Researchers from China’s Soochow University have developed a new molecular “claw” that hooks onto toxic uranium isotopes, making them easier for the kidneys to excrete. If proven functional in humans, it would represent the first effective way for quickly removing the heavy metal from a person’s body. The method could prove vital in areas with contaminated groundwater and for the unfortunate ones who drink it.
Researchers from the University of Central Florida have found a molecular connection between a common food preservative in processed foods, neuronal disruption, and autism. These findings suggest that there may be a link between the consumption of processed foods during pregnancy and the rise of autism.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC) have found a way to nearly double the amount of universal donor blood available. They discovered microbes in the human gut that produce two enzymes which efficiently strip type A blood of its antigens, transforming it into type O. This process could ease blood shortages and revolutionize blood donation and transfusion.
A new study has confirmed that the human body is, in fact, a complex mosaic made up of clusters of cells with different genomes. The largest such study to date compiles data from thousands of samples collected from about 500 people and 29 different types of tissue. Scientists say that “normal” human tissues are permeated with mutations and many cells in the body bear mutations that could contribute to cancer. These findings could help scientists better understand how cancer starts.
The human body and its cells have several different mechanisms for protecting its essential parts and expressing all the indicators that shape every individual in unique ways. Telomeres play a lead role in that process, ensuring our genetic blueprints remain intact, but even they have a limit. With the rise of genetic engineering, researchers have found a way to extend the lifespan of telomeres and delay senescence and onset of disease.
Stress, “the silent killer” of the modern age, could finally become simple to detect and quantify. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) have developed a new test that can easily measure common stress hormones using sweat, blood, urine or saliva. The aim is to eventually have an accessible device that patients can use at home to monitor their health.
Scientists from the University of Alabama (UA) have invented a new and bizarre technique to discover novel natural compounds in cells. It involves human, “zombie-like” cells that are technically no longer alive but their membranes continue to bind different and potentially useful compounds in samples. This technique may allow scientists to screen natural products for drugs at a faster pace.
Scientists are trying to move beyond conventional model organisms, like fruit flies, zebrafish, yeast, and mice. They started using CRISPR gene-editing technology to craft new model organisms or to study the animals that they are more interested in. The genetic alterations generally take hold but the practical challenges of breeding and maintaining unconventional lab animals persist.
A new gene therapy approach developed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has cured infants born with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1), known as “Bubble Boy” disease. The patients recovered with fully functioning immune systems and started producing immune cells, including T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. The researchers achieved that by hijacking the HIV virus to replace the mutated gene, called IL2RG, with a corrected copy.
American twin astronauts provided NASA scientists with rare data on how long-term spaceflight affects the human body. While one brother spent a record-setting 340 days in outer space, the other was stranded on Earth. They spent years under a medical microscope. A comparative study on their genetic profiles showed differences in length of telomeres and gene expression, which seemed to diminish slowly over time.