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.
Since implanting their brain cells into humans in an attempt to treat Parkinson’s, pigs have helped further lab research. Just like mice, they have undergone testing in order to advance the health industry. Now, a new development in gene editing may allow pig-to-human transplants sooner rather than later.
To combat [difficulties], a team from Harvard University and a private company, eGenesis, just created gene-edited pig clones that are completely free of… retroviruses. Now, without the threat of these hidden diseases, it may be possible to safely transplant pig livers, hearts, and other organs.
Simply raising genetically altered pigs could be the ultimate game-changer. However, there is always the risk of organs not being accepted into host bodies.
Emerging technologies, like the CRISPR-Cas9 system of gene editing fame, are getting researchers closer to rejection free transplants.
Alongside lab-growing piglets, researchers are also dabbling into bioprinting. Using a patient’s own cells, bioprinting makes the replication of organs, tissue, and bones possible. It looks like there is greater value to bacon after all.
While nanochips were reprogramming skin cells in a single touch, scientists elsewhere were attempting to fix broken hearts. Literally, of course, and they were successful. Researchers from the University of Toronto have invented an injectable bandage that can repair organs.
The 1cm by 1cm patch is so small that it can fit through a syringe. Once injected, it unfolds and then acts as a puncture repair kit for the heart.
The bandage, made of laboratory-grown heart cells, can strengthen areas that need extra support before breaking down and leaving behind new tissue.
The bandage could potentially be valuable in open heart surgery as well as in repairing blood vessels. Human trials have yet to begin as animal testing is still in the works.
“It can’t restore the heart back to full health but if it could be done in a human we think it would significantly improve quality of life.”
To cater to varying medical needs, the bandage can be customized with the addition of certain drugs. Now there’s a heartbreak chocolate can’t fix!
3D printing is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. With it, researchers can produce anything from teeth to functioning hearts — and they’re not stopping there. An Australian public research university has found a way to treat brain diseases by 3D printing brain tissue.
The treatment is based on the 3D printing of tissue from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are stem cells that have the capability of differentiating into any type of adult cell, including brain cells.
With brain illnesses being the most difficult to treat, 3D printing can consider this one of its greatest successes. Anyone can donate iPSCs. Machines use a custom-designed bioink for printing.
“By developing this further we will be able to generate healthy and diseased tissues for research, identifying better drugs for medicine and replacing or repairing damaged tissues or organs due to injury or disease.”
The range of printable neurons can tackle conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. While we cannot yet print entire brains, there is hope for transplantable organs.
“There’s no doubt that sometime in the future engineering tissues by bioprinting iPSCs will be routinely performed for surgical treatments of patients with damaged or diseased tissue,”
The tissue, which can also be used to screen new drugs, is surely a breakthrough for the books.