerous changes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
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Image: Three tins with pills; Copyright: panthermedia.net/garyphoto

New library of human stem cells with the Brazilian genetic admixture

17/10/2016

New human pluripotent stem cells lines are derived from individuals of the Brazilian population - with European, African and Native American genomic ancestry; they can be used for testing drug toxicity and for studying differential drug response
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