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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category: Page 3

Nov 9, 2020

Study sets the first germanium-based constraints on dark matter

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism

Cosmological observations and measurements collected in the past suggest that ordinary matter, which includes stars, galaxies, the human body and countless other objects/living organisms, only makes up 20% of the total mass of the universe. The remaining mass has been theorized to consist of so-called dark matter, a type of matter that does not absorb, reflect or emit light and can thus only be indirectly observed through gravitational effects on its surrounding environment.

While the exact nature of this elusive type of matter is still unknown, in recent decades, physicists have identified many particles that reach beyond the standard model (the theory describing some of the main physical forces in the universe) and that could be good candidates. They then tried to detect these particles using two main types of advanced particle detector: gram-scale semiconducting detectors (usually made of silicon and used to search for low-mass dark matter) and ton-scale gaseous detectors (which have higher energy detection thresholds and are better suited to perform high-mass dark matter searches).

The EDELWEISS Collaboration, a large group of researchers working at Université Lyon 1, Université Paris-Saclay and other institutes in Europe, recently carried out the first search for Sub-MeV dark matter using a germanium(Ge)-based detector. While the team was unable to detect dark matter, they set a number of constraints that could inform future investigations.

Nov 9, 2020

Cell aging can be slowed by oxidants

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, life extension

At high concentrations, reactive oxygen species—known as oxidants—are harmful to cells in all organisms and have been linked to aging. But a study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has now shown that low levels of the oxidant hydrogen peroxide can stimulate an enzyme that helps slow down the aging of yeast cells.

One benefit of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, is that they neutralize —known as oxidants—which may otherwise react with important molecules in the body and destroy their biological functions. Larger amounts of oxidants can cause serious damage to DNA, cell membranes and proteins for example. Our have therefore developed powerful defense mechanisms to get rid of these oxidants, which are formed in our normal metabolism.

It was previously believed that oxidants were only harmful, but recently, scientists have begun to understand that they also have positive functions. Now, the new research from Chalmers University of Technology shows that the well-known hydrogen peroxide can actually slow down the aging of yeast cells. Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical used for hair and tooth whitening, among other things. It is also one of the metabolically produced oxidants that is harmful at higher concentrations.

Nov 9, 2020

Science-fiction master Ted Chiang explores the rights and wrongs of AI

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

What rights does a robot have? If our machines become intelligent in the science-fiction way, that’s likely to become a complicated question — and the humans who nurture those robots just might take their side.

Ted Chiang, a science-fiction author of growing renown with long-lasting connections to Seattle’s tech community, doesn’t back away from such questions. They spark the thought experiments that generate award-winning novellas like “The Lifecycle of Software Objects,” and inspire Hollywood movies like “Arrival.”

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Nov 9, 2020

Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Can Disable Coronavirus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, particle physics

Most efforts to combat the coronavirus have focused on public health measures and the race to develop a vaccine. However, a team from Columbia University, Cornell University, and others has developed something new: a nasal spray that attacks the virus directly. In a newly released study, the concoction was effective at deactivating the novel coronavirus before it could infect cells.

Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) needs to enter a cell to reproduce. The virus injects its RNA genome and hijacks cellular machinery to make copies of itself, eventually killing the cell and spreading new virus particles to infect other cells. Gaining access to a cell requires a “key” that fits into a protein lock on the cell surface. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, we call that the spike protein, and that’s where the new nasal spray blocker attacks.

The spike protein “unzips” when it meets up with a cell, exposing two chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). The spray contains a lipoprotein, which has a complementary strand of amino acids linked with a cholesterol particle. The lipoprotein inserts itself into the spike protein, sticking to one of the chains that would otherwise bind to a receptor and allow the virus to infect the cell. With that lipoprotein in the way, the virus is inactivated.

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Nov 9, 2020

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

IPSC are derived from skin or blood cells that have been reprogrammed back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state that enables the development of an unlimited source of any type of human cell needed for therapeutic purposes. For example, iPSC can be prodded into becoming beta islet cells to treat diabetes, blood cells to create new blood free of cancer cells for a leukemia patient, or neurons to treat neurological disorders.

In late 2007, a BSCRC team of faculty, Drs. Kathrin Plath, William Lowry, Amander Clark, and April Pyle were among the first in the world to create human iPSC. At that time, science had long understood that tissue specific cells, such as skin cells or blood cells, could only create other like cells. With this groundbreaking discovery, iPSC research has quickly become the foundation for a new regenerative medicine.

Using iPSC technology our faculty have reprogrammed skin cells into active motor neurons, egg and sperm precursors, liver cells, bone precursors, and blood cells. In addition, patients with untreatable diseases such as, ALS, Rett Syndrome, Lesch-Nyhan Disease, and Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy donate skin cells to BSCRC scientists for iPSC reprogramming research. The generous participation of patients and their families in this research enables BSCRC scientists to study these diseases in the laboratory in the hope of developing new treatment technologies.

Nov 9, 2020

Tracking cancer’s immortality factor

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Canadian scientists have achieved a first in the study of telomerase, an essential enzyme implicated in aging and cancer.

In today’s edition of the prestigious journal Molecular Cell, scientists from Université de Montréal used advanced microscopy techniques to see single molecules of telomerase in living .

A flaw in the replication of chromosomes means that they get shorter with each . If nothing is done to correct this error, replication stops and cells go into a state called senescence, a hallmark of aging. Normally, telomerase adds extra DNA to the ends of chromosomes to prevent this problem, but as we age our bodies produce fewer of them.

Nov 9, 2020

Tasmanian devils ‘adapting to coexist with cancer’

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Circa 2019


There is hope for the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials whose numbers have been ravaged by disease.

Nov 9, 2020

Cancer cell reprogramming: a promising therapy converting malignancy to benignity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Circa 2019


In the past decade, remarkable progress has been made in reprogramming terminally differentiated somatic cells and cancer cells into induced pluripotent cells and cancer cells with benign phenotypes. Recent studies have explored various approaches to induce reprogramming from one cell type to another, including lineage-specific transcription factors-, combinatorial small molecules-, microRNAs- and embryonic microenvironment-derived exosome-mediated reprogramming. These reprogramming approaches have been proven to be technically feasible and versatile to enable re-activation of sequestered epigenetic regions, thus driving fate decisions of differentiated cells. One of the significant utilities of cancer cell reprogramming is the therapeutic potential of retrieving normal cell functions from various malignancies. However, there are several major obstacles to overcome in cancer cell reprogramming before clinical translation, including characterization of reprogramming mechanisms, improvement of reprogramming efficiency and safety, and development of delivery methods. Recently, several insights in reprogramming mechanism have been proposed, and determining progress has been achieved to promote reprogramming efficiency and feasibility, allowing it to emerge as a promising therapy against cancer in the near future. This review aims to discuss recent applications in cancer cell reprogramming, with a focus on the clinical significance and limitations of different reprogramming approaches, while summarizing vital roles played by transcription factors, small molecules, microRNAs and exosomes during the reprogramming process.

Nov 9, 2020

Covid vaccine: First ‘milestone’ vaccine offers 90% protection

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Could it be?


‘Milestone’ vaccine offers 90% Covid protection.

The vaccine is a “significant step” forward for getting life back to normal, but challenges remain.

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Nov 9, 2020

Pfizer says early data signals COVID-19 vaccine is effective

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

#BREAKING: Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. bit.ly/3leFbzp


Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, indicating the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators.

Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean a vaccine is imminent: This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.

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