Scientists in the U.K. have developed a new technique which has the potential to kill off hospital superbugs like Pseudomonas aeruginosa , C. difficile, and MRSA. The method uses a cold plasma jet to rapidly penetrate dense bacterial structures known as biofilms which bind bacteria together and make them resistant to conventional chemical approaches.
Cardiac stress, such as a heart attack,frequently leads to pathological heart growth and subsequently to heart failure. Two tiny RNA molecules play a key role in this detrimental development in mice, and when researchers in Germany recently inhibited one of those two specific molecules, they were able to protect the rodent against pathological heart growth and failure. These new findings may guide therapeutic approaches for humans.
A University of Washington bioengineer has recently developed a way to make regular paper stick to medically interesting molecules. The work produced a chemical trick to make paper-based diagnostics using plain paper, the kind found at office supply stores around the world.
Conventional defibrillators, known as transvenous defibrillators, are implanted with wires, called the leads, that snake through veins into the heart. Not all patients are suitable for a conventional defibrillator, and complex and invasive surgery is often involved when they are. What makes a new device at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute special is that it is entirely subcutaneous. No part of it actually touches the heart.
According to a team of Penn State University researchers, a technique that uses acoustic waves to sort cells on a chip may create miniature medical analytic devices that could make Star Trek's tricorder seem a bit bulky in comparison. The device uses two beams of acoustic—or sound—waves to act as acoustic tweezers and sort a continuous flow of cells on a dime-sized chip.
In the operating room, surgeons can see inside the human body in real time using advanced imaging techniques, but primary care physicians haven't commonly had access to the same technology. Engineers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have recently created a new imaging tool for them: a handheld scanner that would enable them to image all the sites they commonly examine, such as bacterial colonies in the middle ear in 3D, or the thickness and health of patients' retinas.
Many tumor cells have a defective cellular equipment. It is only by a special trick that they manage to distribute their chromosomes correctly to their daughter cells during cell division. Researchers have now developed a substance that thwarts this trick and forces cancer cells into death during cell division.
Researchers in Germany and Israel have developed a method to measure photocurrents of a single functionalized photosynthetic protein system. The proteins represent light-driven, highly efficient single-molecule electron pumps that can act as current generators in nanoscale electrical circuits. According to the findings these proteins can be integrated and selectively addressed in artificial photovoltaic device architectures while retaining their biomolecular functional properties.
Though optical imaging is ubiquitous in biomedical applications, current technologies lack the ability to look deep into tissue. However, an international research team has recently created unique photoluminescent nanoparticles that shine clearly through more than 3 cm of biological tissue—a depth that makes them a promising tool for deep-tissue optical bioimaging.
In certain toy racecar tracks, sneaky players can flip a switch, trapping their opponents’ vehicles in a loop of track. Cells employ a less subtle approach: they change the track’s layout. In a recent study, scientists in Europe have discovered that, by forming or undoing gene loops, cells manipulate the path of the transcription machinery—which reads out instructions from DNA—controlling whether it moves along the genetic material in one direction or two.
In order to assemble novel biomolecular machines, individual protein molecules must be installed at their site of operation with nanometer precision. In a technique called “single-molecule cut & paste”, researchers in Germany have found a way to do this using atomic force microscopy. At first, the method was limited only to DNA molecules, but it has since been expanded to proteins.
It's a medical nightmare: a 24-year-old man endures 350 surgeries since childhood to remove growths that keep coming back in his throat and have spread to his lungs, threatening his life. Now doctors have found a way to help him by way of a scientific coup that holds promise for millions of cancer...
To fit the 2-m long DNA molecule into a cell nucleus that is only a few thousandths of a millimeter in size, long sections of the DNA must be strongly compacted. This is done with epigenetic marks known as heterochromatin. New research has revealed more about the enzymes and the transcription factors that make this packing process possible.
Malignant cells that leave a primary tumor, travel the bloodstream and grow out of control in new locations cause the vast majority of cancer deaths. New nanotechnology developed at Case Western Reserve University detects these metastases in mouse models of breast cancer far earlier than current methods, a step toward earlier, life-saving diagnosis and treatment.
As part of his doctoral research at the California Institute of Technology, Sebastian Maerkl designed a device that he named “MITOMI”—a small device containing hundreds of microfluidic channels equipped with pneumatic valves. Now with EPFL’s Bioengineering Institute in Switzerland, Maerkl has developed the new k-MITOMI, which is smaller than a domino but can simultaneously measure hundreds of biomolecular interactions.
Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created a new kind of barcode that uses DNA origami technology. Colored dots can be arranged into geometric patterns or fluorescent linear DNA barcodes, and the combinations are almost limitless—substantially increasing the number of distinct molecules or cells scientists can observe in a sample.
Several years ago researchers at Michigan State University reported discovering a novel, evolutionary trait in a long-studied population of Escherichia coli . These same biologists have now analyzed this new trait's genetic origins and found that in multiple cases, the bacteria needed more than one mutational step. The finding documents this step-by-step process and highlights the importance of evolutionary changes that alter the physical arrangement of genes, leading to new patterns of gene regulation.
Researchers have developed a new way to observe and track large numbers of rapidly moving objects under a microscope, capturing precise motion paths in three dimensions. The research, conducted on human sperm cells, used a lens-free, holographic microscopy technique developed over the last several years. When used with a new software algorithm, the approach revealed previously unknown statistical pathways for the cells.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide, are produced by a chemical balance disturbance, such as inflammation, within a tissue. Because these ROS are indicators of many diseases, a non-invasive detection method would be very useful. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed the first degradable polymer that is extremely sensitive to low but biologically relevant concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.
Designed to improve the way businesses manage the scientific innovation lifecycle, the new Accelrys Process Management and Compliance Suite unifies Accelrys Inc.’s lifecycle management software offerings, covering the ground between product development and process execution. It is geared to help companies bring products to market faster and at a lower cost, while meeting critical quality and regulatory compliance objectives.
One of the greatest challenges in neuroscience is to identify the map, or “connectome”, of synaptic connections between neurons. The Blue Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne has recently announced it has identified key principles that determine synapse-scale connectivity by virtually reconstructing a cortical microcircuit and comparing it to a mammalian sample.
Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists have recently reported what is believed to be the first evidence that complex, reversible behavioral patterns in bees—and presumably other animals—are linked to reversible chemical tags on genes. They say the most significant aspect of the new study is that for the first time DNA methylation “tagging” has been linked to something at the behavioral level of a whole organism.
A research team in Singapore believes their latest work has proven that nanoparticle technology can inhibit tumor growth and control gene expression in mice. The team has discovered a way to do this by using photodynamic nanoparticles which are able to convert near-infrared (NIR) light to visible or ultraviolet (UV) light. Previously this could only be done by starting with harmful UV light.
Diatoms, tiny marine life forms that have been around since the dinosaurs, could finally make biofuel production from algae truly cost effective—because they can simultaneously produce other valuable products such as semiconductors, biomedical products, and even health foods. Engineers at Oregon State University concede that such technology is pushing the envelope a bit. But it's not science fiction.
Researchers from in Zurich have literally created a “cell phone” from reprogrammed mammalian cells. Using suitable signal molecules and “devices” constructed from biological components, including genes and proteins, the researchers have achieved a synthetic two-way communication system inside a biological cell that also responds to concentration differences in the signal molecules.