Bacteria-killing viruses: an army of disease-fighters within us?

Ever wonder why we make snot? Mucus lines our respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, acting as a sticky glue that traps unwanted substances before they can get into the body. However, research from Jeremy Barr’s lab in Melbourne, Australia has shown that there might be a lot more to the story of snot. Barr and his team have found that mucus contains a far higher concentration … Continue reading Bacteria-killing viruses: an army of disease-fighters within us?

Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Developing cancer drugs is challenging. Often, scientists will find a drug that kills cancer cells in a petri dish but fails to act on an actual tumor. Ravid Straussman from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Todd Golub from Harvard Medical School think that in situ, bacteria can protect cancer cells from drugs. To test their theory, Staussman and Golub mixed some healthy skin cells with cells from a … Continue reading Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Harvard and MIT are making tattoos to monitor your health

Tattoos are often whimsical, traditional, beautiful—but can they also be medical? The Dermal Abyss project, a collaboration of researchers at Harvard and MIT, is trying to develop a tattoo that can monitor an individual’s health. They have already created “bio-ink” capable of fluorescing at different colors in response to certain variables in the body. In theory, a diabetic inked with one of these tattoos would … Continue reading Harvard and MIT are making tattoos to monitor your health

From Seed to Organ: Growing a Liver

Over 17,000 Americans are currently waiting for liver transplants, with millions more living with chronic liver disease. There simply aren’t enough healthy organs to go around. So why not engineer them? Growing a liver “from scratch” by using its constituent cells could replace the need for whole organ transplants. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology generated hydrogels containing three different types of human cells, … Continue reading From Seed to Organ: Growing a Liver

Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future

A medical team at Johns Hopkins University genetically engineered a common cold virus to deposit a gene when injected into the human eye. This gene codes for a protein that binds to VEGF, another protein whose activity in old age contributes to vision loss (a disease called AMD or wet AMD). This small clinical study’s preliminary results show that just one small dose is potent enough to improve a patient’s vision loss. Continue reading Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future

Parental weight and its impact on early childhood development

According to the CDC, 70.7% of the US population is overweight or obese (BMI>30), with 37.9% being obese. Obesity related health expenses accounted for an estimated $147 billion in healthcare spending in 2008 alone. The dire health consequences for obese individuals include higher incidence of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease to name a few on top of overall decrease in … Continue reading Parental weight and its impact on early childhood development

Transfusing old blood into young mice aged their systems

A team at UC Berkeley investigated the effects of transfusing blood from young mice into old mice and vice versa. They found that young blood only slightly improves some functions (e.g. brain cell development) in old mice, but old blood significantly decreases those functions in young mice. This points to something present in old blood that actually ages our systems, but that something is still unknown. Continue reading Transfusing old blood into young mice aged their systems