Biological Discoveries

Topics: Malaria, Red blood cell, Stem cell Pages: 7 (2480 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Stem Cell Research

Adult stem cell research is providing opportunities to treat people with a various diseases and conditions. In 2010, a man’s ankle refused to heal so the doctor took bone marrow from the man’s pelvic bone with a needle, condensed it to about four teaspoons of rich red liquid, and injected that into his ankle. Four months later, the ankle was healed! Adult stem cells are found in all tissues of the growing human being and, according to latest reports, also have the potential to transform themselves into practically all other cell types, or revert to being stem cells with greater reproductive capacity. “Upon transplantation into mice suffering from muscular dystrophy, human skeletal myogenic progenitor cells provided both extensive and long-term muscle regeneration which resulted in improved muscle function,” the article said.

UGA Reports Cancer Breakthrough

From a University of Georgia news release:
Researchers from UGA and the Mayo Clinic in Arizona have developed a vaccine that dramatically reduces tumors in a mouse model. The model mimics 90 percent of human breast and pancreatic cancer cases—including those resistant to common treatments. The vaccine reveals a promising new strategy for treating cancers with the same distinct carbohydrate signature, including ovarian and colorectal cancers.

When cells become cancerous, sugars on their surface proteins undergo changes that distinguish them from healthy cells. Scientists have tried for decades to enable the immune system to recognize those differences, in order to destroy cancer cells and not normal cells. Because cancer cells originate within the body, the immune system usually doesn’t recognize them as it would foreign cells. Just as humans do, the mice develop tumors that over express a protein known as MUC1 on the surface of their cells. The tumor-associated MUC1 protein comes with a distinctive, shorter set of carbohydrates that distinguish it from healthy cells.

“This is the first time a vaccine has been developed that trains the immune system to distinguish and kill cancer cells based on their different sugar structures on proteins such as MUC1,” Gendler said. “We are especially excited about the fact that MUC1 was recently recognized by the National Cancer Institute as one of the three most important tumor proteins for vaccine development.” Super bacteria

Lurking in even the cleanest wastewater
The study also suggests that wastewater treated using standard technologies probably contains far greater quantities of bacteria with antibiotic-resistant genes than is generally recognized, but this likely goes unnoticed because background levels of bacteria are normally much higher than the water studied in this research. Antibiotics are widely used to treat bacterial infections, but the ever increasing presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has raised substantial concern about the future effectiveness of antibiotics. In response, there has been an increasing focus on environmental reservoirs of antibiotic resistance in recent years. Antibiotic use in agriculture has been heavily scrutinized, while the role of treated municipal wastewater has received little attention as a reservoir of resistance. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop in the gastrointestinal tracts of people taking antibiotics. These bacteria are then shed during defecation, which is collected by the existing sewer infrastructure and passed through a municipal wastewater treatment facility.

Self-healing hydrogels
Mar. 6, 2012 -- University of California, San Diego bioengineers have developed a self-healing hydrogel that binds in seconds, as easily as Velcro, and forms a bond strong enough to withstand repeated stretching. The material has numerous potential applications, including medical sutures, targeted drug delivery, industrial sealants and self-healing plastics, a team of UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering researchers reported March 5 in...
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