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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
February 25, 2018 · 285 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers have discovered a way to target migrating or circulating cancer cells

Until now, paclitaxel has only been used to target rapidly dividing cancer cells. The team was successful in getting the drug to piggyback on 123B9, an agent they devised to target an oncogene called EphA2 (ephrin type-A receptor 2). EphA2 spreads cancer by allowing malignant cells to migrate from the primary tumor into circulation and eventually to adhere to other tissues.

Reference: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

 

Study in mice suggests personalised stem cell treatment may offer relief for multiple sclerosis

The study, led by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is a step towards developing personalised treatment based on a patient’s own skin cells for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks and damages myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibres, causing disruption to messages sent around the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms are unpredictable and include problems with mobility and balance, pain, and severe fatigue.

Reference: Cell Stem Cell

A new discovery may result in new medication to build stronger muscles in old age

It has already been established that natural aging impairs the function of our skeletal muscles. We also know that the number and the activity of the muscles’ stem cells decline with age. However, the reasons for this has not been fully understood. In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have investigated the number of mutations that accumulate in the muscle’s stem cells (satellite cells).

Reference: Nature Communications

Researchers for the first time have rescued Fragile X syndrome using gene editing

Fragile X syndrome is the most frequent cause of intellectual disability in males, affecting 1 out of 3600 boys born. For the first time, researchers have restored activity to the fragile X syndrome gene in affected neurons using a modified CRISPR/Cas9 system that removes the methylation — the molecular tags that keep the mutant gene shut off — suggesting that this method may be useful for targeting diseases caused by abnormal methylation.

Reference: Cell

Researchers have developed an artificial eye that correct astigmatism and image shift

Inspired by the human eye, researchers have developed an adaptive metalens that is essentially a flat, electronically controlled artificial eye. The adaptive metalens simultaneously controls for three of the major contributors to blurry images: focus, astigmatism, and image shift.

Reference: Optics Express

Scientists have demonstrated that new neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning

Scientists have demonstrated that the new neurons produced in adults react preferentially to reward-related sensory stimuli and help speed up the association between sensory information and reward. Adult-born neurons, therefore, play an important role in both the identification of a sensory stimulus and the positive value associated with that sensory experience. The neurons generated shortly after birth are unable to perform this function.

Reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Research consortium develops first 3D computer model of metabolic processes

To this end, the researchers integrated the three-dimensional structures of over 4,000 metabolic products, or metabolites as they are known, and nearly 13,000 proteins into an existing computer model. They also added an enormous volume of genetic and chemical information to the model on which the simulation runs. The name of this new computer-based tool, which has been made available to the biomedical research community recently, is Recon3D.

Reference: Nature Biotechnology

Researchers adapt HIV test in developing rapid diagnostic test for Zika virus

Researchers are developing a novel test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current commercial tests.Identifying pathogens early is critical for combatting the spread of infectious diseases. Testing often involves two separate steps: one to detect a pathogen’s nucleic acids (RNA or DNA) and another to test for antibodies, the proteins the body produces in response to pathogens.

Reference: PLOS ONE

Aggressive cancer stem cells can now be isolated successfully in a scientific breakthrough

There is a small population of cancer cells that is much more aggressive than others — cancer stem cells. These give rise to secondary tumors, even after the primary tumor has been successfully treated. The cells are notoriously difficult to find, let alone eradicate. Scientists used a two-step process to sort through a library of 40,000 chemical compounds, looking for any that would selectively bind to breast cancer stem cells, isolating them from standard breast cancer cells.

Reference: Chemistry – A European Journal

Artificial intelligence quickly and accurately diagnoses eye diseases and pneumonia

Artificial intelligence (AI) has huge potential to revolutionize disease diagnosis and management by doing analyses and classifications involving immense amounts of data that are difficult for human experts — and doing them rapidly. Current computational approaches are laborious and expensive, and require using millions of images to train an AI system. Scientists used an AI-based convolutional neural network to review more than 200,000 eye scans conducted with optical coherence tomography, a noninvasive technology that bounces light off the retina to create two- and three-dimensional representations of tissue.

Reference: Cell

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