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  • News in Brief

    Treating cystic fibrosis patients before birth could safeguard organs

    A drug that treats a rare form of cystic fibrosis may have even better results if given before birth, a study in ferrets suggests.

    The drug, known by the generic name ivacaftor, can restore the function of a faulty version of the CFTR protein, called CFTRG551D. The normal CFTR protein controls the flow of charged atoms in cells that make mucus, sweat, saliva, tears and digestive enzymes...

    03/27/2019 - 14:00 Biomedicine
  • 50 years ago, doctors lamented a dearth of organ donors

    Number of donors drops —

    Both laymen and surgeons have become faint-hearted about heart transplants.… The rejection and infection problems remain unsolved, and although Dr. [Denton A.] Cooley has performed the greatest number of transplants in the world, he has had to stop operating for lack of donors. — Science News, March 15, 1969

    Update

    Candidates for heart or other organ...

    03/12/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Cells, Technology
  • Feature

    Nanosponges sop up toxins and help repair tissues

    To take his fledgling lab to new heights, Liangfang Zhang hatched a plan that he considered brilliant in its simplicity. It involved procedures that many of his peers found a little out there. But if he could make his idea work, it would clear a major hurdle to safely ferry therapies through the body on nanoparticles one-thousandth the width of a human hair.

    Yet back in 2010, the young...

    03/07/2019 - 07:00 Biomedicine, Technology
  • Editor's Note

    Brain discoveries open doors to new treatments

    For centuries, scientists have strived to figure out the workings of the human brain, but that blob of matter tucked inside a bony shell long resisted efforts to divine its secrets.

    Techniques invented in the early 1900s, including angiography and electroencephalography, made it possible to examine some characteristics of the brain without invading the skull. But it wasn’t until the...

    02/10/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Brain-zapping implants that fight depression are inching closer to reality

    Like seismic sensors planted in quiet ground, hundreds of tiny electrodes rested in the outer layer of the 44-year-old woman’s brain. These sensors, each slightly larger than a sesame seed, had been implanted under her skull to listen for the first rumblings of epileptic seizures.

    The electrodes gave researchers unprecedented access to the patient’s brain. With the woman’s permission,...

    02/10/2019 - 06:00 Mental Health, Clinical Trials, Biomedicine
  • News

    A new implant uses light to control overactive bladders

    A new soft, wireless implant may someday help people who suffer from overactive bladder get through the day with fewer bathroom breaks.

    The implant harnesses a technique for controlling cells with light, known as optogenetics, to regulate nerve cells in the bladder. In experiments in rats with medication-induced overactive bladders, the device alleviated animals’ frequent need to pee,...

    01/02/2019 - 13:00 Biomedicine, Technology
  • News

    Tumor ‘organoids’ may speed cancer treatment

    SAN DIEGO — Collecting cancer cells from patients and growing them into 3-D mini tumors could make it possible to quickly screen large numbers of potential drugs for ultra-rare cancers. Preliminary success with a new high-speed, high-volume approach is already guiding treatment decisions for some patients with recurring hard-to-treat cancers.

    “Believe it or not, for some rare cancers...

    12/17/2018 - 12:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Cells