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Science


— Medical

Natural food additive found to block skin cancer cells in mice

A latin American seed once used by Mayans as body paint and today as an orange food coloring in your cheddar cheese may prove useful in the fight against skin cancer. Scientists have found that a compound found in natural food additive annatto prevents the formation of cancer cells resulting from UV radiation in mice, and are now exploring whether annatto-rich diets can prevent similar sun damage in humans.

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— Space

SpaceX completes Crew Dragon parachute test

SpaceX has successfully carried out a drop test for the four main parachutes that will form the principal stage of the Crew Dragon's descent system. The test, and many others like it, are a necessary step required to be completed by the next-gen spacecraft in order for SpaceX to fulfil its obligations under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

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— Medical

Lab-made liver tissue may be used for drug screening

Laboratory-engineered liver tissue could be extremely useful, helping doctors to screen new drugs, and it could even one day be used for transplants. Unfortunately, it's also very difficult to replicate the organ's complex structure and functions outside of the human body. Now, researchers from China's Northwest A&F University have managed to construct artificial tissue that's proving effective at mimicking the real thing.

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— Medical

Encapsulated cells could free diabetics from insulin injections

Type 1 diabetes patients have to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels, regularly injecting insulin to make sure they stay healthy. Not only is this a burden for patients, but it can also be difficult to get right, often resulting in long-term medical problems. A team of researchers, including scientists from MIT, has been working on a better system. They're developing a transplantable capsule that can carry cells able to replace the patient's lost ability to produce insulin, and that isn't rejected or rendered useless by the host's body.

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— Energy

Lithium-oxygen breakthrough clears the air for boosted batteries

Boasting an energy density similar to that of gasoline, lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries may one day prove the panacea for the range-anxiety associated with electric vehicles. But first there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome, one of which is the unwanted buildup of lithium peroxide on the electrode which hampers this type of battery's performance. Scientists have now figured out a way that this mess might be avoided – an advance they say could lead to batteries with five times the energy density of those currently available.

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