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How to convert connective tissue directly into neurons | KurzweilAI

How to convert connective tissue directly into neurons | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Repression of a single protein in ordinary fibroblasts (connective tissue) is sufficient to directly convert them into functional neurons, scientists in the U.S. and China have discovered.

 

The findings could have far-reaching implications for the development of new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

 

 

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Reinvent Yourself: The Playboy Interview with Ray Kurzweil

Reinvent Yourself: The Playboy Interview with Ray Kurzweil | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Many think author, inventor and data scientist Ray Kurzweil is a prophet for our digital age. A few say he’s completely nuts. Kurzweil, who heads a team of more than 40 as a director of engineering at Google, believes advances in technology and medicine are pushing us toward what he calls the Singularity, a period of profound cultural and evolutionary change in which computers will outthink the brain and allow people—you, me, the guy with the man-bun ahead of you at Starbucks—to live forever. He dates this development at 2045.
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Potential cancer killer hatched from sea snail eggs

Potential cancer killer hatched from sea snail eggs | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Potential cancer treatments often come from unexpected sources, like plants, artificial sweeteners and industrial solvents. Now, tests have shown that a type of molecule originally derived from sea snail eggs has performed surprisingly well in destroying cancer cells, particularly those that have become resistant to other treatments.

A wide range of blood cancers and solid tumors, including breast, ovarian, pancreatic and lower gastrointestinal cancers, can develop a resistance to chemotherapy drugs over time. This multidrug-resistance can severely limit treatment options and increase the chances of relapse.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, May 19, 7:32 PM
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Stanford's whiz-bang idea to bring gold-standard urine testing to the home

Stanford's whiz-bang idea to bring gold-standard urine testing to the home | Longevity science | Scoop.it
A urine test can be an invaluable way of detecting a number of medical conditions, a list which can include infections, diseases, and even certain types of cancer. Looking to improve access to this diagnostics tool, Stanford University engineers have designed a smartphone-based urine test for the home that relies on the same approach used in the doctor's office, claiming it could offer equally accurate results.
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FDA Issues Long-Awaited 3D Printing Guidance for Medical Devices | RAPS

FDA Issues Long-Awaited 3D Printing Guidance for Medical Devices | RAPS | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new draft guidance for medical device manufacturers working with additive manufacturing (AM), which is more commonly known as 3D printing.

In March, FDA approved the first-ever 3D printed drug, Aprecia's epilepsy drug SPRITAM, which relies on 3D printing technology to rapidly disintegrate in a patient's mouth, making it easier to swallow. For biologics, researchers are looking into 3D printing as a means of manufacturing cell and tissue products.
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Can Dead Brains Be Brought Back to Life? First Human Study to Find Out

Can Dead Brains Be Brought Back to Life? First Human Study to Find Out | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Last month, a Philadelphia-based biotech company kicked off a clinical trial that pushes the envelope of what it means to be dead.

Armed with ethical approval from the IRB at the Anupam Hospital in India, Bioquark is recruiting 20 patients who have been clinically deemed brain dead from severe traumatic brain injury.

With an arsenal of cutting-edge, if mysterious, treatment techniques — stem cells, bioactive molecules, brain and spinal cord stimulation — the team hopes to revive parts of the patients’ basic brain functions, with the eventual “holy grail” goal of returning the ability to breathe on their own.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, May 16, 6:26 PM
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Silk Stabilizes Blood Samples for Months at High Temperatures

Silk Stabilizes Blood Samples for Months at High Temperatures | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Researchers at Tufts University have stabilized blood samples for long periods of time without refrigeration and at high temperatures by encapsulating them in air-dried silk protein. The technique, which is published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has broad applications for clinical care and research that rely on accurate analysis of blood and other biofluids.
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How Scientists Are Hacking Biology to Build at the Molecular Scale

How Scientists Are Hacking Biology to Build at the Molecular Scale | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Proteins orchestrate a complicated molecular dance in living cells—but what if we could contract them to build other things too?

In a recent Dartmouth College study published in Nature Communications, researchers show an artificial protein (COP) can organize 60-atom balls of carbon—known as fullerene or buckyball—into a lattice. The two molecules self-assemble into a stable protein-fullerene structure, in which fullerene's carbon balls are sandwiched between the proteins.

The results are of particular note because although fullerene is already well-known in nanotechnology for its high heat resistance and doped superconductivity, it isn’t easy to assemble into useful structures.

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Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement | KurzweilAI

We have all the tools we need to alter the genetic makeup of our species. The science is here. The realization is inevitable. Timing is the only variable.

Not everyone has heard of Moore’s Law, the observation that computer processing power roughly doubles every 18 months, but we’ve all internalized its implications. That’s why we expect each new version of our iPhones and laptops to be smaller, do more, and cost less. But it’s looking increasingly possible there may be a Moore’s Law equivalent for genomics. In our world of exponential scientific advancement, the genetic future will arrive far faster than most people think or are prepared for.

This future is arriving, quite literally, in baby steps. In fact, the first state-authorized genetically altered babies will be born in the UK later this year.
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Enhanced responsiveness of Ghsr Q343X rats to ghrelin results in enhanced adiposity without increased appetite

Enhanced responsiveness of Ghsr Q343X rats to ghrelin results in enhanced adiposity without increased appetite | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Because secretion of the peptide hormone ghrelin by the stomach is thought to enhance food intake, there is interest in targeting ghrelin or its receptor GHSR to suppress appetite. However, genetic ablation of the genes encoding ghrelin, GHSR, or the enzyme that activates ghrelin does not alter food intake in mice. Chebani et al. found that cells with a truncated form of GHSR had larger responses to ghrelin than cells with the full-length GHSR.

 

Rats bearing this mutant form of GHSR were more sensitive to injected ghrelin and gained more body weight as fat without eating more food than their normal counterparts.

 

Thus, ghrelin promotes the expansion of adipose tissue without affecting appetite. Furthermore, these rats with the mutant GHSR could be used to identify anti-obesity treatments.

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This vitamin stops the aging process in organs, say Swiss researchers | KurzweilAI

This vitamin stops the aging process in organs, say Swiss researchers | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it
EPFL researchers have restored the ability of mice organs to regenerate and extend life by simply administering nicotinamide riboside (NR) to them.

NR has been shown in previous studies to be effective in boosting metabolism and treating a number of degenerative diseases. Now, an article by PhD student Hongbo Zhang published in Science also describes the restorative effects of NR on the functioning of stem cells for regenerating organs.

As in all mammals, as mice age, the regenerative capacity of certain organs (such as the liver and kidneys) and muscles (including the heart) diminishes. Their ability to repair them following an injury is also affected. This leads to many of the disorders typical of aging.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, May 12, 8:47 AM
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'Kidney on a chip' could lead to safer drug dosing

'Kidney on a chip' could lead to safer drug dosing | Longevity science | Scoop.it
ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan researchers have used a "kidney on a chip" device to mimic the flow of medication through human kidneys and measure its effect on kidney cells.

The new technique could lead to more precise dosing of drugs, including some potentially toxic medicines often delivered in intensive care units.

Precise dosing in intensive care units is critical, as up to two-thirds of patients in the ICU experience serious kidney injury. Medications contribute to this injury in more than 20 percent of cases, largely because many intensive care drugs are potentially dangerous to the kidneys.
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The Search for Better Bone Replacement: 3-D Printed Bone with Just the Right Mix of Ingredients - 05/04/2016

The Search for Better Bone Replacement: 3-D Printed Bone with Just the Right Mix of Ingredients  - 05/04/2016 | Longevity science | Scoop.it
To make a good framework for filling in missing bone, mix at least 30 percent pulverized natural bone with some special man-made plastic and create the needed shape with a 3-D printer. That’s the recipe for success reported by researchers at The Johns Hopkins University in a paper published April 18 online in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Each year, the Johns Hopkins scientists say, birth defects, trauma or surgery leave an estimated 200,000 people in need of replacement bones in the head or face. Historically, the best treatment required surgeons to remove part of a patient’s fibula (a leg bone that doesn’t bear much weight), cut it into the general shape needed and implant it in the right location. But, according to Warren Grayson, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the report’s senior author, the procedure not only creates leg trauma but also falls short because the relatively straight fibula can’t be shaped to fit the subtle curves of the face very well.

That has led investigators to 3-D printing, or so-called additive manufacturing, which creates three-dimensional objects from a digital computer file by piling on successive, ultrathin layers of materials.
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Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching

Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Working with the body's soft tissue has proved difficult because of how much it can squish and change during surgery. A new machine called the Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR) at Johns Hopkins University has overcome this obstacle and proven its ability by operating on pigs.

STAR consists of a robotic arm equipped with a suturing tool coupled with a 3D imaging system and near-infrared sensor that looks for fluorescent markers put along the edges of tissue by the researchers. The surgery is guided by an "autonomous suturing algorithm" specially developed to work with the system.

In tests, STAR was able to sew together severed pig bowels as successfully as human surgeons who participated in the study. Both in-vivo and ex-vivo tests were carried out.

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How the Hidden Mathematics of Living Cells Could Help Us Decipher the Brain

How the Hidden Mathematics of Living Cells Could Help Us Decipher the Brain | Longevity science | Scoop.it
So will we ever be able to model something as complex as the human brain using computers? After all, biological systems use symmetry and interaction to do things that even the most powerful computers cannot do — like surviving, adapting and reproducing. This is one reason why binary logic often falls short of describing how living things or human intelligence work. But our new research suggests there are alternatives: by using the mathematics that describe biological networks in the computers of the future, we may be able to make them more complex and similar to living systems like the brain.
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Genetic Connections Among Human Traits | The Scientist Magazine®

Genetic Connections Among Human Traits | The Scientist Magazine® | Longevity science | Scoop.it
FLICKR, MIKI YOSHIHITOTo understand the genetic underpinnings of human phenotypes, scientists can scan thousands of genomes to identify common variants among people with particular traits, an approach known as genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In a new study published today (May 16) in Nature Genetics, researchers combined data from more than 16 GWAS as well as from 23andMe’s database to discover novel gene-trait associations. But the researchers also added an extra layer of analysis, pooling 42 seemingly different traits—including diseases—to uncover phenotypes that may be causally linked.

“Our idea was to try to gather up all the traits that have been studied in large genetic studies and see if there is shared biology between these different traits that seem unrelated,” study coauthor Joseph Pickrell of the New York Genome Center in New York City told The Scientist.
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Ingestible origami robot

Ingestible origami robot | Longevity science | Scoop.it
In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at MIT, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl across the stomach wall to remove a swallowed button battery or patch a wound.

The new work, which the researchers are presenting this week at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, builds on a long sequence of papers on origami robots from the research group of Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
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Lab-grown blood vessels appear a safe alternative to synthetic implants

Lab-grown blood vessels appear a safe alternative to synthetic implants | Longevity science | Scoop.it
A team, made up of researchers at Duke University, Yale University and the tissue engineering company Humacyte, grew bioengineered vessels in the lab that contain no living cells, then implanted them into 60 patients who require dialysis due to kidney failure, with results suggesting they perform better than synthetic alternatives.
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Repairing damaged cartilage with a man-made bio-glass

Repairing damaged cartilage with a man-made bio-glass | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Pioneering technologies like 3D printing have had a huge impact on the medical world, and now a unique material developed by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Milano-Bicocca could lead to all-new implants for replacing damaged cartilage, including discs between vertebrae. The new material mimics the properties of the real thing, while encouraging the re-growth of natural cartilage.

Cartilage, which is found in joints, as well as between vertebrae in the spine, is not as easy to repair as other types of connective tissue, and its degeneration can leave patients in a lot of pain. A new bio-material, made up of a mixture of a polymer called polycaprolactone and silica, could help with the ability to replace lost cartilage.
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Pinpointed breast cancer genes explain why some cases are so hard to beat

Pinpointed breast cancer genes explain why some cases are so hard to beat | Longevity science | Scoop.it
the team found a total of 40 mutated genes that are instrumental in breast cancer progression, only a small number of which had previously been known to be involved in the disease.

More specifically, they were able to determine that a commonly mutated gene, known as PIK3CA, is closely linked to a lower chance of surviving the condition in three of the 10 subtypes. This explains why treatments that target the gene are effective at combating the cancer in some patients, but not others – something that has puzzled researchers up to this point.
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Invisible second skin is applied like gel to smooth out wrinkles

Invisible second skin is applied like gel to smooth out wrinkles | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Unless you possess the magical healing powers of a Hollywood celebrity, your skin is going to lose elasticity and gain wrinkles as you grow older. And the effects are not just cosmetic, with the skin's ability to guard against extreme temperatures, radiation and toxins diminishing over time. A new invisible polymer coating from MIT may offer a way to apply to brakes, however, by stretching over existing skin to smooth out wrinkles, act as a protective barrier and even slowly deliver drugs to treat eczema and other conditions.

Described as a second skin, the polymer is applied in two stages. A chemical structure called siloxane, which is made up of alternating atoms of silicon and oxygen, is first spread out over the skin in a clear cream. A platinum catalyst is then applied, which transforms the siloxane into a cross-linked polymer layer (XPL).
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Eric Larson's curator insight, May 12, 8:51 AM
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Using stem cells to save rhinos from extinction

Using stem cells to save rhinos from extinction | Longevity science | Scoop.it
The northern white rhino is right on the brink of extinction, with only three of the species left on the planet. There's zero hope for the animals surviving naturally, but a team of scientists believes it might still be possible to bring the species back from the brink, with hopes of using stored genetic information to produce a new population.

The goal of the project is to bring new technologies and approaches to bear in the fight against the animals' otherwise certain extinction. Central to the effort is a need to maintain a genetic bank of frozen tissue, spermatozoa and oocytes of the animals. Those resources have currently been saved in both Europe and San Diego.
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Drugs that mistake placenta for tumors to help avoid premature births

Drugs that mistake placenta for tumors to help avoid premature births | Longevity science | Scoop.it
a poorly functioning placenta is problematic as doctors are unable to treat it with drugs and are instead forced to induce labor early, inviting a range of health risks for the prematurely born baby. But scientists have now found a way in by using existing cancer drugs that mistake the placenta for a tumor, selectively targeting the organ and boosting its health.

"Placentas behave like well-controlled tumors," explains lead author Lynda Harris of the University of Manchester in England. "They grow quickly, produce growth hormones and evade the immune system. A lot of cancer research focuses on finding ways of delivering drugs to kill the tumor without affecting the rest of the body. We had the idea that if we could selectively target the placenta in the same way, we could deliver other drugs to help improve placental function and therefore treat pregnancy complications."
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Sean Parker: Hacker philanthropist - FT.com

Sean Parker: Hacker philanthropist - FT.com | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Cancer immunology is a case in point. The idea that the body’s own immune system could be “hacked” and used to fight tumours is now one of the hottest areas of research and new drug development. But it received very little funding until a decade ago, despite its roots in 19th-century scientific experiments, because it was deemed too uncertain for government grants, Parker says.

His own personal and family history of asthma and allergies has meant he has always been fascinated by the immune system. He has been ramping up his interest in, and donations to, cancer immunotherapy for the best part of a decade and it is a big focus for the Parker Foundation, which he seeded with $600m of his fortune last year. “It used to be the red-headed stepchild of the oncology world. There was a dedicated band of scientists who were convinced by the data that the immune system played an important role in cancer, but they were essentially refugees from the cancer establishment.

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Starving cancer cells of nutrients halts tumour growth

Starving cancer cells of nutrients halts tumour growth | Longevity science | Scoop.it
There's still a lot of work to be done, but the breakthrough could have a huge impact of cancer treatment. As blocking the glutamine transport mechanism is an external process, it would be both very difficult for the cancer cells to develop any kind of resistance, and the treatment should work across a wide range of cancers.

Now that it's known just how important the glutamine gateways are to cancer cells, the team is working hard to find drugs that shut them down, killing the disease.
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Scientists grow human embryo in lab for nearly two full weeks

Scientists grow human embryo in lab for nearly two full weeks | Longevity science | Scoop.it

It's always been necessary to put lab-fertilized embryos back in the womb after seven days in order for them to attach and successfully develop into fetuses. Researchers at the University of Cambridge (UC) have now nearly doubled that time, allowing an embryo to grow in the lab for a full 13 days.

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The method the researchers used involved a procedure they developed over the past five years in mice, in which fertilized eggs are cultured in a special medium. "The medium contains serum, which is necessary for the attachment," Marta Shahbazi told Gizmag. Shahbazi is one of the first authors on a paper published in the journal Nature Cell Biology this week. "In addition, it contains multiple vitamins and amino acids, proteins and hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. It is a very rich medium that contains all the necessary nutrients to allow the survival of the embryo."

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Genetic switch could be key to increased health and lifespan

Genetic switch could be key to increased health and lifespan | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Newly discovered genetic switches that increase lifespan and boost fitness in worms are also linked to increased lifespan in mammals, offering hope that drugs to flip these switches could improve human metabolic function and increase longevity.

These so-called epigenetic switches, discovered by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, are enzymes that are ramped up after mild stress during early development and continue to affect the expression of genes throughout the animal’s life.

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