Health News

Pluripotency: ‘Butterfly effect’ discovered: Single change at telomeres controls the ability of cells to generate a complete organism

Pluripotent cells can give rise to all cells of the body, a power that researchers are eager to control because it opens the door to regenerative medicine and organ culture for transplants. But pluripotency is still a black box for science, controlled by unknown genetic (expression of genes) and epigenetic signals (biochemical marks that control […]

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New gene editor harnesses jumping genes for precise DNA integration

A new discovery by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons could fix one of the major shortcomings of current gene-editing tools, including CRISPR, and offer a powerful new approach for genetic engineering and gene therapy. Their new technology, called INTEGRATE, harnesses bacterial jumping genes to reliably insert any DNA sequence into […]

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New biologically derived metal-organic framework mimics DNA

The field of materials science has become abuzz with “metal-organic frameworks” (MOFs), versatile compounds made up of metal ions connected to organic ligands, thus forming one-, two-, or three-dimensional structures. There is now an ever-growing list of applications for MOF, including separating petrochemicals, detoxing water from heavy metals and fluoride anions, and recovering hydrogen or […]

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A better way to measure cell survival: New test rapidly evaluates the effect of drugs and potentially toxic compounds on cells

Measuring the toxic effects of chemical compounds on different types of cells is critical for developing cancer drugs, which must be able to kill their target cells. Analyzing cell survival is also an important task in fields such as environmental regulation, to test industrial and agricultural chemicals for possible harmful effects on healthy cells. MIT […]

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Measuring stress around cells: Findings offer clues as to how cells act collectively to shape tissues and organs

Tissues and organs in the human body are shaped through forces generated by cells, that push and pull, to “sculpt” biological structures. Thanks to a new tool developed at McGill University, scientists will now be able to watch, and map these forces. Christopher Moraes, an assistant professor in McGill’s Department of Chemical Engineering, and colleagues […]

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Reclassification recommendations for drug in ‘magic mushrooms’: If phase III clinical trials are successful, researchers suggest categorizing the drug as schedule IV

In an evaluation of the safety and abuse research on the drug in hallucinogenic mushrooms, Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that if it clears phase III clinical trials, psilocybin should be re-categorized from a schedule I drug — one with no known medical potential — to a schedule IV drug such as prescription sleep aids, but […]

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New insights into DNA phase separation

“Each human cell contains approximately 2 meters of DNA, yet that are too small to be visible to the unaided eye. Amazingly, all of that DNA is tightly packaged into a teeny little nucleus. There, we were able to observe the most basic separation principle of oil and water phases.” A new study by Professor […]

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Farewell flat biology: Tackling infectious disease using 3-D tissue engineering

In a new invited review article, ASU Biodesign microbiologists and tissue engineers Cheryl Nickerson, Jennifer Barrila and colleagues discuss the development and application of three-dimensional (3-D) tissue culture models as they pertain to infectious disease. They describe these models as predictive pre-clinical platforms to study host-pathogen interactions, infectious disease mechanisms, and antimicrobial drug development. The […]