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University of North Carolina

Medical

Microneedle patch drip feeds cancer drugs directly into melanomas

The emerging field of immunotherapy has uncovered some powerful new weapons in the fight against cancer, but tumor cells can be quite crafty in the way they go undetected by our immune system. In an advance that could play a part in neutralizing these stealthy attributes, researchers have developed a microneedle patch that can be worn on the skin to more effectively deliver immunotherapy drugs directly to the site of a melanoma.Read More

Medical

Smart diabetes patch gets smarter

Implanting beta cells has been a promising, yet problematic approach to treating diabetes. These cells live in the pancreas and, in healthy people, secrete vital insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. But in sufferers of diabetes they don't quite work as required. Building on previous work on a smart insulin patch, scientists have now discovered a way of delivering the effects of these cells in a way that overcomes some of the complications. Read More

Medical

Ordinary skin cells turned into brain tumor predators

The 2006 discovery that mature skin cells can be converted into stem cells opened up exciting possibilities in regenerative medicine. Now almost a decade later, the Nobel-Prize winning research of Shinya Yamanaka is still opening doors for scientists across different arms of medical research. In what it labels as a first, a team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has built on this technology to transform adult skin cells into cancer-killing stem cells that seek and destroy brain tumors.Read More

Medical

Cloaking chemo drugs in cellular bubbles destroys cancer with one fiftieth of a regular dose

The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel is commonly used to treat breast, lung and pancreatic cancers, slowing their growth by preventing cancerous cells from replicating. But once administered the drug is attacked by the body's defenses, necessitating larger doses that result in complications such as joint pain, diarrhea and an impaired ability to fend off other infections. Researchers have now discovered a way to sneak the drug through to the tumor with its entire payload intact, a technique that could make for more effective cancer treatments with fewer side effects.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Smart patch to take pain and hassle out of insulin injections

According to the International Diabetes Federation, 387 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, with this number expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. That adds up to a lot of blood sugar checks, diet watching and insulin shots, but researchers in the US have developed a patch that could revolutionize how the disease is managed. The patch contains of more than 100 microneedles, each automatically secreting insulin into the bloodstream when required.Read More

Medical

Tiny cellular bubbles enable delivery of Parkinson's drugs straight to the brain

A natural enzyme called catalase may prove hugely significant in treating neurological disorders such as Parkinson's. These extremely potent antioxidants can tackle neuron-killing inflammation with an effectiveness unparalleled by small molecule drugs. But there's a problem, they are big. So big that getting them through the blood-brain barrier for delivery straight to the brain is nearly impossible. But researchers have now discovered that loading them into tiny, naturally occurring bubbles allows them to sneak past the brain's defenses, pointing to the possibility of improved treatments for such conditions.Read More

Medical

Implantable device targets tumors using electric fields

Further to a list of side effects ranging from mildly unpleasant to just plain awful, the scattergun nature of chemotherapy often sees healthy tissue damaged along with the cancerous cells. Attacking these cancer cells with better precision would lead to more effective treatments and reduce harmful side effects, and has been a primary objective for researchers. Among this group is a team of scientists that has developed a way of administering cancer-fighting chemicals using an electric field that is claimed to enable a highly-targeted form of treatment. Read More

Medical

Flipping the switch on cell conversion could better repair damaged hearts

One complication that can arise from a heart attack is the formation of scar tissue, which can the harden organ's walls and impede its ability to pump blood. This is caused by fibroblast cells which move to replace damaged muscle with the scar tissue. New research conducted at the University of North Carolina's (UNC) School of Medicine suggests these cells could be converted to endothelial cells which actually assist in recovery, potentially minimizing the damage caused during a heart attack. Read More

Electronics

New electrolyte could mean an end to spontaneously combusting lithium batteries

Last year, lithium-ion battery fires became a hot topic, pardon the inescapable pun, with both a Tesla automobile and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner succumbing to fires. In cross-disciplinary research at the University of North Carolina (UNC), a compound being studied to prevent marine life from sticking to ships may also be the solvent (and the solution) to keep lithium ion batteries from catching alight when they overheat. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Ultrasound pulses could replace daily injections for diabetics

There could be hope for diabetics who are tired of giving themselves insulin injections on a daily basis. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are developing a system in which a single injection of nanoparticles could deliver insulin internally for days at a time – with a little help from pulses of ultrasound. Read More

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