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Disease

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

The skin of certain frogs, including this foothill yellow-legged frog, contain secretions ...

While kissing a frog might not transform him into a handsome prince, his skin might one day save your life. Scientists in Abu Dhabi have discovered a method for using the natural substances found in frog skins to create a powerful new group of antibiotics with potential to fight against drug-resistant infections.  Read More

The Integrascope's LED (left) shines light through a drop of blood (center), and the refra...

When bodily fluids such as blood are tested for infectious diseases and unhealthy protein levels, they’re typically mixed with antibodies or other biological reactants to produce a positive or negative reaction. Researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) have now come up with an alternative testing system that they claim is just as accurate, but much simpler, quicker and cheaper. It utilizes LED lights and simple microelectronic amplifiers, and actually uses the sample itself as a diagnostic tool. Because it integrates the sample into the process, inventors Antonia Garcia and John Schneider call their device the Integrascope.  Read More

Illustration depicting a single strand of DNA moving through a nanopore that is being used...

One of the long held hopes for DNA sequencing is that it will usher in an era of personalized, predictive medicine by providing individualized blueprints of genetic predispositions for specific conditions and diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and addiction. Researchers have now devised a method that works at a very small scale to sequence DNA quickly and relatively inexpensively that could open the door to more effective individualized medicine.  Read More

A new breakthrough in cell regeneration could lead to the repair of damaged hearts (Image ...

Heart disease remains one the biggest killers in the Western world. When a heart attack or heart failure occurs, permanent damage often results, destroying live cells and leaving the patient with irreversible scarring. Now scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) have discovered a new technique to create healthy beating heart cells from structural cells, opening up the possibility of regenerating damaged hearts.  Read More

Andrew Miller's Global Focus microscope

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 million people worldwide died from tuberculosis in 2008. It’s definitely a disease to be taken seriously, so when people in remote locations are being tested for it, it’s best if they don’t have to wait for their samples to be processed at a distant lab. That’s why medical device designer Andrew Miller, when he was still an undergraduate at Houston’s Rice University, developed the portable, battery-operated Global Focus fluorescence microscope. In a paper published this Wednesday, Miller and his co-authors described how the $US240 Global Focus is able to detect TB-positive sputum smears just as well as laboratory microscopes worth over $40,000.  Read More

A technique that combines nanotechnology with adult stem cells appears to destroy atherosc...

A combination of nanotechnology and adult stem cells has been shown to destroy arterial plaque (atherosclerosis) in the heart of pigs. Pigs that received stem cells also showed signs of new blood vessel growth and restoration of artery function according to the study reported at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2010 Scientific Sessions – Technological and Conceptual Advances in Cardiovascular Disease.  Read More

An uncomfortably-large image of a body louse (Photo: Frank Collins, Ph.D)

An international team of scientists has successfully sequenced the genome of that most majestic of creatures, the body louse. Like head lice, body lice attach themselves to human hosts and live off their blood. Unlike head lice, however, body lice can spread bacterial diseases. By understanding more about the creature, the team hopes to develop better methods of controlling it.  Read More

Transmission Electron Micrograph of the Ebola Virus

In a world full of scary viruses Ebola surely ranks right up there amongst the scariest. It can cause fever, rashes, muscle pain, headache, followed by internal and external bleeding, with case fatality rates as high as 80 percent in humans. Currently there are no available vaccines or therapies to combat the virus. Now scientists report they have successfully prevented monkeys exposed to the virus from dying from hemorrhagic fever and suggest that such protection should be possible for humans.  Read More

First retina created from stem cells could help millions

In another world first in the fight against degenerative eye disorders, scientists from the Universtiy of California, Irvine, have created an eight-layer early-stage retina from human embryonic stem cells. Not only is this the world's first three-dimensional complex tissue structure to be made from stem cells, but it also marks the first step toward the development of transplant-ready retinas to treat eye disorders affecting millions.  Read More

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