Background Reports 2018 -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: immune cells counting each other; Copyright: Northwestern University

Immunology: cells consult each other to make decisions

14.02.2020

Scientists and physicians have long known that immune cells migrate to the site of an infection, which individuals experience as inflammation - swelling, redness and pain. Now, Northwestern University and University of Washington researchers have uncovered new evidence that this gathering is not just a consequence of immune activation.
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Image: mini-gut organoid generated in the lab; Copyright: UC San Diego Health Sciences

Gut-in-a-dish model to define gut leaks

11.02.2020

Leaky gut is most often experienced by older people, patients with cancers or other chronic ailments, and people with especially stressful lifestyles. Stressors break down the zipper-like junctions between the cells that form the gut lining. Microbes and molecules that subsequently leak out through these cell gaps can trigger an immune response, contributing to a variety of diseases.
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Image: Three young men sitting at a couch together; Copyright: Klaus Pichler/CeMM

Diagnostics: single-cell sequencing of leukemia therapy

05.02.2020

Researchers at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and partners in Hungary have studied the response to targeted leukemia therapy in unprecedented detail, using single-cell sequencing and epigenetic analysis.
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Image: A man in an MRI with his head fixed, next to him two physicians who discuss the images; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ancikainfot

Advanced imaging and genomic analysis could help treat brain cancer

04.02.2020

Melding the genetic and cellular analysis of tumors with how they appear in medical images could give physicians and other cancer therapy specialists new insights into how to best treat patients, especially those with brain cancer, according to a new study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope.
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Image: The shoulder of a man with a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/JPCPROD

Regenerative medicine: helps the body healing

03.02.2020

Severe wounds heal slowly and leave scars. This is why we have been using regenerative therapies for some time now to accelerate and improve healing. They also help to avoid permanent damage. Still, complex applications like replacing organs or limbs will rather remain vision than become reality for a long time.
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Image: Colored image of a tissue sample; Copyright: UC San Diego Health Sciences

Regenerative medicine: new injection technique for spinal cord repair

03.02.2020

In rodent studies, a new method reduced likelihood of further spinal cord trauma while delivering large doses of potentially reparative stem cells. This approach may have utility for multiple neurodegenerative conditions.
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Image: Computer-generated image of an arborizing blood vessel; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ugreen

Angiogenesis: light shows blood vessels the way

03.02.2020

Regenerative medicine aims to replace damage in the body with functional tissue and restore normal function. The first defense for large defects are implants made of hydrogels, designed to promote cell growth. They need their own blood supply, which is a problem when it comes to larger implants because you cannot regulate where and how the blood vessels grow - until now.
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Image: Man experimenting in a laboratory; Copyright: Newcastle University, UK

Damaging impact of infrared and visible rays on skin

24.01.2020

The damage visible and infrared light can do to our skin has been revealed for the first time in new research by scientists at Newcastle University, UK. The detrimental effects of exposure to the sun's rays are well documented, and the main aim of sunscreens is to protect the skin against dangerous ultraviolet radiation (UV).
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Image: close-up of fat cells; Copyright: Cincinnati Children's

Fat cells can sense sunlight

22.01.2020

Eye-opening study from Cincinnati Children's suggests that lack of sun can lead to problems beyond seasonal affective disorder. Yes, fat cells deep under your skin can sense light. And when bodies do not get enough exposure to the right kinds of light, fat cells behave differently.
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Image: body scan with focus on cells in the breast; Copyright: panthermedia.net/cliparea

Imaging: magnetized molecules used to monitor breast cancer

21.01.2020

A new type of scan that involves magnetising molecules allows doctors to see in real-time which regions of a breast tumour are active, according to research funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Image: Cells on a programmable composite of silica nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes; Copyright: Niemeyer-Lab, KIT

Programmable materials for stem cells

21.01.2020

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials. These nanocomposites can be tailored to various applications and programmed to degrade quickly and gently.
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Image: Computer-generated image of the heart in front of sinus curves; Copyright: panthermedia.net/adrenalina (YAYMicro)

Electron cryomicroscopy shows cardiac thin filament structure

13.01.2020

Researchers at Osaka University used electron cryomicroscopy (CryoEM) to image essential cardiac muscle components, known as thin filaments, with unprecedented resolution. They also discovered the mechanism by which these filaments regulate heartbeat via cardiac muscle contractions in the presence or absence of calcium ions by changing their conformations.
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Image: graphic showing that cancer cells will be destroyed while healthy cells are spared with targeted pulsed ultrasound; Copyright: David Mittelstein

Ultrasound selectively damages cancer cells when tuned to correct frequencies

08.01.2020

Doctors have used focused ultrasound to destroy tumors without invasive surgery for some time. However, the therapeutic ultrasound used in clinics today indiscriminately damages cancer and healthy cells alike.
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Image: two fish swimming in a circle; Copyright: Sarah Stednitz, Martin Vötsch / Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

Neurons act as pulse generators

20.12.2019

An international team of brain researchers achieved a breakthrough in uncovering a switch-like mechanism that flips the brain between two motivational states in larval zebrafish, a model organism in neuroscience. How the brain switches between states is a central mystery in neuroscience.
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Image: structure of the system; Copyright: Sternberg and Fernández Labs at Columbia University Irving Medical Center

DNA: first images of an 'upgraded' CRISPR tool

20.12.2019

Columbia scientists have captured the first images of a new gene editing tool that could improve upon existing CRISPR-based tools. The team developed the tool, called INTEGRATE, after discovering a unique "jumping gene" in Vibrio cholerae bacteria that could insert large genetic payloads in the genome without introducing DNA breaks.
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Image: DNA in human cells; Copyright: Michael Bauer, University of Zurich

Infectious Immunology: newly discovered protein gives signal

18.12.2019

Researchers at the University of Zurich have discovered a protein that enables adenoviruses to infect human cells. The Mib1 protein gives the virus the signal to uncoat the DNA and release it into the nucleus. Blocking this protein could therefore help people with weakened immune systems to fight dangerous viruses.
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Image: photoacoustic images of microvessels of mice; Copyright: Chulhong Kim (POSTECH)

Microscopy: finds clogged blood vessels

17.12.2019

Up to now, the best tool that provides anatomical, functional, and molecular information of human and animal is the photoacoustic microscopy. Super-resolution localization photoacoustic microscopy which is 500 times faster than the conventional photoacoustic microscopy system is developed by the research team from POSTECH in Korea.
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Image: woman holds her hands on breast; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Andriy Popov

Diagnostic tool: AI for breast cancer

13.12.2019

Scientists are developing a new way to identify the unique chemical 'fingerprints' for different types of breast cancers. These new chemical footprints will be used to train AI software - creating a new tool for rapid and accurate diagnosis of breast cancers.
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Image: scanning electron microscope image of NETs; Copyright: Urban, et al., Max Planck Institute

Machine learning: to measure inflammation process

13.12.2019

UNC School of Medicine researchers created an artificial intelligence tool to measure NETosis, an inflammatory process where white blood cells trap invaders; this work will help scientists find ways to stop or promote NETosis in disease states
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Image: laboratory technology; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Robert Przybysz

Analyser system: Epigenomic technology combats disease

11.12.2019

Much remains unknown about diseases and the way our bodies respond to them, in part because the human genome is the complete DNA assembly that makes each person unique. A Virginia Tech professor and his team of researchers have created new technology to help in understanding how the human body battles diseases.
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 Image: illustration of the ConvPath software workflow; Copyright: UTSW

Software tool: AI helps doctors identify cancer cells

11.12.2019

UT Southwestern researchers have developed a software tool that uses artificial intelligence to recognize cancer cells from digital pathology images - giving clinicians a powerful way of predicting patient outcomes.
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Image: sci-Plex technique; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Wavebreakmedia (YAYMicro)

Drug information system: shows how cancer cells react to drugs

10.12.2019

A new technique overcomes several limitations of typical high-throughput chemical screens conducted on cell samples. Such screens are commonly used to try to discover new cancer drugs, and in many other biomedical applications.
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Image: PR-OCT imaging; Copyright: Zhu Lab

Machine learning: imaging boosts colon cancer diagnosis

09.12.2019

Colorectal cancer is the second most common type of cancer worldwide, with about 90% of cases occurring in people 50 or older. Arising from the inner surface, or muscosal layer, of the colon, cancerous cells can penetrate through the deeper layers of the colon and spread to other organs. Left untreated, the disease is fatal.
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Image: Green and purple colored image of cells; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München/Donovan Correa-Gallegos

Regenerative medicine: Fascia are a repository of mobile scar tissue

06.12.2019

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix.
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Image: view on the hands of a laboratory worker; Copyright: K. Dobberke für Fraunhofer ISC

Tissue Engineering: new ways to avoid animal testing

26.11.2019

Around 60 international experts met on November 7 at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Wuerzburg to report on the state of the art in the field of 3D tissue models and prevention of animal experiments in the development of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
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Image: Volker Bruns; Copyright: Fraunhofer ISS

AI software: "iSTIX opens your world to the possibilities of digital pathology"

08.10.2019

The healthcare market offers a multitude of microscopes that make cells visible to the human eye. The same applies to AI-based software for image analysis. After taking the microscopic images, scientist are faced with large volumes of scans with usually low resolution. Yet when all aspects merge together, they open up a the world of digital pathology.
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Image: Cell cultivation in a Petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net / matej kastelic

Organ-on-a-chip – Organs in miniature format

01.02.2019

In vitro processes and animal tests are used to develop new medications and novel therapeutic approaches. However, animal testing raises important ethical concerns. Organ-on-a-chip models promise to be a feasible alternative. In a system the size of a smartphone, organs are connected using artificial circulation.
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Image: Man and woman in a laboratory presenting a multi-organ chip; Copyright: TissUse GmbH

Multi-Organ Chips – The Patients of Tomorrow?

01.02.2019

The liver, nervous tissue or the intestines: all are important human organs that have in the past been tested for their function and compatibility using animal or in vitro test methods. In recent years, TissUse GmbH, a spin-off of the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), has launched multi-organ chip platforms. But that’s not all.
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Image: Graphic rendering of several cells in a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/dani3315

Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?

01.02.2019

Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities.
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Photo: Preview picture of video

From algorithm to rapid test – Artificial Intelligence classifies blood cells

21.11.2018

Our blood reveals a lot about our physical health. The shape of our blood cells sheds light on several hereditary diseases for example. For a diagnosis, the cells must first be examined under the microscope and categorized into a specific cell class. We met with Dr. Stephan Quint and Alexander Kihm of the Institute of Physics at the Saarland University, who explained how this classification works.
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Image: Small brown mole on the back of a hand; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Mario Hahn

Early detection: Tattoo signals cancer – and more

09.07.2018

People who are not ill and do not show any symptoms typically do not visit the doctor. And while most people know that preventive medical checkups for cancer, for example, are important, they still avoid them. They tend to be very hesitant because the doctor might detect a serious illness. In the future, a new type of implant could make it easier to go to a screening test.
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Image: AcCellerator research device at an exhibition stand; Copyright: Daniel Klaue, ZELLMECHANIK DRESDEN GmbH

Cells in the speed trap – diagnosis in a matter of seconds

22.06.2018

A drop of blood provides a lot of valuable information. However, it takes several hours to analyze the blood of a patient and make a diagnosis. This takes away a lot of time that's crucial for treatment. A new method intends to considerably speed up this process by testing the cells in the blood in terms of their deformability and immune response.
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Image: Two hands are holding a tubular frame that is carrying a glistening wet, white tube; Copyright: Leibniz University of Hanover/Institute of Technical Chemistry

Tissue engineering: how to grow a bypass

23.04.2018

A bypass is a complicated structure. It is either made of synthetic materials that can cause blood clots and infections or created by using the patient’s veins. However, the latter often does not yield adequate material. A newly developed bioreactor could solve this problem in the future. It is designed to tissue engineer vascular grafts by using the body’s own material.
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Image: yellow tape measure with capsules in front of it; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Jiri Hera

Personalized cancer medicine: customized treatment

01.03.2018

Everyone is different. This statement also applies to our health. Cancer, in particular, can look and progress differently depending on the individual person. That’s why every patient ideally also needs a customized treatment that is tailored to their individual needs. But how feasible is this idea?
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Image: a container with the nutrient medium for cancer cells; Copyright: Dr. Markus Wehland

Cells in space – extraterrestrial approaches in cancer research

22.02.2018

Here on Earth, all experiments are bound by gravitation. Yet, freed from gravity's grip, tumor cells, for example, behave in an entirely different way. As part of the "Thyroid Cancer Cells in Space" project by the University of Magdeburg, smartphone-sized containers carrying poorly differentiated thyroid cancer cells are sent into space.
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Image:

"Spray-On" muscle fibers for biomimetic surfaces

08.01.2018

Few patients with heart failure are fortunate enough to receive a donor's heart. Ventricular assist devices (or heart pumps) have been around for several years and are designed to buy time as patients wait for a transplant. Unfortunately, the body doesn't always tolerate these devices.
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Image: interferometric detection of scattered light, iSCAT; Copyright: MPL

Interface between Physics and Medicine: new interdisciplinary center

22.08.2017

Physics has always supported medical science, especially when it comes to practical implementation. Now physicists and health professionals join in collaborative research at an interdisciplinary Center in Erlangen and incorporate fundamental principles of theoretical physics in their studies of diseases.
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Image: Preview picture of video

Light microscope ChipScope - a glimpse into living cells

14.07.2017

A microscope that is only a few millimeters in size and that can help to consider cell changes in real time. This is the goal of the EU project ChipScope. Scientists led by Dr. Hutomo Wasisto in Braunschweig help to make this project come true.
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