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Can magnetically-piloted nanoparticles become an effective treatment for inoperable, deep-...

A new experimental, non-invasive medical technique is promising to precisely deliver drug-carrying metal nanorods anywhere inside the body and image tissue with cellular resolution. If perfected, the approach could be used to treat inoperable deep-tissue tumors, brain trauma, and vascular or degenerative diseases.  Read More

Early diagnosis of breast cancer could one day be possible via a simple blood test that de...

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

3D printing technology has enabled some truly life-changing surgeries in the past year

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

A single molecule made by combining three hormones has been found to effectively cure obes...

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

Researchers have developed a system to uncover compounds capable of turning 'bad' white fa...

Researchers at Harvard University say they have identified two chemical compounds that could replace "bad" fat cells in the human body with healthy fat-burning cells, in what may be the first step toward the development of an effective medical treatment – which could even take the form of a pill – to help control weight gain.  Read More

A new method for restoring light response in blind mice and dogs holds promise in reversin...

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

Rod-like devices are injected just beneath the skin and self-assemble into 3D scaffolds (I...

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

A compound known as (+)-SJ733 has shown promise in tackling the spread of malaria (Photo: ...

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

The humble asthma inhaler may be relegated from lifeblood of treatment to a mere backup de...

Asthma attacks are terrifying. They feel almost like the world is closing in around you as you wheeze and cough and gasp for breath. And they often strike suddenly, without warning, when an innocuous event stirs up dust or pollen around you. That terror of unexpected attack that we asthmatics feel every day may largely disappear if a novel new research project pans out. Scientists at the Universities of Cambridge, London, and Manchester have gone after the trigger allergens and developed an inhalable powder from a compound that binds to a major dust mite allergen. This powder could lead to a shift in focus for asthma treatment from relief to inhibition.  Read More

Resveratrol, found in grape skins and red wine, has been found to kill the cells most like...

With the festive season upon us, many people will indulge in more alcohol than usual. The health risks of binge drinking (and embarrassing Christmas party behavior) aside, alcohol consumption is also a major risk factor for some cancers, including head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer. However, in a spot of good news, a recent study from the University of Colorado suggests that the chemical resveratrol found in grape skins and in red wine can help block the cancer-causing effects of alcohol.  Read More

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