Q&A: How coronavirus is putting a spotlight on sex differences in medicine

More than six months into the coronavirus crisis, data show that not just age, but also biological sex plays a pivotal role in the manifestation and response to Covid-19, with more men dying from acute infections versus women in the short term. This discrepancy has shined a spotlight on a key theme that has gained traction in … Read more

Nobel prize winner: Oxygen regulation discoveries are starting to lead to new anaemia, cancer drugs

Basic research into hypoxia is helping to find mechanisms that would starve cancer of the oxygen it needs to grow. Image credit - Nephron, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Vittoria D’Alessio Drugs that activate or block the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery to treat conditions such as anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and cancer are being made possible because we now understand the way that cells respond to oxygen deprivation, according to Sir Peter Ratcliffe, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel … Read more

Nanovehicles that mimic nature could deliver treatments of the future

This micro-swimmer encased in a soft hydrogel-like material has fins that are mobile and can expand and contract when stimulated. Such structures could in the future be used to deliver treatments inside the human body. Image credit - Dr Florea (TBC)

Tiny vehicles up to 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair that are cloaked in biological camouflage could provide new ways of treating cancer with fewer side-effects. Over billions of years nature has perfected ingenious ways for biological cells to move around their environment and harmlessly transport packages of chemicals between one … Read more

Can we reverse antibiotic resistance?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have had their antibiotic resistance reversed in Prof. Almqvist's lab. Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0

by Vittoria D’Alessio In the battle against antibiotic resistance, some scientists are trying a new approach: re-sensitising bacteria to drugs they no longer respond to so that existing antibiotics can hit their target once more. ‘This is a sustainable and straightforward approach to the problem of antibiotic resistance,’ said Fredrik Almqvist, professor of organic chemistry … Read more

Non-antibiotic cures for cows could speed up treatments for people

Mastitis, a bacterial infection that leads to inflammation of a cow's mammary glands and udders, has long been a scourge of the dairy industry. Image credit - Tomasz Jagielski, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Gareth Willmer As the global antibiotic resistance crisis grows, chemical-based aerosol sprays and electrical signals to wake up the immune system are being developed to treat cow infections. These non-antibiotic therapies for livestock could also help to limit the spread of antibiotic resistance through the human food chain. The animal sector, which uses drugs … Read more

Antibiotic resistance: How did we get here?

When bacteria develop antibiotic resistance (in the dish on the right), they can grow even in the presence of antibiotics (in the white discs). Image credit - Dr Graham Beards, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Finding ways to enlist the bacteria living in our bodies to defend against infections while better understanding their role in promoting antibiotic resistance are key to fighting this growing problem, says Dr Nassos Typas, a microbiologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Antibiotic resistance is now regarded as one of the largest … Read more