Over the past few years scientists and researchers have made some inroads in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease
, but as yet no definitive cure has been found. In the latest promising development, a team of Canadian researchers has identified a genetic variant that can delay the onset of the disease by up to four years.
When a soldier is wounded on an extremity such as an arm or leg, applying a bandage and/or tourniquet to stop the bleeding is typically a fairly straight-ahead process. However, in cases where an injury is received right at the junction between an extremity and the torso – places such as the neck, shoulder or groin – things get a lot trickier. Gauze pads treated with clotting agents are often packed into the wound, although they're not always sufficient for staunching the flow. A group of students from Johns Hopkins University are working on a better alternative, in the form of a hardening foam that's injected into the wound.
Although several studies are currently exploring the use of man-made nanoparticles
for delivering medication to targeted areas of the body, care must be taken to ensure that those particles don't cause adverse reactions when introduced to the bloodstream. Scientists at the MIT-affiliated Whitehead Institute, however, are taking a different approach to the same basic concept. They've developed a method of attaching chemical payloads to red blood cells.
When scientists at the University of Utah injected human stem cells into mice disabled by a condition similar to multiple sclerosis, they expected the cells to be rejected by the animals' bodies. It turned out that the cells were indeed rejected, but not before they got the mice walking again. The unexpected finding could have major implications for human MS sufferers.
When we've previously heard about "organs on a chip
," they've been miniature recreations of healthy organs
. If they're being used for research into the treatment of health problems, however, then it only makes sense that those "organs" should have something wrong with them. With that in mind, a group of Harvard scientists have created the world's first lab-grown sample of functioning human heart tissue that has a cardiovascular disease.
Medical physicists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are latching on to advances in the computational speed of graphics processing units (GPUs) to drastically reduce the time required to calculate radiation therapy plans. The approach also increases the accuracy of calculations, allowing for faster, more precise, and more adaptable treatment of cancer patients.
According to Dr. Yishai Ron, a researcher at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, nearly half of the people who take medication for chronic constipation are unsatisfied with the results. That dissatisfaction can stem from unwanted side effects, concerns over the long-term safety of the medication, or "the fact that it simply doesn’t work." That's why he and his colleagues have created an oral capsule that relieves constipation by vibrating its way along the intestinal tract.
Delivering drugs that can knock out tumor cells within the body, without causing adverse side effects, is a tricky busines. It's why scientists have taken to engineering new
types of nanoparticles that do the job. Increasing a nanoparticle's ability to carry more drugs expands treatment options, but creating nanoparticles capable of delivering more than one or two drugs has proven difficult – until now. Scientists at MIT report creating a revolutionary building block technique that's enabled them to load a nanoparticle with three drugs.
The approach, they say, could be expanded to allow a nanoparticle to carry hundreds more.
Stem cells are highly promising for the treatment of everything from HIV
. In many cases, however, a great number of them must be used in order have a noticeable effect, which makes treatments impractical or expensive. Now, scientists at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital have found that a smaller number of stem cells can still get the job done, if they're first hopped up on steroids.
IBM's Watson supercomputer is being re-tasked to help clinicians create personalized treatments for a common form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma. The project, which is a collaboration between IBM and the New York Genome Center (NYGC), hopes to make use of Watson's artificial intelligence to analyze vast quantities of data in order to suggest a personalized life-saving treatment based on the patient's individual case.