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Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Mar 3, 2024

All Roads Lead to Genome Editing

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Shondra Pruett-Miller has taken many paths in her career with her love of genome editing always as a guiding light.

Mar 3, 2024

In a First, Organoid Model Resembles All Three Sections of Embryonic Brain and Spinal Cord

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, neuroscience

The first organized stem cell culture model that resembles all three sections of the embryonic brain and spinal cord, and produces a full model of the early stages of the human central nervous system, has been developed by a team of engineers and biologists at the University of Michigan(U-M), the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).

“Models like this will open doors for fundamental research to understand early development of the human central nervous system and how it could go wrong in different disorders,” said Jianping Fu, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering at University of Michigan.

This work is published in Nature in the paper, “A Patterned Human Neural Tube Model Using Microfluidic Gradients.

Mar 3, 2024

Cancer Prevention and Control Panel

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

This CU Cancer Center Lunch and Learn from 2/21/2024 featured CU Cancer Center members Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, Stacy Fischer, MD, and Jamie L. Studts, PhD.

Mar 2, 2024

Stealthy stem cells to treat disease

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

Strategies differ, but there are some gene edits that all researchers agree must underpin any universal stem-cell-derived therapy. There is also widespread consensus that the optimal product should incorporate as few edits as possible, both to minimize the potential for unintended genetic consequences and to streamline manufacturing and regulatory approval.

Beyond that, the scientific community is divided. The complexities of the immune system have fuelled spirited debates over the exact genetic manipulations necessary to create a cell therapy that is both capable of bypassing immune defences and delivering meaningful health benefits.

“The immune system is pervasive and persistent,” says Charles Murry, a cardiovascular pathologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and chief executive of StemCardia in Seattle, one of a growing number of biotechnology companies developing gene-editing strategies to overcome immune barriers in regenerative cell treatments.

Mar 2, 2024

Brain repairs with nanorobots

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

Researchers have found that nerve cells, carried by magnetically powered nanorobots, can be guided towards specific sites in brain tissue to then establish structural and functional connections with the nerve cells of that tissue. While not yet realised in living organisms, the researchers believe their nanorobotic system could potentially be used in patients to treat nerve-related degenerative diseases and injuries.

They describe their findings in the journal Advanced Materials (“A Neurospheroid-Based Microrobot for Targeted Neural Connections in a Hippocampal Slice”).

In the study, a magnetic neurospheroid (Mag-Neurobot), which is made up of magnetic nanorobots carrying live nerve cells (neurons), was introduced into a slice of brain tissue and then magnetically guided to a precise location within that tissue using an external magnetic field.

Mar 2, 2024

Ableism Puts Neurodivergent Students at a Disadvantage

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Physics has a diversity problem: those with identities outside of the majority “able-bodied, white, cis, and male” face significant barriers to entry. While efforts in the US to level the playing field are beginning to show success, studies continue to find that minority physicists will likely experience some form of bigotry, bias, or barrier during their career that will hamper their chances of success. These inequities and biases range from skewed course structures that favor specific learning styles (see Research News: Restructuring Classes Can Level the Playing Field) to systemic prejudices that hinder some groups from gaining grants (see News Feature: Systemic Racism Reflected in Grant Allocations, Researchers Argue) to unconscious biases that lead to the significant undercitation of minority physicists compared to their white, male counterparts (see News Feature: The Uneven Spread of Citations). All these factors can have serious career consequences, with negative experiences being a key factor driving people to leave the field.

One lesser-studied aspect of identity and how it impacts a person’s experience in physics is neurodivergence—a nonmedical umbrella term used to describe people whose brains process information in way that is different to what is considered normal. Now Geraldine Cochran of Ohio State University and Liam McDermott and Nazeer Mosley, both of Rutgers University, New Jersey, have developed a framework for interpreting the experiences of this group of people [1]. An initial analysis of interviews with three neurodivergent physicists shows that, while this group reports little outright discrimination or violence, structural ableism negatively impacted their time as students. “There are more neurodivergent people entering college than ever before,” McDermott says. “But their needs regularly get overlooked.”

A person who identifies as neurodivergent may have a neurological disorder, such as autism or Tourette’s syndrome; they may have a learning disability, such as dyslexia (which affects language processing) or dyscalculia (which affects number processing); or they could have a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. For their study, Cochran, McDermott, and Mosley interviewed three physicists who identified as being neurodivergent and who pursued nonacademic careers after completing their undergraduate degrees. All three identified as having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. Sky (the interviewees were all given pseudonyms) also has depression, Catalina has depression and dyslexia, and Henry has epilepsy. The interviews covered the trio’s undergraduate experiences. Cochran, McDermott, and Mosley then analyzed the trio’s answers using their newly developed “Critical Disability Physics Identity” framework.

Mar 2, 2024

Neurosurgeon gets virtual avatar for brain surgery training

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, neuroscience, virtual reality

MIT and an AR/VR startup join forces to pioneer a new era in medical training. Dive into the future as a virtual avatar of a top neurosurgeon mentors learners globally.

Mar 2, 2024

Brain stimulation poised to move from last resort to frontline treatment

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

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Even so, proponents say that TMS and other noninvasive brain-stimulation methods—which include updated forms of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial direct-current stimulation—have yet to achieve their full potential, both as research tools and as clinical treatments for a range of neurological conditions. To get there, researchers want to fully understand the biological mechanisms behind these techniques, along with finding more rigorous ways to test them in the lab, all with a view toward making treatments more tailored and reliably successful. With its demonstrated benefits and lack of serious side effects, Colleen Loo, a neurostimulation pioneer at the University of New South Wales, says, “there’s no reason TMS can’t be used as a frontline treatment” for major depression.

Mar 2, 2024

Meet Mark. He’s one of the few people in the world with a brain-computer interface

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, neuroscience

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta watches a brain-computer interface in action and explores the technology that is allowing humans to control computers using only the neural activity in their brains.

Mar 2, 2024

Woman Takes Grey Market Ozempic, Lands in Hospital

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, law

While trying to slim down a bit for her wedding day, one woman decided to take gray market semaglutide — and it landed her in the emergency room.

That woman, whom Healthline refers to as Amy Jenson to protect her privacy in its report, learned she was nearing prediabetic levels of the hemoglobin A1C at a visit to her naturopathic doctor. The naturopath suggested Jenson try semaglutide, the active ingredient in the Ozempic and Wegovy injectables, to help reach her goal weight and head off full-blown diabetes.

She purchased some semaglutide with B12 shots, which are often sold together in injectable forms from online and in-person pharmacies that operate in a legal grey area, from a compounding facility. She was initially prescribed a low dose that increased by small increments each month.

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