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Cells

Scientists have identified the mechanism responsible for driving the internal clock of alm...

A group of Cambridge scientists have successfully identified the mechanism that drives our internal 24-hour clock, or circadian rhythm. It occurs not only in human cells, but has also been found in other life forms such as algae, and has been dated back millions of years. Whilst the research promises a better understanding of the problems associated with shift-work and jet-lag, this mechanism has also been proven to be responsible for sleep patterns, seasonal shifts and even the migration of butterflies.  Read More

Woolly mammoths in a late Pleistocene landscape in northern Spain (Image: Mauricio Anton v...

The last known mammoth lived around 4500 years ago, but if scientists in Japan are successful then we might be able to meet one soon! Research to resurrect these awesome creatures was shelved when cell nuclei taken from a sample from Siberia were found to be too badly damaged, however a scientific breakthrough in Kobe successfully cloned a mouse from 16 year old deep frozen tissue, and the research began again in earnest...  Read More

Muscle cells of untreated mice with muscular dystrophy (left) show little utrophin in cell...

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common and severe childhood form of muscular dystrophy (MD), affecting one in 3,500 boys. The disease progressively weakens muscles cells and tissues until muscle degradation is so severe that the patient dies, most often in their late teens or twenties. Scientists at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and the University of Pennsylvania, hope their research into the human protein, biglycan, will ultimately improve the condition of muscular dystrophy sufferers. Their studies have shown that biglycan significantly slows muscle damage and improves function in mice with the Duchenne genetic mutation. Human clinical trials will be the next step.  Read More

An image of the nucleus of a mouse adenocarcinoma cell showing the nucleolus and the membr...

When obtaining three-dimensional images of cells using a scanning electron microscope, individual cells are scanned one section at a time and those images are then put together to form one complete 3D picture of that cell – the process often takes a long time to complete. When using a fluorescence microscope, cells must first by dyed so that they show up against their surroundings. Now, a team from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) have demonstrated a process called X-ray nanotomography, that can instantly obtain 3D images of cells in their almost natural state.  Read More

The MGH microfluidic neutrophil-capturing device

Recently, researchers have come to realize that neutrophils – the most abundant type of white blood cell – play a key role in both chronic and acute inflammation, and in the activation of the immune system in response to injury. Of course, the best way to study neutrophils is to get a hold of some, but traditional methods have required relatively large blood samples, and take up to two hours. Because neutrophils are sensitive to handling, it is also possible to inadvertently activate them, which alters their molecular patterns. A microfluidic device developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), however, allows for neutrophils to be collected from a relatively small blood sample, unactivated, in just minutes.  Read More

A human liver (Image: Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College)

Researching liver disorders is extremely difficult because liver cells (hepatocytes) cannot be grown in the laboratory. However, researchers at the University of Cambridge have now managed to create diseased liver cells from a small sample of human skin. The research shows that stem cells can be used to model a diverse range of inherited disorders and paves the way for new liver disease research and possible cell-based therapy.  Read More

Researchers liken their breakthrough to a cluster bomb for cancer (Image: KGH and Shutters...

Although chemotherapy is an effective cancer treatment, it’s shotgun approach also damages healthy cells bringing debilitating side effects such as nausea, liver toxicity and a battered immune system. Now a new way to deliver this life-saving therapy to cancer patients by getting straight to the source of the disease has been developed. The researchers responsible for the breakthrough delivery vehicle liken it to a cluster bomb for cancer because of its ability to deliver the drugs directly into cancer cells before releasing its chemotherapeutic payload.  Read More

Scientists have created a nanoparticle that can deliver DNA deeply enough into a cell to a...

Scientists from Ohio State University (OSU) have created a nanoparticle that can deliver DNA deeply enough into a cell to allow genetic material to be activated. This is a key step in gene therapy, the “reprogramming” of defective genes. Previously, scientists have used deactivated viruses for this task, but have been limited by the body’s immune system attacking those viruses. Nanoparticle delivery is reportedly two-and-a-half to ten times more effective, because it generates much less of an immune response.  Read More

Synthetic cornea offers hope to thousands

Donor corneas are extremely rare, but for 40,000 people in Europe corneal transplantation from donors offer the only hope of addressing blindness in one or both eyes. That was, until Dr. Joachim Storsberg of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm created the first artificial cornea.  Read More

A half sphere of polymer cubes built by researchers at the MIT-Harvard Division of Health ...

Earlier this year we looked at a technique to grow 3D cell cultures using magnetic forces to levitate cells while they divided and grew, forming tissues that more closely resemble those inside the human body. Now researchers at the MIT-Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) have devised a new way to achieve the same goal by using "biological Legos".  Read More

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