Detecting cancer from a drop of blood

Researchers from the University of Kansas have developed a new type of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip which is optimized for detecting exosomes, the tiny parcels of biological information that carry important instructions for tumor growth. In recent years, biologists have mapped exosome behavior to detect cancer. This new device significantly improves exosome detection. It can produce these microfluidic sensors in a cheaper, easier and faster way.. https://www.futurity.org/cancer-blood-lab-on-a-chip-1992392/

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Birth control for mosquitoes voted top idea at Ashurst Boardroom Lunch

Three ideas from IdeaSpies were presented by Rachel Tate at the Ashurst March 2019 Boardroom Lunch. The idea receiving the most votes from directors was birth control for mosquitoes! This idea now goes to the final at the December Boardroom Lunch to select the top idea for the year. www.ideaspies.com/preventing-diseases-by-stopping-mosquitoes-reproduce/.

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A simple blood test for cancer?

Grail is on a quest to detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms, via a single, simple blood test. The test looks at cell-free plasma to find fragments of so-called circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) sloughed off by cancer cells. Detecting cancer sooner – before symptoms – means you can intervene earlier and people are less likely to die. http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/could-we-soon-be-able-to-detect-cancer-in-10-minutes?

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Drugs that delay diabetes

Researchers have found that diabetes could be kept at bay in animals by clearing out defective insulin-producing cells. Drug development has previously been focused on preserving these “beta cells” by preventing the immune system wiping them out, but US researchers say their findings turn this on its head. Their data suggest the problem may not be an immune system gone awry. Instead, perhaps therapies should find a way to do the job the immune system is failing to do: clear the senescent cells early on. http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/paradigm-shift-in-type-1-diabetes-shows-new-drugs-which-could-delay-disease-s-emergence?

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A new treatment that kills cancer in a few hours

This new type of super-precise radiotherapy promises to transform the way we treat certain types of lung cancer, after a Melbourne-led clinical trial revealed the treatment significantly improved survival chances. Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) uses thin beams of radiation to directly attack the tumour. It’s also cheaper than traditional radiotherapy. In this way, the tumour receives a very high dose of radiation and the surrounding tissues largely avoid it, minimising side effects. And patients only need to come to hospital three or four times, rather than regularly over the space of two months. https://www.smh.com.au/national/like-winning-lotto-the-treatment-that-kills-cancer-in-a-few-hours-20190212-p50xdo.html

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Tests that can predict chronic conditions

Currently, most medical treatments are provided to people after the onset of disease symptoms, regardless of their genetic background. As a result, people may receive treatments too late to be effective and, in some cases, unsuitable treatments are administered. Proprietary tests developed by Advanced Genetic Diagnostics, a participant in the CSIRO ON program, can be applied years before the development of chronic disease symptoms. Earlier treatment of high risk people could save lives. They are currently seeking investors to market their test across the globe. www.advancedgenetictests.com

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A new way to treat abscesses

Whilst considered relatively benign, abscesses are a significant precursor to major medical adverse outcomes. Innova Medical, a participant in the CSIRO ON program, has developed a sterile, single use device that offers a complete solution for out-of-theatre management of abscesses; the device comprises skin penetration, drainage, and collection management components in a convenient package. www.inovamedical.com.au

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A vaccine to control the mosquito population and prevent infection

The vaccine could work by creating an anti-saliva immune response in humans that prevents infection. In addition, after the mosquito bites a vaccinated human host, antibodies from the human attack the gut and salivary glands of the mosquito which reduces the survival of the mosquito. If successful in its imminent Zika clinical study, Imutex will further develop the technology in other mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria, dengue and West Nile. http://imutex.com/index.php/zika-vaccine-programme/

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Research that shows how the immune system could be more effective

An elevated body temperature can kill. Yet fever—which is precisely that—is a common response to infection. Recent research shows how febrile temperatures encourage a particular protein called Hsp90 to shepherd immune-system cells to sites of infection. This research suggests ways in which the process might be regulated to a patient’s advantage. Drugs that increase Hsp90 production should promote the migration of T-cells to lymph nodes, and so aid the treatment of infections that need a larger immune response. Conversely, drugs that diminish Hsp90 production might help reduce T-cell movement in people with so-called auto-immune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, in which immune-system cells attack the body they are part of. www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/01/15/how-fever-helps-combat-disease-has-now-been-better-understood

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Preventing diseases by stopping mosquitoes reproduce

Mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on Earth — each year, nearly a million people die from a disease they caught from one of the tiny insects. Rather than focusing on finding a cure for bug-borne diseases like malaria and Zika, a team of scientists from the University of Arizona decided to focus their research directly on mosquitoes. In the process, they found a protein seemingly essential for mosquito reproduction — and the discovery could lead to the creation of a drug that acts as “birth control” for the tiny killers. https://futurism.com/the-byte/mosquito-birth-control-prevent-deaths

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A sponge that could reduce negative effects of chemotherapy

The toxic side-effects of chemotherapy could be reduced by a sponge-like device which strains leftover cancer drugs from the blood stream before they damage the brain or cause hair loss. The tubular device is 3D-printed – so it could be tailor-made to fit the patient. Its mesh-like centre is covered with a special coating that absorbs the drug, but lets blood flow through the device unhindered. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46782190

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