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  • News

    Bones make hormones that communicate with the brain and other organs

    Long typecast as the strong silent type, bones are speaking up.

    In addition to providing structural support, the skeleton is a versatile conversationalist. Bones make hormones that chat with other organs and tissues, including the brain, kidneys and pancreas, experiments in mice have shown.

    “The bone, which was considered a dead organ, has really become a gland almost,” says Beate...

    06/21/2017 - 15:00 Health, Biomedicine, Cells
  • News

    Transplanted stem cells become eggs in sterile mice

    With an assist, an old mouse might be able to make new eggs.

    Sterilized female mice produced healthy babies after receiving a transplant of egg-generating stem cells from another mouse, researchers report online May 18 in Molecular Therapy. If such a procedure worked in humans — still a distant prospect — it could help women with early menopause or chemotherapy-induced infertility to...

    05/18/2017 - 12:00 Biomedicine, Cells
  • News

    Lungs enlist immune cells to fight infections in capillaries

    Immune cells in the lungs provide a rapid counterattack to bloodstream infections, a new study in mice finds. This surprising discovery pegs the lungs as a major pillar in the body’s defense during these dangerous infections, the researchers say.

    “No one would have guessed the lung would provide such an immediate and strong host defense system,” says Bryan Yipp, an immunologist at the...

    04/28/2017 - 15:01 Biomedicine, Immune Science, Cells
  • News

    Immune cells play surprising role in steady heartbeat

    Immune system cells may help your heart keep the beat. These cells, called macrophages, usually protect the body from invading pathogens. But a new study published April 20 in Cell shows that in mice, the immune cells help electricity flow between muscle cells to keep the organ pumping.

    Macrophages squeeze in between heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes. These muscle cells...

    04/20/2017 - 12:35 Cells, Microbiology
  • Science Visualized

    Cells’ stunning complexity on display in a new online portal

    View video

    Computers don’t have eyes, but they could revolutionize the way scientists visualize cells.

    Researchers at the Allen Institute for Cell Science in Seattle have devised 3-D representations of cells, compiled by computers learning where thousands of real cells tuck their component parts.

    Most drawings of cells in textbooks come from human interpretations gleaned by...

    04/12/2017 - 07:00 Cells
  • Feature

    CRISPR had a life before it became a gene-editing tool

    It is the dazzling star of the biotech world: a powerful new tool that can deftly and precisely alter the structure of DNA. It promises cures for diseases, sturdier crops, malaria-resistant mosquitoes and more. Frenzy over the technique — known as CRISPR/Cas9 — is in full swing. Every week, new CRISPR findings are unfurled in scientific journals. In the courts, universities fight over patents...

    04/05/2017 - 09:00 Cells, Microbiology, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Random mutations play large role in cancer, study finds

    Researchers have identified new enemies in the war on cancer: ones that are already inside cells and that no one can avoid.

    Random mistakes made as stem cells divide are responsible for about two-thirds of the mutations in cancer cells, researchers from Johns Hopkins University report in the March 24 Science. Across all cancer types, environment and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and...

    03/23/2017 - 14:00 Cancer, Cells, Health
  • News

    Genetic switch offers clue to why grasses are survival masters

    Grasses have top-notch border control to conserve water in their leaves. Now, scientists have identified the genetic switch that makes them such masters at taking in carbon dioxide without losing water. The find might eventually help scientists create more drought-resistant crop plants, the researchers report in the March 17 Science.  

    Adjustable pores called stomata on the undersides of...

    03/20/2017 - 15:35 Plants, Cells, Physiology
  • Feature

    Instead of starving a cancer, researchers go after its defenses

    Like many living things, a cancer cell cannot survive without oxygen. When young and tiny, a malignancy nestles inside a bed of blood vessels that keep it fed. As the mass grows, however, its demand for oxygen outpaces supply. Pockets within the tumor become deprived and send emergency signals for new vessel growth, a process called angiogenesis. In the 1990s, a popular cancer-...

    02/22/2017 - 12:32 Cancer, Cells, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    New imaging technique catches DNA ‘blinking’ on

    BOSTON — A new imaging technique takes advantage of DNA’s natural ability to “blink” in response to stimulating light.  The new approach will allow unprecedented views of genetic material and other cellular players. It’s the first method to resolve features smaller than 10 nanometers in unmodified, live cells, biomedical engineer Vadim Backman said February 17 at the annual meeting of the...

    02/19/2017 - 10:39 Cells, Chemistry, Biophysics