Want to cure disease? Repurpose the body’s cells

Implanting stem cells from elsewhere in the body can help reverse organ damage.

If one part of the body breaks, can you just replace it with cells from another organ? That’s the hope of stem cell scientists who are reprogramming cells to treat major conditions such as incontinence and heart failure. Millions of Europeans are affected by stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which can have a devastating effect on … Read more

Healthy competition intensifies 30-year quest for HIV vaccine

If the research teams manage to reproduce a response that produces antibodies against all strains of HIV, they could create a universal vaccine.

by Frieda Klotz In 1984, after HIV was identified as the cause of AIDS, the US secretary of health, Margaret Heckler, declared a vaccine would be found within two years. Reports of a mysterious virus predominantly affecting gay men had been growing across the US and, with awareness rising, the World Health Organization had held … Read more

Rise in vaccine hesitancy related to pursuit of purity – Prof. Heidi Larson

Europe is the most sceptical region in the world when it comes to vaccines, according to the vaccine confidence index.

The rise of alternative health practices and a quest for purity can partly explain the falling confidence in vaccines which is driving outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, according to Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision medicine at the UK’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is working to understand … Read more

Large surface area lends superpowers to ultra-porous materials

Metal-organic frameworks as seen under an electron microscope are made up of crystals that together shape multi-dimensional structures with vast surface areas. Image credit - CSIRO/ Dr Paolo Falcaro, Dr Dario Buso, licensed under CC BY 3.0 (color changed)

Some materials are special not for what they contain, but for what they don’t contain. Such is the case with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – ultra-porous structures that are being developed for a variety of future applications from fire-proofing to drug-delivery. MOFs are, in fact, the most porous materials known to humankind. One metal-organic framework, so-called NU-110, has … Read more

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