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Drugs

This could turn out to be one of the most remarkable stories of our era – or one of the biggest scams in human history. Bitcoin, the anonymous digital currency, is more than four years old now, and a single bitcoin has gone from being worth literally nothing in 2009 to being worth nearly US$30 at current market values. Here's a quick primer on the Bitcoin system, how some anonymous programmers managed to create 300 million dollars out of thin air, what you can do with bitcoins, and a few words of warning. Read More
Seattle’s Presage Biosciences has developed a device which introduces small amounts of different chemotherapy drugs into a patient's tumor. The tumor is inspected after removal and the most effective of the drugs are used for post-surgical chemotherapy, resulting in more efficient, personalized cancer treatments. The new device is awaiting FDA approval, but is currently being used to facilitate development of new chemotherapy drugs. Read More
Odorless, colorless, and tasteless, so-called “date rape” drugs are nasty, sneaky things. When surreptitiously added to someone’s drink, they cause that person to become disoriented, sleepy, slow-to-react, and otherwise easier to sexually assault. Making things worse, the victim usually can’t remember what happened while they were drugged, making prosecution or even identification of the assailant difficult. Now, however, a new invention known as DrinkSavvy may allow people to know if such drugs have been put in their drink. Read More
Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive and thus commonly-used street drugs – according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there are currently nearly 25 million meth addicts worldwide. Help may be on the way, however. Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have had success in using a methamphetamine vaccine to block the effects on meth on lab rats. Read More
In a new development which on first glance resembles a storyline plucked from the pages of Harry Potter, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, have adopted a system of levitation in order to more effectively develop pharmaceuticals - no magic wand required. Read More
Nobody likes getting their shots, but whether childhood immunization, annual flu vaccination, or whatever else, we're required to undergo the uncomfortable sensation of needle piercing skin multiple times throughout our lives. However, a new laser-based system promises to take the “ouch” out of injections by delivering shots as painlessly as being struck by a puff of air. Read More
Unlike the heroin-specific vaccine we covered last year, an international team of scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Colorado Boulder has now found a way to block addiction to various opioid drugs, including heroin and morphine. Importantly, the new approach doesn’t negatively affect the pain-relieving properties of these drugs. Read More
While there are many methods for preventing HIV transmission that work in principle (abstinence, safe sex, monogamy to some extent), in practice efforts to prevent new HIV infections have reached a plateau - about 50 thousand new cases are reported every year in the United States and no progress has been made on reducing this number for at least 15 years, with the overall rate of infection remaining stable since at least 2004. In response to the almost complete lack of effective prevention methods, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has now approved the prophylactic use of the anti-retroviral combination drug Truvada, to reduce the risk of people acquiring HIV. Read More
Researchers at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum (Peter Mac) Cancer Centre are set to begin clinical trials of a cancer treatment they say represents a major shift in molecular approaches to treating the disease. The treatment, which has proven successful in the lab against lymphoma and leukemia cells, targets the production of proteins within the heart of cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells relatively unaffected. Read More
A team of scientists from the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) and SeaChange Pharmaceuticals has developed a set of computer models that can predict negative side effects associated with existing drugs. By speeding up the process and increasing accuracy, the software could potentially save billions in research and decrease the number of animals used in toxicity tests. Read More
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