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The Lead

Does radiation from X-rays and CT scans really cause cancer?

July 1, 2015 12:00 am | by Loyola University Health System | News | Comments

In recent years, there has been widespread media coverage of studies purporting to show that radiation from X-rays, CT scans and other medical imaging causes cancer. But such studies have serious flaws, including their reliance on an unproven statistical model.

Major step for implantable drug-delivery device

June 29, 2015 8:56 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

An implantable, microchip-based device may soon replace the injections and pills now needed to...

Scientists develop potential new class of cancer drugs in lab

June 29, 2015 8:48 am | by Saint Louis University | News | Comments

In research published in Cancer Cell, Thomas Burris, chair of pharmacology and physiology at...

Developing a better way to screen chemicals for cancer-causing effects

June 26, 2015 7:29 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

The vast majority of the thousands of chemicals in our homes and workplaces have not been tested...

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Engineering new routes to biochemicals

June 26, 2015 6:51 am | by Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service | News | Comments

Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at the Univ. of California, Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology”: designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.

Delivering drugs to the right place

June 26, 2015 6:37 am | by Julie Cohen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | News | Comments

For the 12 million people worldwide who suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited disorder with no known cure, a new treatment option may be on the horizon. PKD is a condition in which clusters of benign cysts develop within the kidneys. They vary in size, and as they accumulate more and more fluid, they can become very large. Among the common complications of PKD are high blood pressure and kidney failure.

Sprayable foam slows bleeding

June 25, 2015 1:00 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Traumatic injuries, whether from serious car accidents, street violence or military combat, can lead to significant blood loss and death. But using a material derived from crustacean shells, scientists have now developed a foam that can be sprayed onto an open wound to stop the bleeding. They report their successful tests on pigs in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

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A new means to killing harmful bacteria

June 25, 2015 11:50 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

The global rise in antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, damaging our ability to fight deadly infections such as tuberculosis. What’s more, efforts to develop new antibiotics are not keeping pace with this growth in microbial resistance, resulting in a pressing need for new approaches to tackle bacterial infection.

Re-energizing antibiotics in the war against infections

June 24, 2015 5:00 pm | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Videos | Comments

Antibiotics are the mainstay in the treatment of bacterial infections, and together with vaccines, have enabled the near eradication of infectious diseases in developed countries. However, the overuse of antibiotics has also led to an alarming rise in resistant bacteria that can outsmart antibiotics using different mechanisms. Some pathogenic bacteria are thus becoming almost untreatable.

Unlocking fermentation secrets opens the door to new biofuels

June 24, 2015 4:30 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have, for the first time, uncovered the complex interdependence and orchestration of metabolic reactions, gene regulation and environmental cues of clostridial metabolism, providing new insights for advanced biofuel development.

Pinpointing the Onset of Metastasis

June 24, 2015 1:43 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

Within the oncology community, a debate is raging about two controversial topics. The first is overdiagnosis. According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, some leading cancer experts say that zealous screening is finding ever-smaller abnormalities that are being labeled cancer or precancer with little or no justification.

Eavesdropping on the body

June 24, 2015 11:00 am | by Tyler Irving, Univ. of Toronto | News | Comments

Biomedical engineers at the Univ. of Toronto have invented a new device that more quickly and accurately “listens in” on the chemical messages that tell our cells how to multiply. The tool improves our understanding of how cancerous growth begins, and could identify new targets for cancer medications.

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Nanowire implants offer remote-controlled drug delivery

June 24, 2015 7:30 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A team of researchers has created a new implantable drug-delivery system using nanowires that can be wirelessly controlled. The nanowires respond to an electromagnetic field generated by a separate device, which can be used to control the release of a preloaded drug. The system eliminates tubes and wires required by other implantable devices that can lead to infection and other complications.

New tech could find tiny RNA cancer beacons in blood

June 23, 2015 11:40 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Cancerous tumors cast off tiny telltale genetic molecules known as microRNAs and Univ. of Michigan researchers have come up with an efficient way to detect them in blood. The researchers say their approach could open the door to a single, inexpensive blood test to simultaneously screen for multiple types of cancer, eventually perhaps more than 100 different kinds.

Medication may stop drug and alcohol addiction

June 23, 2015 8:47 am | by Marc Airhart, Univ. of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

Researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have successfully stopped cocaine and alcohol addiction in experiments using a drug already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat high blood pressure. If the treatment is proven effective in humans, it would be the first of its kind—one that could help prevent relapses by erasing the unconscious memories that underlie addiction.

How anthrax spores grow in cultured human tissues

June 23, 2015 8:37 am | by Greg Koller, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

Cultured human lung cells infected with a benign version of anthrax spores have yielded insights into how anthrax grows and spreads in exposed people. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, will help provide credible data for human health related to anthrax exposure and help officials better understand risks related to a potential anthrax attack.

New technology looks into the eye and brings cells into focus

June 23, 2015 8:26 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Eye doctors soon could use computing power to help them see individual cells in the back of a patient’s eye, thanks to imaging technology developed by engineers at the Univ. of Illinois. Such detailed pictures of the cells, blood vessels and nerves at the back of the eye could enable earlier diagnosis and better treatment for degenerative eye and neurological diseases.

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Unpacking the mysteries of bacterial cell cycle regulation

June 22, 2015 12:50 pm | by Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst | News | Comments

As part of their long-term investigation of regulatory factors in the bacterial cell cycle, molecular biologists at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst now report finding a surprising new role for one factor, CpdR, an adaptor that helps to regulate selective protein destruction, the main control mechanism of cell cycle progression in bacteria, at specific times.

Seeing more deeply with laser light

June 22, 2015 8:47 am | by Susan Reiss, National Science Foundation | News | Comments

A human skull, on average, is about 0.3 in thick, or roughly the depth of the latest smartphone. Human skin, on the other hand, is about 0.1 in, or about three grains of salt, deep. While these dimensions are extremely thin, they still present major hurdles for any kind of imaging with laser light.

How to wipe out polio and prevent its re-emergence

June 22, 2015 7:45 am | by Jim Erickson, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Public health officials stand poised to eliminate polio from the planet. But a new study shows that the job won't be over when the last case of the horrible paralytic disease is recorded. Using disease-transmission models, a Univ. of Michigan team has demonstrated that silent transmission of poliovirus could continue for more than three years with no reported cases.

Uncovering a dynamic cortex

June 22, 2015 7:37 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have proven that the brain’s cortex doesn’t process specific tasks in highly specialized modules, showing that the cortex is, in fact, quite dynamic when sharing information. Previous studies of the brain have depicted the cortex as a patchwork of function-specific regions.

New model to study HIV latency in brain cells

June 19, 2015 12:45 pm | by Helmholtz Zentrum Muchen | News | Comments

Over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected by HIV. Antiviral therapies can keep the virus from multiplying. However, no drug can cure infection so far, because various cell types continue to carry the virus in a latent, quiescent, state. Scientists have now established a model for latent HIV infection of brain cells. The researchers used this model to identify various compounds that affect latency of the virus in the brain.

Scientists solve decades-old cell biology puzzle

June 19, 2015 9:55 am | by European Molecular Biology Laboratory | News | Comments

Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg have solved a question that has puzzled cell biologists for decades: How does the protein machine that allows cells to swallow up molecules during endocytosis function? Endocytosis is the process by which cells engulf molecules and draw them inside the cell where they perform different functions.

Brain receptor found to affect cocaine addiction

June 19, 2015 7:47 am | by Cathy Wilde, Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. at Buffalo have discovered a previously unknown neural pathway that can regulate changes made in the brain due to cocaine use, providing new insight into the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.

Recalling happier memories can reverse depression

June 19, 2015 7:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have shown that they can cure the symptoms of depression in mice by artificially reactivating happy memories that were formed before the onset of depression. The findings offer a possible explanation for the success of psychotherapies in which depression patients are encouraged to recall pleasant experiences.

Wine-making shortcut gives bubbly a fruitier aroma

June 18, 2015 4:24 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The best sparkling wines take months to ferment to perfection. In recent years, many winemakers have turned to commercial yeast products to give this process a boost. How they ultimately affect bubbly has been an open question, but now scientists have stepped in to find out. They report their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home

June 18, 2015 1:55 pm | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body's immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues. Unlike other methods of making carbon nanoparticles, the new approach generates the particles in a few hours and uses only a handful of ingredients, including store-bought molasses.

Liquid Gold

June 18, 2015 12:30 pm | by George Karlin-Neumann, the Digital Biology Center at Bio-Rad Laboratories | Articles | Comments

Blood is the great aggregator of the body’s physiology. Many tumors slough off fragments of DNA into the bloodstream, which can be detected with a minimally invasive blood draw using advanced DNA tests—also known as a liquid biopsy. One of the challenges preventing liquid biopsy from becoming a clinical reality has been reliably finding the cancerous DNA in the vast sea of healthy DNA.

On the road to needle-free medicine

June 18, 2015 10:45 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Needle injections have been around since 1657 and remain a key delivery method for many drugs, including vaccines that have prevented countless illnesses. But for patients that require daily pricks or for people in remote locations, the syringe model has major drawbacks. An article in Chemical & Engineering News looks at potential alternatives, their successes and their roadblocks.

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