News from the Editors -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

MEDICA Newsletter

Social Media

Image: Cryo-electron microscope images; Copyright: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP)

Powerful microscope revolutionizes cell insights

14/01/2019

There are many times when our cells need to move. Mobile cells guide our body's formation (embryonic development). Immune cells roam to capture unwanted intruders. And healing cells (fibroblasts) migrate to mend wounds. But not all movement is desirable: Tumors are most dangerous when cancer cells gain the ability to travel throughout the body (metastasis).
Read more
Image: esophageal tumors; Copyright: panthermedia.net / sciencepics

Mapping residual esophageal tumors - a glimpse into the future?

10/01/2019

It's one of the first questions asked by many cancer patients "What are my chances of beating this?" Often there is no clear answer, with survival rates differing widely. Post-operative testing that provides an accurate prediction of long-term treatment outcomes is the next best thing, allowing clinicians to plan further treatment and more accurately inform patients about their prognoses.
Read more
Image: The Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Platform; Copyright: University of Helsinki

Digital health to support precision cancer medicine in iCAN

09/01/2019

The Academy of Finland has selected the "iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine" competence cluster as one of Finland's six flagships. The iCAN public-private partnership forms a platform aiming to improve the treatment of cancer patients and to support innovations coming from high quality research.
Read more
Image: Killer T cells attack an infectious cell; Copyright: panthermedia.net / Andreus

How herpesviruses shape the immune system

09/01/2019

Cytomegalovirus is widespread and remains in the body for a lifetime after infection. In healthy individuals, this virus is usually kept in check but can become dangerous when the immune system is weakened or during pregnancy. DZIF scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed an analytic method that can very precisely detect viral infections using immune responses.
Read more
Image: Philip Miller with the new microneedle technique; Copyright: Randy Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories

Microneedles technique for quicker diagnoses of major illnesses

08/01/2019

When people are in the early stages of an undiagnosed disease, immediate tests that lead to treatment are the best first steps. But a blood draw - usually performed by a medical professional armed with an uncomfortably large needle - might not be quickest, least painful or most effective method, according to new research.
Read more
Image: Label-free intraoperative nonlinear imaging of the tumor microenvironment; Copyright: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Imaging technique brings diagnostic potential into operating room

07/01/2019

A team of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers led by Prof. Stephen Boppart has successfully visualized the tumor microenvironment of human breast tissue after it was surgically removed from a patient in the operating room by using a new portable optical imaging system. This work marks a major step toward providing cancer researchers with a tool for tracking tumor progression.
Read more
Image: Image of a human cell coloured in black, blue, purple and yellow; Copyright: Roberta Schulte/Swati Tyagi/Salk Institute

Machine learning may predict a healthy old age

02/01/2019

For a study published in Genome Biology, a team at the Salk Institute analyzed skin cells ranging from the very young to the very old and looked for molecular signatures that can be predictive of age. Developing a better understanding of the biological processes of aging could eventually help to address health conditions that are more common in old age, such as heart disease and dementia.
Read more
Image: A tumor cell lights up with high FRET biosensor readout; Copyright: UC San Diego Health

Sensors to detect and measure cancer's ability to spread

02/01/2019

The spread of invasive cancer cells from a tumor's original site to distant parts of the body is known as metastasis. It is the leading cause of death in people with cancer. In a paper published online in iScience, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers reported engineering sensors that can detect and measure the metastatic potential of single cancer cells.
Read more
Image: On the left, an expanded human cell with microtubules (blue) and a pair of centrioles (yellow-red) in the middle; Copyright: Fabian Zwettler / University of Würzburg

Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy

19/12/2018

Does expansion microscopy deliver true-to-life images of cellular structures? That was not sure yet. A new publication in "Nature Methods" shows for the first time that the method actually works reliably.
Read more
Image: A collagen fibril mounted on a MEMS mechanical testing device. At the bottom is a single human hair for size comparison; Credit: University of Illinois Department of Aerospace Engineering

Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise

17/12/2018

Collagen is the fundamental building block of muscles, tissues, tendons, and ligaments in mammals. It is also widely used in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Although scientists have a good understanding about how it behaves at the tissue-level, some key mechanical properties of collagen at the nanoscale still remain elusive.
Read more
Image: Schematic model of ChIL reaction; Copyright: Yuko Sato (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

When less is more: Approach for low-cell-number epigenomic profiling

14/12/2018

Scientists at Kyushu University and Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a technique that enables analysis of DNA-protein interactions using very small numbers of cells, ranging from 100 to 1,000. Their method could capture previously unexamined epigenomic information, facilitate biomarker discovery and open new avenues for precision medicine.
Read more
Image: Systic fibrosis treatment; Copyright: panthermedia.net / Ibrfzhjpf.gmail.com

Blood test could lead to cystic fibrosis treatment

14/12/2018

Researchers at Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago used a blood test and microarray technology to identify distinct molecular signatures in children with cystic fibrosis. These patterns of gene expression could help predict disease severity and treatment response, and lead to therapies tailored to each patient's precise biology.
Read more
 Image: anatomy, muscles of a human being; Copyright: panthermedia.net / stihii

Promising technique to generate new muscle cells in lab

13/12/2018

To help patients with muscle disorders, scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have engineered a new stem cell line to study the conversion of stem cells into muscle. Findings appeared in Cell Reports.
Read more
Image: microscopic images of cancer cells; Copyright: panthermedia.net / raspirator

Cancer cells distinguished by artificial intelligence-based system

11/12/2018

Osaka University researchers have developed a system using artificial intelligence that can automatically differentiate between different types of cancer cell.
Read more
Image: The MPI team: Noelia Díaz, Kai Kruse and Juanma Vaquerizas; Copyright: MPI Münster

Nuclear architecture diagnostics within reach of the clinic

07/12/2018

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Biomedicine in Münster and of the Medical Faculty of the University of Münster have developed a technique that allows the characterisation of the three-dimensional organisation of the DNA in the nucleus directly in patient's cells.
Read more
Image: MRI post ablation; Copyright: Radiological Society of North America

Cryoablation shows promise in treating low-risk breast cancers

29/11/2018

Cryoablation-the destruction of cancer cells through freezing-shows early indications of effectiveness in treating women with low-risk breast cancers, according to research being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Researchers said that over the four years of the study, there has only been one case of cancer recurrence out of 180 patients.
Read more
Image: Doctor on a computer display examines RNA-sequences; Copyright: panthermedia.net / Lev Dolgachov

New technique improves single cell RNA sequencing

26/11/2018

In the era of personalized medicine, scientists are using new genetic and genomic insights to help them determine the best treatment for a given patient. In the case of cancer, the first step toward these treatments is an investigation into how tumor cells behave in an effort to figure out the best drugs to use to attack them.
Read more
Image: polyol-modified nanoparticles checking out blood vessels surrounding the tumors; Copyright: Yoon Yeo/Purdue University

Cancer identity technology makes it easier to find tumor's "address"

16/11/2018

Purdue University researchers have developed a technology aimed at making it easier to deliver cancer treatment to the right "address" in the body while also easing the painful side effects of chemotherapy on patients. One of the big issues with chemotherapy is that most treatment approaches focus on the tumor itself without paying attention to the microenvironment surrounding the tumor.
Read more
Image: Influenza viruses; Copyright: panthermedia.net / ralwel

FluChip-8G tested for rapid characterization of influenza viruses

16/11/2018

Duke and Duke Kunshan University collaborating with InDevR Inc. to test the new influenza subtyping assay for enhanced surveillance.
Read more
Image: Doctors and 3D-DNA; Copyright: panthermedia.net / yacobchuk1

Scientists call for unified standards in 3D genome and epigenetic data

31/10/2018

Studying the three-dimensional structure of DNA and its dynamics is revealing a lot of information about gene expression, expanding our knowledge of how cells, tissues and organs work in health and disease. Properly producing and managing this large amount of data is both challenging. Now top researchers call for unified standards and suggest guidelines in this research area.
Read more
Image: Raman microscopy to develop better cancer drugs; Copyright: panthermedia.net / Alex011973

Testing cells for cancer drug resistance

30/10/2018

Biophysicists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have demonstrated that Raman microscopy can be used to detect the resistance of tumour cells to cancer drugs. Unlike conventional approaches, this method does not require any antibodies or markers. It detects the response of cells to administered drugs and therefore could determine the effect of drugs in preclinical studies.
Read more
Image: Infectious bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics; Copyright: panthermedia.net / katerynakon

Machine learning identifies antibiotic resistance genes

29/10/2018

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed an approach that uses machine learning to identify and predict which genes make infectious bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The approach was tested on strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis--the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB) in humans. It identified 33 known and 24 new antibiotic resistance genes in these bacteria.
Read more
Image: Antibody against tumor cells; Copyright: panthermedia.net / toeytoey

Novel method to block immunosuppression in cancer

29/10/2018

Belgian research groups from the UCLouvain and WELBIO, VIB and Ghent University, and the biotechnology company argenx elucidated the three-dimensional structure of an assembly of proteins that dampen immune responses. They also discovered how an antibody can block this assembly. Such an antibody could serve to stimulate immunity against tumor cells in cancer patients.
Read more
Image: Farhad Farjood ; Copyright: Utah State University

Researchers develop new devices to test retinal cells

25/10/2018

Researchers at Utah State University have developed new devices to mechanically stress human cells in the lab.
Read more
Image: Small brown mole on the back of a hand; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Mario Hahn

Early detection: Tattoo signals cancer – and more

09/07/2018

People who are not ill and do not show any symptoms typically do not visit the doctor. And while most people know that preventive medical checkups for cancer, for example, are important, they still avoid them. They tend to be very hesitant because the doctor might detect a serious illness. In the future, a new type of implant could make it easier to go to a screening test.
Read more
Image: AcCellerator research device at an exhibition stand; Copyright: Daniel Klaue, ZELLMECHANIK DRESDEN GmbH

Cells in the speed trap – diagnosis in a matter of seconds

22/06/2018

A drop of blood provides a lot of valuable information. However, it takes several hours to analyze the blood of a patient and make a diagnosis. This takes away a lot of time that's crucial for treatment. A new method intends to considerably speed up this process by testing the cells in the blood in terms of their deformability and immune response.
Read more
Image: Two hands are holding a tubular frame that is carrying a glistening wet, white tube; Copyright: Leibniz University of Hanover/Institute of Technical Chemistry

Tissue engineering: how to grow a bypass

23/04/2018

A bypass is a complicated structure. It is either made of synthetic materials that can cause blood clots and infections or created by using the patient’s veins. However, the latter often does not yield adequate material. A newly developed bioreactor could solve this problem in the future. It is designed to tissue engineer vascular grafts by using the body’s own material.
Read more
Image: yellow tape measure with capsules in front of it; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Jiri Hera

Personalized cancer medicine: customized treatment

01/03/2018

Everyone is different. This statement also applies to our health. Cancer, in particular, can look and progress differently depending on the individual person. That’s why every patient ideally also needs a customized treatment that is tailored to their individual needs. But how feasible is this idea?
Read more
Image: a container with the nutrient medium for cancer cells; Copyright: Dr. Markus Wehland

Cells in space – extraterrestrial approaches in cancer research

22/02/2018

Here on Earth, all experiments are bound by gravitation. Yet, freed from gravity's grip, tumor cells, for example, behave in an entirely different way. As part of the "Thyroid Cancer Cells in Space" project by the University of Magdeburg, smartphone-sized containers carrying poorly differentiated thyroid cancer cells are sent into space.
Read more
Image:

"Spray-On" muscle fibers for biomimetic surfaces

08/01/2018

Few patients with heart failure are fortunate enough to receive a donor's heart. Ventricular assist devices (or heart pumps) have been around for several years and are designed to buy time as patients wait for a transplant. Unfortunately, the body doesn't always tolerate these devices.
Read more
Image: interferometric detection of scattered light, iSCAT; Copyright: MPL

Interface between Physics and Medicine: new interdisciplinary center

22/08/2017

Physics has always supported medical science, especially when it comes to practical implementation. Now physicists and health professionals join in collaborative research at an interdisciplinary Center in Erlangen and incorporate fundamental principles of theoretical physics in their studies of diseases.
Read more
Image: blood is taken from a finger and analysed by a blood testing device; Copyright:hes_so_valais_wallis

Without any delay: drug dose adjustment at the point of care

01/08/2017

Many therapeutic drugs are very powerful, but they are also very toxic at the same time. Thus, they have to be measured regularly, again and again, so that an adjustment of the individual drug dosage can be made. Until now, the "normal" way was to take the blood sample, send it to a central laboratory and get the results after some days. A new point-of-care test can measure it in 15 minutes.
Read more
Image: An eye surgeon and an assistant are treating a patient with a surgical laser; Copyright: University Hospital Dresden/Felix Koopmann

Eye surgery: precision and prevention with femtosecond lasers

03/07/2017

Precision work is absolutely essential in eye surgery since the surgical site is very minute and sensitive. This is why eye surgeons have been using lasers for years. Femtosecond lasers are especially well suited to serve this purpose because they are able to cut tissue with great precision and little energy, which prevents unwanted side effects of surgery.
Read more
Image: Zebrafish brain, fluorescence image (left) and 3D image (right); Copyright: private

"A 3D movie of the brain in action"

08/12/2016

Watching millions of neurons in the brain interacting with each other – for a long time this was possible only to a limited extent. The current techniques can visualize only superficial layers or the imaging they use is too slow. But now, Prof Daniel Razansky and his team have found a new method to visualize the brain activity – by using optoacoustics.
Read more
Image: User interface of a software; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München

Cell under observation: "The software lets us study the development on video"

08/08/2016

What happens when stem cells differentiate? What molecular characteristics do they have? Questions that can now be easier answered with the help of a new open-source software. We spoke with Prof. Fabian Theis at the Helmholtz Center Munich, who participated in the software development.
Read more
Image: Closed eyes of a patient. Electrodes are attached above the eyebrows; Copyright: savir-center.com

Electrical Stimulation: Using Electrical Pulses to Combat Blindness

22/07/2016

Millions of people all over the world suffer from partial blindness – caused by glaucoma, a stroke or traumatic brain injury. For years, the loss of vision was deemed irreversible. But now a new treatment makes it possible to improve eyesight and vision.
Read more
Photo: two physicians working at a test set-up

Atherosclerosis: Getting to the root of the problem with a turbo gene

09/02/2016

Many people suffer from atherosclerosis, especially in developed countries. The buildup of fatty deposits inside the arterial blood vessels leads to strokes and heart attacks. Now, a new method is designed to get to the root of the problem, and with the help of nanoparticles inject new turbo replacement cells into the blood vessels which are intended to exert their curative effect.
Read more
Photo: child with broken arm

Different specialties, one goal – treating children right

01/02/2016

Children, especially newborns, are generally no longer simply considered to be small adults whose treatment just needs to be "reduced". This is why a pediatrician’s education includes several specialties because ultimately everything in terms of care comes together here.
Read more
Photo: pipette in petri dish

Great leaps forward thanks to new methods

01/02/2016

Self-healing powers like a superhero on the big screen? That’s the aim of regenerative medicine; at least in a very broad sense. This promising field of biomedicine is currently highly dynamic with innovative technologies and development. New methods are designed to help propel medicine into a whole new sphere.
Read more

From the periodic table of elements into medicine: silicon for theranostics

01/10/2015

Semiconductor nanoparticles for biomedical applications have been researched for some time now. Not only are they millionths of a millimeter in size, they also offer great potential for cancer diagnostics and therapy, so-called theranostics. They enter cells, are activated by ultrasonic radiation and destroy the cells using the generated vibration.
Read more

Hospital crisis communication: A crisis knows no rules

02/03/2015

Crises come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s poor hygiene, thefts or treatment errors – once the crisis has arrived, things need to move quickly. For hospitals in particular, the right crisis communication is key. Yet many medical facilities still neglect the fact that crisis communication starts before the actual crisis takes place.
Read more
Photo: Tissue sections on object slides

Digital pathology: From microscope slide to virtual microscopy

02/02/2015

The digitization of medicine moves on. Researchers, physicians and patients equally benefit from this development – thanks to improved diagnostics with highly sensitive devices, today findings can be comprehensively analyzed and treatment decisions made on a broadened basis. Digitization also offers the area of pathology interesting fields of application.
Read more
Photo: interaction between the proteins

IBD: When genetics and environment interact

05/01/2015

T-cells are the guardians of our immune system. When they show changes, it can lead to severe inflammatory responses in the body. It is believed that the T-cells in persons who are affected by inflammatory bowel disease don’t work properly. Two proteins that can be found on activated T-cells and that interact with each other are now being analyzed.
Read more

Xenon magnetic resonance imaging: making pathological changes in the body visible

03/11/2014

As an imaging procedure, magnetic resonance tomography has become essential in clinical practice, since it can easily make organs and tissue visible. However, until now abnormal cancer cells or small centers of inflammation remained almost invisible. Now cell biologists from Berlin, Germany, have succeeded in fixing this problem with xenon magnetic resonance imaging.
Read more

Wound treatment with fish skin

03/11/2014

The treatment of chronic wounds is extremely problematic. Chronic wounds can take months or years to heal and some even never heal resulting in over 100.000 amputations taking place annually in the US alone. A new technology from Iceland, that is based on fish skin and is already used clinically, allows for improved healing of chronic and burn wounds.
Read more
Photo: Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt

Laboratory in Space: Hot on the Trails of Cartilage Degradation

01/10/2014

On November 10, 2014, astronaut Alexander Gerst will return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). He is not just anxiously expected by his family, but also by Dr. Anna-Maria Liphardt from the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics at the German Sport University Cologne
Read more

Cultured skin makes large-scale transplantations possible

01/07/2014

Large burns require skin grafting. Surgeons remove split-thickness skin grafts and apply them to the injured areas. Now skin that has been made in a laboratory is meant to help in covering burns as well as chronic wounds and thus promote the healing process. Researchers in Zurich have been working on this for more than 13 years.
Read more

Diagnosing Parkinson's: the skin is revealing

01/07/2014

In patients with Parkinson's, neural cells in the brain die off that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Certain physical symptoms that can indicate the disease follow years later. But a reliable diagnosis can only be made through examination of the brain after the patient's death, and not during his lifetime.
Read more

Fat is the best medicine: "Adipose tissue contains many multipotent stem cells, approximately 500 times more than bone marrow"

01/07/2014

The not so popular “love handles“ could revolutionize medicine in the near future. In cooperation with the University of Rostock (Professor Hermann Seitz), the human med AG Company currently seeks to develop a device that is able to gently remove adipose tissue during surgery and subsequently isolate stem cells.
Read more

Surgery: "Our camera detects the tiniest remainder of a tumor"

03/02/2014

Differentiating tumor tissue from healthy tissue isn’t always easy for surgeons. Scattered cancer cells and early cancer are often hard to detect with the naked eye. A special camera now makes even the tiniest remainder of a tumor visible during surgery.
Read more