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A DNA repair map of the entire human genome

Could lead to better or improved cancer drugs and to repair methods for radiation damage to DNA
May 4, 2015

Researchers in the lab of Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD, created this map of DNA repair for every human chromosome. (Credit: UNC)

A new experimental assay can help scientists find the precise locations of repair of DNA damage caused by radiation and common chemotherapies. The invention could lead to better cancer drugs or improvements in the potency of existing ones, and also to repair methods for radiation damage to DNA.

When the common chemotherapy drugs cisplatin or oxaliplatin hit cancer cells, they damage DNA so that the cells can’t replicate. But… read more

A DNA Success Raises Bioterror Concern

January 12, 2005

Researchers have made an unexpectedly sudden advance in synthesizing long molecules of DNA, creating concern the technique might be used to create the smallpox virus.

“This has the potential for a revolutionary impact in the ease of synthesis of large DNA molecules,” said Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University.

“This will permit efficient and rapid synthesis of any select agent virus genome in very short… read more

A DNA-based nanosensor that detects cancer by its pH

May 13, 2014


Bioengineers at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata and the University of Montreal have used DNA to develop a tool that detects and reacts to chemical changes caused by cancer cells. It may one day be used to deliver drugs to tumor cells.

The researchers’ nanosensor measures pH variations at the nanoscale, indicating how acidic (a lower pH level) or alkaline (a higher pH level).… read more

A doctor in your pocket

January 16, 2012

Most of the conditions that kill us, including cancer and heart disease, could be prevented or delayed by a new way of looking at and treating health: personalized medicine using tiny health monitors and tailored therapies, leading to the end of illness.

A Doll That Can Recognize Voices, Identify Objects and Show Emotion

August 26, 2005

Using an advanced speech-recognition/voice response chip, an electronic memory, and facial motors, Amazing Amanda, scheduled for release next month by Playmates Toys, will “listen, speak and show emotion,” with responses customized to the individual child.

A Dose Of Genius

June 12, 2006

The use of “smart pills” that increase concentration, focus, wakefulness and short-term memory is soaring.

A Dream Interpretation: Tuneups for the Brain

November 11, 2009

Dr. J. Allan Hobson, a psychiatrist and sleep researcher at Harvard, argues that dreaming is a parallel state of consciousness that is continually running but normally suppressed during waking. This is supported by research on lucid dreaming, which has been found to have elements of both rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and of waking.

Hobson argues that the main function of REM, when most dreaming occurs, is physiological: the brain is… read more

A drug that can help wipe out reservoirs of cancer cells in bone marrow

February 19, 2014


Cancer drugs that recruit antibodies from the body’s own immune system to help kill tumors have shown much promise in treating several types of cancer. But the tumors often return.

A new study from MIT reveals a way to combat these recurrent tumors with a drug that makes them more vulnerable to the antibody treatment. This drug, known as cyclophosphamide, is already approved by the… read more

A drug that improves endurance

July 17, 2013

Electron microscopy analysis of muscle from Nr1d1−/− mice (with lower Rev-erbα) and WT (wild type, or normal) mice. Black arrows: swollen, less dense mitochondria; white arrowheads, normal mitochondria. Scale bar, 1 μm.  (Credit: Estelle Woldt et al./Nature Medicine)

A drug candidate designed by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) significantly increases exercise endurance in animal models, an international group of scientists has shown.

These findings could lead to new approaches to helping people with conditions that acutely limit exercise tolerance, such as obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and congestive heart failure, as well as the decline of… read more

A drug-delivery technique to bypass the blood-brain barrier

Could benefit a large population of patients with neurodegenerative disorders
October 26, 2015


Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and Boston University have developed a new technique to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier and have successfully tested it in a Parkinson’s mouse model (a line of mice that has been genetically modified to express the symptoms and pathological features of Parkinson’s to various extents).

Their findings, published in the journal Neurosurgery, lend hope to patients with… read more

A Drug-Dispensing Lens

May 22, 2009

Eyenovations has developed contact lenses that can deliver drugs to the eye for a month or more, using a hydrogel lens with a polymer film inside that contains the medication.

Uses include delivery of medicine without relying on frequent eyedrops for patients with glaucoma and for delivering antibiotics following eye surgery.

A durable, low-cost water splitter made of silicon and nickel

New fuel cells can more efficiently generate electricity when the sun isn't shining or demand is high
November 18, 2013

his image shows two electrodes connected via an external voltage source splitting water into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2). The illuminated silicon electrode (left) uses light energy to assist in the water-splitting process and is protected from the surrounding electrolyte by a 2-nm film of nickel. (Illustration: Guosong Hong, Stanford University)

Stanford researchers have developed an inexpensive, corrosion-free device that uses light to split water into oxygen and clean-burning hydrogen.

The goal is to supplement solar cells with hydrogen-powered fuel cells that can generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining or demand is high.

The novel device — a silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel — could help pave the way for large-scale production of… read more

A Face-Finding Search Engine

September 18, 2008

Carnegie Mellon University researchers are developing software that could identify a person’s face in a low-resolution video and could be used to identify criminals or missing persons, or could be integrated into next-generation video search engines.

A Fast and Simple Cocaine Detector

March 13, 2006

UCSB researchers have created sensors using specific DNA sequences, combined with off-the-shelf components, that can detect cocaine in the blood and other substances.

The sensor consists of a gold electrode covered in specific strands of DNA. When the target molecule, in this case cocaine, binds to the DNA, it changes conformation. That change increases current flow through the electrode, creating a measurable electronic signal that can be read by… read more

A fast cell sorter shrinks to cell phone size

October 6, 2015

An artist's conception of an acoustic cell sorter is the cover image on the current issue of Lab on a Chip. (credit: Huang Group/Penn State)

Penn State researchers have developed a new lab-on-a-chip cell sorting device based on acoustic waves that is capable of the kind of high sorting throughput necessary to compete with commercial fluorescence activated cell sorters, described in the cover story in the current issue of the British journal Lab on a Chip.

Commercial fluorescence activated cell sorters have been highly successful in the past 40 years at rapidly and… read more

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