University of Cambridge

Health & Wellbeing

Breath test could replace finger-pricking for diabetics, thanks to dogs

It's been known for some time that dogs can detect the onset of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in the breath of type 1 diabetics – there are even helper dogs that are trained to do so. Now, scientists at the University of Cambridge believe that they may have figured out just what it is that those dogs are smelling. The discovery could potentially lead to a breathalyzer-like replacement for uncomfortable finger-prick tests.Read More


Pinpointed breast cancer genes explain why some cases are so hard to beat

Our understanding of breast cancer is almost constantly improving, and we're always researching new ways of detecting the disease. Now, a team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Cambridge has picked out a number of mutated genes linked to the cancer, only a small number of which were previously known. The improved understanding could lead to more efficient treatments down the line.Read More


Scientists grow human embryo in lab for nearly two full weeks

Studying the way a human embryo grows in its earliest stages can have a significant impact on in vitro fertilization methods as well as on our understanding of how diseases develop when life is just getting started. However, it's always been necessary to put lab-fertilized embryos back in the womb after seven days in order for them to attach and successfully develop into fetuses. Researchers at the University of Cambridge (UC) have now nearly doubled that time, allowing an embryo to grow in the lab for a full 13 days.Read More


"World’s smallest engine" to power microscopic robots

It is often said that size matters. At the nano-scale level, where a lot of current research is being done, this adage also holds true, and several scientific teams have laid claim to creating the "world's smallest engine" built from particles of ever-shrinking dimensions. The latest, a nano-scale engine made from tiny charged particles of gold and developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is claimed to be the smallest of them all.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Labradors' genes are to blame for their chubbiness

Labradors have a reputation for being obsessed with food, and in turn, they have a tendency to become obese more than a lot of other canines. Well, new research suggests that the trait is actually the result of a genetic variation that's particularly common in the breed – and the finding could lead to better treatments for human obesity.Read More


Fifth-dimensional black hole could cause general relativity to break down

We like to think of the physical universe as being governed by immutable laws, but maybe they're not quite as concrete as we imagine. A team of physicists at the University of Cambridge have run computer simulations that show that a five-dimensional, ring-shaped black hole could violate Einstein's general theory of relativity by creating a naked singularity, which would result in the equations behind the theory breaking down.Read More


Scientists pinpoint protein that makes it harder to lose weight the fatter we get

The notion that the more weight people carry, the more difficulty they'll have slimming down isn't a surprising one, but an element of mystery still surrounds the exact mechanism that makes it increasingly difficult to shed that extra baggage. Scientists are now claiming to have zeroed in on a key factor, identifying a protein that stops fat cells from burning energy, a molecule they say could become a key target in treating obesity and other metabolic conditions. Read More


More hurdles jumped on path to a practical lithium-air battery

With theoretical energy densities as much as 10 times that of current lithium-ion batteries, lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) batteries hold tremendous potential for storage of renewable energy and use in mobile devices and electric cars. Although a practical lithium-air battery is still some years from becoming a commercial reality, researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a working laboratory demonstrator that shows how many of the problems holding back the development of lithium-air batteries could be overcome.

Read More

The evolution machine: Mother robot makes each child better than the last

It was only last month that futurists Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking warned about the dangers of intelligent robots, and a new research project led by the University of Cambridge won't do much to put their minds at ease. Scientists have created a mother robot that can not only build its own children robots, but mimic the process of natural selection to improve their capabilities with each generation. Read More


Pill on a string pulls early signs of cancer

As with every form of the deadly disease, early detection of oesophageal cancer is critical to recovery. The current approach of detecting the cancer through biopsy can be a little hit and miss, so the University of Cambridge's Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and her team have developed what they claim to be a more accurate tool for early-diagnosis. Billed as "a pill on a string," the Cytosponge is designed to scrape off cells from the length of the oesophagus as it is yanked out after swallowing, offering up a much larger sample for inspection of cancer cells.Read More


    See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning