Background Reports 2020 -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: Prof. Oliver Lieleg and Ceren Kimna in the laboratory; Copyright: Uli Benz / TUM

Secure nano-carrier delivers medications directly to cells

28/09/2020

Medications often have unwanted side-effects. One reason is that they reach not only the unhealthy cells for which they are intended, but also reach and have an impact on healthy cells. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), working together with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, have developed a stable nano-carrier for medications.
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Image: lung model; Copyright: La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Lungs: a step toward helping patients breathe deeply

25/09/2020

Damaged lungs can't open properly. Patients with asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and systemic sclerosis suffer from fibrosis and tissue remodeling, where a build-up of tissue and immune cells, and proteins that form a glue-like substance, keep the airways from expanding. As fibrosis gets worse, taking a breath feels like blowing up a balloon filled with concrete.
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Image: depiction of lung cancer; Copyright: PantherMedia / decade3d

No benefit for PORT in non-small-cell lung cancer

21/09/2020

Post-operative radiotherapy (PORT) used in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following complete resection and after (neo) adjuvant chemotherapy shows no statistically significant difference in 3-year disease-free survival (DFS), according to data presented at ESMO 2020. These results give the oncology community a long-awaited answer.
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Image: human skull with puzzle optic missing a piece; Copyright: PantherMedia / vampy1

Alteration in the brain of people with Alzheimer's

21/09/2020

Despite the important advances in research in recent years, the etiopathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease is still not fully clarified. One of the key questions is to decipher why the production of beta amyloid, the protein that produces the toxic effect and triggers the pathology, increases in the brain of people with Alzheimer's.
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Image: Artist's rendition of a cancer cell surrounded be long molecules; Copyright: MPI-P

New method to fight cancer with molecular fibers

16/09/2020

According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, cancer is one of the most frequent causes of death, accounting for almost 25% of all death cases. Chemotherapy is often used as a treatment, but also brings side effects for healthy organs.
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Image: Preview picture of video

Smartlab – Robotics and automation in the laboratory

15/09/2020

Some tasks in the laboratory are repetitive, need to be done extremely precise and require a lot of time. Such tasks are very tedious for humans, but they are tailor-made for robots. Such is the case with the "AutoCRAT" project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen. Here, a robotic platform is developed to produce stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
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Image: Image of blue cilia that are covered in red virus particles; Copyright: Ehre Lab, UNC School of Medicine

UNC researchers publish striking images of SARS-CoV-2 infected cells

14/09/2020

The UNC School of Medicine lab of Camille Ehre, PhD, generated high-powered microscopic images showing startlingly high SARS-CoV-2 viral loads on human respiratory surfaces, ready to spread infection in infected individuals and to others
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Image: Computer-generated rendering of a viral protein that connects to a protein in a cell membrane; Copyright: PantherMedia/animaxx3d

Using machine learning to combat the Coronavirus

14/09/2020

Research project developed by TU Berlin and the University of Luxembourg receives funding of 125,000 US dollars from Google.org.
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Image: miniature chip; Copyright: Felix Petermann, MDC

Improving healthcare through cell-based interceptive medicine

08/09/2020

Hundreds of innovators, research pioneers, clinicians, industry leaders and policy makers from all around Europe are united by a vision of how to revolutionize healthcare. In 2 publications they now present a detailed roadmap of how to leverage the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies over the next decade, to track, understand and treat human cells throughout an individual's lifetime.
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Image: Illustration of tumor growth; Copyright: Kemal Avican

How prostate cancer causes secondary tumors

04/09/2020

An increased awareness on a molecular level of what mechanisms prostate cancer cells use to become mobile and start spreading may in the long run provide new opportunities for treatment of aggressive prostate cancer. This according to a new study by researchers at Umeå University, Sweden, in collaboration with researchers in Uppsala and Tokyo.
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Image: tattoo ink color palette; Copyright: Zavaleta Lab at USC

Finding cancer using tattoo ink

03/09/2020

The humble ink in a tattoo artist's needle could be the key to improving the detection of cancer, thanks to new research from the USC Viterbi Department of Biomedical Engineering. WiSE Gabilan assistant professor in the department with a lab at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, Cristina Zavaleta and her team recently developed new imaging contrast agents using common dyes.
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Image: samples in a laboratory setting; Copyright: Amy Drexelius

Detecting small amounts of virus in early infections

02/09/2020

Diagnostic devices that are used at home or in doctors' offices are often not sensitive enough to detect small amounts of a virus that might be present in samples from asymptomatic patients, which can occur in early stage COVID-19.
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Image: Microscopy image of mouse neurons; Copyright: MPI f. Biology of Ageing/ E. Motori

Nerve cells with energy saving program

01/09/2020

Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells and play an important role in providing energy for normal function of the tissues in our body. Nerve cells are particularly dependent on mitochondria for their activity and decreased mitochondrial function is seen in both inherited and more common age-associated forms of degenerative diseases.
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Image: Image of three chromosomes with red tips next to a grid of grey and white dots; Copyright: National University of Singapore

System for accurate telomere profiling in less than 3 hours

28/08/2020

The novel STAR assay can rapidly determine telomere dysregulation in cancers and age-related diseases in clinical settings.
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Image: A lab employee working with tissue samples; Copyright: PantherMedia/fotka.anna.gmail.com

ERA-NET project NExT: earlier diagnosis of endocrine pancreatic tumors

28/08/2020

Since autumn 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF-funded ERA-NET project "NExT" that aims to detect endocrine pancreatic tumors at an earlier stage and to improve therapies in cooperation with international research partners.
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Image: enzymes; Copyright: PantherMedia / Luka Culig

Gut enzyme could lead to new disease biomarker

12/08/2020

Enzymes used by bacteria to break down mucus in the gut could provide a useful biomarker for intestinal diseases, according to new research published in Nature Communications. Researchers at the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University have successfully identified and characterised one of the key enzymes involved in this process.
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Image: muscles in a human arm; Copyright: PantherMedia / Sebastian Kaulitzki

Characterizing regulators of tissue inflammation

11/08/2020

Although macrophages are classified as immune cells functioning in the activation and resolution of tissue inflammation, it is now clear that they are critically involved in a variety of disease processes, such as chronic inflammatory diseases, tumor growth and metastasis and tissue fibrosis.
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Image: gene structure; Copyright: PantherMedia / krishna creations

Analyses of genome data enables tracking of avian influenza viruses

10/08/2020

An international consortium succeeded in tracking the genesis and spread of new reassortants of avian influenza viruses by the use of mathematical analyses. This large-scale international study has now been published in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
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Image: Blood is taken from the finger of an elderly woman; Copyright: PantherMedia/belchonok

Blood test shows promise in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's

07/08/2020

A new blood test demonstrated remarkable promise in discriminating between persons with and without Alzheimer's disease and in persons at known genetic risk may be able to detect the disease as early as 20 years before the onset of cognitive impairment, according to a large international study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
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Image: Measurement of the eye pressure is performed at an older man; Copyright: PantherMedia/arztsamui

Researchers discover stem cells in optic nerve that preserve vision

05/08/2020

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have for the first time identified stem cells in the region of the optic nerve, which transmits signals from the eye to the brain.
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Image: An image of colorful dots on black ground; Copyright: Reshetniak and co-authors

Visualization of protein mobility in the synapse

04/08/2020

Scientists in the Multiscale Bioimaging Cluster of Excellence have succeeded for the first time in simultaneously displaying the motion profiles of a large number of proteins in the synapse. Published in The EMBO Journal.
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Image: A colored image of a cell putting out long arms; Copyright: Washington University in St. Louis

New insights into wound healing

04/08/2020

When we get a wound on our skin, the cells in our bodies quickly mobilize to repair it. While it has been known how cells heal wounds and how scars form, a team led by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis has determined for the first time how the process begins, which may provide new insight into wound healing, fibrosis and cancer metastasis.
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Image: Computer-generated image of a brown cancer cell between reddish body cells ; Copyright: PantherMedia/Ugreen

Biologist uses genome database to investigate cancer cells

03/08/2020

Florida State University Professor of Biological Science David Gilbert is using the latest information about the human genome as a guide to better understand cancer.
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Image: woman in the laboratory; Copyright: RUB, Marquard

Sars-Cov-2: rapid test for the determination of antibodies

31/07/2020

To determine immunity to Sars-Cov-2 and the effectiveness of potential vaccines, the amount of neutralising antibodies in the blood of recovered or vaccinated individuals must be determined. A traditional neutralisation test usually takes two to three days and must be carried out with infectious coronaviruses in a laboratory complying to biosafety level 3.
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Image: blood-brain barrier dysfunction under hypoxia; Copyright: WFIRM

Organoids: inflammation induced blood-brain barrier dysfunction

30/07/2020

The scientists who developed the first 3D multicellular brain organoid with a functional blood brain barrier now report that the model could be a promising platform to screen drugs that could work to control inflammation, which is at the center of many neurological conditions, like ischemic stroke.
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Image: Schema of novel cancer tissue diagnosis in comparison with usual diagnosis; Copyright: Osaka University

Tissue imaging system accelerates cancer diagnosis

27/07/2020

Cancer diagnosis requires a lengthy process of multiple analyses of tissue biopsies, impeding the quick and early detection of cancers. In a new study, researchers from Osaka University developed a novel imaging system that uses near-infrared light to be less invasive and more time efficient than the conventional approach.
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Image: scan of bones in the hands of a person; Copyright: MedUni Vienna

Novel diagnostic approaches for aggressive bone cancer

24/07/2020

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common form of aggressive bone cancer. A MedUni Vienna study, led by geneticist Erwin Wagner, has uncovered new insights into the disease mechanisms of OS, paving the way for potential new diagnostic and treatment strategies for fighting the bone disease. The study has just been published in the high impact journal Cell Research.
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Image: graphic of cell membrane on a chip; Copyright: Susan Daniel/Cornell University

Cell membrane on a chip to speed up screening of drug candidates for COVID-19

06/07/2020

Researchers have developed a human cell 'membrane on a chip' that allows continuous monitoring of how drugs and infectious agents interact with our cells, and may soon be used to test potential drug candidates for COVID-19.
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Image: graphic for heart cell observation; Copyright: Daria Sokol/MIPT Press Office

Gentle technique to study heart tissue functioning

03/07/2020

Biophysicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and their colleagues have proposed a simple way to observe the heart tissue. Besides being relatively uncomplicated, the new method is cheaper and produces results that are more independent, compared with the analogues currently in use. The study came out in Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
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Image: Man working in a laboratory; Copyright: Cedars-Sinai

COVID-19: virus can infect heart cells in lab dish

03/07/2020

A new study shows that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect heart cells in a lab dish, indicating it may be possible for heart cells in COVID-19 patients to be directly infected by the virus. The discovery, published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was made using heart muscle cells that were produced by stem cell technology.
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Image: 'Mini-brain' bioengineered from human stem cells; Copyright: Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Organoids suggest COVID-19 virus can infect human brain cells

02/07/2020

A multidisciplinary team from two Johns Hopkins University institutions, including neurotoxicologists and virologists from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and infectious disease specialists from the school of medicine, has found that organoids known as "mini-brains" can be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
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Image: The shoulder of a man with a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/JPCPROD

Regenerative medicine: helps the body healing

03/02/2020

Severe wounds heal slowly and leave scars. This is why we have been using regenerative therapies for some time now to accelerate and improve healing. They also help to avoid permanent damage. Still, complex applications like replacing organs or limbs will rather remain vision than become reality for a long time.
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Image: Computer-generated image of an arborizing blood vessel; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ugreen

Angiogenesis: light shows blood vessels the way

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to replace damage in the body with functional tissue and restore normal function. The first defense for large defects are implants made of hydrogels, designed to promote cell growth. They need their own blood supply, which is a problem when it comes to larger implants because you cannot regulate where and how the blood vessels grow - until now.
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Image: Volker Bruns; Copyright: Fraunhofer ISS

AI software: "iSTIX opens your world to the possibilities of digital pathology"

08/10/2019

The healthcare market offers a multitude of microscopes that make cells visible to the human eye. The same applies to AI-based software for image analysis. After taking the microscopic images, scientist are faced with large volumes of scans with usually low resolution. Yet when all aspects merge together, they open up a the world of digital pathology.
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Image: Cell cultivation in a Petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net / matej kastelic

Organ-on-a-chip – Organs in miniature format

01/02/2019

In vitro processes and animal tests are used to develop new medications and novel therapeutic approaches. However, animal testing raises important ethical concerns. Organ-on-a-chip models promise to be a feasible alternative. In a system the size of a smartphone, organs are connected using artificial circulation.
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Image: Man and woman in a laboratory presenting a multi-organ chip; Copyright: TissUse GmbH

Multi-Organ Chips – The Patients of Tomorrow?

01/02/2019

The liver, nervous tissue or the intestines: all are important human organs that have in the past been tested for their function and compatibility using animal or in vitro test methods. In recent years, TissUse GmbH, a spin-off of the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), has launched multi-organ chip platforms. But that’s not all.
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Image: Graphic rendering of several cells in a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/dani3315

Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?

01/02/2019

Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities.
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Photo: Preview picture of video

From algorithm to rapid test – Artificial Intelligence classifies blood cells

21/11/2018

Our blood reveals a lot about our physical health. The shape of our blood cells sheds light on several hereditary diseases for example. For a diagnosis, the cells must first be examined under the microscope and categorized into a specific cell class. We met with Dr. Stephan Quint and Alexander Kihm of the Institute of Physics at the Saarland University, who explained how this classification works.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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"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.
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