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Biotechnology

— Science

Scientists come a step closer to "regrowing" limbs

By - June 3, 2015 2 Pictures

Currently, recipients of arm or leg transplants need to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives, in order to keep the donated parts from being rejected. If we could grow our own replacement limbs, however, that wouldn't be necessary. And while we do already possess the progenitor cells needed to grow such parts, what's been lacking is a method of assembling them into the form of the desired limb. Now, however, scientists have created a shortcut of sorts – they've stripped the cells from one rat's forelimb and replaced them with live cells from another rat, creating a functioning limb that the second rat's immune system won't reject.

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— Robotics

"Robot scientist" Eve to save time and money in drug development

By - February 7, 2015 1 Picture
Modern pharmaceuticals are a wonder of our age, but they also take years to develop at incredible cost. To shorten development time and increase economy, scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester have built Eve, an artificially-intelligent "robot scientist" that is not only faster and cheaper than its human counterparts, but has already identified a compound that could be used to fight malaria. 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
— Science

Pulsar device detects if beef is actually a horse (meat) of a different color

By - December 1, 2014 1 Picture
Although eating horse meat is normal in many parts of the world, in other places, such as Britain, it rates almost on the same level as eating the family dog. So when it was discovered last year that horse meat was being passed off as beef, it literally put a lot of people off their dinner. To prevent a repeat of the episode, the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich and Oxford Instruments have developed a portable detector that can differentiate between horse meat and beef in about 10 minutes, yet is inexpensive and simple to use. Read More
— Space

Decontamination system turns space station into life science laboratory

By - June 16, 2014 2 Pictures
The International Space Station (ISS) is perhaps the most artificial environment that human beings have ever taken up residence in. It’s not the sort of place where you’d want a lab accident, because you can’t run out the door and wait in the carpark for the air to clear, so NASA uses gloveboxes to keep the crew and equipment separate from dangerous contaminants. To increase this level of safety and expand the number experiments the station can carry out, the space agency is fitting one of the larger gloveboxes with an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) system to to prevent potentially dangerous microorganisms from escaping. Read More
— Medical

Artificial human blood substitute could help meet donor blood shortfall

By - June 10, 2014 1 Picture
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 107 million blood donations are collected around the globe every year, most of which goes on to help save lives. However, while the need for blood is global, much of that which is donated is not accessible to many who need it, such as those in developing countries. And of the blood donated in industrialized countries, the amount often falls short of requirements. To help address this imbalance, scientists at the University of Essex are developing an artificial blood substitute that would provide a benign, virus-free alternative for blood transfusions. Read More
— Science

Modifier protein could increase crop yields, even in poor conditions

By - January 15, 2014 1 Picture
Researchers have discovered a new way to increase plant growth by suppressing the natural response to environmental stress. The scientists have found a modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression proteins independently of the previously identified hormone Gibberellin. They believe this will lead to higher crop yields, even in unfavorable conditions. Read More
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