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New theory uncovers cancer’s deep evolutionary roots

Authors predict that if cancer cells are saturated with oxygen but deprived of sugar, it will slow them down or even even kill them
July 16, 2013

This typical four-week-old human embryo looks similar to fish embryos, with proto-gills and a tail.(credit: University of New South Wales)

A new way to look at cancer — by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago — has been proposed by Paul Davies of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in collaboration with Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University.

If their theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to… read more

Levitation with acoustic waves

Zero-G effects on Earth
July 16, 2013

surfing_on_acustic_waves

ETH researchers can make objects such as particles and liquid droplets fly in mid-air by letting them ride on acoustic waves.  They can also control their movement and merge droplets, which can react chemically or biologically. They can even rotate a toothpick in the air.

The magic trick is based on acoustic waves, reveals Daniele Foresti, former doctoral student now a postdoctoral researcher… read more

AI software smart as a 4-year-old

July 16, 2013

682px-Child_drawing

Artificial and natural knowledge researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have IQ-tested one of the best available artificial intelligence systems to see how intelligent it really is.

About as smart as the average 4-year-old, they will report July 17 at the U.S. Artificial Intelligence Conference in Bellevue, Wash.

The UIC team put ConceptNet 4, AI software developed at… read more

Boldly illuminating biology’s ‘dark matter’

July 16, 2013

phylogenetic_inference

“Microbial dark matter” is the pervasive yet practically invisible infrastructure of life on the planet, which can have profound influences on the most significant environmental processes: from plant growth and health, to nutrient cycles in terrestrial and marine environments, the global carbon cycle, and possibly even climate processes.

By employing next-generation DNA sequencing of genomes isolated from single cells, great strides are being made in… read more

Novel quantum dot-based technique sees 100 different molecules in a single cell

Better diagnosis and treatment of cancer could hinge on the ability to rapidly map out networks of dozens of molecules in individual tumor cells
July 16, 2013

Antibody+QD

New research from the University of Washington offers a more comprehensive way of analyzing a single cell’s unique behavior and could reveal patterns that indicate why a cell will or will not become malignant.

Xiaohu Gua and graduate student Pavel Zrazhevskiy have used an array of distinctly colored quantum dots to illuminate 100 biomarkers, a ten-fold increase from the current research standard, to help analyze individual cells… read more

Is this Elon Musk’s secret design for a high-speed train?

July 16, 2013

Hyperloop2

Elon Musk has been hinting at an idea he calls the Hyperloop — a ground-based transportation technology that would get people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under half an hour, for less than 1/10 the cost of California’s $69 billion plan.

On Monday, Musk tweeted that he will publish an “alpha design” for the Hyperloop by Aug. 12. As Slateread more

Imaging individual atoms in a live catalytic reaction

July 15, 2013

estem_atoms

Researchers have observed and analyzed single atoms, small clusters, and nanoparticles in dynamic in-situ experiments for the first time, thanks to groundbreaking new electron microscopy technology developed at the University of York.

The research could open new opportunities for observing and understanding the role of atoms in reactions in many areas of the physical sciences. It also has important implications for new medicines and new… read more

Engineering longer lifespan for joint replacements

July 15, 2013

mxl_bones

Researchers at the University of Southampton have completed a project that will enable surgeons to fit joint replacements with longer, optimized lifespans.

The MXL project uses computational modelling to define the mechanics of an artificial joint — a complex interaction of individual anatomy, prosthesis design, sizing and placement — to ensure successful surgery and longer lifespans of the prosthetic joints.

“We developed… read more

Silicon oxide chip design could replace flash memory

July 15, 2013

Rice University has built crossbar memory chips based on silicon oxide that show potential for next-generation 3-D memories for computers and consumer devices. (credit: Tour Group/Rice University)

Rice University team led by chemist James Tour has built a 1-kilobit rewritable silicon oxide chip that could surpass the limitations of flash memory in packing density, energy consumption per bit, and switching speed.

Normal operating voltages can repeatedly break and “heal” the channel, which can be read as either a “1” or “0” depending on whether it is broken or intact.… read more

Crowdsourcing speeds medical research

July 15, 2013

A crowdsourced study located more than 1,400  automated external defibrillators in Philadelphia (credit: University of Pennsylvania)

“Human computing power” harnessed from ordinary citizens across the world has the potential to accelerate the pace of health care research of all kinds, a team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found.

In fact, crowdsourcing — a research method that allows investigators to engage thousands of people to provide either data or data analysis — could even improve… read more

How to kill cancer cells by starving them

July 15, 2013

eEF2 starves

University of Southampton researchers have discovered a novel way of killing cancer cells by leaves healthy cells undamaged, unlike traditional therapies such as radiotherapy.

Chris Proud, Professor of Cellular Regulation in Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton says: “Cancer cells grow and divide much more rapidly than normal cells, meaning they have a much higher demand for and are often starved of, nutrients and… read more

Building 3D heart tissue with a programmable chip-making device

July 15, 2013

tissue.scaffoldingx392

By adapting a programmable device used to manufacture integrated circuits, Draper Laboratory researchers have devised a semi-automated process to build three-dimensional heart tissue, MIT Technology Review reports.

Tissue is grown in the lab by “seeding” scaffolds — usually composed of a porous elastic or gelatinous material — with cells meant to develop into specific tissues.

But highly ordered cellular architectures, which are essential for complicated organs like… read more

Researchers regenerate retina in mice using neuronal reprogramming

July 12, 2013

retinal_tissue

Researchers from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have discovered a pathway that triggers the reprogramming and regeneration of retinal neurons in the eye.

The work, published on July 11 in the journal Cell Reports (open access), also describes a new mechanism for regenerating neural tissue.

The researcher Pia Cosma and her team used a cell fusion mechanism to reprogram the neurons in… read more

Mammals can ‘choose’ sex of offspring, study finds

July 12, 2013

Dingo_cubs

A new study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that mammalian species can “choose” the sex of their offspring to beat the odds and produce extra grandchildren.

In analyzing 90 years of breeding records from the San Diego Zoo, the researchers were able to prove for the first time a fundamental theory of evolutionary biology: that mammals rely on some unknown… read more

How to engineer a better synthetic tendon replacement

July 12, 2013

An innovative design for a scaffold for an artificial tendon. When stretched it pulls tight, like a Chinese finger trap. (Credit: Justin Brown/Pennsylvania State University)

An innovative scaffold design by Penn State bioengineers may help grow a new tendon that’s as good as the old one.

As sports injuries go, a torn tendon ranks right up there: searing pain, followed by a protracted period of healing that often lasts for months. If the rupture is severe there’s surgery involved, and because of the heavy stresses tendons must endure, a simple… read more

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