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Feb 6, 2020

U.S. Trial Finds CRISPR-Edited Cells Are Safe in Cancer Patients

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

For years, scientists have hoped to use the gene-editing technology CRISPR to help treat all sorts of diseases, including cancer. Now for the first time in the U.S., researchers say they’ve shown that CRISPR-edited immune cells can be safely given to cancer patients and survive for up to nine months—a finding that may signal CRISPR’s future as part of an emerging cancer treatment known as immunotherapy.

The idea that we can boost the human immune system to help it fight off cancer isn’t new. But it’s only recently that researchers have been able to make substantial advances in the field. There are different techniques, but one that’s received lots of attention involves reprogramming our immune system’s shock troops, known as T cells, to attack cancer. T cells are drawn out from a patient’s blood, grown and modified in the lab so that they target tumor cells, and then reintroduced back into the body.

Feb 6, 2020

Cancer’s genetic secrets revealed through massive international study

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Cancer is a hugely complicated disease, and understanding how it starts and how it can be treated requires an equally enormous effort from scientists. That effort is well underway with the Pan-Cancer Project, an international collaboration dedicated to analyzing thousands of whole cancer genomes. And now, the comprehensive results are being published in 23 separate papers, revealing new details about cancer’s causes and development, and how it can be classified, diagnosed and treated.

Otherwise known as the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) Project, the collaboration involves over 1,300 scientists from 37 countries. These researchers analyzed over 2,600 whole cancer genomes of 38 different types of tumors, probing deeper than ever into how the disease alters DNA.

One of the most optimistic outlooks from the project is that while the cancer genome is incredibly complex, it’s also finite. That means that it should be technically possible to document every genetic change that cancer can possibly induce. That information can then be used to diagnose which type of tumor a patient has and personalize a treatment plan based on the unique genome of their cancer.

Feb 6, 2020

Molecular ‘switch’ reverses chronic inflammation and aging

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

Chronic inflammation, which results when old age, stress or environmental toxins keep the body’s immune system in overdrive, can contribute to a variety of devastating diseases, from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to diabetes and cancer.

Now, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified a molecular “switch” that controls the immune machinery responsible for in the body. The finding, which appears online Feb. 6 in the journal Cell Metabolism, could lead to new ways to halt or even reverse many of these age-related conditions.

“My lab is very interested in understanding the reversibility of aging,” said senior author Danica Chen, associate professor of metabolic biology, nutritional sciences and toxicology at UC Berkeley. “In the past, we showed that aged stem cells can be rejuvenated. Now, we are asking: to what extent can aging be reversed? And we are doing that by looking at physiological conditions, like inflammation and insulin resistance, that have been associated with aging-related degeneration and diseases.”

Feb 6, 2020

Polar Cap Magnetic Field Reversals During Solar Grand Minima: Could Pores Play a Role?

Posted by in category: futurism

M. Švanda1,2, A. S. Brun3, Th. Roudier4, & L. Jouve4,3 1 Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ondřejov, Czech Republic 2 Astronomical Institute, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic 3 CEA Saclay, France 4 IRAP, Université de Toulouse, France.

The properties and origin of the solar cycle are still not well understood. They are nevertheless well described by a class of dynamo models that utilize the redistribution of magnetic flux due to systematic plasma flows, such as convection, differential rotation, supergranular diffusion, and meridional flows. These so called Babcock-Leighton-type (BL) dynamos1,2 have been successful in reproducing the features of solar cycle, including the reversal of the global magnetic field occurring every 11 years, and the propagation of solar activity toward the equator as the cycle progresses. BL dynamos rest entirely on the presence of tilted bipolar magnetic fields, where sunspots usually appear. Grand minima (such as Maunder minimum 1645–1715) are an issue for this class of models, since the needed source terms vanish. There is evidence, however, that solar cycles were present even during these periods3 when almost no spots were seen.

Observers in the Maunder minimum era mostly used smaller refractors, with an estimated angular resolution of 2” at best. Taking into account the seeing, we estimated the resolving power to be around 5”. Therefore they were probably unable to see the tiny spots, i.e., pores. Moreover, there is evidence of a recent secular decrease of solar activity4 when small sunspots become more frequent whereas large spots become rarer5.

Feb 6, 2020

Avoiding Groupthink: Avoiding Sometimes-Fatal Flaws in Group Decision Making

Posted by in category: futurism

Have you ever thought about speaking up in a meeting and then decided against it because you did not want to appear unsupportive of the group’s efforts?

Or led a team in which the team members were reluctant to express their own opinions?

Continue reading “Avoiding Groupthink: Avoiding Sometimes-Fatal Flaws in Group Decision Making” »

Feb 6, 2020

Christina Koch Lands After Record-Breaking 328 Days In Space, Making All Of Humanity Proud

Posted by in categories: futurism, space


NASA astronaut Christina Koch has made all of mankind proud, inspiring millions of women dreaming to be an astronaut like her.

She has landed safely on Earth after a record breaking longest single spaceflight by a woman, spending 328 days on the International Space Station, during which she was also part of the first all-female spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.

Continue reading “Christina Koch Lands After Record-Breaking 328 Days In Space, Making All Of Humanity Proud” »

Feb 6, 2020

Scientists Discover That Trees Have A “Heartbeat”

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

There is a huge number of living things on Earth, all with their own set of characteristics and unique ways of life. All the way from the smallest ants, up to the huge giraffes and elephants, one thing that everyone has in common is that they are alive! One type of living organism is plants and trees. While they may not walk around like other organisms, or have a kidney and liver, they do actually have their own set of organs, so to speak.

While a tree definitely doesn’t have a heart, the idea that they have their own beat and sense of rhythm isn’t as far fetched as many people think. According to a study which was headed by András Zlinszky, Bence Molnár and Anders S. Barfod from Hungary and Denmark, trees do in fact have a special type of beat within them which resembles that of a heartbeat. Who would have known?

To find this hidden heartbeat, the researchers used advanced monitoring techniques known as terrestrial laser scanning to survey the movement of twenty two different types of trees. The results shocked everyone and revealed that at night, while the trees were sleeping, they often had a beat pulsating throughout their body, just as humans, and other living creatures do too.

Feb 6, 2020

Electron transport chain

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

One day, we gonna engineer all of these to build better humankind for those capable of surviving in the vas space.

From our free online course, “Cell Biology: Mitochondria”:…n=harvardx

Continue reading “Electron transport chain” »

Feb 6, 2020

You Can Now Book Space on a SpaceX Rocket for $1 Million Online

Posted by in category: satellites

SpaceX has officially launched an online booking tool that lets you reserve space on a Falcon 9 rocket.

You won’t be getting a seat to travel to space yet, though — the tool is meant to offer smaller companies a way to send payloads into space, including small satellites, as TechCrunch reports.

Feb 6, 2020

Rocks, Rockets and Robots: The Plan to Bring Mars Down to Earth

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

Coordinated by NASA and ESA, an ambitious effort to retrieve samples from the Red Planet faces major obstacles.