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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Sep 13, 2014

Why the Ebola fire can almost not be stopped any more

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

It needs an effort dwarfing all past peace-time and war-time efforts to be launched immediately, which prospect appears almost infinitely unlikely to be met in time.

The outbreak has long surpassed the threshold of instability and can only be spatially contained any more by the formation of uninfected (A) areas as large as possible and infected areas (B) as small as still possible. Water, food, gowns and disinfectants must be provided by international teams immediately in exponentially growing numbers and for whole countries. A supportive industry must be set in motion in a planet-wide action.

Diseased_Ebola_2014

The bleak prospect that the quenching of the disease is close to a point of no return stems from chaos theory which is essentially a theory of exponential growth (of differences in the initial conditions). “Exponential growth” means that a level that has been reached – in terms of the number of infected persons in the present case – will double after a constant number of time units for a long time to come. Here, we have an empirical doubling every 3 weeks for 5 months in a row by now with no abating in sight. See the precise graphs at the end of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_epidemic_in_West_Africa

Sep 13, 2014

Neuromodulation 2.0: New Developments in Brain Implants, Super Soldiers and the Treatment of Chronic Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, defense, transhumanism

Written By: — Sigularity Hub

neuro-modulation

Brain implants here we come.

DARPA just announced the ElectRX program, a $78.9 million attempt to develop miniscule electronic devices that interface directly with the nervous system in the hopes of curing a bunch of chronic conditions, ranging from the psychological (depression, PTSD) to the physical (Crohn’s, arthritis). Of course, the big goal here is to usher in a revolution in neuromodulation—that is, the science of modulating the nervous system to fix an underlying problem.

Continue reading “Neuromodulation 2.0: New Developments in Brain Implants, Super Soldiers and the Treatment of Chronic Disease” »


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
white-blood-cells-cancer-blood-test 1
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?

Continue reading “Debate featuring Anders Sandberg on the future of human cloning” »


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
muscle-powered-3d-printed-bio-bots 1
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
http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/images/346.jpg
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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