Medicine harnesses the might of the immune system to defeat prostate cancer.
By Carina StorrsPosted 01.21.2011 at 10:58 am 0 Comments
Doctors have been trying to enlist the immune system of patients in the battle against cancer since at least 1893, when physician William Coley of New York Cancer Hospital injected bacteria into a patient’s body in the hopes that it would spur the immune system to fight the bacterial infection and cancer cells alike. The tumor disappeared, and the patient lived for another 26 years. But immunotherapy was eclipsed by radiation and chemotherapy, which showed more-immediate and reproducible results.
For more than a decade, researchers have touted stem cells as the most promising advance in medicine since antibiotics. And this winter, when President Obama lifted the Bush administration's ban on federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, talking heads buzzed that his decision could bring scientists that much closer to cures — not just treatments — for conditions like heart failure, spinal-cord injuries and Alzheimer's disease. Biologists around the world toasted their new prospects with champagne. "Lifting the ban will free us up to use additional cell lines," says Jack Kessler, director of the Feinberg Neuroscience Institute at Northwestern University. "It's very important for science."
Last year, U.S. airlines canceled 21,000 flights. Or rather, a small cadre of guys canceled 21,000 flights. Every gate agent reports up the ladder at a given airline to a set of command-center managers. We spoke with a few of the people who make the big decisions to learn what factors influence whether they cancel a flight.
Almost 100,000 people languish on organ-transplant waiting lists. But new tissue-fabrication techniques should make swapping in a man-made liver as easy as snapping Lego bricks into place.
Blood vesselsMethod: 3-D printer
When: 5 years
Gabor Forgacs, a tissue engineer at the University of Missouri, is making blood-vessel networks by culturing three types of vessel cells and loading them into a fridge-size bioprinter. This machine prints out the cells to build capillaries in preprogrammed patterns.
Epigenetics is the idea that, contrary to decades of genetic theory, your genetic code isn’t the only thing that controls how your cells behave. Scientists now realize that chemicals and other environmental influences that can modify the physical structure of your DNA are at least as important as the actual genetic code. Even more surprising, these modifications are inheritable. It’s possible, for example, that your grandmother’s poor diet could affect your own health by making your DNA harder to read for the proteins that help maintain cellular functions.
Whether it's the blue, ragged fingernails of a heroin-overdose victim or the scaly skin of someone poisoned by arsenic, a corpse bears signs that unveil the secrets behind its life and death. Right now, 40,000 John and Jane Does wait in morgues. Although accident and murder victims are 15 to 30 times as likely to be autopsied as those who die of natural causes, even run-of-the-mill autopsies can yield important information on how a person died. This data has important implications for public health and safety and the legislation that governs those areas of interest.
Every animal has its rep. Rats are dirty; monkeys are cheeky; bats are blind. As anyone who's known an incurious cat can verify, though, these stereotypes are often false.
Here, modern scientific research takes a closer look at the truth about our animal friends.
The worst solar-storm season in half a century starts this year. These fiery explosions-which unleash as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs-could, under the right conditions, black out cities and fry satellites. But new solar scopes can give us advance warning
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 05.30.2007 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Last December, a colossal wave swept across the entire solar surface within minutes, bulldozing everything in its path. The rare tsunami-like shockwave formed on the heels of a major flare that erupted from an Earth-size sunspot 15 minutes earlier. Though that storm didn't have a major impact on Earth, we aren't always so lucky.