Biosingularity

Archive for the ‘Biotechnology’ Category

A major international randomized clinical trial has found that HIV-infected individuals have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral drugs sooner, when their CD4+ T-cell count—a key measure of immune system health—is higher, instead of waiting until the CD4+ cell count drops to lower levels. Together with data from previous studies showing that antiretroviral treatment reduced the risk of HIV transmission to uninfected sexual partners, these findings support offering treatment to everyone with HIV.

The new finding is from the Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study, the first large-scale randomized clinical trial to establish that earlier antiretroviral treatment benefits all HIV-infected individuals. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, provided primary funding for the START trial. Though the study was expected to conclude at the end of 2016, an interim review of the study data by an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) recommended that results be released early.

via START.

Today’s digital photos are far more vivid than just a few years ago, thanks to a steady stream of advances in optics, detectors, and software. Similar advances have also improved the ability of machines called cryo-electron microscopes (cryo-EMs) to see the Lilliputian world of atoms and molecules. Now, researchers report that they’ve created the highest ever resolution cryo-EM image, revealing a druglike molecule bound to its protein target at near atomic resolution. The resolution is so sharp that it rivals images produced by x-ray crystallography, long the gold standard for mapping the atomic contours of proteins. This newfound success is likely to dramatically help drugmakers design novel medicines for a wide variety of conditions.

This composite image of the protein β-galactosidase shows the progression of cryo-EM’s ability to resolve a protein’s features from mere blobs (left) a few years ago to the ultrafine 0.22-nanometer resolution today (right).

VERONICA FALCONIERI/ SUBRAMANIAM LAB/CCR/ NCI/ NIH

This composite image of the protein β-galactosidase shows the progression of cryo-EM’s ability to resolve a protein’s features from mere blobs (left) a few years ago to the ultrafine 0.22-nanometer resolution today (right).

via Electron microscopes close to imaging individual atoms | Science/AAAS | News.

Scientists have discovered that the way light reacts with human cells may indicate the likelihood of a person having lung cancer.

Patients with lung tumours were found to have subtle abnormalities in the cells of their mouth, lungs and nose.

Using swabs from patients’ cheeks, researchers from University College London found that cells of lung cancer patients reflected and refracted light slightly differently to those who did not have the disease.

New test could give smokers early warning of lung cancer – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent.

Evolution is what got us here today, if you accept the scientific approach to our creation. It was processes such as ‘survival of the fittest’ which led us, as well as other earthly creatures, to develop some of the traits, senses, and abilities that we possess today.

For superhero fans, especially those who love the X-Men, you know that these superhuman characters acquired their powers through the process of evolution. Little mutations in genes led to them become the recipient of more than simple human-like abilities. Wouldn’t we all like to have the ability to see through objects, climb walls, retract claws from our fists, or have superhuman strength? Well, one speculative designer from the Royal College of Art in London, named Agatha (Agi) Haines, believes that one day in the future this may all be possible, thanks to a technology called bioprinting.

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via Researcher Believes 3D Printing May Lead to the Creation of Superhuman Organs Providing Humans with New Abilities – 3DPrint.com.

After more than six years of intensive effort, and repeated failures that made the quest at times seem futile, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) have successfully converted mouse and human skin cells into pain sensing neurons that respond to a number of stimuli that cause acute and inflammatory pain.

Caption: This image shows human noxious stimulus detecting sensory neurons produced by converting skin cells with a set of five genes to this new fate — enabling study of ‘pain’ in a dish.

Credit: (c) Liz Buttermore

This “disease in a dish” model of pain reception may advance the understanding of different types of pain, identify why individuals differ in their pain responses or risk of developing chronic pain, and make possible the development of improved drugs to treat pain. A report on the work was given advance on-line release today by the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Read the rest of this entry »

OF the three most fundamental scientific questions about the human condition, two have been answered.First, what is our relationship to the rest of the universe? Copernicus answered that one. We’re not at the center. We’re a speck in a large place.

Second, what is our relationship to the diversity of life? Darwin answered that one. Biologically speaking, we’re not a special act of creation. We’re a twig on the tree of evolution.

Third, what is the relationship between our minds and the physical world? Here, we don’t have a settled answer. We know something about the body and brain, but what about the subjective life inside? Consider that a computer, if hooked up to a camera, can process information about the wavelength of light and determine that grass is green. But we humans also experience the greenness. We have an awareness of information we process. What is this mysterious aspect of ourselves?

via Are We Really Conscious? – NYTimes.com.


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