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Smartlab – Robotics and automation in the laboratory

15/09/2020

Some tasks in the laboratory are repetitive, need to be done extremely precise and require a lot of time. Such tasks are very tedious for humans, but they are tailor-made for robots. Such is the case with the "AutoCRAT" project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen. Here, a robotic platform is developed to produce stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
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Image: Microscopy image of mouse neurons; Copyright: MPI f. Biology of Ageing/ E. Motori

Nerve cells with energy saving program

01/09/2020

Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells and play an important role in providing energy for normal function of the tissues in our body. Nerve cells are particularly dependent on mitochondria for their activity and decreased mitochondrial function is seen in both inherited and more common age-associated forms of degenerative diseases.
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Image: enzymes; Copyright: PantherMedia / Luka Culig

Gut enzyme could lead to new disease biomarker

12/08/2020

Enzymes used by bacteria to break down mucus in the gut could provide a useful biomarker for intestinal diseases, according to new research published in Nature Communications. Researchers at the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University have successfully identified and characterised one of the key enzymes involved in this process.
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Image: gene structure; Copyright: PantherMedia / krishna creations

Analyses of genome data enables tracking of avian influenza viruses

10/08/2020

An international consortium succeeded in tracking the genesis and spread of new reassortants of avian influenza viruses by the use of mathematical analyses. This large-scale international study has now been published in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
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Image: Measurement of the eye pressure is performed at an older man; Copyright: PantherMedia/arztsamui

Researchers discover stem cells in optic nerve that preserve vision

05/08/2020

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have for the first time identified stem cells in the region of the optic nerve, which transmits signals from the eye to the brain.
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Image: scan of bones in the hands of a person; Copyright: MedUni Vienna

Novel diagnostic approaches for aggressive bone cancer

24/07/2020

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common form of aggressive bone cancer. A MedUni Vienna study, led by geneticist Erwin Wagner, has uncovered new insights into the disease mechanisms of OS, paving the way for potential new diagnostic and treatment strategies for fighting the bone disease. The study has just been published in the high impact journal Cell Research.
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Image: graphic for heart cell observation; Copyright: Daria Sokol/MIPT Press Office

Gentle technique to study heart tissue functioning

03/07/2020

Biophysicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and their colleagues have proposed a simple way to observe the heart tissue. Besides being relatively uncomplicated, the new method is cheaper and produces results that are more independent, compared with the analogues currently in use. The study came out in Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
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Image: Man working in a laboratory; Copyright: Cedars-Sinai

COVID-19: virus can infect heart cells in lab dish

03/07/2020

A new study shows that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect heart cells in a lab dish, indicating it may be possible for heart cells in COVID-19 patients to be directly infected by the virus. The discovery, published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was made using heart muscle cells that were produced by stem cell technology.
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Image: 'Mini-brain' bioengineered from human stem cells; Copyright: Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Organoids suggest COVID-19 virus can infect human brain cells

02/07/2020

A multidisciplinary team from two Johns Hopkins University institutions, including neurotoxicologists and virologists from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and infectious disease specialists from the school of medicine, has found that organoids known as "mini-brains" can be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
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Image: Two knees of a woman next to each other, the left knee has a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/wujekspeed

Regenerative medicine: creating a new body?

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to repair the human body after injuries, accidents or major cancer surgery. Unfortunately, we are still not at a stage where this process can achieve optimal results for every conceivable situation. Having said that, various new methods are on the cusp of breakthrough.
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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: 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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