With a new, commercially available camera system using Cornell-developed nanoparticles that make cancer cells glow, the way is lit for surgeons to diagnose and remove tumors.
With researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Uli Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and inventor of the fluorescent “C dots” (Cornell Dots), has integrated his lab’s nanoparticle technology with an optical camera made by Quest Medical Imaging. In real time, the camera gives surgeons a clear view of cancer in the body.
Mothers give a newborn baby a gift of germs — germs that help to kick-start the infant’s immune system. But antibiotics, used to fend off infection, may paradoxically interrupt a newborn’s own immune responses, leaving already-vulnerable premature babies more susceptible to dangerous pathogens.
A new animal study, by neonatology researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), sheds light on immunology in newborns by revealing how gut microbes play a crucial role in fostering the rapid production of infection-fighting white blood cells, called granulocytes.
Sodium channels are implicated in many serious conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy and pain, making them an important potential target for drug therapies. Unfortunately, there is still much scientists do not know about the molecules. New Univ. of Cambridge research provides fresh and unexpected insights into the structure of sodium channels and, specifically, one of its components - β-subunit molecules - which are responsible for “fine-tuning” the activity of the channel.
Credit Card-sized Anthrax Detector Aids Agriculture
A credit card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper.
Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the world and can cause serious, often fatal, illness in both humans and animals. The bacteria can survive in harsh conditions for decades. In humans, exposure to B. anthracis may occur through skin contact, inhalation of spores or eating contaminated meat.
The Food and Drug Administration is warning women that a surgical procedure to remove noncancerous growths from the uterus could inadvertently spread cancer to other parts of the body.
The agency is discouraging doctors from performing the procedure, which uses an electronically powered device to grind and shred uterine tissue so it can be removed through a small incision in the abdomen. Known as laparoscopic power morcellation, the technique is widely used to treat painful fibroids, either by removing the growths themselves or the entire uterus.
In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.
Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60 percent, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.
Every Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Thiago Verano-Braga from the Univ. of Southern Denmark. He and a team discovered that nanosilver can penetrate our cells and cause damage.
Florida State Univ. researchers have identified a new syndrome called “osteosarcopenic obesity” that links the deterioration of bone density and muscle mass with obesity.
"It used to be the thinking that the heavier you were the better your bones would be because the bones were supporting more weight," says Jasminka Ilich-Ernst, the Hazel Stiebeling Professor of Nutrition at Florida State. "But, that’s only true to a certain extent."
Scans May Help Predict Recovery from Vegetative State
When patients suffer from a brain injury and are unresponsive, we often don’t know whether they have suffered irreversible damage from which they will never recover, or whether the damage is a temporary problem (perhaps even an important part of the brain’s healing process).
In patients with substantial swelling of the brain, working out whether they might wake up is usually done through clinical examination – testing whether they respond to stimuli such as light shone in the eyes – and structural brain imaging. But in many cases the accuracy of predicting the outcome is no better than flipping a coin.
Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.
“We wanted to look at these historically important events and further our understanding of the tangible human impacts they had on the Cherokee people,” says Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work. “This work also adds to the body of literature on environmental effects on skull growth.”
Plant-derived Nanotubes Enable Personalized DNA Delivery
Personalized medicine took one step closer to reality recently with the development of plant-derived nanotubes.
These nanotubes – tiny structures several hundred times thinner than a human hair – hone in on specific tissues in the body and deliver their cargo, in this study’s case, a healthy gene to help override a dysfunctional copy. Nanotubes have many uses, such as delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to a tumor. As of now, chemotherapy is delivered to the entire system and often causes damage to healthy tissue. Using this direct-delivery method, chemotherapy can maximize its effectiveness on tumors while minimizing harm to healthy tissue.
A small study of casual marijuana smokers has turned up evidence of changes in the brain, a possible sign of trouble ahead, researchers say. The young adults who volunteered for the study were not dependent on pot, nor did they show any marijuana-related problems.
"What we think we are seeing here is a very early indication of what becomes a problem later on with prolonged use," things like lack of focus and impaired judgment, says Hans Breiter, a study author. Longer-term studies will be needed to see if such brain changes cause any symptoms over time, says Breiter, of the Northwestern Univ. Feinberg School of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Scientists have solved a decades-old medical mystery – and in the process have found a potentially less toxic way to fight invasive fungal infections, which kill about 1.5 million people a year. The researchers say they now understand the mechanism of action of amphotericin, an antifungal drug that has been in use for more than 50 years – even though it is nearly as toxic to human cells as it is to the microbes it attacks.
“Invasive fungal infections are a very important unmet medical need,” says Univ. of Illinois and Howard Hughes Medical Institute chemistry professor Martin Burke, who led the study with chemistry professor Chad Rienstra. “There are about three million cases per year and what’s striking is that, even in 2014, half the patients who come into the hospital with an invasive fungal infection in their blood die.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens and are often impractical to carry out, a new study has found. The authors of the report, which appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggest that the agency review and revise its guidelines.