The claim that nanopore technology is on the verge of making DNA analysis so fast and cheap that a person's entire genome could be sequenced at low cost in just minutes has produced intense interest. But a review by Northeastern University physicist Meni Wanunu questions whether the remaining technical hurdles can be overcome to create a workable, easily produced commercial device.
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a safe and affordable way to ensure a reliable U.S. supply of certain medical isotopes. Although the invention is at a conceptual stage, it has the potential to provide critical medical diagnostic material for small regional hospitals.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new method for coloring the cell wall of bacterial cells to determine how they grow. Multicolored probes target cell wall synthesis, labeling them with nontoxic dyes. The technique provides a new, much-needed tool for the development of new antibiotics.
Nearly 100 years after a British neurologist first mapped the blind spots caused by missile wounds to the brains of soldiers, University of Pennsylvania scientists have perfected his map using modern-day technology. Their results create a map of vision in the brain based upon an individual's brain structure, even for people who cannot see. Their result could, among other things, guide efforts to restore vision using a neural prosthesis that stimulates the surface of the brain.
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.
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.
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. A new discovery, however, allows doctors to grow "mini tumors" from each patient's cancer in a lab dish, then test various drugs or combinations on them to see which works best.
By mimicking nature's own sensing mechanisms, bioengineers have designed inexpensive medical diagnostic tests that take only a few minutes to perform. The rapid and easy-to-use diagnostic test consists of a nanometer-scale DNA "switch" that can quickly detect antibodies specific to a wide range of diseases.
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.
If you throw a ball underwater, you'll find that the smaller it is, the faster it moves: A larger cross-section greatly increases the water's resistance. Now, a team of researchers has figured out a way to use this basic principle, on a microscopic scale, to carry out biomedical tests that could eventually lead to fast, compact, and versatile medical testing devices.
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.
In a pre-clinical non-small-cell lung cancer metastasis model in mice, a research team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst uses a sensor array system of gold nanoparticles and proteins to “smell” different cancer types in much the same way our noses identify and remember different odors.
Troponin I, found exclusively in heart muscle, is already used as the gold-standard marker in blood tests to diagnose heart attacks, but the new findings by Johns Hopkins University researchers reveal why and how the same protein is also altered in heart muscle malfunctions that lead to heart failure. Scientists have known of “out-of-tune” proteins for a while, but the precise origin had remained unclear.
An interdisciplinary team of nine Arizona State University students participating in the 2012 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition have embarked on a campaign to help reduce the 1.5 million global deaths of children each year caused by diarrheal disease. The goal is an inexpensive biosensor that detects contaminated water quickly. But the challenge is which biosensor design to pursue.
The frequency at which droplets emerge is controlled by an acoustic trigger, which can be tuned so that each droplet containing a protein or virus meets an
Time-consuming, expensive, and often intrusive, clinical trials are nevertheless a necessity. Researchers at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma have developed an invention that makes clinical trials more efficient. Called "digital Eye Bank," the computer software eye modeling program can take data from eyes of patients' and build it into models from the commercial optics program to be used for researchers' virtual clinical trials.
Professional athletic field managers maintain trimmed turfgrass with great precision, carefully painting crisp lines and colorful logos on their grass before each game. While these fields appear to be in perfect health, some field managers have noted deteriorating turfgrass beneath repeated paint applications. New research into the relationship between photosynthesis and latex paint suggests why.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Intel Corp. have collaborated to synthesize and study a grid-like array of short pieces of a disease-associated protein on silicon chips normally used in computer microprocessors. Used recently to identify patients with a severe form of lupus, the new technology has the potential to improve diagnoses of a multitude of diseases.
Researchers in India have developed a total cholesterol test that uses a digital camera to take a snapshot of the back of the patient's hand rather than a blood sample. The image obtained is cropped and compared against thousands of images in a database for known cholesterol levels.
The question of just how a cell membrane—which is otherwise an impermeable barrier—allows certain proteins to penetrate it remains largely a mystery. But an answer may be closer after measurements taken at the NIST and France's Institut Laue-Langevin, where scientists have observed changes in the thickness of a model cell membrane for the first time.
Existing technologies allow researchers to measure single molecules on the x and y axes of a 2D plane. By blending optical and atomic force microscope technologies, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have now found a way to complete 3D nanoscale measurements of single biological molecules with unprecedented accuracy and precision.
In a curious evolutionary twist, biologists from the University of Buffalo report, several species of a commonly studied fruit fly appear to have incorporated genetic material from a virus into their genomes. This discovery of virus-like genes in the DNA of a commonly studied fruit fly could enable research on whether animals hijack viral genes as an anti-viral defense.
Processing biological samples on a small substrate the size of a computer chip is becoming a common task for biotechnology applications. Given the small working area, however, probing samples on the substrate with light can be difficult. Researchers in Singapore have now developed an optical fiber system that is able to deliver light to microfluidic chips with high efficiency.
Researchers from Drexel University are in the process of refining a sensor technology that they developed to measure samples at the cellular level. Constructed from a tiny vibrating piezoelectric cantilever, the sensor may become an accurate method for quickly detecting traces of DNA in liquid samples.