Each year we are a step closer to finding a cure for cancer. Whether by gene altering cells or hoarding avocado husks, the ultimate goal is to efficiently remedy the disease. However, diagnosing cancer can be equally as difficult. Thanks to science, a new pen technology can detect cancer in mere seconds.
The MasSpec Pen can recognize cancerous cells nearly 150 times faster than existing technology and has a more than 96% accuracy rate.
Um, wow? The pen can also identify exactly which tissues are affected by the cancer during an operation. Patients can now bid their fear of “not removing all the cancer” goodbye. The pen has a straightforward interface.
The pen works by releasing a tiny droplet of water onto the tissue, which soaks up chemicals inside the cells.
The water is then sucked back up and analyzed by an instrument known as a mass spectrometer, which can detect thousands of molecules and identify compounds associated with cancer.
Surgeons are optimistic that the MasSpec Pen will be available to use next year. Hopefully, it isn’t too long of a wait for patients.
Finding a cure for cancer has been a dream for doctors and patients alike. Over the years, scientists have made progress using gene-altering treatments, which reprograms T-cells. However, it seems nanomachines may be the answer, as they can destroy cancer cells in mere seconds.
The tiny spinning molecules are driven by light, and spin so quickly that they can burrow their way through cell linings when activated.
A broken outer membrane means a cell is no more. While I can only speak for myself, I think that’s pretty killer. Researchers are developing light-activated methods using the nanomachines for non-invasive treatments.
“These nanomachines are so small that we could park 50,000 of them across the diameter of a human hair, yet they have the targeting and actuating components combined in that diminutive package to make molecular machines a reality for treating disease.”
Not initially meant for medical use, this application for nanomachines is certainly a game-changer. Great things do come in small packages.
While Lego’s mission to incorporate bioplastics into its products is commendable, it’s not going to eliminate the billions of pieces that already exist. Plastic disposal is an issue that has long puzzled the sanitation industry. Now, there may be a solution. Plastic-eating worms could potentially inspire waste-degrading tools.
Researchers in Spain and England recently found that the larvae of the greater wax moth can efficiently degrade polyethylene, which accounts for 40 percent of plastics.
To test their efficiency, researchers left 100 wax worms to munch on a plastic bag for 12 hours. The worms consumed 92 milligrams-worth (or 3%) of the bag. Off to a slow but promising start. When applied as a paste, enzymes from the worms’ stomachs act identically.
“Wax is a complex mixture of molecules, but the basic bond in polyethylene, the carbon-carbon bond, is there as well. The wax worm evolved a mechanism to break this bond.”
This could be the breakthrough every industrial process needs. Of course, biologists have yet to come up with a proper formula. After all, tossing a truckful of worms into a landfill may not be the most realistic option.
Artificial is the new authentic, and Mother Nature seems to agree. If lab-grown seafood can taste just as good as the real deal, why can’t synthetic wine? According to Ava Winery, their grape-less recreation is grown molecule by molecule — and it tastes pretty awesome.
“Our goal is to be able to scan and print wines the same way you can scan and print priceless family photos. Ultimately, this technology will also allow us to make better, cleaner, faster wines with less impact on the environment.”
The process incorporates chromatography and spectrometry, which allows users to determine components of different wines. Creating the wines is similar to following a recipe without any environmental risk factors.
“Every year is a great year for these wines because they’re not at risk to changing climate, crop disease, or contamination… These wines significantly reduce agricultural water requirements, as well as the presence of pesticides and heavy metal contaminants in the products.”
The products remain fresh even after being opened and can remain in storage for long periods of time. Ava Winery hopes to have an initial Moscato, Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir in the market in the next year. Cheers to that!