Tag Archives: Biotechnology (Ethics)

New discoveries advance efforts to build replacement kidneys in the lab

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Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center report progress in their quest to build replacement kidneys in the lab. The teams’ goal is to make use of the more than 2,600 kidneys that are donated each year, but must be discarded due to abnormalities and other factors. The scientists aim to “recycle” these organs to […]

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* Mouse larynx contracts in response to light

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Muscles engineered to be photosensitive could lead to treatments for paralysis. Scientists have genetically engineered muscles to move in response to pulses of light. The technique, demonstrated on vocal cords removed from mice, is reported on 2 June in Nature Communications. Researchers say that it could probe how muscles function — and might eventually help […]

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Using 3-D printing, researchers can study what causes birds to reject eggs with greater precision and repeatability

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For decades, researchers have been making artificial eggs out of plaster, wood, and other materials to test how birds identify and reject the eggs that invading ‘brood parasites’ sometimes sneak into their nests. But these methods have many limitations; a new study is the first to test the usefulness of 3-D printed eggs for research […]

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Pint-sized DNA sequencer impresses first users

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Portable device offers on-the-spot data to fight disease, catalogue species and more. The MinION device can sequence small genomes, such as those of bacteria and viruses, displaying the results as they are generated. In April, Joshua Quick boarded a plane to Guinea with three genetic sequencers packed in his luggage. That fact alone is astonishing: […]

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* Scientists regenerate bone tissue using only proteins secreted by stem cells

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Scientists have discovered a way to regrow bone tissue using the protein signals produced by stem cells. This technology could help treat victims who have experienced major trauma to a limb, like soldiers wounded in combat or casualties of a natural disaster. The new method improves on older therapies by providing a sustainable source for […]

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* Microscope created allowing deep brain exploration

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A team of neuroscientists and bioengineers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have created a miniature, fiber-optic microscope designed to peer deeply inside a living brain. The researchers, including scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder, published details of their revolutionary microscope in the latest issue of Optics Letters journal. “Microscopes today penetrate […]

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* Birth of four foals from genotyped, cryopreserved embryos: A first in Europe

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Four foals were successfully born as the result of the transfer of genotyped and cryopreserved embryos. Researchers report that this is a first in Eurpoe. The goal of this work is to better understand embryonic development, control livestock reproduction, and maintain breed genetic diversity. Furthermore, it is advantageous for the horse industry to be able […]

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The printed organs coming to a body near you

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Printed organs, such as a proto­type outer ear developed by researchers at Princeton University in New Jersey and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, will be on the agenda at the Inside 3D Printing conference in New York on 15–17 April. The ear is printed from a range of materials: a hydrogel to form an […]

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Intelligent neuroprostheses mimic natural motor control

Neuroscientists are taking inspiration from natural motor control to design new prosthetic devices that can better replace limb function. In new work, researchers have tested a range of brain-controlled devices — from wheelchairs to robots to advanced limbs — that work with their users to intelligently perform tasks. These neuroprosthetic devices decode brain signals to […]

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* Tissue engineering: Scientists grow leg muscle from cells in a dish

A team of researchers from Italy, Israel and the United Kingdom has succeeded in generating mature, functional skeletal muscles in mice using a new approach for tissue engineering. The scientists grew a leg muscle starting from engineered cells cultured in a dish to produce a graft. The subsequent graft was implanted close to a normal, […]

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Bionic reconstruction lets patients use a robotic prosthetic hand controlled by the mind

Three Austrian men have become the first in the world to undergo a new technique called “bionic reconstruction,” enabling them to use a robotic prosthetic hand controlled by their mind, according to new research published in The Lancet. All three men suffered for many years with brachial plexus injuries and poor hand function as a […]

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* Computer model of blood development could speed up search for new leukemia drugs

The first comprehensive computer model to simulate the development of blood cells could help in the development of new treatments for leukaemia and lymphoma, say researchers at the University of Cambridge and Microsoft Research. The human body produces over 2.5 million new blood cells during every second of our adult lives, but how this process […]

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* Mini synthetic organism instead of test animals

In medical research, animal-based experiments have thus far been a necessary evil. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a highly promising alternative, however: They are developing a mini-organism inside a chip. This way, complex metabolic processes within the human body can be analyzed realistically. No one wishes to dispense with the blessings of modern medicine, which took […]

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Computer model explains how animals select actions with rewarding outcomes

Scientists from the universities of Manchester and Sheffield have developed a computer model charting what happens in the brain when an action is chosen that leads to a reward. The model could provide new insights into the mechanisms behind motor disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease. It may also shed light on conditions involving abnormal learning, […]

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First contracting human muscle grown in laboratory

The lab-grown tissue should soon allow researchers to test new drugs and study diseases in functioning human muscle outside of the human body. The study was led by Nenad Bursac, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University, and Lauran Madden, a postdoctoral researcher in Bursac’s laboratory. It appears January 13 in the open-access journal […]

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Bio-inspired bleeding control: Synthesized platelet-like nanoparticles created

Stanching the free flow of blood from an injury remains a holy grail of clinical medicine. Controlling blood flow is a primary concern and first line of defense for patients and medical staff in many situations, from traumatic injury to illness to surgery. If control is not established within the first few minutes of a […]

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Improving breast cancer chemo by testing patient’s tumors in a dish

One of the tragic realities of cancer is that the drugs used to treat it are highly toxic and their effectiveness varies unpredictably from patient to patient. However, a new “tumor-in-a-dish” technology is poised to change this reality by rapidly assessing how effective specific anti-cancer cocktails will be on an individual’s cancer before chemotherapy begins. […]

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* Nobel for microscopy that reveals inner world of cells

Fluorescence microscopy reveals a protein network in a mammalian cell. Ever since the seventeenth century, when the early microbiologist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek focused light through lenses and marvelled at the cells that swam before his eyes, microscopes have opened up new vistas of discovery. This year, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to three scientists […]

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* A new microscopy technique yields resolution an order of magnitude better than previously possible.

Through this new technique, the researchers showed that dystrophin was responsible for regulating tiny molecular fluctuations in calcium channels while muscles are in use. The discovery suggests that a lack of functional dystrophin alters the dynamics of ion channels — helping to cause the defective mechanical responses and the calcium imbalance that impair normal muscle […]

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Artificial liver tested as potential therapy for patients with alcohol-related organ failure

“The quest for a device that can fill in for the function of the liver, at least temporarily, has been underway for decades. A bioartificial liver, also known as a BAL, could potentially sustain patients with acute liver failure until their own livers self-repair,” said Steven D. Colquhoun, MD, the surgical director of liver transplantation […]

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Artificial spleen cleans up blood

Researchers have developed a high-tech method to rid the body of infections — even those caused by unknown pathogens. A device inspired by the spleen can quickly clean blood of everything from Escherichia coli to Ebola, researchers report on 14 September in Nature Medicine. Blood infections can be very difficult to treat, and can lead […]

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* Scientists grow an organ in an animal from cells created in lab

Laboratory-grown replacement organs have moved a step closer with the completion of a new study. Scientists have grown a fully functional organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal for the first time. The researchers have created a thymus — an organ next to the heart that produces immune cells known as T cells […]

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Like cling wrap, new biomaterial can coat tricky burn wounds, block out infection


Wrapping wound dressings around fingers and toes can be tricky, but for burn victims, guarding them against infection is critical. Today, scientists are reporting the development of novel, ultra thin coatings called nanosheets that can cling to the body’s most difficult-to-protect contours and keep bacteria at bay. The researchers are speaking about their materials, which […]

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Bypass commands from brain to legs through computer

Gait disturbance in individuals with spinal cord injury is attributed to the interruption of neural pathways from brain to the spinal locomotion center, whereas neural circuits locate below and above the lesion maintain most of their functions. An artificial connection that bridges the lost pathway and connects brain to spinal circuits has potential to ameliorate […]

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Handheld device could enable low-cost chemical tests

Researchers have developed a handheld electrochemical detector that can perform chemical analyses and transmit results to a cloud database from any mobile phone, even low-end models. The detector, described on 4 August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could one day enable a wide range of tests — such as those for […]

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Advanced CT scanners reduce patient radiation exposure, study finds

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“Newer technology makes a difference in terms of radiation exposure and the difference is quite large,” says study author Kavitha Chinnaiyan, M.D., director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging Research at BeaumontHospital, Royal   Oak. Computed tomography scans are an accepted standard of care for diagnosing heart and lung conditions. But clinicians worry that the growing use […]

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* Saving Africa’s wild dogs — with urine

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The endangered African wild dog is increasingly coming into conflict with humans, partly because it is difficult to fence them out. But research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology shows that an unusual approach to keeping them away from people and livestock may offer hope. Africa’s population is growing, as is its economy. […]

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* Wireless pacemaker implanted in rabbit

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Researchers have built a wirelessly powered pacemaker the size of a grain of rice and successfully implanted it in a rabbit. If the results hold up, a new generation of smaller and safer medical implants could be on the market in the next 5 to 10 years. Today’s pacemakers, cochlear implants, and other internal medical […]

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New sensor could light the way forward in low-cost medical imaging

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The team of researchers from the University of Surrey have developed a new ‘multispectral’ light sensor that detects the full spectrum of light, from ultra-violet (UV), to visible and near infrared light. Indeed, near infrared light can be used to perform non-invasive medical procedures, such as measuring the oxygen level in tissue and detecting tumors. […]

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* First ‘heavy mouse’ leads to first lab-grown tissue mapped from atomic life

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This data has been used to grow biological tissue in the lab practically identical to native tissue, which can be manipulated and analysed in ways impossible for natural samples. Researchers say the approach has huge potential for scientific and medical breakthroughs: lab-grown tissue could be used to replace heart valves, for example. In fact, with […]

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