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Drugs

pd.id is a reusable electronic device designed to quickly determine if a drink has been sp...

Date rape drugs are often the substance of choice for perpetrators of sexual assaults, the effects of which leave the victim unable to defend themselves, not able to remember any of the events that ensued and – worse – not able to recall details of their attacker. In an effort to help people avoid such despicable acts, a group of designers has produced a miniature reusable electronic device that they claim will determine if a drink has been spiked.  Read More

McMaster University chemical biology graduate student Andrew King examines a chemical used...

A research team from McMaster University, the University of British Columbia and Cardiff University has discovered a fungus in the soil of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia that may offer hope in an increasingly fraught battle against drug-resistant bacteria.  Read More

SmartStop is a new wearable electronic device designed to help smokers give up the habit

Kicking the cigarette habit is no picnic. It’s a full-on resistance effort against an overwhelming craving. That’s why smokers sometimes need more than will power alone to quit. Now a new device has been developed to add extra ammunition to the fight in the form of the SmartStop, an electronic wearable from U.S.-based Chrono Therapeutics that takes nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to a new level and adds behavioral support, thanks to the possibilities of digital, wireless technology.  Read More

British drivers will soon face 'zero tolerance' drug driving laws (Photo: Shutterstock)

The UK has put in place some of the strictest drug driving laws on the planet in an effort to get drug-impaired drivers off the roads. Breath screening and blood tests will be used to detect eight illicit drugs at "zero tolerance" levels, and eight further prescription drugs at levels that would begin to impair driving. Naturally, since the British government can’t be seen to encourage recreational drug use, these limits haven’t been put into a practical context. So we contacted several drug testing experts and a forensic pharmacologist to try to work out what they mean. And as it turns out, some drugs will make you illegal to drive long after their physical effects have worn off.  Read More

A new device simulates the way in which the gastrointestinal tract absorbs orally-administ...

Before drugs are tested on humans, they first go through pre-clinical tests on animals. Because humans and animals don't have identical gastrointestinal tracts, however, the way in which the drugs are absorbed by the body often differs between the two. A scientist from the UK's University of Huddersfield hopes to address that discrepancy, with his "gut simulator."  Read More

In testing the fluorescent compound, the team observed a difference in the intensity of th...

Central to the dangers of so-called "date-rape" drugs is the fact that they are difficult to detect. Indeed, GHB, one of the most commonly-used of such drugs, is both colorless and odorless. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a fluorescent sensor which, when mixed with a drink containing GHB, changes color within 30 seconds, potentially alerting people soon after their drink has been tampered with.  Read More

The ATHENA organ project combines heart, liver, kidney and lung features in a toxicity tes...

A five-year, US$19 million multi-institutional effort is working on developing a "desktop human" that could reduce the need for animal testing in the development of new drugs. The "homo minitus" is a drug and toxicity analysis system that would comprise four human organ constructs interconnected to mimic the response of human organs. The project has now reported success in the development of its first organ construct, a human liver construct that responds to exposure to a toxic chemical much like a real liver.  Read More

Immunofluorescence image shows nanoparticles targeted to endothelial cells – the red parti...

In recent years, we've seen various research efforts looking to specifically target cancer cells as a replacement for the shotgun approach employed by chemotherapy that also damages healthy cells. The trick is to develop a delivery vehicle that identifies and targets only cancer cells, while ignoring the healthy ones. Researchers have found charged polymers have this ability, opening the door for nanoparticles containing cancer-fighting drugs to deliver their payload directly to the cancer cells.  Read More

A nanoparticle delivery mechanism (left) treats tumors in mice more effectively

A common strategy for treating tumors is combining two or more drugs, which has the effect of decreasing toxicity and increasing the synergistic effects between the drugs. However, the efficacy of this kind of cocktail treatment suffers when the drugs require access to different parts of the cell, a bit like fighting a battle by depositing all your archers on the same spot as your infantrymen. By making use of nanoparticle-based carriers, researchers at North Carolina State University are able to transport multiple drugs into cancerous cells optimally and precisely, in maneuvers that any field commander would be proud of.  Read More

Bioinspired magnetically propelled helical microswimmers could deliver drugs at the right ...

If you remember the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, you'll recall how miniaturized government agents traveled through blood vessels in a tiny submarine, in their attempt remove a blood clot from a scientist's brain. Synthetic nanomotors that can do the same job have been the subject of numerous research efforts and now University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers report that they've created powerful biodegradable "microswimmers" that can deliver drugs more precisely, derived from common plants like passion fruit and wild banana.  Read More

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