A new system for growing heart tissue in the lab may make future heart, liver, and lung repair much easier. University of Toronto scientists have developed asymmetrical honeycomb-shaped 2D meshes of protein scaffolding that stick together like Velcro and imitate the environments in which tissue and muscle cells grow in the body.
A robot-assisted system developed at the University of Twente promises
to make medical procedures that use needles more precise. The system
allows flexible needles to be steered in real time to their target,
which negates issues with tissue and organs deforming from the contact
pressure or from any unforeseen obstacles that lie between the needle
and its target.
If someone is wheezing, it usually means that they have a respiratory problem. Soon, however, a wheeze-analyzing wearable device may allow doctors to know what sort of respiratory problem a patient has – and how serious it is.
Because they often have weakened immune systems and/or blood flow
restrictions, diabetics run a heightened risk of serious infection from
even the smallest of open wounds. That's why a team of scientists from
Egypt's Alexandria University have developed a means of getting those
wounds to heal faster – silver-impregnated dressings.
When blood clots form in the aftermath of a heart attack or stroke, medications can be deployed to break them apart, but delivery is tricky. Getting the medicine to the clot takes some guesswork and there's no guarantee it will arrive in the right dosage, with complications like hemorrhaging a real possibility. A team of Australian scientists has developed a new approach that sees the drugs carried safely inside a nanocapsule, opening up the treatment to more patients and lessening the chance of side effects.
With a lack of clear symptoms even when the disease is well progressed, more than 80 percent of pancreatic cancer diagnoses come after the cancer has already spread. This has led some researchers to look beyond blood to urine testing, which is a less complex fluid. Among those is a team at the Queen Mary University of London, which has uncovered a three-protein biomarker in the urine of pancreatic cancer sufferers, suggesting a less invasive, early stage test may be on the way.
Five men with complete motor paralysis have regained the ability to move their legs voluntarily and produce step-like movements after being treated with a non-invasive form of spinal cord stimulation. The new treatment builds on prior work to generate voluntary movements in paralyzed people through electrical stimulation – in particular, two studies (one completed in 2011, the other in 2014) that involved surgically implanting an electrode array on the spinal cord. This time, however, the researchers found success without performing any invasive surgery.
The same genes that allow many cancers to proliferate and thrive could in the future be repurposed as a force for good. A study at the San Diego State University (SDSU) Heart Institute has found that mouse hearts regenerate cells better, causing the mice to live longer, when their progenitor cells are modified to over-express a key gene in cancer production. The researchers believe this could lead to a new treatment for people with heart disease or who have suffered from other age-related cardiac problems.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is where the miraculous meets the impractical. In addition to probing the secrets of the Universe at the subatomic level, it also has potential for a variety of medical applications. Unfortunately, with a circumference of 27 km (16.7 mi) the LHC is so unwieldy that it would be about as practical as using Big Ben for a wristwatch. In the hopes of creating something a bit more useful for the medical fraternity, CERN engineers have come up with a miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) that, at 2 m (6.5 ft) long, is small enough to be set up in hospitals for medical imaging and radiotherapy applications.
Researchers at MIT have developed a new material that shows promise for use in ultra-long drug delivery systems, as well as electronic monitoring of the stomach and weight-loss intervention. A type of polymer gel, the material is flexible and pH-responsive, allowing it to reside in the stomach for long periods of time before safety dissolving in the small intestine.