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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
February 18, 2018 · 305 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers developed a new stem-cell treatment that repairs damaged brain tissues

The research team created a treatment called AB126 using extracellular vesicles (EV), fluid-filled structures known as exosomes, which are generated from human neural stem cells. Fully able to cloak itself within the bloodstream, this type of regenerative EV therapy appears to be the most promising in overcoming the limitations of many cell therapies-with the ability for exosomes to carry and deliver multiple doses-as well as the ability to store and administer treatment. Small in size, the tiny tubular shape of an exosome allows EV therapy to cross barriers that cells cannot.

Reference: Translational Stroke Research

 

By depleting a single enzyme, Scientists have completely reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mouse

Researchers have found that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, thereby improving the animals’ cognitive function. The study raises hopes that drugs targeting this enzyme will be able to successfully treat Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

Reference: The Journal of Experimental Medicine

Physicists have created a new form of light that could enable quantum computing with photons

In controlled experiments, the researchers found that when they shone a very weak laser beam through a dense cloud of ultracold rubidium atoms, rather than exiting the cloud as single, randomly spaced photons, the photons bound together in pairs or triplets, suggesting some kind of interaction — in this case, attraction — taking place among them.

Reference: Science

Researchers developed a printing technique using cells and molecules to recreate biological structures

These structures are embedded in an ink which is similar to their native environment and opens the possibility to make them behave as they would in the body. This allows the researchers to observe how cells work within these environments and potentially enables them to study biological scenarios such as where cancer grows or how immune cells interact with other cells, which could lead to the development of new drugs.

Reference: Advanced Functional Materials

A common blood pressure drug was found to be effective at preventing the onset of type-1 diabetes

This is the first personalized treatment for type 1 diabetes prevention. The drug, methyldopa, has been used for over 50 years to treat high blood pressure in pregnant women and children. It is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs. After running thousands of drugs through the supercomputer, they found that methyldopa not only blocked DQ8, but it didn’t harm the immune function of other cells like many immunosuppressant drugs do.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Scientists have discovered a quicker and more efficient way of DNA transfer in gene therapy

Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis – these and many other fatal hereditary human diseases are genetically transmitted. Many cancers and cardiovascular diseases are also caused by genetic defects. Gene therapy is a promising possibility for the treatment of these diseases. With the help of genetically modified viruses, DNA is introduced into cells in order to repair or replace defective genes. By using this method, scientists have discovered a quicker and more efficient treatment for the cells.

Reference: Molecular Therapy

Researchers have produced a freely available computer program that predicts cancer spread

Researchers have produced a new and freely available computer program that predicts cancer cell motion and spread with high accuracy. This new system gives researchers a faster way of examining rapidly spreading glioblastoma tumors — an aggressive and devastating form of brain cancer — and a new way of predicting the likely impact different treatments might have.

Reference: BMC Systems Biology

Engineers in MIT have created a new device that pulls energy out of thin air

Thermoelectric devices, which can generate power when one side of the device is a different temperature from the other, have been the subject of much research in recent years. Now, a team at MIT has come up with a novel way to convert temperature fluctuations into electrical power. Instead of requiring two different temperature inputs at the same time, the new system takes advantage of the swings in ambient temperature that occur during the day-night cycle.

Reference: Nature Communications

Specific set of nerve cells controls epileptic seizures’ spread through brain

In contrast, inactivating these cells, known to neuroscientists as mossy cells, facilitates the spread throughout the brain of the electrical hyperactivity initially localized at a seizure’s onset, causing the full-blown behavioral symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy. Inactivating this nerve-cell population also induces the same cognitive losses that characterize chronic, drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy in humans, the scientists found.

Reference: Science

Cells have evolved to transmit multiple messages through a single pathway or communication channel, new study suggests

Multicellular organisms like ourselves depend on a constant flow of information between cells, coordinating their activities in order to proliferate and differentiate. Deciphering the language of intercellular communication has long been a central challenge in biology. Now, Caltech scientists have discovered that cells have evolved a way to transmit more messages through a single pathway, or communication channel, than previously thought, by encoding the messages rhythmically over time.

Reference: Cell

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