It is common knowledge that the venom from a snake or scorpion can be dangerous. Less known is the fact that several drugs are derived from the toxins of venomous animals. Throughout history, humans have used toxins for medical purposes. Today, modern medicine uses the vast amount of toxins as inspiration for developing novel drugs. Despite the potential of venom-derived drugs, only seven have been approved so far.
Commonly prescribed drugs called fluoroquinolones, the fourth-most used class of antibiotics in the US, have been shown to cause rare, disabling side effects. Patients have experienced pain in tendons, joints and muscles, neurological and psychological difficulties. Researchers now have a few theories why such symptoms may occur.
An international clinical study demonstrated astounding recovery of patients with multiple sclerosis after a stem cell transplant. Scientists claim these transplants are dramatically better than standard drugs at halting the spread of multiple sclerosis and improving its symptoms.
New research reveals genetic mysteries behind synesthesia – a condition in which different senses seem to be crossed up in the brain, causing a person to “taste” words or even “feel” numbers. The phenomenon has been intriguing neuroscientists for years and this research could unlock new doors to understanding how our brains process sensory input.
An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 viral species could jump from animals to humans. Scientists are joining the Global Virome Project initiative in hope of identifying new potential pathogens and countering them before they become the next pandemic. This move from a reactive to a proactive approach aims to provide a safer future for all.
Research at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston showed that four viruses found in fish produce proteins similar to human hormones and react with cells similarly to insulin. The discovery suggests that micro-organisms could play a role in development of diabetes, as well as other autoimmune diseases and cancer.
A team of researchers decoded the entire genetic information of the salamander axolotl. It is the largest genome ever to be sequenced. The “Mexican walking fish” could provide us with the foundation for novel insights into human tissue regeneration capacities.
Scientists from Stanford published new data that could influence the clinical use of CRISPR/Cas9 in the future. Humans carry antibodies and T-cells that target the Cas9 protein and might possess an inherent immunity, indicating that one of the biggest advances in genetic engineering should be observed from an additional angle.
Scientists are unraveling evolutionary mysteries behind the world of spider vision. New findings could provide new gene therapies for people with visual defects like macular degeneration and retinal cancer.
Fractures typically mended with metal plates and screws could be replaced with 3D printed ceramic implants in the future. This means that treating severely broken bones could become less painful and more “natural”. The best feature of the new technology is that the implant gradually disappears and transforms into actual bone.