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Biotechnology

Medical

Low-cost graphene-based biosensor chip detects DNA mutations in real time

One of the most common indicators of many diseases and cancer in blood is the presence of a genetic mutation known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Unfortunately, to date such tests for SNPs are slow, cumbersome and – above all – expensive. Now a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have developed a new graphene-based sensor that promises to deliver test results easily, in real time, and inexpensively. The researchers believe this could be a breakthrough in the early detection and screening for many life-threatening illnesses.Read More

Biology

Brain model with maturity of 5-week-old fetus grown in a lab

Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have grown a nearly complete human brain equivalent in size and structure to that of a five-week old fetus. Called a "brain organoid," it was bioengineered using adult human skin cells and is the most advanced human brain model yet created in a laboratory.Read More

Medical

Silk-based functional inks put biosensor data on your fingertips

Although we've seen "bio-inks" that allow sensors to be drawn directly on a person's skin and other surfaces to gauge things like glucose levels, functional inks such as this are usually heat-sensitive, meaning they aren't suitable for use in inkjet printers. Researchers at Tufts University have now developed silk-based inks containing bacteria-sensing agents that can withstand the rigors of inkjet printing, opening the door much wider for printing biomolecules.Read More

Medical

Scientists come a step closer to "regrowing" limbs

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.Read More

Robotics

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

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

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

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

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