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Researchers turn to tick spit to shut down our immune systems

When ticks bite humans, they inject us with a substance that keeps them disguised from our immune systems. This lets them hang on to us and feed for up to 10 days without getting attacked by our bodies' defences. While this strategy certainly serves the tick — and not the humans — very well, researchers may soon be turning the tables and employing a substance in tick saliva to help people battle damaging, and potentially deadly, autoimmune diseases.Read More

Medical

Brazil starts screening transfusion blood for Zika virus

As the mosquito-borne Zira virus monopolizes the attention of Brazil's government and media, adding to the burden of the dengue epidemic, researchers are offering a method to blood banks that wish to screen transfusion blood for pregnant women and in cases of intrauterine transfusion. There is a suspicion that Zika could cause foeatuses to develop microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small heads and brains.Read More

Medical

Low-cost bioactive paper detects blood types in under a minute

Determining a blood type to ensure compatibility ahead of a transfusion isn't straightforward at the best of times, but in regions of the world where proper medical equipment is unavailable it is nigh on impossible. A new, bioactive piece of paper promises to change that, however, with the ability to analyze just a few drops of blood and identify somebody's blood group in as little as one minute.Read More

Science

Oscillating electric field used to remove nanoparticles from blood

Nanoparticles as a vehicle for delivering drugs precisely where they are needed promise to be a major revolution in medical science. Unfortunately, retrieving those particles from the body for detailed study is a long and involved process. But that may soon change with a team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego developing a technique that uses an oscillating electric field to separate nanoparticles from blood plasma in a way that may one day make it a routine procedure.
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Medical

RNA blood test detects, classifies and pinpoints location of cancer

In an effort to find an accurate and easy method of detecting and locating cancers, negating the need for invasive cell tissue sampling, researchers from Umeå University in Sweden have developed a new blood test that looks at blood platelets in just a single drop of blood to identify cancer. Results of the method are very promising, with a 96 percent identification accuracy.
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Medical

Hydrogel infused with snake venom stops bleeding within seconds

Major, uncontrolled blood loss can have major ramifications everywhere from the battlefield to the operating theatre. While blood-clotting medications can be used to stem the flow, often their purpose is thwarted by conflicting anti-coagulating drugs that thin the blood instead. But now scientists have developed a promising new hydrogel infused with snake venom that is drawn to the wound and shuts down bleeding in a matter of seconds.Read More

Medical

Leukometer promises needle-free monitoring of the immune system

Keeping track of white blood cell levels in chemotherapy patients is an involved but crucially important task. The treatment can lead to suppression of the immune system, a decline in white blood cell count, which in turn can give rise to infections and other serious complications. As things stand, patients are subjected to regular blood tests as a means of keeping an eye on things, but an international team of scientists has a less invasive alternative in the works. With the ability to tally up white blood cells through the skin in real time, the new testing device can simply be stuck onto a fingertip to help clinicians tailor personalized and more timely treatments.Read More

Medical

Tiny particles propel themselves upstream to stop severe internal bleeding

Though materials have been developed that clot blood in order to slow bleeding, when the bleeding is internal things get a little more complicated. The flow of blood makes it difficult to deliver these agents upstream to the site of the injury, but now a team of Canadian researchers says it may have a solution. It has developed a micro-sized particle that produces gas to propel itself against the tide.Read More

Medical

Whale protein puts researchers on path to developing synthetic blood

Researchers at Rice University have discovered that a protein found in whale meat may hold the key to developing synthetic blood. The protein, called myoglobin, allows marine mammals to remain submerged at great depths for up to two hours and has an ultra-stable structure that could one day allow for the manufacturing of a blood substitute using bacteria as biofactories.Read More

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