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Reengineered immune system cells could help fight HIV

Reengineered immune system cells could help fight HIV
Improving on a previous attempt, scientists have developed a new strategy that could potentially be used to reengineer a patient's own immune system cells to fight HIV. The approach, described in PLOS Pathogens, shows benefit in human cell cultures and in mice. White blood cells known as T cells play an important role in the immune system's response to HIV infection, especially if a patient stops taking antiretroviral medications that normally keep the disease under control.
16th October 2017

Glowing tech helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

Glowing tech helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells
  Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumour cells glow during surgery - with preoperative positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
28th July 2017

Engineers make nanoscale 'muscles' powered by DNA

Engineers make nanoscale 'muscles' powered by DNA
The base pairs found in DNA are key to its ability to store protein-coding information, but they also give the molecule useful structural properties. Getting two complementary strands of DNA to zip up into a double helix can serve as the basis of intricate physical mechanisms that can push and pull molecular-scale devices. Engineers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed nanoscale "muscles" that work on this principle.
18th November 2016


Software helps to identify course of cancer metastasis

Software helps to identify course of cancer metastasis
Individual cells within a tumor are not all the same. This may sound like a modern medical truism, but it wasn't very long ago that oncologists assumed that taking a single biopsy from a patient's tumor would be an accurate reflection of the physiological and genetic make-up of the entire mass. Researchers have come to realise that cancer is a disease driven by the same "survival of the fitter" forces that Darwin proposed drove the evolution of life on Earth.
14th September 2016

Designing drug-delivery nanocarriers

Designing drug-delivery nanocarriers
A team of University of Pennsylvania researchers has developed a computer model that will aid in the design of nanocarriers, microscopic structures used to guide drugs to their targets in the body. The model better accounts for how the surfaces of different types of cells undulate due to thermal fluctuations, informing features of the nanocarriers that will help them stick to cells long enough to deliver their payloads.
5th August 2016

Placenta-on-a-chip models the transport of nutrients

Placenta-on-a-chip models the transport of nutrients
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed the first placenta-on-a-chip that can fully model the transport of nutrients across the placental barrier. The flash-drive-sized device contains two layers of human cells that model the interface between mother and fetus. Microfluidic channels on either side of those layers allow researchers to study how molecules are transported through, or are blocked by, that interface.
22nd July 2016


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