Interviews 2019 -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

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: graphic illustration of breast cancer; Copyright: panthermedia.net/decade3d

Cells: blocking metastasis-promoting enzyme

15.11.2019

In a breakthrough with important implications for the future of immunotherapy for breast cancer, UC San Francisco scientists have found that blocking the activity of a single enzyme can prevent a common type of breast cancer from spreading to distant organs.
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Image: joints of the human body; Copyright: panthermedia.net/lightwise

Diagnostics: missed prosthetic joint infections

13.11.2019

Standard diagnostic methods are not adequate to identify prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) in patients with rheumatic diseases, according to findings from a new study by researchers from Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. The study was presented at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Professionals annual meeting in Atlanta on November 12.
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Image: classified cells in comparision; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München / Carsten Marr

Blood cells: AI-driven classification

13.11.2019

Every day, millions of single blood cells are evaluated for disease diagnostics in medical laboratories and clinics. Most of this repetitive task is still done manually by trained cytologists who inspect cells in stained blood smears and classify. This process suffers from classification variability and requires the presence and expertise of a trained cytologist.
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Image: biosensor platform consisting of graphene layers; Copyright: Letao Yang, KiBum Lee, Jin-Ho Lee and Sy-Tsong (Dean) Chueng

Biosensor: technology created for stem cells

12.11.2019

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and other neurological disorders.
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Image: dna string; Copyright: MIPT Press Office

Genetic data: a method to standardize analysis

12.11.2019

MIPT researchers have collaborated with Atlas Biomedical Holding and developed a new bioinformatics data analysis method. The developed program, EphaGen, can be used for quality control when diagnosing genetic diseases. The team published the article in Nucleic Acid Research.
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Image: depiction of cells; Copyright: Yu Jung Shin

Cells: oxygen-starved tumor cells promoting cancer spread

08.11.2019

Using cells from human breast cancers and mouse breast cancer models, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have significant new evidence that tumor cells exposed to low-oxygen conditions have an advantage when it comes to invading and surviving in the bloodstream.
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Image: depiction of a disruption of immune cells; Copyright: Gerrit Müller/Freie Universität Berlin

Immunology: why beta-blockers cause skin inflammation

08.11.2019

Beta-blockers are often used to treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. However, in some patients they can trigger or exacerbate psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease. Scientists at the University of Bonn and Freie Universität Berlin have now found a possible cause for this. Their results have been published in the renowned journal "Autophagy".
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Image: Man using a machine for producing cells; Copyright: Empa

Bone: dissolving screws

07.11.2019

Where bones fracture, surgeons often have to join the fragments with implants. Magnesium orthopaedic screws, which over time dissolve in the body, spare patients another operation after healing is completed and reduce the risk of infection. To develop optimized alloys and orthopaedic screws with functionalized surfaces, Empa researchers are now investigating magnesium corrosion.
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Image: material with scaffold structure; Copyright: Tomsk Polytechnic University

Regenerative medicine: material for cell immune response

04.11.2019

Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with the University of Montana (USA) proposed a new promising material for regenerative medicine for recovery of damaged tissues and blood vessels.
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Image: illustration of different cells; Copyright: peterschreiber.media - stock.adobe.com

Vaccines: super-antibody strategy

01.11.2019

New influenza vaccines are required every autumn, because the viruses constantly change the components to which our immune protection responds. Medical research is focusing on universal vaccines that target more stable parts of the viruses. This new generation of broadly neutralising antibodies is particularly important for controlling life-threatening viral infections.
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Image: malaria infected blood cells under a microscope; Copyright: S. Kapishnikov

Microscope: malaria pathogen under X-ray

31.10.2019

Around 40 percent of humanity lives in regions affected by malaria, around 200 million people contract the disease every year, and an estimated 600,000 people die as a result. These pathogens are unicellular organisms that settle inside the red blood cells of their hosts and metabolize hemoglobin there to grow and multiply.
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Image: cancer cell gets treated with sound; Copyright: Tohoku University

Cancer treatment: attacking with sound

30.10.2019

Drugs can be safely delivered to cancerous lymph nodes via the lymphatic system and then released inside the nodes using sound waves. Tohoku University researchers tested the treatment on mice with metastatic breast cancer and published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.
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Image: molecular simulation close-up; Copyright: Chan Cao, EPFL

Biosensor: made from a dangerous toxin

30.10.2019

Some types of bacteria have the ability to punch holes into other cells and kill them. They do this by releasing specialized proteins called "pore-forming toxins" (PFTs) that latch onto the cell's membrane and form a tube-like channel that goes through it. This hole across the membrane is called a pore. Punctured by multiple PFTs, the target cell self-destructs.
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Image: brain cells in a piece of a mouse cortex; Copyright: J Kuhl (somedonkey.com), Motta, Wissler (c) MPI for Brain Research

Brain mapping: unraveling the dense networks

29.10.2019

The methods to analyze neuronal networks sparsely have been available for decades, the dense mapping of neuronal circuits is a major scientific challenge. Researchers from the MPI for Brain Research have now succeeded in the dense connectomic mapping of brain tissue from the cerebral cortex, and quantify the possible imprint of learning in the circuit.
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Image: 3D-printed cell in a laboratory; Copyright: Allison Carter, Georgia Tech

3D-printing: finds cancer cells

29.10.2019

Finding a handful of cancer cells hiding among billions of blood cells in a patient sample can be like finding a needle in a haystack. In a new approach enabled by 3D-printed cell traps, researchers are removing the hay to expose the cancer cells.
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Image: a protein adapter in the blood stream; Copyright: MPI-P

Cells: toxin, trauma, therapy?

28.10.2019

The department of Prof. Tanja Weil at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research has, in cooperation with the group of Prof. Holger Barth from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Ulm University, shown in initial laboratory tests that they are able to specifically modulate processes in human white blood cells in vitro.
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Image: ultrasound image of thyroid nodule; Copyright: Dr. Elizabeth Cottril, Thomas Jefferson University

Artificial intelligence: thyroid cancer on ultrasound

25.10.2019

Thyroid nodules are small lumps that form within the thyroid gland and are quite common in the general population, with a prevalence as high as 67 percent. The great majority of thyroid nodules are not cancerous and cause no symptoms. However, there are currently limited guidelines on what to do with a nodule when the risk of cancer is uncertain.
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Image: medial prefrontal cortex; Copyright: Drs. Christopher Parkhurst and David Artis (WCM)

Cells: gut health influences brain health

25.10.2019

Over the last two decades, scientists have observed a clear link between autoimmune disorders and a variety of psychiatric conditions. For example, people with autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), psoriasis and multiple sclerosis may also have depleted gut microbiota and experience anxiety, depression and mood disorders.
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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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