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3D-printed tumor replicas to better measure doses of cancer-fighting drugs

By - December 18, 2014 1 Picture
Administering the correct dosages to fight cancerous tumors can be a difficult balancing act. Too much of the radioactive drugs can cause harm to healthy tissue, but not enough will see the cancer cells survive and continue to spread. But a new technique developed at The Institute of Cancer Research in London may afford doctors an unprecedented level of accuracy in performing radiotherapy, using 3D-printed replicas of a patient’s organs and tumors to better determine how much radiation a tumor has received. Read More
— Medical

Scientists reduce blood sugar levels in mice by remote control

By - December 16, 2014 1 Picture
Sufferers of type 1 diabetes regularly need to inject themselves with insulin in order to regulate levels of sugar in their blood, a process that is invasive and requires particular care. But a new study conducted at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that more comfortable treatment methods may not be all that far away, with scientists remotely manipulating insulin production in mice using electromagnetic waves. Read More
— Medical

Zinc blood test could lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer

By - December 15, 2014 1 Picture
Early diagnosis of breast cancer could one day be possible via a simple blood test that detects changes in zinc in the body. Scientists have taken techniques normally used for studying climate change and planetary formation and shown that changes in the isotopic composition of zinc, which is detectable in breast tissue, may help identify a "biomarker" (a measurable indicator) of early breast cancer. Read More
— Medical

Seven life-changing surgeries made possible by 3D printing

By - December 11, 2014 17 Pictures
Though printing items like chocolate and pizza might be satisfying enough for some, 3D printing still holds a lot of unfulfilled potential. Talk abounds of disrupting manufacturing, changing the face of construction and even building metal components in space. While it is hard not to get a little bit excited by these potentially world-changing advances, there is one domain where 3D printing is already having a real-life impact. Its capacity to produce customized implants and medical devices tailored specifically to a patient's anatomy has seen it open up all kinds of possibilities in the field of medicine, with the year 2014 having turned up one world-first surgery after another. Let's cast our eye over some of the significant, life-changing procedures to emerge in the past year made possible by 3D printing technology. Read More
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Hormone combo a triple threat to obesity and adult-onset diabetes

By - December 11, 2014 2 Pictures
In 2012, we covered work led by Professor Richard DiMarchi that showed linking two hormones into a single molecule held promise as a treatment for obesity. DiMarchi followed this up last year by combining the properties of two endocrine hormones to provide an effective treatment for both obesity and adult-onset diabetes. Continuing in this vein, DiMarchi has now co-led a study whereby obesity and diabetes were effectively cured in lab animals by adding a third hormone to the molecular mix. Read More
— Medical

Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals

By - December 9, 2014 3 Pictures
A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light. Read More
— Medical

Vaccine self-assembles into 3D structure to better fight cancer and deadly infections

By - December 9, 2014 2 Pictures
Scientists have had some success activating the body's immune system to take the fight to cancer and other diseases, a process known as immunotherapy. Now, a new method developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University could advance this form of treatment even further. The technique involves the injection of biomaterials that assemble into 3D scaffolds inside the body to accommodate huge amounts of immune cells, a process that could trigger an attack on deadly infections ranging from HIV to cancer to Ebola. Read More
— Medical

Compound kills off malaria by making infected cells appear as aging red blood cells

By - December 7, 2014 2 Pictures
Though recent research has given hope to the anti-malaria cause, the deadly disease still claims more than half a million lives each year. A study led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis suggests that a certain compound results in the body's immune system treating malaria-infected cells the same way it does aging red blood cells, leading to the parasite becoming undetectable in mice within 48 hours. Read More
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