Lab-grown tissues to improve reliability of safety tests for drugs, chemicals

This human liver organoid gives researchers hope that animal-based studies about drug safety will be a method of the past one day.

by Natalie Grover Testing the safety of medicines and chemicals on organ-like structures developed from various types of stem cells could reduce the reliance on animal testing and streamline chemical and drug development, according to scientists in the Netherlands who are in the early stages of developing such technology.  Tissues such as the intestine and … Read more

Europe’s silent opioid epidemic

Codeine addiction is a widespread problem which can be hard to diagnose, study says.

As opiate addiction continues to grip the United States – killing more than 100 people per day in 2016 – researchers are trying to get a handle on the scale of the problem in Europe. The US is grappling with a major crisis driven by dependency on opioid painkillers such as fentanyl. These highly addictive prescription drugs are … Read more

Genetic profiling could improve IVF success

There are three sources of variability in fertility - genetics, the family environment and the individual environment.

by Frieda Klotz Genetic profiling could help determine whether an embryo created through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is likely to successfully transfer to the womb, increasing the success rate of the procedure. It’s part of a field of work looking at the role of genetics in fertility. ‘Understanding why some people do not have children, and … Read more

Ultrafine pollution particles create air of menace

As many as 6.5 million premature deaths every year are attributed to air pollution, according to the World Health Organization.

An air quality study has for the first time detected nano-sized particles of air pollution in children’s urine. With a diameter of just 100 nanometers – a thousandth of the width of a human hair – these ultrafine particles are the smallest particles found in air pollution and have been linked to heart disease and respiratory conditions … Read more

Omics, sweet omics – curing the incurable, one disease at a time

In recent years, the genetic defects behind about 5,000 of the estimated 7,000-8,000 rare diseases have been discovered, largely thanks to omics.

There are many rare genetic diseases that strike perhaps only one in a million people. Often incurable, they can be profoundly debilitating and frequently life-threatening. Though each particular disease is rare, they number in the thousands – which means that together they affect about 30 million Europeans or around 7% of us. Treating these diseases is challenging … Read more