From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank

by Layla Siraj figures by Rebecca Senft Imagine if you could tell, through some combination of your environment and your genetics, what illnesses you might develop. This could give you the ability to either prevent these illnesses before they even happen or catch and treat the illnesses early enough to prevent long-lasting effects. This reality is one step closer with the release of the UK … Continue reading From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank

Slow and Steady Drug Delivery Keeps Biomedical Devices Kicking

Researchers from MIT have developed a novel method to locally deliver drugs and prevent immune activity around implanted biomedical devices over several months. The method is based on the formation of crystals of immunosuppressive drugs, which can be included in devices and slowly dissolve over the course of months. While this method substantially increases the length of time tested devices can function, difficulty of crystallizing certain drugs or introducing them into specific devices may prove to be a challenge in adapting this method to other systems. Even so, for many cases, this method will likely substantially reduce the difficulty of maintaining device stability for extended periods of time. Continue reading Slow and Steady Drug Delivery Keeps Biomedical Devices Kicking

Genetic tools create new opportunities for decoding protein structures

Proteins are made up of linear sequences of amino acids but understanding how these amino acids fold to form a three-dimensional structure is notoriously difficult. Knowing what a protein looks like in 3D is often necessary for understanding how it functions and how it can be manipulated. For instance, understanding how proteins such as antibodies bind to viruses like the flu would enable scientists to … Continue reading Genetic tools create new opportunities for decoding protein structures

Six Ways Our Cells Can Turn Against Us

by Catherine Weiner figures by Elayne Fivenson Every cell in our bodies is constantly on the edge of danger. Our DNA, the molecular blueprints that tell our cells how to function, brought us to life. But it is also just one error away from catastrophe. Our cells are constantly fighting to preserve this fragile balance, for if they fail, they send us down a path … Continue reading Six Ways Our Cells Can Turn Against Us