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Category: Biotechnology


'Our premise is that mechanics play a role in almost all biological processes, and with these DNA-based tension probes we're going to uncover, measure and map those forces,' says biomolecular...
Adherent cells, the kind that form the architecture of all multi-cellular organisms, are mechanically engineered with precise forces that allow them to move around and stick to things. Proteins called integrin receptors act like little hands and feet to pull these cells across a surface or to anchor them in place. When groups of these cells are put into a petri dish with a variety of substrates they can sense the differences in the surfaces and they will "crawl" toward the stiffest one they can find.

Full articleOctober 25, 2014 05:50 AM493 views
Category: Biotechnology


Encapsulated toxin-producing stem cells (in blue) help kill brain tumor cells in the tumor resection cavity (in green).
Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have devised a new way to use stem cells in the fight against brain cancer. A team led by neuroscientist Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, who recently demonstrated the value of stem cells loaded with cancer-killing herpes viruses, now has a way to genetically engineer stem cells so that they can produce and secrete tumor-killing toxins.

Full articleOctober 25, 2014 05:50 AM337 views
Category: AIDS & HIV


This image shows, from the left: Katherine Jones, Salk professor, and first authors Yupeng Chen and Lirong Zhang.
Like a slumbering dragon, HIV can lay dormant in a person's cells for years, evading medical treatments only to wake up and strike at a later time, quickly replicating itself and destroying the immune system.

Full articleOctober 25, 2014 05:50 AM413 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

Researchers have created a cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound to help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. The probe binds to a voltage-activated potassium ion channel subtype, lighting up when the channel is turned off and dimming when it is activated.

Full articleOctober 21, 2014 05:19 PM1843 views
Category: Biology

The way in which male moths locate females flying hundreds of meters away has long been a mystery to scientists.

Full articleOctober 21, 2014 05:19 PM1203 views
Category: Biology

Scientists tracing the real-time impact of viruses in the wild have found that entire amphibian communities are being killed off by closely related viruses introduced to mountainous areas of northern Spain.

Full articleOctober 16, 2014 05:21 PM3690 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

A new discovery relating to one of the most common processes in human cells is being described as a 'paradigm shift' in understanding.

Full articleOctober 16, 2014 05:21 PM1688 views
Category: Health & Medicine

Scientists in Cambridge have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state, which point to networks that could support consciousness even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

Full articleOctober 16, 2014 05:21 PM2045 views
Category: Health & Medicine

As medical personnel and public health officials are responding to the first reported cases of Ebola Virus in the United States, many of the safety and treatment procedures for treating the virus and preventing its spread are being reexamined. One of the tenets for minimizing the risk of spreading the disease has been a 21-day quarantine period for individuals who might have been exposed to the virus. But a new study by Charles Haas, PhD, a professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, suggests that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent spread of the virus.

Full articleOctober 15, 2014 05:38 PM2439 views
Category: Molecular & Cell Biology

A new study published in Cancer Research shows SIRT6—a protein known to inhibit the growth of liver and colon cancers—can promote the development of skin cancers by turning on an enzyme that increases inflammation, proliferation and survival of sun-damaged skin cells.

Full articleOctober 15, 2014 05:38 PM1828 views
Category: Microbiology

A robust, broad spectrum antibiotic, and a gene that confers immunity to that antibiotic are both found in the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis Strain 115. The antibiotic, a member of the thiopeptide family of antibiotics, is not in widespread use, partly due to its complex structure, but the investigators, from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, now report that the mechanism of synthesis is surprisingly simple. "We hope to come up with innovative processes for large-scale production and derivitization so that new, and possibly more potent versions of the antibiotic can become available, says co-corresponding author Joel S. Griffitts. The research is published ahead of print in Journal of Bacteriology.

Full articleOctober 13, 2014 07:10 PM1873 views
Category: Health & Medicine

The discovery of a "maternal age effect" by a team of Penn State scientists that could be used to predict the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations in maternal egg cells -- and the transmission of these mutations to children -- could provide valuable insights for genetic counseling. These mutations cause more than 200 diseases and contribute to others such as diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The study found greater rates of the mitochondrial DNA variants in children born to older mothers, as well as in the mothers themselves. The research will be published in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 13, 2014,

Full articleOctober 13, 2014 07:10 PM2529 views
Category: Health & Medicine

A noninvasive method of delivering a promising therapy for persistent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection appears to be as effective as treatment via colonoscopy or through a nasogastric tube. In their JAMA report, receiving early online release to coincide with a presentation at the Infectious Diseases Society of America's ID Week conference, investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report that oral administration of the therapy called fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in acid-resistant capsules was as successful as more invasive methods in eliminating recurrent diarrhea caused by C. difficile.

Full articleOctober 13, 2014 03:06 AM1378 views
Category: Health & Medicine

Physician scientists at 22 consortia will collaborate with representatives of 98 patient advocacy groups to advance clinical research and investigate new treatments for patients with rare diseases. The collaborations are made possible through awards by the National Institutes of Health — totaling about $29 million in fiscal year 2014 funding — to expand the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN), which is led by NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

Full articleOctober 8, 2014 05:33 PM2532 views

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