Scientists have produced an antibiotic, whose biological activity can be controlled with light. Thanks to the robust diarylethene photoswitch, the antimicrobial effect of the peptide mimetic can be applied in a spatially and temporally specific manner.
The compound uses natural enzymes instead of the traditional chemical reagents, is biodegradable, and involves no environmental impact. Most important, it is easily applicable in the production process and requires no additional investment.
When a heart gets damaged, such as during a major heart attack, there's no easy fix. But scientists working on a way to repair the vital organ have now engineered tissue that closely mimics natural heart muscle that beats, not only in a lab dish but also when implanted into animals.
As some countries and companies roll out new rules to limit animal testing in pharmaceutical products designed for people, scientists are stepping in with a new way to test therapeutic drug candidates and determine drug safety and drug interactions - without using animals.
The University of California, Berkeley, and UC San Francisco are launching the Innovative Genomics Initiative (to lead a revolution in genetic engineering based on a new technology already generating novel strategies for gene therapy and the genetic study of disease.
In response to drug-resistant superbugs that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, 'molecular drill bits' that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls.
Capitalizing on the ability of an organism to evolve in response to punishment from a hostile environment, scientists have coaxed the model bacterium Escherichia coli to dramatically resist ionizing radiation and, in the process, reveal the genetic mechanisms that make the feat possible.
Studying epithelial cells, the cell type that most commonly turns cancerous, Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a protein that causes cells to release from their neighbors and migrate away from healthy mammary, or breast, tissue in mice. They also found that deletion of a cellular 'Velcro protein' does not cause the single-celled migration expected. Their results, they say, help clarify the molecular changes required for cancer cells to metastasize.
From genetic and genomic testing to new techniques in human assisted reproduction, various technologies are providing parents with more of a say about the children they have and 'stirring the pot of designer baby concerns', writes Thomas H. Murray, President Emeritus of The Hastings Center, in a commentary in Science.
Engineers have found that an electrical current can be used to orchestrate the flow of a group of cells. This achievement sets the stage for more controlled forms of tissue engineering and for potential applications such as 'smart bandages' that use electrical stimulation to help heal wounds.