Posts Tagged ‘Biology

26
Jul
10

High-Def Body Scanner Spots Heart Problems Early

NEWS
High-Def Body Scanner Spots Heart Problems Early

HD Scanner Spots Flaws Before Heart Attacks: Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital Use GE Healthcare Device

Monday, July 26, 2010

••• A new high definition body scanner is giving U.K. doctors the clearest ever view inside the human body – helping them spot problems before people suffer heart attacks, Sky News reported Today.
The scanner generates pictures of diseased arteries in the heart that are twice as clear as older machines.

It means doctors at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital in the South West of England can identify problems at an early stage, long before patients suffer a heart attack or even develop any symptoms.


It’s brilliant. It’s a relief there is no structural problem for the chest pain, so I can get on with life now.
John Hughes, after a HD scan on his heart.

“When we started doing the heart research in 2002, we used to struggle to see the blood vessels, let alone see the narrowings within them,” Professor of radiology, Carl Roobottom, said. “Now, we have a technique that can see to within a fraction of a millimeter.”
In just five seconds, the scanner takes 220 X-rays, each of them a cross section of the heart. Computers then turn the raw snapshots into a 3D image.
Doctors can add color to distinguish between different types of tissue, strip away layers that obscure problem areas, and rotate or flip the image to get the best possible view.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): Sky News / BskyB / News Corporation
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20
Jul
10

“Microneedle” Skin Patch May Replace Flu Shot

NEWS
“Microneedle” Skin Patch May Replace Flu Shot

Disappearing Needles: Vaccine-Delivery Patch with Dissolving Microneedles Eliminates “Sharps” Waste and Improves Protection

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

••• Traditional flu jabs may be rendered obsolete by a hi-tech skin patch which delivers vaccine painlessly through scores of tiny needles.

The patch could revolutionize pandemic control by allowing vaccines to be self-administered, scientists in the U.S. say.

The patch can be easily used at home by someone with no medical training.

When the patch is applied to the skin, its hundred ‘microneedles’ – each measuring just over half a millimetre – deliver the vaccine and simply dissolve away.

The needle arrays are made from a plastic-like polymer that is known to be safe for use in the body. What remains is a water-soluble backing that can safely be discarded.

The head of the research team, professor Mark Prausnitz, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta said: ‘We have shown that a dissolving microneedle patch can vaccinate against influenza at least as well, and probably better than, a traditional hypodermic needle.’

Tests on mice showed that vaccination with the microneedles caused a stronger immune response than an injection by syringe.

The patch could aid mass-immunization in poor parts of the world. It could help to avoid infections such as HIV and hepatitis B that are often spread by re-use of dirty hypodermic needles.

‘We envision people getting the patch in the mail or at a pharmacy and then self-administering it at home,’ said Dr Sean Sullivan, another member of the Georgia team.

‘Because the microneedles on the patch dissolve away into the skin, there would be no dangerous sharp needles left over.’

Other vaccines could be applied with the same technique, the scientists believe.

The cost of mass-produced patches are estimated to be about the same as conventional jabs. But the reduced need for personnel may bring the overall cost of immunization programmes down.

The patch will still have to undergo patient trials to assure its safety and effectiveness before being made generally available.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): Georgia Institute of Technology
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20
May
10

Scientists create artificial life in laboratory

NEWS
Scientists create artificial life in laboratory

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Science

••• U.S. scientists have developed the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome, in a breakthrough which may lead to creating bacteria to clean up environmental problems, a new study shows.
‘This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made,’ said lead researcher Craig Venter on Thursday.

‘We call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesiser, starting with information in a computer.’

Now the method could be used to design bacteria specifically to help produce biofuels or to clean up environmental hazards, said the study carried out by the J. Craig Venter Institute, and published in the journal Science.
‘This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications (in mind),’ said Venter, co-author of the first sequencing of the human genome in 2000.

Venter’s team announced in 2008 that it had chemically synthesised a bacterial genome, and transplanted the genome of one bacterium to another to recreate the complete genome of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium.

Thursday’s announcement builds on the team’s earlier work.

Potential applications include producing algae to clean up carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, or making new clean energy hydrocarbons for refineries.

Researchers also hope to work on techniques to speed up the production of vaccines and to make new food ingredients and chemical substances.
Related: Venter team creates first synthetic living cell
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): John Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and Sky News / British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. (BSkyB) / News Corp.
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