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Medical


— Medical

Implantable pump to regulate fluids in the eye and preserve vision

When its levels are slightly off-kilter, eye fluid can create pretty big problems for our vision. When blockages occur they can lead to a build up in pressure that destroys the optic nerve and causes blindness, a condition we know as glaucoma. In contrast, a lack of fluid can cause the eye to cave in and stop functioning, a disease known as phthisis bulbi. Currently, little can be done about these irreversible conditions once they take hold, but Fraunhofer researchers have a potential solution in the works by way of a microscopic pump that can be implanted in the eyeball to regulate ocular pressure.

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— Medical

Reactivation of a single gene turns colorectal cancer cells back into normal tissue

Future cancer treatments may target your genes rather than the cancerous cells themselves. A new study found that reactivating a single gene was enough to stop and reverse colorectal cancer (that's cancer of the colon, or bowels) in mice, with a return to normal intestinal functions within just four days and tumors gone within two weeks. The concept, though not the specific method, could lead to new treatments of a variety of cancers.

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— Medical

Nanorobots wade through blood to deliver drugs

Nanorobots hold great potential in the field of medicine. This is largely due to the possibility of highly-targeted delivery of medical payloads, an outcome that could lessen side effects and negate the need for invasive procedures. But how these microscopic particles can best navigate the body's fluids is a huge area of focus for scientists. Researchers are now reporting a new technique whereby nanorobots are made to swim swiftly through the fluids like blood to reach their destination.

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— Medical

Avocado-derived molecule attacks leukemia at its roots

Brimming with nutrients, antiooxidants and healthy fats, avocado – otherwise known as nature's butter – carries a multitude of health benefits inside its coarse, leathery skin. But new research is now pointing to what could be its most valuable secret yet. A Canadian scientist has discovered a lipid in avocado that could prove key to battling leukemia by attacking the deadly disease at its core, namely the highly resilient stem cells that drive the disease and make treating it such a difficult task.

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— Medical

Time-lapse captures the death of white blood cells for the first time

With a pivotal role in fending off infections and disease, white blood cells are the engine room of the body's immune system. But little was known about what happens exactly when these cells reach the end of their life cycles. Scientists have now captured the death of white blood cells on camera for the first time, showing that they eject much of their contents while decomposing. One reason for this could be to warn neighboring cells of dangerous pathogens in the area. The researchers say learning more about their expiration could help bring about improved health treatments in the future.

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— Medical

Vaccine-style treatment for rheumatoid arthritis retrains the immune system

According to the American College of Rheumatology, more than one million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease gives rise to swelling and pain by causing the immune system to malfunction and attack healthy tissue. No cure is available, though aggressive and varied drug treatments can curb its effects. Now, success in an early clinical trial suggests that a new form of therapy could stop these symptoms taking hold by retraining the patient's immune system to ignore a peptide it normally identifies as a foreign foe.

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