Promising results for a treatment for blindness

Progressive blindness has been reversed in two patients with age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in people over 50. AMD damages the central portion of the retina, called the macula, which decreases vision over time, and can lead to blind spot formation. Phase 1 clinical trial results highlighting the effectiveness of a stem cell-based therapy were published … Continue reading Promising results for a treatment for blindness

Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human

For as long as humans have conceived of making hybrid organisms, an ethical debate has been waged over whether or not we should. The pros and cons are vast and poignant. Each new scientific advancement towards making hybrids stokes the fire of controversy. This year, researchers presented work at a conference detailing the most recent hybrid: a sheep-human chimera. To create these chimeras, scientists used … Continue reading Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human

Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?

Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly brain cancers because it is nearly impossible to destroy the cause of the cancer: cancerous stem cells. However, scientists are using Zika’s preference for stem cells to target and eliminate the cancerous stem cells in adults. The preliminary study shows the viability of this method, but more thorough research and a PR campaign may be necessary before Zika treatments for brain cancer can become standard protocol. Continue reading Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?

Min Ya

My name is Min Ya, or Ya Min, but I go by Minya. I was born and raised in China. Heavily influenced by my botany-enthusiast father, I have been a plant lover since I was very little. Before grad school, I finished my undergrad in China and Japan, and obtained dual Master’s Degree in Sweden and France. Although the subfields of biology varied between my … Continue reading Min Ya

Bypassing infertility: directed sex cell development in a dish

The inability to produce health sperms and eggs has hindered many people’s dream of having children. Though many other alternatives such as adoption can get around this problem, infertility is still a serious medical issue. A recently published research from a group in Japan indicated possibility of producing healthy mouse sex cells (sperm and egg) from normal mouse body cells in a dish. Sex cells were not derived … Continue reading Bypassing infertility: directed sex cell development in a dish

How we talk about science matters: A bioethicist’s view on controversial research and science policy

by Caitlin Nichols cover image by Rebecca Clements Modern advances in stem cell technology and genetic engineering are bringing the stuff of science fiction into reality, presenting remarkable promise for expanding knowledge and treating disease. However, these developments also arouse ethical concerns that must be considered when deciding if and how to implement them. One striking example of this relationship between biological advancement and bioethics … Continue reading How we talk about science matters: A bioethicist’s view on controversial research and science policy

Beyond mythology: NIH plans to lift ban on chimera research

The National Institutes of Health recently announced that it expects to lift a ban on research involving animal embryos that have been injected with human stem cells.  Embryonic stem cells are already lightning rods for controversy, but part-human “chimeras” are saddled with their own set of ethical dilemmas.  Some worry, for example, that chimeras could develop human-like brains that might afford the animal a rudimentary … Continue reading Beyond mythology: NIH plans to lift ban on chimera research