New low-cost Zika test looks good on paper

Researchers have developed a low-cost, paper-based method of detecting viruses like Zika and Ebola in a biological sample, and which can even identify a specific strain. The team believes the test can be used in the field to quickly and easily detect the presence of a virus, and be used to help slow the spread of future outbreaks.Read More

Drugs that mistake placenta for tumors to help avoid premature births

The placenta is vital for a growing fetus, providing it with the nourishment needed to develop as it prepares to enter the world. But a poorly functioning placenta is problematic as doctors are unable to treat it with drugs and are instead forced to induce labor early, inviting a range of health risks for the prematurely born baby. But scientists have now found a way in by using existing cancer drugs that mistake the placenta for a tumor, selectively targeting the organ and boosting its health.Read More

Non-invasive device monitors diabetes using microwaves

For diabetics, keeping track of blood sugar can be a drag, with Type 1 sufferers having to monitor their levels as much as six times a day. A new device might make life significantly easier, providing a non-invasive solution for tracking glucose levels, without the need to extract blood.Read More

Kidney-on-a-chip may save lives

Because they filter our blood, our kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage from toxins in our bloodstream. That's why kidney failure can occur when people are given too high a dosage of certain medications. So, how do drug developers know how much is safe? Typically, it's through animal testing, although University of Michigan researchers have now developed something that could be more accurate – a "kidney-on-a-chip."Read More

Starving cancer cells of nutrients halts tumour growth

There are more than 900 different types of cancer currently identified, and many of them require very specific treatments, and can become resistant to chemotherapy as time goes on. Now, researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have made a potentially huge breakthrough, working out how to cut off the supply of vital nutrients to cancer cells. The work opens the door to future treatments that could be less prone to resistance than many current methods, and could work across with a wide range of cancers.Read More

Scientists grow human embryo in lab for nearly two full weeks

Studying the way a human embryo grows in its earliest stages can have a significant impact on in vitro fertilization methods as well as on our understanding of how diseases develop when life is just getting started. However, it's always been necessary to put lab-fertilized embryos back in the womb after seven days in order for them to attach and successfully develop into fetuses. Researchers at the University of Cambridge (UC) have now nearly doubled that time, allowing an embryo to grow in the lab for a full 13 days.Read More

The best recipe for 3D-printed replacement bones

Facial and head surgery can require sections of bone to be removed, and doctors often have to harvest material from elsewhere in the body to fill in the gaps. That's not always an ideal situation, and can lead to complications. New research coming out of the Johns Hopkins University could provide an alternative, creating custom-made, 3D-printed implants from a mixture of plastic and bone powder.Read More

Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching

In the 2012 film Prometheus, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw seals herself in a medical pod and undergoes a robotic surgical procedure to remove an alien growing in her abdomen. While people not involved in a sci-fi universe shouldn't ever need such a procedure, robotic surgery certainly has its benefits. Working with the body's soft tissue has proved difficult, however, because of how much it can squish and change during surgery. A new machine called the Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR) at Johns Hopkins University has overcome this obstacle and proven its ability by operating on pigs.Read More

Add-ons let iPhones perform anterior and retinal eye exams

Visual impairment and blindness is an extremely widespread issue that affects an estimated 285 million people across the globe, with nine of out of 10 cases occurring in developing regions. oDocs Eye Care is hoping to put a dent in those numbers, producing low-cost, portable eye examination accessories designed to harness the power of the iPhone.Read More


    See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning