Tissue engineering is no quick fix for kidney disease, but early intervention can help

Kidney disease often lacks symptoms until it is at an advanced stage.

by Frieda Klotz Recent advances in kidney research have yielded dramatic headlines touting scientists’ ability to grow kidneys in the lab. But some experts worry that hype about tissue engineering is excessively raising patients’ hopes. In 2013, US scientists announced that they had grown kidneys that could process urine in rats. The announcement was hailed as potentially … Read more

Memory-jogging robot to keep people sharp in ‘smart’ retirement homes

Sensors placed throughout a retirement home helped the ENRICHME robot to keep track of the movements and activities of residents taking part in the project’s trial.

A robot that reminds older people where they have put things and helps them exercise has been used by residents in three retirement homes in a trial to combat cognitive decline in later age. Almost a fifth of the European population are over 65 years old, but while quality of life for this age bracket is … Read more

Family’s grief sparks a quest for better bladder cancer cures

Millions of lives are lost to cancer due to late detection so scientists are working on better ways of diagnosing the disease.

‘Invasive and uncomfortable’ prodedures for detecting if someone has bladder cancer could be replaced by urine tests that not only screen for the presence of the disease but also help doctors choose the right course of treatment for a particular patient. ‘Our lives literally came to a stop when my mother was diagnosed with cancer,’ said … Read more

Mini-brains offer hope in search for new drugs for brain disorders

Cerebral organoids allow scientists to test new drugs on human brain tissue in labs.

Miniature brains grown in laboratory dishes could overcome some of the problems testing drugs on animals and help researchers identify new ways to treat very human, and incurable, conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Most new drugs are developed and tested using mice as models. However, with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, the animals never … Read more

Finding drugs that are safe to take while pregnant

Uncertainty about the effects that many medications can have on the unborn child leave a large number of pregnant women with untreated conditions.

by Frieda Klotz Expectant mothers often face a dilemma about whether to take medication when they fall ill due to fears it might harm their unborn baby, but new research is unravelling which drugs are safe to take during pregnancy. Pregnant women are excluded from trials of new medications for ethical reasons, which has led … Read more