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

Non-invasive tests to provide quicker diagnosis of endometriosis

Endometriosis, where the lining of the womb grows elsewhere in the pelvis, affects around one in 10 women.

Non-surgical ways of detecting endometriosis, such as blood tests, could reduce the time taken for a diagnosis, and researchers hope it will have a significant impact on the quality of life of women who live with the complex and painful condition. Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting an estimated 10% of women of reproductive age in … Read more

Worms may hold the secret to longer life

The regenerative abilities of the flatworm Macrostomum lignano serve as a model for how humans might regenerate tissues.

by Gareth Willmer Research into the remarkable regenerative powers of worms and the insights they can give into battling diseases could help humans live longer and healthier lives. Humans have long dreamed of finding the secret to eternal youth, but despite the benefits of better living conditions and modern medicine, time still takes its unrelenting … Read more

3D-printed living tissues could spell the end of arthritis

Arthritis breaks down the cartilage between joints, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.

by Ethan Bilby Bioinks containing stem cells are being used to 3D print living tissues that can be inserted into the body and provoke a damaged joint to heal itself. It’s a development that could reduce the discomfort and pain of the one in 10 people who will suffer from arthritis over their lifetime. Arthritis … Read more