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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 109

Mar 12, 2016

Desktop Genetics: Now You Can Do Genetic Engineering Without Ever Entering a Lab

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

CRISPR may be revolutionary; however, it’s not nearly as easy as it’s made out to be. But thanks to this company, individuals can alter the source code of life without ever needing to enter a lab.

A new genome editing technique is allowing us to alter DNA—the source code of life—with unprecedented precision. It is known as CRISPR, and with it, we can target and change a gene from any cell of any species without interfering with any other genes. If that’s not enough, we are able to edit these genes at just a fraction of the cost of previous methods.

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Mar 11, 2016

Dramatic remissions in blood cancer in immunotherapy treatment trial

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

It won’t be long now before cancer is nothing but a terrible, terrible memory.

Never soon enough, though.

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Mar 7, 2016

Newly developed model of DNA sheds light on molecule’s flexibility

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, genetics, nanotechnology

Knowledge of how DNA folds and bends could offer new perspective on how it is handled within cells while also aiding in the design of DNA-based nano-scale devices, says a biomedical engineer at Texas A&M University whose new motion-based analysis of DNA is providing an accurate representation of the molecule’s flexibility.

The model, which is shedding new light on the physical properties of DNA, was developed by Wonmuk Hwang, associate professor in the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, and his Ph.D. student Xiaojing Teng. Hwang uses computer simulation and theoretical analysis to study biomolecules such as DNA that carry out essential functions in the human body. His latest model, which provides a motion-based analysis of DNA is detailed in the scientific journal ACS Nano. The full article can be accessed at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.5b06863.

In addition to housing the genetic information needed to build and maintain an organism, DNA has some incredibly interesting physical properties that make it ideal for the construction of nanodevices, Hwang notes. For example, the DNA encompassed within the nucleus of one human cell can extend to four feet when stretched out, but thanks to a number of folds, bends and twists, it remains in a space no bigger than one micron – a fraction of the width of a human hair. DNA also is capable of being programmed for self-assembly and disassembly, making it usable for building nano-mechanical devices.

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Mar 5, 2016

As Technology Barrels Ahead—Will Ethics Get Left in the Dust?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, drones, encryption, ethics, finance, robotics/AI, security

Interesting Question to ask.


The battle between the FBI and Apple over the unlocking of a terrorist’s iPhone will likely require Congress to create new legislation. That’s because there really aren’t any existing laws which encompass technologies such as these. The battle is between security and privacy, with Silicon Valley fighting for privacy. The debates in Congress will be ugly, uninformed, and emotional. Lawmakers won’t know which side to pick and will flip flop between what lobbyists ask and the public’s fear du jour. And because there is no consensus on what is right or wrong, any decision they make today will likely be changed tomorrow.

This is a prelude of things to come, not only with encryption technologies, but everything from artificial intelligence to drones, robotics, and synthetic biology. Technology is moving faster than our ability to understand it, and there is no consensus on what is ethical. It isn’t just the lawmakers who are not well-informed, the originators of the technologies themselves don’t understand the full ramifications of what they are creating. They may take strong positions today based on their emotions and financial interests, but as they learn more, they too will change their views.

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Mar 2, 2016

Scientists Create Functional Model of a Living and Breathing Supercomputer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, energy, supercomputing

In what appears at first to be a storyline ripped from a sci-fi thriller, a multi-national research team spread across two continents, four countries, and ten years in the making have created a model of a supercomputer that runs on the same substance that living things use as an energy source.

Humans and virtually all living things rely on Adenosine triphosphate ( ATP ) to provide the energy our cells need to perform daily functions. The biological computer created by the team led by Professor Dan Nicolau, Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at McGill, also relies on ATP for power.

The biological computer is able to process information very quickly and operates accurately using parallel networks like contemporary massive electronic super computers. In addition, the model is lot smaller in size, uses relatively less energy, and functions using proteins that are present in all living cells.

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Mar 1, 2016

Nanopatch polio vaccine success

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology

Needle-free Nanopatch technology developed at The University of Queensland has been used to successfully deliver an inactivated poliovirus vaccine.

Delivery of a polio vaccine with the Nanopatch was demonstrated by UQ’s Professor Mark Kendall and his research team at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and vaccine technology company Vaxxas.

Professor Kendall said the Nanopatch had been used to administer an inactivated Type 2 poliovirus vaccine in a rat model.

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Feb 29, 2016

Human Babies from CRISPR Pigs

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, health

New genetic technologies like CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and synthetic biology are leading us to entirely new definitions of disease. Now “patients” include people who want children who lack some of their own genes, or have additional ones that they themselves lack. Also among the new patients are people who in the past were too old to have children as well some women who get sick from pregnancy and childbirth, or even the idea of them. Technological advances on the horizon may eventually offer treatment for such conditions.

In February 2015 the British Parliament approved production of “three-parent” children by transferring the nucleus of one woman’s egg into the nucleus-less (“enucleated”) egg of a second woman to avoid the propagation of certain rare “mitochondrial” diseases, Though there were acknowledged risks of the unprecedented procedure (including the possibility of producing novel birth defects), the argument that prevailed was that some mitochondrial diseases are so devastating that it should be tried in the narrowly defined group of prospective mothers carrying defective mitochondria.

Not long afterward, news articles began to appear discussing use of the technique for an entirely different purpose. The procedure’s inventor, the Oregon Health & Science University biologist Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, was now proposing to treat infertility in older women by transferring their egg nuclei into the enucleated eggs of younger women.

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Feb 28, 2016

“Genetic Scissors” Can Completely Eliminate HIV From Cells

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

Thanks to the cocktail of drugs that make up antiretroviral therapy, HIV is no longer a death sentence. But there are downsides to antiretroviral therapy—taking the treatment for many years is expensive, increases drug resistance, and could cause adverse reactions in a patient. And, because the virus stays in reservoirs in the body, the disease can continue to progress in patients if they stop taking their medication.

Now a team of German researchers has found an enzyme that can “cut” the viral DNA out of a cell’s genetic code, which could eradicate the virus from a patient’s body altogether. The proof-of-concept study, published this week in Nature Biotechnology and reported by Ars Technica, was done in mice, but the researchers believe that their conclusions show that this DNA-snipping enzyme could be used in clinical practice. And if it can cut HIV’s genetic code out of a patient’s body, the technique could be a cure for the disease.

The researchers created the DNA-snipping enzyme called Brec1 using directed evolution, an engineering technique that mimics proteins’ natural evolution process. They programmed the enzyme to cut DNA on either side of a sequence characteristic of HIV—a difficult task since the DNA of organisms and of the virus itself mutates often. Still, the researchers identified a well-conserved sequence, then they tested how reliably the enzyme could snip out that sequence in cells taken from HIV-positive patients, in bacteria, and in mice infected with the human form of HIV. After a number of tweaks, Brec1 would cut only that sequence of DNA, patching up the cell’s genetic code once the HIV sequence was cleaved out. After 21 weeks, the cells treated with Brec1 showed no signs of HIV.

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Feb 28, 2016

Gene therapy to save the world

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, health, life extension, transhumanism

The most recent Liz talk. According to her in this vid her first test results of telomere length are next month.


Liz Parrish, the Founder and CEO of BioViva Sciences USA Inc, is best known for recently becoming the first person to be treated with gene therapy to reverse aging.

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Feb 26, 2016

Building Living, Breathing Supercomputers

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, energy, supercomputing

The substance that provides energy to all the cells in our bodies, Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), may also be able to power the next generation of supercomputers. The discovery opens doors to the creation of biological supercomputers that are about the size of a book. That is what an international team of researchers led by Prof. Nicolau, the Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at McGill, believe. They’ve published an article on the subject earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in which they describe a model of a biological computer that they have created that is able to process information very quickly and accurately using parallel networks in the same way that massive electronic super computers do.

Except that the model bio supercomputer they have created is a whole lot smaller than current supercomputers, uses much less energy, and uses proteins present in all living cells to function.

Doodling on the back of an envelope

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