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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Aug 29, 2014

Open Source SynBio?

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, genetics, open source, posthumanism, transhumanism
If the controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) tells us something indisputable, it is this: GMO food products from corporations like Monsanto are suspected to endanger health. On the other hand, an individual’s right to genetically modify and even synthesize entire organisms as part of his dietary or medical regimen could someday be a human right.
The suspicion that agri-giant companies do harm by designing crops is legitimate, even if evidence of harmful GMOs is scant to absent. Based on their own priorities and actions, we should have no doubt that self-interested corporations disregard the rights and wellbeing of local producers and consumers. This makes agri-giants producing GMOs harmful and untrustworthy, regardless of whether individual GMO products are actually harmful.

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Aug 23, 2014

The Promise Of A Cancer Drug Developed By Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Ariel Schwartz — Fast Company


BPM 31510 is just another cancer drug in human development trials, except for one thing. Scientists didn’t toil away in labs to come up with it; artificial intelligence did.

The cancer drug development process is costly and time-consuming. On average, it takes 24 to 48 months and upwards of $100 million to find a suitable candidate. Add that to the fact that 95% of all potential drugs fail in clinical trials, and the inefficiencies of the whole drug-discovery machine really become apparent.

Backed by real estate billionaire Carl Berg, eponymous biotech startup Berg wants to use artificial intelligence to design cancer drugs that are cheaper, have fewer side effects, and can be developed in half the time it normally takes. BPM 31510 is the first of Berg’s drugs to get a real-world test.

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Aug 2, 2014

What Else Could Smart Contact Lenses Do?

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, bionic, biotech/medical, cyborg

By Suzanne Jacobs — MIT Technology Review

Last week Google and Novartis announced that they’re teaming up to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels and automatically adjust their focus. But these could be just the start of a clever new product category. From cancer detection and drug delivery to reality augmentation and night vision, our eyes offer unique opportunities for both health monitoring and enhancement.

“Now is the time to put a little computer and a lot of miniaturized technologies in the contact lens,” says Franck Leveiller, head of research and development in the Novartis eye care division.

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Aug 2, 2014

Promising Early Results on Universal Blood Test for Cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Written By: — Singularity Hub
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Absent an outright cure, it’s thought that early diagnosis of terminal diseases like cancer make treatment more effective and raise the probability of survival. But diagnosis is not always straightforward and often requires costly and invasive tests.

Simple, cheap, and accurate tests looking for the markers of disease may help.

One such method may be a blood test for cancer from University of Bradford researchers. The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test observes how DNA in lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) is damaged under varying intensities of ultraviolet (UV) light.

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Jul 23, 2014

Debate featuring Anders Sandberg on the future of human cloning

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Anders Sandberg, a member of the advisory board for the Lifeboat Foundation, recently took part in a panel debate on the future of human cloning produced by the Institute of Art and Ideas.

14-07-10.Planet-of-the-Clones

Debate blurb:

Human cloning is anathema to most of us conjuring up Metropolis visions of identical humans serving tyrannical masters. But might this be a mistaken horror story? Could human cloning instead lead to medical breakthroughs and the end to infertility?

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Jul 22, 2014

Tiny 3D-Printed Bio-Bots Are Propelled by Muscle Cells

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Written By: — Singularity Hub
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Robots come in all shapes and sizes—some are mechanical, and some aren’t. Last year, a team of scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made a seven-millimeter-long 3D printed robot powered by the heart cells of a rat.

The device, made of 3D printed hydrogel—a water-based, biologically compatible gel—had two feet, one bigger than the other. The smaller, longer foot was coated in heart cells. Each time the cells contracted, the robot would crawl forward a few millimeters.

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Jul 19, 2014

Woman Grows A Nose On Her Spine After Stem Cell Experiment

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

BySarah Fecht– Popular Science
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Eight years ago, doctors took nasal tissue samples and grafted them onto the spines of 20 quadriplegics. The idea was that stem cells within the nasal tissue might turn into neurons that could help repair the damaged spinal cord, and the experiment actually worked a few of the patients, who regained a little bit of sensation. But it didn’t go well for one woman in particular, who not only didn’t experience any abatement in her paralysis, but recently started feeling pain at the site of the implant. When doctors took a closer look, they realized she was growing the beginnings of a nose on her spine, New Scientist reports.

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Jul 5, 2014

Delivering Capsules of Stem Cells Helps Repair Injured Bones

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Written By: — Singularity Hub
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For the recorder of potentially breakthrough medical technology, sometimes it seems that the list is just so many applications of three new technologies: smaller electronics, new materials and stem cells. Any electronic device set up to function inside the body relies on smaller, flexible parts and new biocompatible casings, for example. Stem cells, properly manipulated, seem capable of mending nearly everything that ails us.

But the details of how best to cultivate certain kinds of cells and spur them to function in the body are still being worked out. According to University of Rochester researchers, materials science may be a big help.

One trouble with stem cells is that they don’t stay put. When doctors put cardiovascular progenitor cells in the heart to heal damage from a heart attack, the cells are whisked away in the bloodstream in a matter of hours.

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Jul 4, 2014

GMOs are not the problem, per se

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, existential risks, food, genetics, health, innovation

. @hjbentham . @clubofinfo . @dissidentvoice_ .#tech .#gmo .#ethics . @ieet .

Since giving my support to the May 24 march against Monsanto, I have taken the time to review some of the more unusual opinions in the debate over genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The enthusiasts for technological development as a means of eliminating scarcity and disparity view GMOs favorably. These enthusiasts include Ramez Naam, whose book The Infinite Resource (2013) argues for human ingenuity as a sufficient force to overcome all resources shortages.
On the other end of the spectrum, alarmists like Daniel Estulin and William Engdahl argue that GMOs are actually part of a deliberate plot to burden poor nations and reduce their populations by creating illness and infertility. Such fringe figures in the alter-globalization movement regard big pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies and agri-giants as involved in a conspiracy to create a docile and dependent population. Are the opinions of either Naam or Estulin well-informed, or are they both too sensational?

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Jul 3, 2014

Bulletproof Coffee, The New Power Drink Of Silicon Valley

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

By — Fast Company
http://a.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/1280/poster/2014/07/3032635-poster-p-1-shoot-bulletproof-coffee-the-new-power-drink-of-silicon-valley.jpg
Cloud computing pioneer Dave Asprey took a trip to Tibet in 2004 to learn how to meditate. But it was the yak-butter tea he tried there that ended up transforming his life.

“I had so much more energy and I didn’t feel sick at the altitude at all. I realized: There’s something going on here. I just felt so good,” he remembers. He returned home and spent several years fiddling with ingredients, aiming for “a hot version of a Frappuccino without the milk and sugar.” He started with a base of coffee instead of tea because he’s an aficionado; he says he got his only undergraduate “A” the semester he discovered espresso. And the ban on milk and sugar was one of the many biohacks he had practiced over 15 years (and $300,000 in doctors and 3-D radioactive scans of his brain metabolism) trying to rid himself of “brain fog” and 100 pounds of extra weight.

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