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Nature's elegant solution to repairing DNA in cancer, other conditions

A major discovery about an enzyme's structure has opened a window on understanding DNA repair. Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have determined the structure of a nuclease that will help scientists to understand several DNA repair pathways, a welcome development for cancer research.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Diamond centre defect helps scientists measure electrical fields

Scientists recognise how important a role electrical fields play in nature and technical areas. By adjusting these fields, the transmission of nerve impulses becomes possible and the operation of modern data storage is fulfilled by saving electrical charges (so-called Flash Memories). What researchers have not been able to do is get an ultra-precise reading of electrical fields by using physical measurement techniques. Until now, that is. With the help of one single defect centre in diamond, scientists at the University of Stuttgart in Germany successfully measured electrical fields.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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First Sino-EU symposium on nanotechnology in consumer products

As a follow-up of the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection and the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine (CIAQ), signed in June 2010, the first Sino-EU Symposium on nanotechnology in consumer products was held on 14-15 April 2011 in Beijing.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Dissecting the intracellular transport mechanism

Researchers have now deciphered how one of the intracellular transport complexes from yeast cells recognizes its cargo mRNA and initiates assembly. The new findings might also be applicable to higher organisms, where transport processes are especially critical for cell function.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Optogenetic technology holds promise for treating human blindness

There is currently no cure for retinitis pigmentosa, but scientists are working on ways to restore vision by making other cells of the retina, which are spared by the disease, sensitive to light. In a new study of mice, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) used technology developed by a consortium of institutions, including MIT, to do just that. By inducing light sensitivity in other cells of the retina, they brought back enough vision for the mice to navigate a maze.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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The 3D nanoscanner

The flat surface of a silicon wafer is not smooth at all. Scientists of the EU research project Pronano have built a new tool that allows them to visualise the nano-scale of it. And now the smooth surface looks like a mountain range.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Discovery of new ordered structures of a liquid crystal

Researchers have found theoretically that a regular lattice of Skyrmions, whose role in solid state systems such as ferromagnets has been attracting great interest, can form in a thin confined liquid crystal, a system completely different from solid state systems.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Tiny gems take big step in battling cancer

Chemotherapy drug resistance contributes to treatment failure in more than 90 percent of metastatic cancers. Overcoming this hurdle would significantly improve cancer survival rates. Dean Ho, of Northwestern University, believes a tiny carbon particle called a nanodiamond may offer an effective drug delivery solution for hard-to-treat cancers.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Nanoscale approaches to designing contrast agents for cancer detection

The effectiveness of optical imaging processes can be significantly improved with suitable dyes used as contrast agents. Now, researchers have introduced a novel contrast agent that marks tumor cells in vitro. The dye is a phosphorescent ruthenium complex incorporated into nanoparticles of a metal-organic coordination polymer, which allows an extraordinarily high level of dye loading.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Detecting single cancer cells with carbon nanotubes

A multidisciplinary team of investigators at Harvard and MIT have created a new device that can detect single cancer cells in a blood sample, potentially allowing doctors to quickly determine whether cancer has spread from its original site. The microfluidic device is about the size of a dime, and could also detect cancer-causing viruses such as hepatitis B and C and the human papilloma virus.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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Researchers now one step closer to controlled engineering of nanocatalysts

Yu Huang, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and her research team have proposed and demonstrated a new approach to producing nanocrystals with predictable shapes by utilizing surfactants, biomolecules that can bind selectively to certain facets of the crystals' exposed surfaces.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2011

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