News in Brief
Gene editing can reverse muscular dystrophy in dogs.
Using CRISPR/Cas9 in beagle puppies, scientists have fixed a genetic mutation that causes muscle weakness and degeneration, researchers report online August 30 in Science.
Corrections to the gene responsible for muscular dystrophy have been made before in mice and human muscle cells in dishes, but never in a larger mammal. The...
News in Brief
Experimental anticancer drugs may help protect against liver damage caused by acetaminophen overdoses.
In mice poisoned with the common painkiller, the drugs prevented liver cells from entering a sort of pre-death state known as senescence. The drugs also widened the treatment window: Mice need to get the drug doctors currently use to counteract an overdose within four hours or they will...
A Nobel Prize–winning discovery — that small double-stranded RNA molecules can silence genes by interrupting the translation of DNA’s instructions into proteins — is finally delivering on its medical promise.
The first drug that takes advantage of this natural biological process, called RNA interference, was approved August 10 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It targets a rare...
For the first time, researchers have created lungs in the lab and successfully transplanted them into pigs.
These bioengineered lungs, described online August 1 in Science Translational Medicine, developed healthy blood vessels that allowed pigs to live for several weeks after surgery. That’s a significant improvement from previous efforts: Lab-grown lungs implanted in rodents failed...
Neuroscientist Barbara Bendlin studies the brain as Alzheimer’s disease develops. When she goes home, she tries to leave her work in the lab. But one recent research project has crossed into her personal life: She now takes sleep much more seriously.
Bendlin works at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a study of more than 1,500...
Using gene editing, scientists have hoodwinked tumor cells into turning against their own kind.
Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream have something of a homing instinct, able to find and return to the tumor where they originated. To capitalize on that ability, researchers engineered these roving tumor cells to secrete a protein that triggers a death switch in resident tumor cells...
Reviews & Previews
ArousedRandi Hutter EpsteinW.W. Norton & Co., $26.95
The first scientific experiment on hormones took an approach that sounds unscientific: lopping off roosters’ testicles. It was 1848, and Dr. Arnold Berthold castrated two of his backyard roosters. The cocks’ red combs faded and shrank, and the birds stopped chasing hens.
Then things got really weird. The doctor castrated...
Starve the tumor, not the cell
Animal experiments demonstrate for the first time that transplanted tumors release a chemical into the host’s bloodstream that causes the host to produce blood vessels to supply the tumor.… If such a factor can be identified in human cancers … it might be possible to prevent the vascularization of tumors. Since tumors above a certain small size require...
Everybody agrees that medical treatments should be based on sound evidence. Hardly anybody agrees on what sort of evidence counts as sound.
Sure, some people say the “gold standard” of medical evidence is the randomized controlled clinical trial. But such trials have their flaws, and translating their findings into sound real-world advice isn’t so straightforward. Besides, the best...
An unknown killer preying on pigs in China has been identified as a new kind of coronavirus. And like the deadly SARS virus, this one also got its start in bats.
In late 2016, pigs mysteriously started having intense diarrhea and vomiting on farms in China’s southeastern Guangdong province. By May 2017, the disease had killed 24,693 piglets. Tests failed to pin the outbreak, which has...