Tag: Biochemistry

Electromagnetic fields may hinder spread of breast cancer cells: Early findings in lab show reduced ability of cells to migrate

Electromagnetic fields might help prevent some breast cancers from spreading to other parts of the body, new research has found. The study showed that low intensity electromagnetic fields hindered the mobility of specific breast cancer cells by preventing the formation of long, thin extensions at the edge of a migrating cancer cell. The research was

How a popular antidepressant drug could rewire the brain

Prozac®, the trade name for the drug fluoxetine, was introduced to the U.S. market for the treatment of depression in 1988. Thirty years later, scientists still don’t know exactly how the medication exerts its mood-lifting effects. Now, researchers report that, in addition to the drug’s known action on serotonin receptors, fluoxetine could rearrange nerve fibers

New method for engineering metabolic pathways: Two approaches provide faster way to create complex molecules

Cells are incredibly adept at creating complex molecules, like therapeutics, and can do so much better than many of our best factories. Synthetic biologists look to re-engineer cells to make these molecules for specific needs, including pharmaceuticals and energy applications. But the trial-and-error process is difficult and time-consuming, and often competes with the cell’s other

Visualizing better cancer treatment: Researchers engineer a protein micelle that can be visualized by MRI as it delivers hemotherapeutics

A team of researchers from New York University has engineered nanoscale protein micelles capable of both delivering chemotherapeutic drugs and of being tracked by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The innovation falls into the category of “theranostics,” meaning that it combines diagnostic capability and drug delivery, allowing researchers to administer therapy while also non-invasively monitoring the

New micro-platform reveals cancer cells’ natural behavior

A new cell culture platform allows researchers to observe never-before-seen behaviors of live cancer cells under the microscope, leading to explanations of long-known cancer characteristics. The easy-to-produce platform developed by Hokkaido University researchers offers cancer cells micro-scale attachment sites that elicit never-before-seen behaviors highly relevant to cancer’s clinical properties. The observation of these behaviors shed

Artificial cells are tiny bacteria fighters

“Lego block” artificial cells that can kill bacteria have been created by researchers at the University of California, Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering. The work is reported Aug. 29 in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. “We engineered artificial cells from the bottom-up — like Lego blocks — to destroy bacteria,” said Assistant Professor

Mapping out cancer’s movements

Cancer researchers struggle to identify tumor cells that are interspersed within nonmalignant tissues because tumor cells exploit the tissue environment and monopolize available resources to continue growing. Researchers attribute cancer cell’s ability to use cell signaling and metabolic pathways that override normal cell growth restrictions to complicated chemical exchanges between tissue and tumor cells. A

Massive effort yields image-based cell sorting technology

Invented over 50 years ago, flow cytometry-based cell sorting has become a widely used tool in biology labs for physically isolating cells based on their global surface marker expression profiles. But on August 27 in the journal Cell, an international, multi-institutional team of researchers unveil the next evolution in this critical process, “Image-Activated Cell Sorting,”

Keeping cancer out of breath blocks drug resistance

A new combination of existing drugs shows promise that it could reduce the size of cancerous tumors much more effectively than current treatments. As cancer patients know all too well, many highly effective anti-cancer drugs don’t stay effective long. Most tumors will become drug resistant over time as their cells rapidly mutate. Chemists from The

Bioengineers use magnetic force to manage pain: Early work demonstrates promise of ‘mechanoceuticals’

UCLA bioengineers have demonstrated that a gel-like material containing tiny magnetic particles could be used to manage chronic pain from disease or injury. Broadly, the study demonstrates the promising use of biomechanical forces that push and pull on cells to treat disease. “Much of mainstream modern medicine centers on using pharmaceuticals to make chemical or

A 3-D model of a human heart ventricle: Bioengineers build a scale model of a heart ventricle that beats, survives for months in the lab

Harvard University researchers have bioengineered a three-dimensional model of a human left heart ventricle that could be used to study diseases, test drugs and develop patient-specific treatments for heart conditions such as arrhythmia. The tissue is engineered with a nanofiber scaffold seeded with human heart cells. The scaffold acts like a 3D template, guiding the

Inexpensive detector is like ‘Velcro®’ for cancer cells

Researchers have developed a new type of sensor that acts like Velcro® for prostate cancer cells, sticking them to a modified frosted glass slide, like those used in science classes, so that they can be identified from blood samples. The low-cost method, reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, could help doctors better diagnose and

Synthetic ’tissues’ build themselves: Biologists program cells to self-organize into 3D-structures in a first step towards tissues that regrow and self-repair

How do complex biological structures — an eye, a hand, a brain — emerge from a single fertilized egg? This is the fundamental question of developmental biology, and a mystery still being grappled with by scientists who hope to one day apply the same principles to heal damaged tissues or regrow ailing organs. Now, in

Cellular valve structure opens up potential novel therapies

Human cells are enclosed by membranes and are in osmotic equilibrium with their environment. If the concentration of solute molecules (osmolarity) in the fluid surrounding the cells decreases, cells start to swell; in extreme cases, this can result in the cells bursting. To avoid this, cells activate volume-regulated chloride channels (VRACs) of the LRRC8 protein

CRISPR/Cas9 silences gene associated with high cholesterol: Technique allowed researchers to reduce blood cholesterol levels in adult mice for six months following a single treatment

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have used a CRISPR/Cas9 genetic engineering technique to turn off a gene that regulates cholesterol levels in adult mice, leading to reduced blood cholesterol levels and gene repression lasting for six months after a single treatment. This marks the first time researchers have delivered CRISPR/Cas9 repressors for targeted therapeutic gene

Organoids created from patients’ bladder cancers could guide treatment: Custom 3-D mini-tumors mimic individual patient’s cancer

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and NewYork-Presbyterian researchers have created patient-specific bladder cancer organoids that mimic many of the characteristics of actual tumors. The use of organoids, tiny 3-D spheres derived from a patient’s own tumor, may be useful in the future to guide treatment of patients. The study was published today in the

Molecular details of protein crystal nucleation uncovered

A team of researchers led by Dr. Mike Sleutel from the VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology in collaboration with scientists from the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems of the Eindhoven University of Technology, and the CNRS in Grenoble, have for the first time uncovered the molecular details of protein crystal nucleation, a process with great