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Injectable chip destroys cancer cells

October 22, 2004

Singaporean doctors have used an injectable radioactive “BrachySil” chip to destroy malignant cells and prolong the lives of inoperable liver cancer patients.

NASA researchers investigate way-out ideas

October 22, 2004

Research fellows at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) are developing “crazy ideas” for the future, such as skin-tight spray-on spacesuits for a trip to Mars … static-electricity fields that would protect future lunar bases from space radiation … even a lunar lab that could develop microbes for terraforming Mars.

Rising interest in the space elevator concept is one of NIAC’s success stories.

TI Puts Digital TV on Cell Phones

October 22, 2004

Texas Instruments Inc. today announced development of the wireless industry’s first digital TV on a single chip for cell phones.

The chip will receive live digital TV broadcasts at 24 to 30 frames per second. Manufacturers are expected to launch products in conjunction with a new mobile digital TV infrastructure, with mass deployments in 2007.

All Bio Systems Are Go

October 22, 2004

Systems biologists are pushing the envelope of preventive medicine through research centered on the interactions of the thousands of pieces of DNA, RNA and proteins that network together in each cell of our body.

According to its proponents, systems biology will revolutionize medicine, transforming it from something that is mainly reactive into something that is predictive and will eventually prevent diseases getting hold in the first place.

The… read more

Biologists come close to cloning primates

October 22, 2004

US biologists have created cloned monkey embryos, and successfully transferred them into monkey mothers. Although none of the resulting pregnancies lasted more than a month, this is by far the closest scientists have come to cloning a primate.

If researchers are able to repeat this process in monkeys, it might help them to refine the tricky technique without experimenting on human eggs and embryos, which are very difficult to… read more

Experts fear escape of 1918 flu from lab

October 22, 2004

The 1918 flu virus spread across the world in three months and killed at least 40 million people. If it escaped from a lab today, the death toll could be far higher because people born after 1918 have little or no immunity.

Yet despite the danger, researchers in the US are working with reconstructed versions of the virus at less than the maximum level of containment.

Swiss team grow synthetic bone replacement

October 21, 2004

Swiss medical researchers say they have achieved encouraging results with a pioneering polymer-ceramic material that could replace missing or damaged bones and allow the original bone tissue to grow back in its place.

Neurosurgeons looking at stem cells from skin to fight brain tumors

October 21, 2004

A team of neurosurgeons and scientists from Italy is looking into whether stem cells derived from a brain tumor patient’s own skin can be used to fight the tumors, which has been attempted successfully in mice.

The researchers successfully grew stem cells from skin samples of adult patients with brain tumors.

Congress of Neurological Surgeons news release

Mice do fine without ‘junk DNA’

October 21, 2004

Mice born without large portions of their “junk DNA” seem to survive normally. The result contradicts the beliefs of many scientists who have sought to uncover the function of these parts of the genome.

David Haussler of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who has investigated why genetic regions are conserved, believes that non-coding regions may have an effect too subtle to be picked up in the tests to… read more

When Robots Rule the World

October 21, 2004

The use of robots around the home to mow lawns, vacuum floors and manage other chores will increase sevenfold by 2007 as more consumers snap up smart machines, the United Nations said.

By the end of 2007, some 4.1 million domestic robots will likely be in use, the study said.

There are now some 21,000 “service robots” in use, carrying out tasks such as milking cows, handling toxic… read more

Spinning Earth twists space

October 21, 2004

“Frame-dragging,” one of the last untested predictions of general relativity, has been confirmed by the first reasonably accurate measurement of how the rotating Earth warps the fabric of space.

Researchers charted the path of two NASA satellites over 11 years with laser range-finders with the precision of a few millimeters. The effect dragged the satellite’s orbits out of position by about 2 meters each year, the researchers report in… read more

Supercomputer sweepstakes heat up with new NEC entry

October 21, 2004

NEC has begun marketing the SX-8 vector supercomputer. It features peak processing performance of 65 teraflops, which according to NEC tops rival IBM Corp.’s latest entry, Blue Gene/L.

Recount slashes number of human genes

October 21, 2004

Humans have just 20,000 to 25,000 genes, less than previous estimates of 27,000 to 40,000, says the latest analysis of the human genome.

The latest gene count reveals that researchers overestimated the number of genes lurking in heavily-duplicated regions of the human genome, which are extremely tricky to sequence because they are repeated DNA sequences.

A separate study has found detailed flaws in Venter’s “shotgun” sequencing, the more… read more

Biochip spots single viruses

October 21, 2004

Environmental sensors and handheld devices that quickly and easily detect and identify individual viruses would provide early warning of infections in individuals, the spread of disease in populations, and biological weapons attacks.

Harvard University researchers led by Charles Lieber, a professor of chemistry, have built a detector from nanowire transistors that can identify individual virus particles in real time in unpurified samples. The prototype uses antibody proteins attached to… read more

From a Physicist and New Nobel Winner, Some Food for Thought

October 20, 2004

Nobel Prize winner Dr. David Gross has listed the most enticing items that physics had learned enough to be ignorant about in 25 different areas.

Physicists are injecting themselves into the search for the origin of consciousness and other life science issues; not content to muse about building quantum computers, they are thinking of training computers themselves to be physicists.

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