(Medical Xpress) – Harvard scientists have merged stem cell and ‘organ-on-a-chip’ technologies to grow, for the first time, functioning human heart tissue carrying an inherited cardiovascular disease. The research appears to be a big step forward for personalized medicine, as it is working proof that a chunk of tissue containing a patient’s specific genetic disorder can be replicated in the laboratory.
(The Atlantic) – Hawking, along with MIT physics professor Max Tegmark, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, and Berkeley computer science professor Stuart Russell ran a terrifying op-ed a couple weeks ago in The Huffington Post under the staid headline “Transcending Complacency on Superintelligent Machines.” It was loosely tied to the Depp sci-fi thriller Transcendence, so that’s what’s happening there. “It’s tempting to dismiss the notion of highly intelligent machines as mere science fiction,” they write. “But this would be a mistake, and potentially our worst mistake in history.”
(The Guardian) – The dilemma for would-be parents is that no matter how much they pay, IVF remains a gamble where the odds are stacked against them. Across the age ranges there’s a 75% chance each cycle won’t succeed, and the figure falls as you get older. So what are you entitled to for free on the NHS and just how much should you be prepared to spend on private treatment? And what can you do to reduce your costs?
(Computer World) – In a second report this week on scientists’ use of nanotechnology to battle cancer, researchers at MIT announced a new way to use nanoparticles to give cancerous cells a one-two punch. MIT reported that researchers used nanoparticles to carry two drugs and release them one at a time. The treatment was shown to “dramatically shrink” lung and breast tumors in mice.
(Los Angeles Times) – For the last two years, since the virus that kills one-third of those it infects first appeared on the other side of the world, on the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. epidemiologists have waited and prepared for the day it would appear in this country. “Anyone is a planeload away from any disease on Earth,” said Indiana’s state epidemiologist, Pam Pontones.
(Oncology Nurse Advisor) – Scientists have identified the cancer-specific stem cell that causes gastric cancer. This discovery opens up the possibility of developing new drugs for the treatment of this disease and other types of cancers. The research group, led by Chan Shing Leng, PhD, of the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, Malaysia, demonstrated for the first time that a cancer-specific variant of a cell surface protein, CD44v8-10, marks gastric cancer stem cells but not normal cells. The study was also the first to be conducted with human gastric tissue specimens and took 5 years to complete.
(Newswise) – Researchers at Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center have published results from a study Cell Reports that discovers a new mechanism that distinguishes normal blood stem cells from blood cancers. “These findings constitute a significant advance toward the goal of killing leukemia cells without harming the body’s normal blood stem cells which are often damaged by chemotherapy,” said Patricia Ernst, PhD, co-director of the Cancer Mechanisms Program of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and an associate professor in Genetics at Geisel School of Medicine.
(Medical Xpress) – Researchers have found a new source of stem cells that produce fat tissue, findings presented today at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Wrocław, Poland, show. This unique in vitro human stem cell model of brown fat tissue could aid studies into how fat tissue develops and the development of new anti-obesity drugs.
(Medical Tourism News) – Doctors from India are four times as likely to be struck off the UK medical register than those who are trained in this country, according to new figures. The disclosures last night triggered concern about the scrutiny of those who receive their training abroad, and follow a recent decision to relax rules governing overseas medical recruitment.
(IMTJ) – Despite the high stakes, there are no standard procedures such as those that allow planes from one country to navigate and land safely in another. Conscientious organizations, websites and authors try to help patients make informed decisions. But an international patient may not be able to find them among the hundreds of agents and websites that are more interested in selling than healing. What is needed more than anything is for hospitals that serve international patients to adopt transparent practices.
(Phys.org) – A research team led by Hiroki Ueda and colleagues from the Laboratory for Synthetic Biology at the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center has now developed a chemical-based, non-enzymatic recombination technique that instead uses a DNA base analogue called 5-ethynyluracil to cleave DNA at any site containing the nucleotide thymine. The technique developed by Ueda and his co-workers, which is called quantitative base-induced DNA cleavage (QBIC), starts with the generation of DNA fragments containing 5-ethynyluracil in place of thymine—two molecules with similar structures.
(Medical Xpress) – The genes of 894 men and women over the age of one hundred in Spain and Japan have revealed that the secret to longevity, at least in southern Europe, lies in a variant on chromosome 9p21.3, which had already been associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. Centenarians live at least fifteen years longer than the average person in the West. This exceptional longevity is partially genetic.
(Nanowerk) – Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a nanotechnology anti-cancer drug delivery method that essentially smuggles the drug into a cancer cell before triggering its release (“Enhanced Anticancer Efficacy by ATP-Mediated Liposomal Drug Delivery”). The method can be likened to keeping a cancer-killing bomb and its detonator separate until they are inside a cancer cell, where they then combine to destroy the cell.