CEP: News Update

December
,
2017

Gene-drive systems have the potential to control wild populations of invasive species, prevent the spread of insects that carry pathogens (e.g., mosquitos), and even eliminate herbicide resistance in plants. Despite their incredible potential, two scientists are issuing a warning against using self-propagating gene drives for animal conservation purposes.

Exposure to long carbon nanotubes can cause mesothelioma — the same form of incurable lung cancer caused by exposure to long-fiber asbestos, according to a new long-term study on mice.

Traditionally, extracting and amplifying DNA from a biological sample has required a series of complex and cumbersome steps that can only be performed in a laboratory. Now, Univ. of Queensland researchers — led by Jimmy Botella, professor of plant biotechnology, and Michael Mason, a postdoctoral research fellow — have developed a dipstick that can capture and purify nucleic acids from a wide range of plant, animal, and microbe samples without specialized equipment.

Technology more than 4,000 years old just got an optical upgrade. A new take on the abacus uses light pulses and nanoscale phase-change materials (PCMs) to do simple arithmetic and store the results simultaneously. The photonic abacus may not replace the computing architecture of your Mac or PC, but it could offer advantages for optical switching in information transfer.

Medical researchers have long searched for a method of circumventing the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in order to more effectively deliver therapeutic compounds to the central nervous system (CNS) and brain. Now, a team of scientists from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a step-by-step approach to recreate brain endothelial cells in the lab, which will allow researchers to more easily study drug transport across the BBB.

Nanoparticles that assemble into tubes and ellipsoids instead of spheres could streamline the delivery of anticancer drugs into tumor cells.

A skin patch dotted with microneedles can deliver a dose of melanoma-preventing immunotherapy to the skin. Its secret ingredient? Melanin, the dark pigment found in skin, hair, and eyes.

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