Wearable skin to monitor health conditions

Australian engineers at Monash University have developed a stretchable skin that can be used to monitor a wide variety of medical conditions. The electronic skin contains sensors that send signals to smartphones. The thin bandaid-like ‘wearable skin’ is made from gold and is highly stretchable. The wearability of the electronic skin means it can be used to track a range of health issues, including blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. www.sbs.com.au/news/australians-develop-new-wearable-skin-to-monitor-health-conditions?

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A better way to mend broken bones

Broken bones are often mended with metal plates or screws, but metal was never designed to be part of the body. A groundbreaking 3D-printed ceramic alternative has now been developed. The material mimics the property of bone, acting as a scaffold on which the body can regenerate new bone, then gradually degrading. Trials have shown that it may actually kick-start new bone growth. Once the product becomes widely available, it could provide better treatment options for millions of people worldwide who suffer bone loss due to injury, infection, disease or abnormal skeletal development. https://www.australiaunlimited.com/science/hala-zreiqat

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Help on stairs for people who need it!

Help on stairs for people who need it!

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Spinal cord implant helps people walk again

The Guardian reports, “A small group of paraplegic patients have once again been able to take steps after researchers implanted a device to electrically stimulate their spinal cords. Two separate teams of scientists have revealed for the first time that the technique, together with physical training, has allowed three out of the five people treated to walk again after losing all voluntary movement below the site of an injury.” https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/sep/24/revolutionary-spinal-cord-implant-helps-paralysed-patients-walk-again?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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A NFP generic drug company

A group of major American hospitals, battered by price spikes on old drugs and long-lasting shortages of critical medicines, has launched a mission-driven, not-for-profit generic drug company, Civica Rx, to take some control over the drug supply. Backed by seven large health systems and three philanthropic groups, the new venture will be led by an industry insider who refuses to draw a salary. The company will focus initially on establishing price transparency and stable supplies for 14 generic drugs used in hospitals, without pressure from shareholders to issue dividends or push a stock price higher. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/hospitals-are-fed-up-with-drug-companies-so-theyre-starting-their-own/2018/09/05/61c27ec4-b111-11e8-9a6a-565d92a3585d_story.html?

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Personalised cancer therapy

CAR-T is a novel way of treating cancer that is “personalised”. It involves giving patients genetically modified immune cells. Cells are taken from a sample of the patient’s blood and reprogrammed in the lab to create ones that are genetically coded to recognise and destroy the cancer cells. It has been shown in trials to cure some patients, even those with advanced cancers where other treatments have failed. It is the first in what is expected to be a rapidly expanding class of personalised cancer therapies available, initially for children, on the NHS in the UK. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45407514?

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Faster detection of leukemia

A key part of diagnosing blood cancers is done by detecting abnormal chromosomes inside leukaemia cells. Now a new technique, pioneered by Wendy Erber, Kathy Fuller and Henry Hui from the University of Western Australia, will allow these diagnoses to be made more efficiently. The method is the first of its kind and can detect one leukaemia cell in a population of 10,000 normal cells. The trio won the Innovative Use of Technology Eureka Prize due to the sophisticated nature of their work. It will help in predicting the best treatment for a patient and the likely outcome.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-08-29/eureka-prizes-2018-five-awesome-innovations-australian-research/10179328?

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Putting cancer cells into a permanent sleep

Australian scientists have discovered a new type of anti-cancer drug that can put cancer cells into a permanent sleep, without the harmful side-effects caused by conventional cancer therapies. By targeting specific proteins researchers have been able to develop a small molecule that inhibits their activity. The process can stop tumour growth and spread without damaging the cells’ DNA. . Conventional cancer therapies (like chemotherapy and radiotherapy) cause irreversible DNA damage as they target both cancer cells and healthy cells. The DNA damage can result in short-term and long-term side effects such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss and susceptibility to infection, as well as infertility and increased risk of other cancers developing. This new class of anti-cancer drugs simply puts the cancer cells into a permanent sleep. https://blog.csiro.au/time-for-bed-anti-cancer-drug-putting-cancer-cells-into-a-permanent-sleep/

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A breakthrough in detecting early stage stomach cancer

Two Japanese national research institutes have succeeded in using artificial intelligence to identify early stage stomach cancer with a high accuracy rate. The breakthrough should help extend the lives of patients in Japan in particular, where stomach cancer is one of the leading causes of death. Stomach cancer causes few symptoms and is often found only after it reaches an advanced stage. At an early stage, even specialists have a difficult time distinguishing the cancer from inflammation. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/22/national/science-health/japanese-researchers-use-ai-identify-early-stage-stomach-cancer-high-accuracy/#.W1Vk-aR_XDs

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