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

MEDICA Newsletter

Social Media

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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
Image: point-of-care diagnostic system; Copyright: NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology

Portable COVID-19 diagnostic system for rapid on-site testing

29/06/2020

COVID-19 screening can soon be conducted directly at various testing stations, and patients can get their test results in about an hour from the time they get a nasal swab. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a portable COVID-19 micro-PCR diagnostic system that enables rapid and accurate on-site screening of infectious diseases.
Read more
Graphic: Low-oxygen cell culture conditions combined with human heart organoids recreate tissue-level features of a post-heart attack heart; Copyright: Dr. Dylan Richards

Tissue Engineering: heart attack in a dish

16/06/2020

A team of investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Clemson University recently reported in an article in Nature Biomedical Engineering that they have developed human cardiac organoids less than 1 millimeter in diameter that closely resemble the physiological conditions that occur during a heart attack.
Read more
Image: 3D-printed tissue; Copyright: University of Colorado Denver

3D-printable material that mimics biological tissues

12/06/2020

Biological tissues have evolved over millennia to be perfectly optimized for their specific functions. Take cartilage as an example. It's a compliant, elastic tissue that's soft enough to cushion joints, but strong enough to resist compression and withstand the substantial load bearing of our bodies: key for running, jumping, and our daily wear and tear.
Read more
Image: Microneedles attached to a strip of tape; Copyright: Khademhosseini Lab

Delivering stem cells for localized MSC therapy

10/06/2020

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent in that they naturally replenish the cell types that build our bone, cartilage and adipose tissues. However, their much broader regenerative potential, based on their capacity to migrate and engraft in injured tissues, makes them exquisite candidates for cell-based therapies for diseases.
Read more
Image: Microscope image of black fibers on white ground; Copyright: Johanna Zech

Ultra-thin fibers designed to protect nerves after brain surgery

05/06/2020

The drug nimodipine could prevent nerve cells from dying after brain surgery. Pharmacists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), in cooperation with neurosurgeons at University Hospital Halle (Saale) (UKH), have developed a new method that enables the drug to be administered directly in the brain with fewer side effects.
Read more
Image: A physician points to a screen showing an ultrasound image; Copyright: M. Jooss

Imaging: high-resolution 3D view inside breast tumors

01/06/2020

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. But individual tumors can vary significantly, presenting different spatial patterns within their mass. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Helmholtz Zentrum München have now succeeded in visualizing spatial changes within tumors by means of optoacoustics. This method may be helpful for the future development of new drugs.
Read more
Image: feet bones; Copyright: Texas A&M University College of Engineering

Bioprinting: 3D-functional bone tissues

20/05/2020

Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, associate professor, has developed a highly printable bioink as a platform to generate anatomical-scale functional tissues. This study was recently published in the American Chemical Society's Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Read more
Image: Tube being filled in a laboratory setting; Copyright: UEF/ Raija Törrönen

Boost cancer treatment with new LAT1 inhibitor

18/05/2020

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have developed a new and promising drug compound for the treatment of cancer that inhibits natural amino acids from entering cancer cells. Since amino acids are essential for the growth and division of cancer cells, the new LAT1 inhibitor makes it possible to inhibit their growth. The study was published in the journal Apoptosis.
Read more
Image: Woman pointing at data on a monitor; Copyright: Nathan L. Galli, University of Utah

Pattern found in tumors predicts life expectancy

18/05/2020

For the past 70 years, the best indicator of life expectancy for a patient with glioblastoma (GBM) has simply been age at diagnosis. Now, an international team of scientists has experimentally validated a predictor that is not only more accurate but also more clinically relevant: a pattern of co-occurring changes in DNA abundance levels.
Read more
Image: Smiling man with a brown beard and short brown hair - Sergey Shevkoplyas; Copyright: University of Houston

Microfluidic device in development to treat babies with blood disorders

12/05/2020

With severe blood disorders, such as leukemia, doctors often rely on leukapheresis, a procedure in which large machines extract whole blood from patients to separate white blood cells from the rest of the blood, which is then returned back to the patient.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
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