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The effectiveness of dry salt therapy – The Hindu

§ February 11th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on The effectiveness of dry salt therapy – The Hindu

Is salt therapy truly next-level steam inhalation? The claim is that dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, a drug-free, natural therapy that uses micro-particles of salt, promotes better breathing, healthier skin, improved sleep, physical fitness, endurance, and overall wellness. There are also claims that it helps in respiratory illnesses (asthma, bronchitis) and in skin infections (psoriasis, eczema).

Mitali Sanghi, at Hyderabads recently-opened Salt World, explains that salt therapy uses pharmaceutical-grade dry salt in a comfortable, controlled environment. Within the cave, a device called a halogenerator disperses microscopic salt particles into the room. During the process, tiny particles go deep into the airways and lungs and will also land on the skin.

Natural salt dispersed through micronised inhalers makes the sputum thin and less viscid (sticky), says Dr Mallikarjun Rao S, Hyderabad-based senior consultant pulmonologist. However, he adds that it should be limited to once a week for six-eight weeks, alongside regular medication. I would suggest caution in high blood pressure patients, and for people to consult their pulmonologist/physician before going for a session.

Halotherapy is a blend of western medicine with naturopathy practices used as a cosmetic treatment for the skin. It nourishes the skin and has an effect in treating the symptoms of eczema and rosacea, besides ageing changes. It has a natural anti-inflammatory property, which can help control psoriasis and other skin conditions, plus it can make skin texture younger-looking and brighter, says Dr G Manmohan, Hyderabad-based consultant dermatologist.

But, he adds, it could be the result of a placebo effect. There are many ways of delivering the salt into the body for therapeutic purposes, such as saline solution inhalation, dry salt aerosol inhalation, irrigation, saline lavage and brine baths (creno therapy), he says.

In fact, a literature review of 151 studies published in the International Journal of COPD said, From this review, recommendations for inclusion of halotherapy as a therapy for COPD cannot be made at this point, and there is a need for high quality studies to determine the effectiveness of this therapy.

In Dr Manmohans words, Publicity cannot be taken as proof for treatment purposes.

Verdict: Hype

In this column, we decode health trends and decide if its all just hype or actually happening

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Sleep Medicine Market Research by Industry Growth Factors, Size, Top Companies Analysis, Share and Forecast 2020-2025 – Jewish Life News

§ February 9th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Sleep Medicine Market Research by Industry Growth Factors, Size, Top Companies Analysis, Share and Forecast 2020-2025 – Jewish Life News

Global Sleep Medicine Market Research Report offers detailed survey of market insight in communicative format, covering past from 2015-2019 and calculating 2020-2025.The predominant applications wise data has also been discussed at length in this research study with various Sleep Medicine market. It also provides complete professional and extensive analysis of global Sleep Medicine Market demand, standardization, deployment models, business challenges, industry opportunities and historical data with expert opinions.

Get Sample Copy of this Report

Global Sleep Medicine (OBC) Market: Drivers and Restrains

This report mainly elaborates the definition, types, applications and major players of Sleep Medicine market in details. Deep analysis about market status (2014-2019), enterprise competition pattern, advantages and disadvantages of enterprise products, industry development trends (2019-2024), regional industrial layout characteristics and macroeconomic policies, industrial policy has also be included. From raw materials to downstream buyers of this industry will be analyzed scientifically, the feature of product circulation and sales channel will be presented as well. In a word, this report will help you to establish a panorama of industrial development and characteristics of the Sleep Medicine market.

The major players in the marketinclude

Most important types of Sleep Medicine products covered in this report are:

Most widely used downstream fields of Sleep Medicine market covered in this report are:

A thorough evaluation of the restrains included in the report portrays the contrast to drivers and gives room for strategic planning. Factors that overshadow the market growth are pivotal as they can be understood to devise different bends for getting hold of the lucrative opportunities that are present in the ever-growing market. Additionally, insights into market experts opinions have been taken to understand the market better.

Market Segment Analysis

The research report includes specific segments by Type and by Application. Each type provides information about the production during the forecast period of 2015 to 2025. Application segment also provides consumption during the forecast period of 2015 to 2025. Understanding the segments helps in identifying the importance of different factors that aid the market growth.

Global Sleep Medicine (OBC) Market: Regional Analysis

The report offers in-depth assessment of the growth and other aspects of the Sleep Medicine (OBC) market in important regions, including the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, U.K., Italy, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Brazil, etc. Key regions covered in the report are North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

The report has been curated after observing and studying various factors that determine regional growth such as economic, environmental, social, technological, and political status of the particular region. Analysts have studied the data of revenue, production, and manufacturers of each region. This section analyses region-wise revenue and volume for the forecast period of 2015 to 2025. These analyses will help the reader to understand the potential worth of investment in a particular region.

Global Sleep Medicine (OBC) Market: Competitive Landscape

This section of the report identifies various key manufacturers of the market. It helps the reader understand the strategies and collaborations that players are focusing on combat competition in the market. The comprehensive report provides a significant microscopic look at the market. The reader can identify the footprints of the manufacturers by knowing about the global revenue of manufacturers, the global price of manufacturers, and production by manufacturers during the forecast period of 2015 to 2019.

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Table of Contents

1 Sleep Medicine (OBC) Market Overview

2 Market Competition by Manufacturers

3 Production Capacity by Region

4 Global Sleep Medicine (OBC) Consumption by Regions

5 Production, Revenue, Price Trend by Type

6 Global Sleep Medicine (OBC) Market Analysis by Application

7 Company Profiles and Key Figures in Sleep Medicine (OBC) Business

8 Sleep Medicine (OBC) Manufacturing Cost Analysis

9 Marketing Channel, Distributors and Customers

10 Market Dynamics

11 Production and Supply Forecast

12 Consumption and Demand Fprecast

15 Methodology and Data Source

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There is more than one way to age. How are you doing it? – Jordan Times

§ February 8th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on There is more than one way to age. How are you doing it? – Jordan Times

Most of us think we know what ageing looks and feels like. It announces itself with wrinkled skin and grey, thinning hair. It blurs vision, makes joints creaky, and if not rigorously countered, causes things to sag.

But scientists are cataloguing far subtler signs of biological ageing, evident long before hair is lost and skin starts to crinkle.

Its a story told not just in the bodys organs but in its genes, cells and proteins even in the bacteria that colonise us. First, one or two molecular processes fall out of whack. Those failures send broader functions off kilter. Sometimes all at once, sometimes gradually, our organs suffer and entire networks the immune system, for instance begin to falter.

Understanding how all this happens could allow us to live longer someday. But a nearer goal might produce an even bigger payoff: Defining what ageing is and exactly how it progresses may enable us to stay healthy for more of our lives.

Two new pieces of research bring that goal of extending humans healthspan a bit closer. Both identify biomarkers that help define what it means, at a microscopic level, to age. Both zero in on mechanisms prone to break down as we age in other words, targets for therapies that could disrupt or delay the ageing process.

And both offer some guideposts to measure the effectiveness of elixirs that promise to be (but rarely are) fountains of youth.

In one of the new studies, Stanford University researchers combed through 18 million data points collected from 106 people who were monitored for two to four years. The aim was to detect patterns common to all as we age as well as patterns that vary from person to person.

Emerging from that study, published this week in the journal Nature Medicine, is the idea that individuals age along at least four biological pathways. While one person may be most prone to decline in the function of his kidneys, another may experience the most age-related degradation in the liver, the immune system or in metabolic function, the findings suggest.

Most of us likely age along some or all those fronts, if not more, said Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder, who led the research. But classifying people by their personal ageing style, or areas of greatest vulnerability, may help them identify and forestall their most likely depredations of ageing, he said.

In the second study, scientists from the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing profiled the known universe of tissues and cells that can reveal the biological age of the human body. It made use of data collected as part of a study that has tracked 3,200 volunteers over the course of their adult lives since 1958.

That atlas of ageings biomarkers will speed efforts to find and develop drugs that could slow biological ageing, said University of Southern California biochemist Judith Campisi, who led the work published this week in the journal PLOS Biology. One day, she added, it may allow doctors to give their patients a clear read-out of how well, or poorly, their various tissues and organs are ageing.

After centuries of snake oil and hucksterism, the struggle against ageing has gotten real in recent years. Scientists have honed in on senescent cells, which stop dividing under stress, as a key driver of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and dementia. Since these diseases are more common as we get older, they and their root causes have become central to scientists understanding of ageing.

Researchers increasingly suspect that when you disrupt the development of one disease of ageing, you may help protect against others a principle called the unitary theory of fundamental ageing processes. If, for instance, senescent cells and the inflammation they trigger could be brought under control, perhaps many age-related diseases indeed, unhealthy ageing itself could be averted and the experience of ageing might be far less miserable.

Thats the idea behind the search for senolytics drugs or therapies that could remove or disrupt the action of senescent cells. If such anti-ageing drugs are to be developed and used safely, researchers will need to recognise the many forms that senescent cells take, and to measure what happens when different members of that group are removed or suppressed.

In the Stanford University study, researchers sequenced genes; analyzed blood, urine and saliva samples; and probed the microbes in the guts and noses of 43 people. The team found 608 molecules that could be assessed and used to identify likely contributors to age-related problems.

The Stanford team came up with four ageotypes based on these biomarkers and how they shifted over time. While the list is likely to expand with further research, the authors suggest that people tend to age most along one of four distinct biological pathways: metabolic, immune, hepatic (or liver) and nephrotic (or kidney).

A person whose dominant ageotype is metabolic might see her A1C, a measure of blood sugar levels, rise with age, potentially leading to Type 2 diabetes. A person with an immune ageotype, on the other hand, might experience increased inflammation across the body, making her more vulnerable to a heart attack and certain cancers.

The work is highly preliminary. Dr Zoltan Arany who studies ageing processes at the University of Pennsylvanias Perelman School of Medicine, said that while it probed a very wide range of measures and looked for changes over time, determining whether they actually cause ageing or are innocent bystanders of the process will require a lot of further work.

Even after scientists have established the common roots of age-related diseases a task that is far from complete theres still hard work ahead, said Dr James L. Kirkland, who studies ageing at the Mayo Clinic. If studies like the two published this week are to help humans age better, theyll have to explain why we age so differently, and predict which of many routes each of us will take.

At the moment, were measuring everything, Kirkpatrick said. But the effort will be to narrow down, to get a composite score of biomarkers, that is predictive of a future decline in healthspan.

Snyder said he shared that long-term goal.

I can envision a world in which everyone gets their ageotype measured, so that at the earliest sign of acceleration, you can intervene, he said. For some, that may be taking a cholesterol-lowering statin, and for others, it may mean exercising more.

This can give you an earlier kick in the butt to address those vulnerabilities, he said.

By Melissa Healy

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The emergence of robot life and the future of humanity – gotech daily

§ February 8th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on The emergence of robot life and the future of humanity – gotech daily

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Looks like science fiction. Scientists have what has been described as the first living robots in the laboratory, and they did this by testing different combinations using an evolutionary algorithm, which can be called electronic evolution.

Before readers begin to imagine androids made from meat, I must point out that these xenobots are less than a millimeter wide and the closest to the extremities are two stumps that they use to swim through fluids for weeks without extra food to require. They are composed of embryonic stem cells from the African claw frog, scientifically known as Xenopus laevis, which inspired the name of the small bots.

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The scientists used heart cells that act as miniature pistons and skin cells that hold the package together. The level of sophistication involved in this bio-engineering achievement suggests that, although the technological glory of the past is in large monuments and mega-projects, the greatest achievements of the 21st century are found on microscopic, nano, and quantum scales.

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Developed by researchers from Tufts University, the University of Vermont and the Harvard Wyss Institute, these impressive miniature biological machines (or should they refer to them as creatures?), Which can repair themselves or heal when damaged, they potentially have multiple useful applications . .

These include cleansing the microplastics that pollute our oceans and other toxic materials, as well as vectors to administer medicine to our bodies, perform surgical procedures and other medical applications. In contrast to conventional robots and machines that can pollute the environment for a long time after their useful life has expired, xenobots have the added advantage that they are fully biodegradable, which become harmless after dying.

Moreover, such biological machines are in principle more versatile and robust than their lifeless counterparts. If living systems could be designed and deployed ab initio continuously and quickly to fulfill new functions, their innate ability to resist entropy would make them far exceed the lifetime of our strongest yet static technologies. the researchers say.

Although I dont classify myself as xenobotrophobic, I find the potential consequences of biobots and their potential future negative applications quite alarming, despite the exciting possibilities they offer.

Neither the researchers in their scientific paper with an overview of the results or news reporting of the xenobots seems to have considered the harmful and destructive potential of this technology. However, this exists and must be carefully considered to prevent dangerous hazards.

The wrong hands can transform biobots from healing machines to biological weapons. Instead of administering curative drugs to the body, they can be used to maim or kill. They can be used as the ideal hit killers, who commit the perfect murder.

Given the pace of technological progress, the day cannot be far away when biobots that can send toxins or deadly viruses to the body, attack vulnerabilities in an individual with customized DNA, simulate a terminal illness or even perform deadly microsurgery before a self-destructing mechanism causes them to dissolve in the bloodstream, making these invisible killers untraceable. They can also be designed and used to attack entire populations, either as acts of biological warfare or bioterrorism.

Even if we manage to control the potential for intentional damage and abuse, there is also the potential for accidental damage. Researchers, for example, point to the future possibility of equipping biobots with reproductive systems to ensure that they can be produced or re-produced on a scale. How can we be sure, however, that they stick to their programming script and produce only the required number of offspring that will have the required useful life?

Do we understand evolution enough to ensure that these new life forms that we will create will not eliminate the limitations that we have designed for them and will change in unexpected and potentially risky ways?

In addition to practical applications and incorrect applications, there are ethical dimensions at a long distance, not to mention the socio-economic and cultural implications for humanity.

By blurring the lines between the lifeless and the vivid, how will we define life in the future? Everything from organic tissue, no matter how simple and synthetic, is still considered life forms, or do we need new categories?

What about the relative value of life / machines? It is a simple xenobot that is superior to a highly advanced synthetic robot, such as Asimo and other expert robots, because one is alive, and the other probably is not.

If intelligence and sensitivity are considered to be one of the characteristics of humanity, will we have to start granting intelligent machines the same rights, because artificial intelligence continues to reach and even surpass its human form?

One of the most controversial technological issues today is data privacy rights. But can we reach a point in the future where the data itself needs and has rights? For example, if one day it is assumed that robots and computers have become truly intelligent and sensitive, then their data systems will probably need protection against malicious removal, which would amount to murder or involuntary adaptation, which would violate their freedom of choice.

Then there are the existential questions that this technological progress poses. Although technology has made the work of countless millions of professions superfluous, it has generally acted as a reinforcement and aid for humanity in controlling innovation. However, we are quickly reaching the stage where our technological creations not only obscure our physical abilities, but also our mental abilities and, soon, intellectual abilities.

When we finally build or develop machines that are not only clearly smarter than us, but also have a clear sense of identity and autonomy, we can continue to control them and, if we do, this will be an unjust form of submission or even slavery ?

To escape the possible inevitability of our own aging and the physical limitations of our bodies, we can decide to merge with our technological creations. We can fully or partially update or change our bodies, as well as load or update our mental operating systems. Who knows, some may even decide to escape the physical limitations imposed by our mortal and vulnerable bodies and download their minds and minds to a simulated virtual world (later) that transforms into a pure metaphysical code.

Future radical changes to our physical or mental states, especially if they differ between species, will raise the biggest and most fundamental question of all: what does it mean to be human?

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

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Research Report on Global Internet of Nano Things Industry 2020-2024 – Instant Tech News

§ February 8th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Research Report on Global Internet of Nano Things Industry 2020-2024 – Instant Tech News

A new research report by ORBIS RESEARCH on the Global Internet of Nano Things Market offers a complete overview of the market share, size and segmentation. In addition, the report designed with the help of detailed qualitative insights, verifiable projections and historical data about the target size. The Global Internet of Nano Things Market study provides a complete analysis of the market segmentation such as types, regional markets, technology, and applications. This research report has been analyzed through comprehensive primary research such as surveys, interviews, and observations. The secondary research methodology includes trade journals, reputable paid sources, and body databases.

The report Global Internet of Nano Things Market also provides an extensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation by analyzing all the information collected from market participants and industry analysts across major facts in the industrys value chain. In addition, the research report offers a separate study of major trends of the global Internet of Nano Things market. The research report also projects the attractiveness of every major segments during the prediction period such as market statistics, competitive landscape, industry facts & figures, sales channels, revenue and business strategies.

Market Overview

The Internet of Nano Things Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24.12% over the forecast period (2019 2024). The internet of nano things is very much similar to the internet of technology in which the devices that are interconnected with IoNT are miniaturized.

The development of nano-machines with communication capabilities and interconnection with micro- and macro-devices will empower IoNT, which is being increasingly seen as the next major innovation in technology. These devices have dimensions ranging from 1 nm to 100 nm, and are interconnected with classical networks leading to new networking paradigms. The increased government spending in the aerospace and defence sector is expected to drive the IoNT market for the forecast period as IoNT recently has found major applications in the fields of Nano-drones that could be used for monitoring and carrying explosives sufficient enough that penetrates the targeted subject. The world economic forum in 2016, released the list of top 10 emerging technologies in which nano-sensors and nanotechnology were ranked first. As the integration of the nanotechnology in various industries increases, it would increase the dependence on IoT as a platform for nanodevices which would boost the IoNT market positively. However huge capital investment required for the development of nanotechnology is a factor that could hinder the growth of the IoNT market.

Scope of the Report

The Interconnection of nanoscale devices with existing communication networks and ultimately the Internet defines a new networking paradigm called Internet of Nano-Things. This report segments the market by Device (Nano Cameras, Nano Phones, Nanosensors, Nano Processors, Nano-Memory Cards, Nano Power Systems, Nano-Antennas, Nano Transceivers), End-user (Healthcare, Logistics, Media & Entertainment, Telecom & IT, Defense & Aerospace, Manufacturing, Energy & Power, Retail), and Geography.

Key Market Trends

Healthcare Industry is Expected to Hold a Significant Share

The expectations of a better quality of life coupled with the aging population and the changing lifestyles have resulted in an increase in demand for more efficient and affordable and improved healthcare. For instance, Cambridge University nanotech researchers collaborated with a US insurer and other corporate players to explore the commercial potential of an intelligent lavatory that captures massive amount of key data in users urine which could then be used for the timely and effective delivery of the personalized medicines. The development of nanomedicine which uses properties of a material developed on a nanoscale offering the potential to cross natural barriers and access new sites of delivery. This nanometric size allows interaction with the DNA or small proteins at different levels in the blood or within organs, tissues, and cells. With advancements in the fields of nanotechnology has allowed in the detection of diseases in very minute amounts or in the initial stages. For instance, in April 2019, a pair of NJIT inventors Bharath Babu Nunna and Eon Soo Lee has been instrumental in developing nanotechnology enhanced biochip to detect cancers, malaria and viral diseases such as pneumonia early in their progression with a pinprick blood test. With increased spending on healthcare by emerging and developed economies is expected to boost the investment in the fields of IoNT which would influence the market positively.

North-America is Expected to Hold the Largest Share

Various harmful diseases are proving to be a tremendous challenge for modern medicine. This, coupled with growing consumer health awareness in the region, means for more advanced technology. Nano medicine was introduced in this industry to overcome this hurdle since it offers a number of potential ways to improve medical diagnosis & therapy, even in regenerating tissues and organs. Nanomaterials have been instrumental in improving a bodys acceptance of transplants, artificial bone materials, and other implanted medical devices. For instance, in 2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services invested USD 500 million for the development of medical devices containing nanomaterials. Various companies have been instrumental in developing devices that drastically helps the person to improve breathing especially for asthma and allergy sufferers. For instance, Molekuiles Air purifier that was developed by Dr. Goswami, the Director of the University of South Floridas Clean Energy Research Center uses brand new nanotechnology that is far superior to the HEPA air filters.

Table of Contents

5 TECHNOLOGY SNAPSHOT5.1 Systems of IoNT5.1.1 Electromagnetic Waves5.1.2 Wi-Fi5.1.3 Li-Fi5.1.4 Nano Antenna5.1.5 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)5.2 Major Types of Communication IoNT5.2.1 Short Distance Communication5.2.1.1 Femtocell5.2.1.2 Zigbee5.2.1.3 Near-Field Communications (NFC) Li-Fi5.2.1.5 Ultra-Wideband (UWB)5.2.2 Long Distance Communication5.2.2.1 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

7 COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE7.1 Company Profiles7.1.1 Cisco Systems, Inc.7.1.2 Intel Corporation7.1.3 IBM Corporation7.1.4 Siemens AG7.1.5 Schneider Electric7.1.6 Gemalto N.V.7.1.7 SAP S.E.7.1.8 Juniper Networks7.1.9 Qualcomm7.1.10 Alcatel-Lucent S.A.


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Research Report on Global Internet of Nano Things Industry 2020-2024 - Instant Tech News

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Deadliest infectious diseases in the world, ranked – CBS News

§ February 7th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Deadliest infectious diseases in the world, ranked – CBS News

The novelcoronavirus has spread beyond its origins in China and is raising concerns worldwide. As of February 6, 2020, more than 28,000 cases have been confirmed, leading to at least 565 deaths. Only a handful of cases have been reported in the United States so far.

It is too early to determine the mortality rate for this coronavirus or how it will compare to other major infectious diseases.

The global medical community including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the National Institutes of Health tracks those rates. Understandably, the death rate for any disease will vary depending on access to vaccines and medical care. The data in this gallery represents the high end of the ranges.

Some of these illnesses like the novel coronavirus spread from person to person. Others come from exposure to infected substances, animals or microscopic organisms.

This is a list of the 50 deadliest infectious diseases on Earth, ranked by mortality rate.

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Should you have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned? – The Leader

§ February 7th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Should you have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned? – The Leader

Dear Tabby,

Our vet has suggested a professional dental cleaning for our dog. I didnt even know that dogs need to have their teeth cleaned! Are regular dental cleanings really necessary for our dog?Confused about Doggie Dental Health in the Heights

As you probably know, humans should visit their dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and exam, but did you know your pet should also visit the veterinarian for teeth cleaning once a year? February is Pet Dental Health Month and keeping your pets teeth clean is an important part of ensuring that your pet stays healthy. Gum disease is the most common disease occurring in pets today. Plaque and tartar buildup can cause bad breath, bleeding, painful, irritated gums that affect eating and can even cause microscopic damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.

Watch out for bad breath, bleeding, broken teeth

There are several symptoms of dental issues in your dog that you should look out for, such as bad breath, discoloration of the gums and teeth, bleeding, broken teeth and exposed roots. If you see any of these things happening in your pets mouth, see your vet for help.

Some vets offer reduced rates in February

Most veterinary clinics offer dental cleaning services (if they do not, they can refer you to someone who does). A basic cleaning for your pets teeth usually begins at about $200 and goes up from there, based on the condition of your pets teeth. During the month of February, many veterinary clinics offer discounted rates for dental cleanings, so check and see if thats an option at your vet clinic.

The pet dental cleaning process requires anesthesia, so plan on your pet spending most of the day at the vet clinic the day of the procedure as well as for observation following the cleaning.

So, what can you do to ensure the health of your pets chompers?

What can you do at home?

Ideally, you should brush your pets teeth daily, using a special toothpaste, formulated especially for pets, said Johnathon Dodd, clinical professor at Texas A&Ms College of Veterinary Medicine.

If daily tooth-brushing doesnt quite fit into your busy schedule, luckily there are pet treats on the market that promote good dental health and can be used in between brushings.

Visit the Veterinary Oral Health Councils website ( to see a comprehensive list of pet products that aid in dental care. Between regular tooth brushing, special, tooth-friendly treats, exams and cleanings from your veterinarian, maintaining the health of your pets mouth is a simple form of preventative care that can have a big impact on your pets general health and well-being.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at

Meet Hondo. This 1-year-old handsome Chocolate Lab/Staffie mix is on deck to become the ultimate family dog! Hondo is great with other dogs, cats and is heartworm negative. He is house-trained, crate-trained and learning new commands at a rapid rate. Wouldnt you love to curl up with this chocolate sweetie on Valentines Day? If so, contact the Animal Justice League at to learn more.

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Toxic Protein, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases, Exposed in New Detail – Troy Record

§ February 7th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Toxic Protein, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases, Exposed in New Detail – Troy Record

NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The protein tau has long been implicated in Alzheimer's and a host of other debilitating brain diseases. But scientists have struggled to understand exactly how tau converts from its normal, functional form into a misfolded, harmful one. Now, researchers at Columbia University's Zuckerman Institute and Mayo Clinic in Florida have used cutting-edge technologies to see tau in unprecedented detail. By analyzing brain tissue from patients, this research team has revealed that modifications to the tau protein may influence the different ways it can misfold in a person's brain cells. These differences are closely linked to the type of neurodegenerative disease that will develop and how quickly that disease will spread throughout the brain.

The study, published today in Cell, employed two complementary techniques to map the structure of tau and decipher the effects of additional molecules, called post-translational modifications (PTMs), on its surface. These new structural insights could accelerate the fight against neurodegenerative diseases, by helping researchers identify new biomarkers that detect these disorders before symptoms arise and design new drugs that target specific PTMs, preventing the onset of disease before it wreaks havoc on the brain.

"Tau has long been a protein of significant interest due to its prevalence in disease," said Anthony Fitzpatrick, PhD, a Principal Investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute who led the study. "In today's publication, we lay out compelling evidence that PTMs play an important structural role in tauopathies, the collection of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by toxic buildup of misfolded tau."

No two tauopathies are exactly alike. Each affects different parts of the brain even different cell types which can lead to different symptoms. Alzheimer's, for example, arises in the hippocampus, and so affects memory. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder most often seen in survivors of traumatic brain injury, can lead to problems with movement, memory or emotion, depending on which areas of the brain are affected.

Scientists have used traditional imaging techniques to find clues to how tangles of tau, comprised of individual fibers, or filaments, are implicated in these diseases. But painting a complete picture has proven difficult.

"The brains of patients with neurodegenerative diseases are easy to identify: entire sections have been eaten away, replaced by large clumps and tangles of misfolded proteins like tau," said Tamta Arakhamia, an undergraduate at Columbia's School of General Studies, a research assistant in the Fitzpatrick lab and the paper's co-first author. "However, tau filaments are 10,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair, making them extraordinarily difficult to study in detail."

To address this challenge, Dr. Fitzpatrick recently pioneered the use of cryo-electron microscopy, or cryo-EM, to visualize individual tau filaments from diseased human brain tissue. Cryo-EM is a Nobel Prize-winning technology developed, in part, by researchers at Columbia University. Cryo-EM images samples using a beam of electrons and has proven indispensable for investigations into extremely small biological structures. Using cryo-EM, Dr. Fitzpatrick's team has reconstructed the structures of tau filaments, providing new insights into how they form, grow, and spread throughout the brain.

For all its ability to provide highly detailed snapshots of proteins, cryo-EM has limits. To overcome these limits, Dr. Fitzpatrick and his team to paired it with a second technology: mass spectrometry.

"Cryo-EM does not provide a complete picture because it cannot fully recognize the microscopic PTMs on tau's surface," said Christina Lee, an undergraduate student at Columbia College, a research assistant in the Fitzpatrick lab and the paper's co-first author. "But mass spectrometry can pinpoint the chemical composition of PTMs on the surface of tau."

Working with co-corresponding author Leonard Petrucelli, PhD, Ralph B. and Ruth K. Abrams Professor of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and Nicholas Seyfried, PhD, professor of biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine, the researchers used cryo-EM and mass spectrometry to analyze the brain tissue from patients diagnosed with two tauopathies: Alzheimer's disease and corticobasal degeneration, or CBD. CBD is a rare but extremely aggressive tauopathy, affecting only one in every 10,000 people. Unlike Alzheimer's, which is thought to arise due to a number of factors including tau, CBD is primarily associated with misbehaving tau proteins.

"Studying a primary tauopathy like CBD helps us to figure out how tau becomes toxic to brain cells," said Dr. Petrucelli. "We hope to extrapolate that knowledge to secondary tauopathies, such as Alzheimer's disease."

The scientists' analysis of brain tissue samples revealed several key insights. Most notably, the researchers found that cross-talk between PTMs on the surface of tau influences the structure of the tau filaments, contributing to differences in tau filaments observed across the various tauopathies and even variations from patient to patient.

"Collectively, these results suggest that PTMs may not only be serving as markers on the proteins' surface, but are actually influencing the behavior of tau," said Dr. Fitzpatrick, who is also an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Moving forward, Dr. Fitzpatrick and his team plan to expand this work to other tauopathies. Today's findings on Alzheimer's and CBD hold immense promise for the field, particularly in the development of new disease models such as lab-grown organoids, or mini-brains that may serve to accurately recapitulate what is actually happening in the brains of patients.

"Our findings will inspire new approaches for developing diagnostic tools and designing drugs, such as targeting PTM vulnerabilities to slow disease progression," said Dr. Fitzpatrick, who is also a member of Columbia's Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain. "Neurodegenerative diseases are among the most complex and distressing class of illnesses, but through our work and that of our colleagues and collaborators, we are building a roadmap toward successful diagnostics and therapeutics."

This paper is titled "Posttranslational modifications mediate the structural diversity of tauopathy strains." Additional contributors include Yari Carlomagno, PhD, Duc Duong, Sean Kundinger, Kevin Wang, Dewight Williams, PhD, Michael DeTure, PhD, Dennis Dickson, MD, and Casey Cook, PhD.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute on Aging (U01NS110438, RF1AG056151, R35NS097273, U01NS110438-02, P01NS084974, P01NS099114, R01NS088689, RF1AG062077-01, RF1 AG062171-01, U54NS100693, R01AG053960, R01AG061800, U01AG046161, U01AG061357, S10RR23057, S10OD018111, U24GM116792), NYSTAR and the NIH (GM103310), the National Science Foundation (MRI Grant 1531991, DBI-1338135, DMR-1548924), the Simons Foundation (349247), the Mayo Clinic Foundation, the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, the Dana Foundation and the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.

The authors report no financial or other conflicts of interest.

Columbia University'sMortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institutebrings together a group of world-class scientists and scholars to pursue the most urgent and exciting challenge of our time: understanding the brain and mind. A deeper understanding of the brain promises to transform human health and society. From effective treatments for disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression and autism to advances in fields as fundamental as computer science, economics, law, the arts and social policy, the potential for humanity is staggering. To learn more,

Contact:Anne Holden,,212.853.0171

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Instagram Filters: The Tyranny Of Digital Retouching – Worldcrunch

§ February 6th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Instagram Filters: The Tyranny Of Digital Retouching – Worldcrunch

PARIS A microscopic nose covered in bruises. Prominent cheekbones. Swollen lips with marks from Botox injections. The images are part of a recent trend on Instagram, and a pretty scary one at that.

The trend is to use special filters (with names like Bad Botox, FixMe and Plastica) that alter a person's portrait and give it a "just back from plastic surgery" look. They'll take your selfie, in other words, and disfigure it doing in a virtual way what the wealthy New York socialite Jocelyn "Catwoman" Wildenstein, after multiple cosmetic procedures, did in real life.

Not surprisingly, such augmented reality filters are controversial, and last October, Facebook (which owns Instagram) banned their use.

At issue is the question, as suggested in an 2018 article in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, of whether such filters encourage body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), especially among young people seeking "likes" and other kinds of online validation.

People with BDD, which is classified in the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, see aspects of their bodies as being exceptionally flawed and seek, therefore, to fix or hide the imagined problem. The disorder is thought to affect about 2% of the world population, according to a study published in 2018 the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The concern is that for people who already have major self-image problems, the filter apps, by allowing them to drasticaly change their apperance in just seconds, can make them even more frustated with their real-life appearance.

You can start to get jealous of yourself, because you'd want to be the retouched girl.

Modifying one's face before posting an image online is "the new norm," says Carla, a 17-year-old high school student. "Everyone is doing it, even those who feel good about themselves," she says. "I personally use Facetune, for a smooth effect with no pimples. But I don't overuse it. I've got friends who have an orange tan, doll eyes and an over retouched body. Everyone knows it's fake but it helps them to have a better image."

Lena, a 12-year-old from Paris, says the filters are like a drug. "You can start to get jealous of yourself, because you'd want to be the retouched girl," she explains.

In the United States, many plastic surgeons agree. Young patients who seek their services want to look like their virtual self, the doctors report. Specialists even have a new name for this disorder: Snapchat Dysmorphia, named after the popular messaging service among teenagers, one of the first to use the image-altering filters.

Vanity unfair Photo: Kike Calvo/ZUMA Wire/ZUMA

A few years ago, only pro photographers had tools at their disposal to "airbrush" their pictures. Photoshop, the famous Adobe software which is able to transform anyone into a top model, has been around for 30 years. It feels like an eternity. Since the boom of smartphones in the 2010's, retouching is ubiquitous; perfect faces or bodies are now a few clicks away We are losing track of all the specialized apps : VSCO, BeautyPlus, Perfect Me, Meitu, WowFace, InstabeautyTikTok, the new short video social media platform, with 500 million users and growing, also has its retouching apps. How does it work? Thanks to artificial intelligence calculating pixels on your face and shaping them at will. Anything is possible, well almost...

The global filter market is huge. One of the pioneers, FaceTune, was designed in 2013 by Israeli company Lighttricks and downloaded some 180 million times, with a cost of 4.49 euros. Another hit is FaceApp. During the summer of 2019, more than 100 million of people had a go at making them themselves look older thanks to this app developed by Russian company Wireless Lab. The results were stunning. The only problem was, once you downloaded it for free, FaceApp reserved the rights to use your face for commercial purposes.

It's the future of cosmetics.

In China, where Instagram has been censored, the app Meitu (meaning "nice picture"), first launched in 2008, is huge. Chinese women are very fond of retouched selfies that look like K-Pop stars. According to the South China Morning Post, almost 500 million people are posting their "upgraded" face on a monthly basis. For many young women having their eyes widened, their bridge of the nose modified and their skin whitened is an alternative to plastic surgery. According to the creator of the app, Cai Wensheng, to "meitu-ify" one's face before sharing online is even a "way of being polite" like you'd tell a friend if her shirt was missing a button, or her pants were unzipped, as he told The New Yorker. Like FaceApp, Meitu has been accused of stealing user's personal data.

Photo: Tom Sodoge

If art explores new aesthetics code (even Cindy Sherman an American photographer uses Perfect365 an app for selfies on Instagram), the marketing world was bound to take over this "filter culture." One is Fenty Beauty (Rihanna's cosmetics brand), whose best-seller is named Pro Filt'r. At Nyx, there's a finishing powder named #NoFilter and Huda Beauty's high covering foundation named #FauxFilter. Other brands explicitly refer to Instagram in their naming, like Instamarc from Marc Jacobs.

"Digital clothes" only available in AR already exist.

Dior is taking the next step, moving into virtual makeup. In December 2019, the luxury brand offered an AR filter to test their new collection with a 3D effect. That's called digital makeup and, according to Peter Philips, head of creation and image at Christian Dior Make-Up: "It's the future of cosmetics." L'Oral just acquired ModiFace, a "beauty tech company." By sending a selfie on the brand website, clients are invited to calculate their "skin diagnosis" and receive "information about aging, your skin strengths, signs to prioritize, and recommendation of products suited for their skin type."

AR filters are also becoming part of advertisers' tool kits. Snapchat offers branded filters to companies. L'Oral, Disney, EasyJet or Nike have tried it successfully. Even better: companies selling "digital clothes" only available in AR already exist. With all of this on the market, your virtual self will never be caught looking anything but perfect.

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Hybrid microscope could bring digital biopsy to the clinic – University of Illinois News

§ February 5th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Hybrid microscope could bring digital biopsy to the clinic – University of Illinois News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. By adding infrared capability to the ubiquitous, standard optical microscope, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hope to bring cancer diagnosis into the digital era.

Pairing infrared measurements with high-resolution optical images and machine learning algorithms, the researchers created digital biopsies that closely correlated with traditional pathology techniques and also outperformed state-of-the-art infrared microscopes.

Led by Rohit Bhargava, a professor of bioengineering and the director of the Cancer Center at Illinois, the group published its results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Rohit Bhargava led the research team.

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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The advantage is that no stains are required, and both the organization of cells and their chemistry can be measured. Measuring the chemistry of tumor cells and their microenvironment can lead to better cancer diagnoses and better understanding of the disease, Bhargava said.

The gold standard of tissue pathology is to add dyes or stains so that pathologists can see the shapes and patterns of the cells under a microscope. However, it can be difficult to distinguish cancer from healthy tissue or to pinpoint the boundaries of a tumor, and in many cases diagnosis is subjective.

For more than a century, we have relied on adding dyes to human tissue biopsies to diagnose tumors. However, the shape and color induced by the dye provide very limited information about the underlying molecular changes that drive cancer, Bhargava said.

Technologies like infrared microscopy can measure the molecular composition of tissue, providing quantitative measures that can distinguish cell types. Unfortunately, infrared microscopes are expensive and the samples require special preparation and handling, making them impractical for the vast majority of clinical and research settings.

Machine-learning tools can analyze the data from the infrared-optical hybrid microscope to create digital versions of standard dyes, left, or to identify tissue types based on their chemical composition, right.

Images courtesy of Rohit Bhargava

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Bhargavas group developed its hybrid microscope by adding an infrared laser and a specialized microscope lens, called an interference objective, to an optical camera. The infrared-optical hybrid measures both infrared data and a high-resolution optical image with a light microscope the kind ubiquitous in clinics and labs.

We built the hybrid microscope from off-the-shelf components. This is important because it allows others to easily build their own microscope or upgrade an existing microscope, said Martin Schnell, a postdoctoral fellow in Bhargavas group and first author of the paper.

Combining the two techniques harnesses the strengths of both, the researchers said. It has the high resolution, large field-of-view and accessibility of an optical microscope. Furthermore, infrared data can be analyzed computationally, without adding any dyes or stains that can damage tissues. Software can recreate different stains or even overlap them to create a more complete, all-digital picture of whats in the tissue.

This side-by-side comparison of a breast tissue biopsy demonstrates some of the infrared-optical hybrid microscopes capabilities. On the left, a tissue sample dyed by traditional methods. Center, a computed stain created from infrared-optical hybrid imaging. Right, tissue types identified with infrared data. The pink in this image signifies malignant cancer.

Images courtesy of Rohit Bhargava

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The researchers verified their microscope by imaging breast tissue samples, both healthy and cancerous, and comparing the results of the hybrid microscopes computed dyes with those from the traditional staining technique. The digital biopsy closely correlated with the traditional one.

Furthermore, the researchers found that their infrared-optical hybrid outperformed state-of-the-art in infrared microscopes in several ways: It has 10 times larger coverage, greater consistency and four times higher resolution, allowing infrared imaging of larger samples, in less time, with unprecedented detail.

Infrared-optical hybrid microscopy is widely compatible with conventional microscopy in biomedical applications, Schnell said. We combine the ease of use and universal availability of optical microscopy with the wide palette of infrared molecular contrast and machine learning. And by doing so, we hope to change how we routinely handle, image and understand microscopic tissue structure.

The researchers plan to continue refining the computational tools used to analyze the hybrid images. They are working to optimize machine-learning programs that can measure multiple infrared wavelengths, creating images that readily distinguish between multiple cell types, and integrate that data with the detailed optical images to precisely map cancer within a sample. They also plan to explore further applications for hybrid microscope imaging, such as forensics, polymer science and other biomedical applications.

It is very intriguing what this additional detail can offer in terms of pathology diagnoses, Bhargava said. This could help speed up the wait for results, reduce costs of reagents and people to stain tissue, and provide an all-digital solution for cancer pathology.

The National Institutes of Health supported this work. Bhargava is affiliated with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

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Italian woman, 25, grows eyelash-like hairs out of her GUMS thought to be fuelled by her PCOS – The Union Journal

§ February 5th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Italian woman, 25, grows eyelash-like hairs out of her GUMS thought to be fuelled by her PCOS – The Union Journal

The womans hirsute mouth became worse when she quit taking medicine forPCOS

Doctors at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Italy, dealt with the woman with gingival hirsutism, Science Alert records..The woman initially went to the physician in 2009, aged15 She had hairs in the mouth, along with on the chin and also neck.Tests revealed she had high testosterone degrees, along with various cysts on her ovaries. Therefore, she was identified withPCOSThe problem creates woman to expand excess hair in position such as their breast, along with weight gain, acne and also occasionally the inability to conceive.Birth control tablets can aid eliminate signs and symptoms, and also it provided for the Italian woman for 6 years.For unidentified factors, she quit taking medicine for her PCOS, whereupon her gingival hirsutism returned a lot more serious.This time, the clinical group really did not simply eliminate the hairs, yet a little area of cells from a her gum tissue to take a closer appearance under the microscopic lense.THAT ELSE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED WITH EYELASHES IN THE MOUTH?.

A 57- year-old guy: The eyelash-like hair was uncovered throughout his postmortem examination..A 45- year-old guy: A solitary hair was expanding in the mouth of a male that declared the hair had actually existed because teenage years. During examinations, it was discovered an oil-producing gland was additionally existing.A 13- year-old kid: Multiple black hairs determining 4-6mm in size were discovered in the mouth of a young boy that had alopecia. They bizarrely quit expanding with the alopecia therapy.An 11- year-old kid: He grumbled of fast dental hair development in the previous 5 days throughout the mouth. Some got on his tongue..A 30- year-old guy: The guy had one particular hair in the center of his tongue. He had actually been tweezing it for 3 years, yet it expanded back swiftly..They discovered a hair shaft pressing its means with uncommonly thick cells of her gums..The inside of the mouth along with the nose, vaginal canal and also rectum is made of mucosal cells, being composed of epithelial cells.The scientists claimed the mucosal cells inside the mouth are very closely associated to the cells that develop our skin due to the fact that they are stemmed from the very same location when we are an embryo.Its feasible, as a result, the dental room winds up with hair and also oil-producing cells. The last is usual, according to the medical professionals. But hair creating cells is virtually unheardofThis is the very first time gingival hirsutism has actually been reported in a woman in clinical literary works. Five guys have actually been reported with the problem.PCOS was ruled out as the cause of gingival hirsutism, although was thought to gas the intensity, due to the fact that PCOS is not identified in guys..A year on the womans problem had actually intensified, with hairs expanding in between a lot more teeth on the top and also base..Its unclear if the woman recouped or if she was dealt with..The writers created: Although no systemic reason appeared to exist sometimes reported in the literary works, in our instance, it was essential to execute a deep examination..The instance was released in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology..WHAT IS POLYCYSTIC OVARY DISORDER? Polycystic ovary disorder (PCOS) is a really usual problem that influences exactly how a womans ovaries function.There are no specific numbers yet as lots of as one in 10 females of childbearing age are thought to have the problem.Its a hormone condition which creates the ovaries to end up being bigger and also to create various little cysts on the external sides..Symptoms of PCOS consist of:.

Irregular durations, in which eggs arent launched correctly or in all by the ovaries, which can impact a womans capability to obtain expectant.Excess androgen high degrees of male hormonal agents in the body might trigger physical indications such as excess face or body hair.Weight gain, which is additionally caused by the rise in male hormonal agents and also is generally worst on the top body.Thinning hair or loss of hair.Oily skin or acne.

While the specific reason of PCOS isnt understood, it is thought to run in the family members and also be caused by hormonal agents. Insulin resistance, which is a forerunner to diabetes mellitus and also triggered by a diet regimen high in sugar, is thought to be a large reason.Theres no remedy for PCOS yet lots of of the signs and symptoms can be enhanced with way of life adjustments such as reducing weight and also consuming a health and wellness, well balanced diet regimen..Medications are additionally readily available to reward signs and symptoms such as extreme hair development, uneven durations and also fertility troubles.Source: NHS and also Office on WomensHealth

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Physical forces at the interface with biology and chemistry – PLoS Blogs

§ February 5th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Physical forces at the interface with biology and chemistry – PLoS Blogs

Cell behaviour, tissue formation/regulation, physiology and disease are all influenced by cellular mechanics and physical forces. The field of mechanobiology has for a long time striven to fully understand how these forces affect biological and cellular processes, as well as developing new analytical techniques. At the same time, the properties of advanced smart materials, such as self-healing, self-reporting and responsive polymers, have been determined by a complex interplay between the thermodynamics, kinetics and mechanics of dynamic bonding strategies. These are tightly connected to the field of mechanochemistry, whichaims to elucidate and harness molecular level design principles and translate these to the bulk material level as emergent properties. At this interface between disciplines lies an emerging and exciting research area that has been strongly facilitated by the collaboration of physicists, chemists, engineers, materials scientists, and biologists.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Kerstin Blank and Matthew Harrington, who have been working on how mechanical forces influence biological systems, molecules and responsive biomaterials, about their views of the field and the recent Multiscale Mechanochemistry and Mechanobiology conference of which PLOS ONE was one of the proud sponsors.

How did you first become interested in this topic?

Kerstin: When I started in this field in 2000, I was mostly impressed by the technical possibilities. I was working with Hermann Gaub, one of the leaders in single-molecule force spectroscopy. I found it fascinating that we could stretch a single biological molecule and observe its response. I did ask myself sometimes if this was just something that physicists like to play with or if one could solve biomedically relevant questions with this approach. Now, almost 20 years later, it has become very evident that a large number of biological systems are regulated by mechanical forces in many different ways.

Matt: My educational background was primarily in biology and biochemistry, but I became fascinated with the capacity of certain biological materials to exhibit self-healing responses in the absence of living cells. I reasoned that this must arise from specific chemical and physical design principles in the material building blocks themselves, and I became obsessed with figuring out how this works. This led me to the self-healing materials community, which was largely populated with chemists and materials engineers, but not so many biologists. When I began to see that many of the same principles at play in synthetic self-healing materials were present in nature, and that in some cases nature was going well beyond the state of the art in synthetic self-healing materials, I realized the enormous potential at the interface of mechanobiology and mechanochemistry. I havent looked back since.

Which areas are you most excited about?

Kerstin: I find it very intriguing how cells utilize mechanical information from their environment and then feed it into intracellular biochemical signalling cascades. Understanding these mechanosensing and mechanotransduction processes requires knowledge of the cellular players and their interactions. But to develop the complete picture, we also need to investigate how cells interact with their extracellular environment. This also involves understanding the microscopic and macroscopic mechanical properties of the extracellular environment. I am highly excited about the development of molecular force sensors that convert mechanical force into a fluorescent signal. This allows for the localized detection of cell traction forces and, in the future, will also enable us to visualize force propagation inside materials that mimic the natural extracellular matrix.

Matt: I am currently most excited about understanding how and why nature uses different transient interactions to control the fabrication and viscoelastic mechanical responses of biopolymeric materials and the potential this has for the development of sustainable advanced polymers of the future. Recent discoveries in the field clearly show that in contrast to traditional polymers, living organisms commonly use specific supramolecular interactions based on dynamic bonds (e.g. hydrogen bonding, metal coordination or pi-cation interactions) to guide the self-assembly and mechanical properties of protein-based materials. The thermodynamic and kinetic properties of these labile bonds enable a certain dynamicity and responsiveness in these building blocks that provides potential inspiration for environmentally friendly materials processing and active/tuneable material properties. These concepts are already being adapted in a number of exciting bio-inspired polymers.

What progress has the field made in the last years?

Kerstin: It is now well-established that cells are able to sense and respond to the elastic and viscoelastic properties of the material they grow in. We have also learned a lot about how the mechanical signal is converted into biochemical signalling on the intracellular side. This is a direct result of many new technological developments, including the molecular force sensors described above. It is further a result of the increasing development of extracellular matrix mimics with well-defined and tuneable mechanical properties and microstructures.

Matt: Due to recent technological advances it is becoming possible to link specific aspects of mechanical material responses directly to structural features at multiple length scales. The better we understand these structure-property relationships, the better we can optimize the material response. This provides an intimate feedback loop that has enabled major breakthroughs in the fields of active matter, including self-healing and self-reporting polymers.

What is the real-world impact?

Kerstin: It is widely accepted that mechanical information plays a key role in stem cell differentiation. It has further been shown that mutated cells, e.g. in cancer or cardiovascular diseases, have different mechanical properties and show alterations in processing mechanical information. Understanding the origin of these changes and being able to interfere with them will have direct impact in disease diagnostics and treatment. Engineering materials with molecularly controlled structures and mechanical properties will further enable the community to direct stem cell differentiation in a more defined manner for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Matt: Aside from biomedical impacts, the insights gained from understanding the structure-function relationships defining the mechanical response of molecules are also extremely relevant for the development and sustainable fabrication of next generation advanced polymers. Given the global threat of petroleum-based plastics processing and disposal, this is an extremely important aspect of the research in this field.

What are the challenges and future developments of the field?

Kerstin: At this moment, we usually try to relate the macroscopic material properties (measured in the lab) with the microscopic environment that cells sense. In my view, we are missing a key piece of information. We need to understand how the macroscopic properties of a material emerge from its molecular composition, topography and hierarchical structure. In combination, all these parameters determine the mechanical properties of a material and, more importantly, what the cells see. In fact, this is not only key for the development of new extracellular matrix mimics. The same questions need to be answered for understanding how nature assembles a wide range of structural and functional materials with outstanding properties, such as spider silk, cellulose composites and nacre. Here, I see a great potential for future collaboration between disciplines.

Matt: There are enormous challenges on the bio-inspiration side of the field involved with transferring design principles extracted from biological materials into synthetic systems. Biology is inherently complex, so there is a common tendency to distil the extracted concept to a single functional group or concept, while often there are collective effects that are lost by this more reductionist approach. On the biological side, a key challenge is ascertaining which are the relevant design principles. On the bio-inspired side, there are challenges in finding appropriate synthetic analogues to mimic the chemical and structural complexity of the natural system. Overcoming this barrier requires cross-disciplinary communication and feedback and is an extremely exciting and active area in our field.

Why and when did you decide to organize a conference on this topic?

Kerstin & Matt: While both working at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, we quickly realized that the cell biophysics, biomaterials, mechanochemistry and soft matter communities are all interested in very similar questions while using similar methods and theoretical models; however, we had the impression that they hardly interact with each other. We thought of ways to change this and organizing a conference was clearly one way to do it. The first conference with the topic Multiscale Mechanochemistry and Mechanobiology: from molecular mechanisms to smart materials took place in Berlin in 2017. When bringing this idea forward in our respective communities, we immediately realized that we hit a nerve. Now that the conference has taken place for the second time in Montreal in 2019, we really got the feeling that we are starting to create a community around this topic. There will be another follow up conference from August 23-25, 2021 in Berlin (@mcb2021Berlin).

What are the most interesting and representative papers published in PLOS ONE in this field?

Kerstin: The paper Monodisperse measurement of the biotin-streptavidin interaction strength in a well-defined pulling geometry, published by Sedlak et al., is a highly interesting contribution to the field of single-molecule force spectroscopy, which was also presented at the conference. This work highlights the methodological developments in single-molecule force spectroscopy since its very early days. The authors from the Gaub labhave re-measured the well-known streptavidin-biotin interaction, now with a very high level of control over the molecular setup. It clearly shows how far the field has come and also that protein engineering, bioconjugation chemistry, instrumentation development and data analysis all need to go hand in hand to obtain clear and unambiguous experimental results. Clearly, considering a defined molecular setup is not only crucial for this kind of measurement but also for the development of biomimetic materials with controlled mechanical properties.

Sedlak SM, Bauer MS, Kluger C, Schendel LC, Milles LF, Pippig DA, et al. (2017) Monodisperse measurement of the biotin-streptavidin interaction strength in a well-defined pulling geometry. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0188722,

Matt: Accurately detecting and measuring the mechanical forces at play inside living cells is one of the key challenges in the field of mechanobiology, given the small size and dynamic nature of the intracellular environment. However, this information is extremely important for understanding the role of mechanics in regulating cellular functions such as growth, differentiation and proliferation, as well as disease states. In the Nuclei deformation reveals pressure distributions in 3D cell clusters paper from the Ehrlicher group, the authors address this challenge by using fluorescently labelled proteins in the cell nucleus coupled with confocal microscopy to measure compressive pressures within cells and cell clusters. Using this methodology, they explored the effect of cell number and shape of multicellular clusters on the internal compressive pressure within cells, providing potentially important insights for cellular signalling and function. These studies have potential applications in both in vitro and in vivo models, and provide a relatively simple methodology for acquiring intracellular mechanical data.

Khavari A, Ehrlicher AJ (2019) Nuclei deformation reveals pressure distributions in 3D cell clusters. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0221753,

Other PLOS ONE representative papers:

Kerstin Blank studied Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences in Jena and obtained her PhDin Biophysics under the supervision of Prof Hermann Gaub at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitt in Munich. After two postdocs at the Universit de Strasbourg and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, she became an Assistant Professor at Radboud University in Nijmegen in 2009. In 2014, she moved to the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces where she holds the position of a Max Planck Research Group Leader. Her research interests combine biochemistry and single molecule biophysics with the goal of developing molecular force sensors for biological and materials science applications.

Matthew J. Harrington is Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry and assistant professor in Chemistry at McGill University since 2017. He received his PhD in the lab of J. Herbert Waite from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Afterwards, he was a Humboldt postdoctoral fellow and then research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in the Department of Biomaterials. His research interests are focused on understanding biochemical structure-function relationships and fabrication processes of biopolymeric materials and translating extracted design principles for production of sustainable, advanced materials.

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Sweet New Nanoparticles Treat Tumors and Trick Kidneys – Technology Networks

§ February 5th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Sweet New Nanoparticles Treat Tumors and Trick Kidneys – Technology Networks

100 times smaller than the smallest grain of sand and can therefore easily travel in the blood stream to reach the tumor. However, they are still too big to be removed by the kidneys. Since several doses of nanoparticles are necessary to treat a tumor, over time the nanoparticles can accumulate in the kidney and cause irreversible damage. In a study published in the scientific journal Biomaterials, materials scientists at the University of Freiburg led by Prof. Dr.Prasad Shastrifrom the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry now present a natural solution to this problem: they built nanoparticles with the carbohydrate polysaccharides, which led to the excretion of the particles.

In nature viruses such as the herpes simplex virus-1 and the cytomegalovirus, which are able to pass through the kidney filtration apparatus despite their large size compared to nanoparticles. Shastri and his team identified that both viruses presents sugar molecules on their surface. Inspired by this observation, the scientists engineered nanoparticles containing polysaccharides. These carbohydrates are frequently found in the human tissue environment. Using a real-time imaging technique, which they have established in their laboratory, the team investigated in a mouse model the fate of these nanoparticles. They observed that the polysaccharide-enriched nanoparticles readily pass through the kidney and are excreted with the urine within a few hours after intravenous administration. The decisive factor for the researchers was that the nanoparticles continued to act as intended and were still able to target tumors.

The ability to combine tumor accumulation and kidney clearance in the same nanoparticle represents a tipping point in ensuring that nanomedicines can be safely administered says Shastri. Our nature-inspired approach enabled us to trick the kidney environment to let nanoparticles pass through adds Dr.Melika Saremwho was a co-author of the study.

Prasad Shastri is Professor of Biofunctional Macromolecular Chemistry at the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry and Professor of Cell Signalling Environments in the Excellence Cluster BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies and at the University of Freiburg.

Reference:Wyss, et al. (2020): Renal clearance of polymeric nanoparticles by mimicry of glycan surface of Viruses. Biomaterials. DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119643

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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New research indicates that timely blue light exposure can help with minor traumatic brain injuries – Arizona Daily Wildcat

§ February 4th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on New research indicates that timely blue light exposure can help with minor traumatic brain injuries – Arizona Daily Wildcat

In the age of technology, almost everybody is exposed to blue light on a daily basis. In fact, the phone, computer or tablet you may be reading this story on is emanating blue light without you even realizing it.

Often times blue light gets a bad reputation because of the way its wavelength affects human circadian rhythms. Blue light inhibits the release of melatonin, the primary hormone responsible for regulating the sleep/wake cycle in humans.

William D. Scott Killgore, Ph.D. a psychiatry professor at the University of Arizonas College of Medicine Tucson, is the lead author on a new study that indicates timely blue light exposure can help patients who have suffered minor traumatic brain injuries (mTBI).

An mTBI occurs when a person experiences a physical force that causes damage to the brain on a microscopic level, leading to a brief alternation of consciousness, according to Killgore.

Typically this occurs through a physical impact to the head, a rapid rotation of the head or a shock wave to the soft tissue of the body that increases blood pressure to the brain, leading to microscopic bursting of blood vessels in the brain, Killgore said.

After experiencing an mTBI, patients often struggle with maintaining a proper sleep schedule. However, after the brain goes through a traumatic experience, sleep is absolutely essential for the recovery process.

Sleep helps clean out neurotoxins in the brain and it is important for facilitating the growth of oligodendrocyte precursor cells, which are critical for the formation and repair of the myelin sheath that surrounds axons. In short, sleep is necessary for recovery, Killgore said.

Currently, there are few known treatments for mTBIs. The majority of the recovery process simply includes resting until the patient starts to feel better. Fortunately, for most people who suffer an mTBI, the symptoms do not last very long. However, a small percentage of those patients will suffer lingering symptoms, including difficulty concentrating, headaches or mood changes.

The main treatment is rest and recovery, said Johnny Vanuk, a graduate research associate in Killgores lab. Depending on how different symptoms persist, individuals may need to engage in various forms of therapy to address difficulties that can inhibit speech or motor production.

Killgore and his team examined different colors (wavelengths) of light to see how they affect the recovery process from an injury. The participants in the study underwent a baseline assessment using cognitive assessments and brain scans.

They were then randomly assigned to take home a certain light box which had different colors of light-emitting diodes. The participants exposed themselves to the light from the box every morning for 30 minutes for six weeks.

After that time, they came back for a follow-up assessment.

For people with mTBI, we found that daily morning use of blue light led to a shift in their normal daily rhythm of sleep and wake, Killgore said. Overall, by the end of the study, the participants who used the blue light were falling asleep about an hour earlier each night and waking an hour earlier each morning.

These patients had decreased daytime sleepiness, improved problem solving ability and significant changes in several important systems within the brain, which could suggest that they were healing faster from their injuries.

The majority of people tend to give blue light a negative connotation simply because of a lack of knowledge about the topic. Blue light in and of itself is not harmful to human circadian rhythms. However, the timing of blue light exposure is the important factor about how it will affect you.

If a person is exposed to blue light in the morning, then it will inhibit their melatonin production, leading to a more alert state during the day and an easier ability to fall asleep at night.

However, if exposed to blue light at night, then it will inhibit melatonin production at a time when melatonin is necessary to fall asleep. This will cause the person to fall asleep at a later time than if they were not exposed to blue light, according to Killgore.

Blue light administered in the morning can be highly beneficial and improve sleep, Vanuk said. For example, a shift worker that sleeps during the day and stays awake through the night will get the beneficial effects from blue light exposure we capitalize on during the evening rather than the morning.

Killgores study has great implications for millions of patients each year who suffer a minor traumatic brain injury.

There are currently no established effective non-pharmacological treatments for mTBI, so this provides a possible adjunctive treatment that might be used in conjunction with other approaches to help people recover faster, Killgore said. Since this is the first study of its kind, more research is necessary before specific treatment recommendations can be made, but it suggest a possible new avenue for using sleep to help recovery.

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The science is never truly settled | Columns – Daily American Online

§ February 4th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on The science is never truly settled | Columns – Daily American Online

I consider myself somewhat of a scientist. The practice of medicine (including veterinary medicine) is, after all, both art and science. I dig figuring out how stuff works. I suspect that is what saw me through the difficult curriculum of veterinary school.

I recall during my freshman year one event that created a bit of a light bulb moment. We were attending a lecture for a class known as histology. Histology is the microscopic study of tissues and the cells that comprise tissues. During the lecture, the professor was explaining the different cell types present in the lining of the stomach. Some were there to produce acid, some were there to secrete protective mucus and others were there to provide immunological support.

His pointer was then directed to the picture of a cell on the overhead screen. He remarked that this cells purpose was still unknown and if there are any budding graduate students looking for a project, its function still needs to be worked out.

Wait a minute . . . we dont know yet? I thought science had everything figured out.

No, science hasnt solved all the mysteries of the universe and never will. Whenever a mystery is solved, several more manifest. Its job security for scientists, so long as the funding remains. Questions exist that are still to be answered and even more questions have yet to be asked.

In fact, it happens that some answers can turn out to be completely wrong. Science is a complicated, sometimes messy process. Puzzles are assembled but the pieces rarely fit together tightly. Indirect information is used to draw direct conclusions and often a picture develops that is incomplete.

So it happens with the climate debate. Some say the science is settled, but science is never settled, it is only suggestive. And whenever agenda finds its way into science, the science should be suspect.

Is it probable that the climate is evolving and changing? It is. Is it possible that humans play a role in this? Again, its entirely possible. Are cows going to make all of us fry from their belching and flatulence? Well, probably not.

Whenever agenda finds its way into science, the science should become suspect. This is why it has become standard practice for scientists to declare conflicts of interest before any scientific presentation.

Ill make my declaration that I have a conflict of interest; my livelihood depends on cows. I like cows; I like farmers; I like working with cows and I thoroughly enjoy dairy products and beef. My life without cows would look significantly different. That said, I am not convinced that a billion cows burping clouds of methane are a major contributor to climate change.

Reason dictates my conclusion because the science in support of cows causing global warming is pretty sketchy. Scientists claim that greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap energy in our atmosphere causing a gradual warming. The higher these levels become, the more warming. Carbon dioxide, once in the atmosphere, sticks around for a long time. Methane, on the other hand, does not. It degrades into carbon dioxide within a matter of decades.

The difference between cattle and so-called fossil fuels is as simple as a cycle. Cows eat plants. During the digestion of the plants, some methane is produced and released into the atmosphere. The methane eventually converts to carbon dioxide. Plants convert carbon dioxide into more plants. The cycle reaches a steady state as long as the number of cows remains constant.

Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are an immense carbon sink and, as they are consumed, release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The process of recycling carbon dioxide back into hydrocarbon fuel, however, has yet to be worked out. It may someday, but not yet.

We see too often where agenda clouds the incomplete picture of science even further. There are people who want to see the demise of animal agriculture and others who just want to sell so-called plant-based food. I have seen them seriously offer estimates that animal agriculture contributes up to 50% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Cows do produce methane, but their contribution to the overall carbon budget is not near that level.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the entire U.S. agriculture sector accounts for only 8.4% of greenhouse gas emissions in our country. Of this, about 36% is related to livestock production. Livestock production alone accounts for barely 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Livestock have a footprint, yes, but they wear small shoes. Remember also the methane cycle further reduces the actual footprint.

Science is imperfect and incomplete. People have biases and agendas, me included. But a claim that abstaining from hamburger or ice cream will help the planet should always be preceded by a declaration of conflict of interest.

(Dr. Bill Croushore is a veterinarian with White Oak Veterinary Clinic in Berlin. If you have a question for the veterinarian, send it to

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Immix Doses First Patient in USA in its Phase 1b/2a Trial in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors – BioSpace

§ February 4th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Immix Doses First Patient in USA in its Phase 1b/2a Trial in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors – BioSpace

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Immix Biopharma, Incannounced today that the first patient in the USA was dosed successfully in its flagship phase 1b/2a clinical trial testing Imx-110 in patients with refractory solid tumors.To-date, the trial has accrued patients across tumor types. The expansion of the study to the US builds upon Immix' results from Australia, wherein six cohorts were dosed with no treatment-related serious adverse events observed and dose escalation is continuing.

The first US patient was dosed at Sarcoma Oncology Research Center in Santa Monica, California - led by Dr. Sant Chawla, a world renowned expert in sarcoma treatment and clinical research. Based on his extensive experience with anthracycline-based experimental therapies for sarcoma, including CytRx' Aldoxorubicin, Dr. Chawla shared his optimism for Imx-110 as an investigational candidate both from the standpoint of superior efficacy and a lower risk of cardiac complications associated with older formulations of doxorubicin.Dr. Chawla's colleague, Dr. Erlinda Gordon is the Principal Investigator leading the study at Sarcoma Oncology Research Center in Santa Monica.

Dr. Gordon is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and previously a Tenured Associate Professor for 24 years at USC and currently a Professor Emeritus at the USC Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California. She is a co-inventor of more than 150 patents in biomedical research, and patented the first targeted gene delivery system for cancer in the USA, Europe and the Philippines. She has authored more than 100 original peer-reviewed articles and served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Director of the Red Cell Defects Program and the NIH-funded Comprehensive Hemophilia Center at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and the NIH-funded Children's Oncology Group. Dr. Gordon was co-founder of two biotechnology companies and is a pioneer in the development of targeted gene therapy products.

For more information on the Imx-110 study, please visit

Immix also has an open call for investigator initiated studies where the company will provide Imx-110 at no charge.

About Imx-110Imx-110 is a first-in-class combination therapy designed to inhibit cancer resistance and evolvability while inducing apoptosis. Imx-110 contains NF-kB/Stat3/pan-kinase inhibitor curcumin combined with a small amount of doxorubicin encased in a nano-sized delivery system for optimal tumor penetration. The nanoparticle is tunable in that it can be bound to various targeting moieties, allowing it to deliver even more payload to tumors or other cell populations of interest, if needed. Imx-110 showed preclinical efficacy in glioblastoma, multiple myeloma, triple-negative breast, colorectal, ovarian, and pancreatic tumor models with the mechanism of action being a 5x increase in cancer cell apoptosis compared to doxorubicin alone, and a wholesale shift in the tumor microenvironment post administration.

About the CompanyImmix Biopharma, Inc. is a privately-held, biopharmaceutical firm focused on developing safe and effective therapies for cancer patients. The company was founded by Vladimir Torchilin, Ph.D., D.Sc., Director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine at Northeastern University; physician-scientist and clinical researcher Ilya Rachman, MD, PhD, MBA; and Sean D. Senn, JD, MSc., MBA, a senior biotechnology patent attorney. Immix's founding investor is a family office focused on harnessing scientific advances in order to engineer transformative and effective cancer treatments. For more information visit

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Why is there no cure to cancer yet? – Free Malaysia Today

§ February 4th, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Why is there no cure to cancer yet? – Free Malaysia Today

A scientist prepares protein samples for analysis in a lab at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, UK. (Reuters pic)

Its 2020 and science continues on its ever-steady march of progress.

Many great scientific feats were accomplished in the past decade, ranging from the discovery of water on Mars to the creation of a hamburger in a laboratory.

Yet, a cure to cancer remains to be seen, a reality made more tragic on World Cancer Day today.

Despite billions of dollars poured into cancer research, the disease continues to affect more than 17 million people and their loved ones today.

Cancer occurs when normal cells mutate and reproduce without control.

As part of a defence mechanism, cells that are damaged or mutated will either attempt to repair themselves or self-destruct.

However, some mutations allow cancerous cells to bypass this defence and these cells proceed to invade surrounding tissues or travel to other parts of the body.

Once cancer has spread long enough, it becomes close to impossible to cure.

Cancer is complicated, with hundreds of different variants that cannot be dealt with one cure.

A majority of cancers are treated with a mix of tumour-removal surgery and radiation therapy to kill any remnants of the cancer cells.

Some patients undergo hormone therapies, immunotherapy and treatments targeted at specific cancers.

Most of the time, cancer patients will be free of the disease and they can go on to live long and happy lives.

Other times though, the cancer remains and treatments fail to do anything to dislodge it.

Researchers have long worked hard to find cures for all cancers and have noted several issues that will have to be dealt with along the way.

The first being the need for improved methods of studying cancer while its still inside a living organism. A majority of treatments are found through study of cancer cells in labs.

While the information scientists have garnered from them is invaluable, there is a need to understand a tumours complexities inside a persons body.

Drugs that kill cancer cells in labs may not work on cancer cells inside people. Some tumours aggressively spread and mutate quickly.

A single tumour could have different parts consisting of cancer cells with their own distinct mutations.

This makes treatment difficult when drugs are capable of killing a part of the tumour but not the rest of it.

Tumours are also capable of operating as its own ecosystem inside the body, with cancer cells communicating with each other and with nearby non-cancerous cells.

Normal cells are manipulated to form blood vessels that feed the tumour and remove its waste products.

The tumour also ensures its survival by suppressing the immune system, keeping itself safe from detection and destruction.

Researchers are looking into ways to prevent tumours from manipulating healthy cells into doing their will. Increasing evidence also proposes that cancer stem cells need to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

While rare, cancer stem cells are resistant to many treatments and a single survivor can cause cancer recurrence in a previously cured patient. Learning to deal with these obstinate cells will aid in curing patients permanently.

As though researchers dont already have a lot on their plate, cancer cells are constantly evolving to stay alive.

Cancer cells can learn quickly and may eventually become resistant to treatments that were once effective. To destroy them, treatments must be able to change just as the cancer cells do.

But while a cure-all for cancer is not within humanitys grasp yet, progress is most certainly being made.

The chances of survival for cancer patients has been increasing with each passing year as the success rates of treatment increases.

Every passing day brings science closer to the inevitable breakthrough.

With every piece of new knowledge humanity gains, hopefully it will be yet another nail in the coffin of cancer.

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NanoViricides: A History Of Producing Headlines Without Producing A Product – Seeking Alpha

§ February 3rd, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on NanoViricides: A History Of Producing Headlines Without Producing A Product – Seeking Alpha

The Wuhan Coronavirus has rapidly become a global health crisis and is producing hourly headlines. As a result, many of the vaccine tickers started to experience parabolic reactions as investors speculate on who will benefit from the growing health crisis. NanoViricides (NNVC) is one of these tickers and has rocketed from ~$3 to around $19 per share. On January 30th, NanoViricides announced it is has already initiated a program for developing a treatment for the 2019-nCOV." In addition, the company believes that their platform technology allows them to possibly have the most rapid pathway for new drug development against viral diseases. This triggered a sharp spike in the share price and has investors keeping a close eye on NNVC for their next move. Unfortunately, the company has yet to gain support from governmental and international agencies, so it doesnt appear NanoViricides is going to be in lead considering Moderna (MRNA) at least has a clinical collaboration with NIH. What is more, the company has started several pipeline programs but has yet to put one into human trials. Consequently, I believe investors need to be cautious around this ticker and should be skeptical about its ability to be a long-term investment.

I intend to provide a brief background on the companys platform technology and pipeline programs. In addition, I discuss my concerns around the companys technology and the ability to get one of their programs through the FDA. Moreover, I recap the companys history of publicizing their intention to develop a therapy for the latest outbreak but has yet to get one of these programs into the clinic.

NanoViricides is committed to the advancement of nanomedicine drugs in the battle against viruses. The companys nanoviricide platform technology intends to develop first-in-class drugs to envelope virus particles, which should block a virus from infecting a healthy cell and will eventually destroy the virus.

Figure 1: NanoViricide Mechanism of Action (Source: NNVC)

NanoViricides has its own c-GMP capable manufacturing facility that can be used to produce their own product candidates for both clinical and commercial use. In terms of pipeline programs, the company has multiple preclinical programs that are moving closer to an IND and into human trials (Figure 2).

Figure 2: NanoViricide Pipeline (Source: NNVC)

At the moment, the company is focused on bringing their NV-HHV-101 HerpeCide program into human trials. This would be the companys lead product candidate for a topical treatment for shingles rash and would be the companys first clinical program. According to the company, NV-HHV-101 had positive GLP Safety/Toxicology and non-GLP studies. Unfortunately, the company hasnt been able to produce any animal models in order to evaluate their dermal treatment but has been using ex vivo human skin organ culture model studies to determine some safety and efficacy. NanoViricides is preparing to file an IND and transition into a clinical-stage biotech.

Once NV-HHV-101 is in the clinic, the company expects to advance their HSV-1 cold sores and of HSV-2 genital ulcers programs. In addition, the company has several preclinical programs that include therapies for HIV, Dengue, Ebola, Bird Flu. These programs are at different stages of preclinical development and have demonstrated safety in animal models. According to the company, their anti-HIV drug candidate has demonstrated complete suppression of the HIV virus in mouse models, which would lead to a functional cure.

My Concerns

Does the NanoViricide entice or attack a virus? After reading through the companys presentation, I couldnt come to a conclusion about how their platform works. The company has illustrated that their NanoViricides attacks and envelopes the virus (Figure 1). However, they have also stated that the NanoViricides fools the virus that it is a host cell and then entraps the virus. Perhaps the NanoViricides work both ways, but it still has me wondering about how it is supposed to act inside the bodya human host cell is astronomically bigger than the virus that is attempting to infect it (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Size Comparisons (Source: Research Gate)

Viruses are measured in nanometers and human cells are measured in microns, yet, the NanoViricide is attempting to trick the virus to thinking it is human cell. Indeed, a virus doesnt decide to attach to a human cell because of its size but rather surface receptors. Still, I dont see it as it being tricked but rather just getting stuck and consumed...which makes me wonder about the size of a NanoViricide...How big of a virus can it cover? Can multiple NanoViricides work on one virus?

How does the NanoViricide destroy the virus? Viruses are quite resilient for just being RNA or DNA encapsulated in a protein coat. A virus requires host cells to carry out the remaining life processes in order to reproduce. This gives our bodies a chance to identify and destroy viruses with our innate and adaptive immune systems by several complex mechanisms. So, an explanation of how a NanoViricide destroys a virus needs to go beyond it encapsulates and destroys. The company explains that the NanoViricide delivers a devastating payload of active pharmaceutical ingredients API into the virus particle, thereby completely destroying the enemy. What is this API? Does it cause cytotoxicity? Is it relying opsonization? The company has a slide (Figure 4), that shows NanoVircide dismantling the capsid.

Figure 4: NanoViricide Dismantling (Source: NNVC)

Admittedly, the company is attempting to be one of the leaders in nanomedicine, so perhaps the mechanisms are beyond me and contemporary medicine. Unfortunately, we cant rely on currently approved products or science to understand how NanoViricide works, which doesnt bode well in my opinion. Contemporary vaccines, antibodies, and anti-viral drugs are effective against viruses, so I have to imagine health agencies and organizations are going to side with the standard-of-care modalities rather than take a chance with unproven technology.

Another issue I have with their technology is how they plan to run clinical trials for some of their pipeline programs. Take their shingles cream candidate, which is intended to be a topical treatment for the shingles rash. How is the company supposed to run a clinical trial for this? What would be an inclusion or exclusion trial for this? How would they know if it is better at clearing up a rash vs. placebo alone? A shingles rash appears abruptly and can last several weeks, so, determining if NanoViricides were able to shorten or diminish the impact of the rash would be difficult to measure. I have the same issue with infectious viruses, where the company is attempting to prove their NanoViricides work against a dangerous virus. With vaccines, companies are able to determine their ability to stimulate the immune system and elicit some seroprotection without the subject being infected with the virus. NanoViricides is not a vaccine, so the subject would have to be infected with the Wuhan Coronavirus in order to determine if it is effective against the virus. Overall, I see the company having a hard time clearing some of these regulatory hurdles and being able to prove its product works the way it is intended.

The other concerning issue is the companys history of developing the current global health crisis and has yet to get that program into the clinic. The company started to develop an Avian Bird Flu drug back in 2006, and yet, it has yet to hit the clinic. The same can be said for their Dengue program that was started in 2007, and the same with Ebola in 2008 and 2014. In addition, the company promoted their efforts against MERS in 2014 and has been attempting an HIV program for several years. Unfortunately, none of these programs have made it into the clinic for human trials but investors cash has made it into the companys bank account. It appears the company takes advantage of any major global health crisis by claiming they have a potential product and they are working hard to quickly progress their NanoViricides against the most recent headline virus. In reality, the company doesnt move out of discovery and preclinical studies. Sadly, investors have been enticed by the prospects of investing in a company that has an answer to the current scare, only to experience dilution that has devastated the share price over the years (Figure 5).

Figure 5: NNVC Weekly Chart (Source: Trendspider)

Even if the company wanted to push forward with development and start human trials, it will need a large amount of cash to get the ball rolling. What is more, the company would most likely need to secure commercial partners to produce and distribute their products. Admittedly, the company just raised about $7.5M in a public offering after the stock popped once the Wuhan virus started to catch the publics eye. Still, the company will most likely need some additional funding to get one of their product candidates through the FDA.

NanoViricide might be working on a potential treatment for the Wuhan Coronavirus, but investors need to be cautious here. The company has a 15-year history of promoting their attempts to develop a leading therapy for the latest virus but has yet to get one of these programs into human trials. Even if the company is able to develop a potential candidate, it is going to need the help from government agencies and institutions to be used and it looks as if some of the worlds biggest pharmaceutical and biotechs are already starting to send some of their anti-viral products to China to help with the outbreak. In fact, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is already working on a vaccine and has donated some of their HIV medications. What is more, NanoViricides is not even listed on a CNBC list of companies working on a Coronavirus vaccine or drug (Figure 6).

Figure 6: List of Coronavirus Companies (Source: CNBC)

Considering these points, I would advise investors to wary of investing until the company is able to get an IND and reports their first human data. Until then, I expect shorts to start piling on once the market realizes the company is reusing its old playbook of promoting a program and never following through with it.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Recalculating: when research starts one way and ends another – Mirage News

§ February 3rd, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Recalculating: when research starts one way and ends another – Mirage News

Were always told that the journey is just as important as the destination. This is true in many aspects of life, but perhaps nowhere as much as in scientific research. Flexibility, curiosity, and attention to detail can lead to a treasure you werent even expecting to find. TAUs scientists talk about research that began one way and ended another, thanks to a few surprises along the way.

A treasure in a pot

A team of archeologists on an excavation mission found that sometimes, the appearance of a clay pot is no indication of its contents. On one of the excavations in Megiddo, we removed the partitions separating the different sections of the dig and found a whole clay pot full of dirt, says Naama Walzer, a doctoral student in the Department of Archeology and Early Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University.

We packed it up and planned to send it to a molecular residue lab to find out what used to be stored inside of this pot, which we dated to around 1100 BCE. The pot was stored in an office, but after a while it became clear that preservation in that area of the excavation wasnt up to standard, so the team decided to empty the pot, in a controlled way, and poured out its contents on the table. We werent expecting to find what ended up being inside: a treasure trove of jewelry, considered one of the greatest troves found in Israel from the Biblical period!

The pot discovered in Megiddo. (Photo courtesy of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Archeology Institute)

Among other things, the trove contained nine large earrings and a seal ring, over a thousand small gold beads, and silver necklaces and jewelry. This is how we found the big treasure of Area H, which is now part of the permanent exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, concludes Walzer.

Earrings, rings and gold beads. A huge treasure from the Biblical period. (Photo courtesy of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Archeology Institute)

The longest record in the lowest place

Weve all heard that still water runs deep, but did you know it can run deep enough to be remembered hundreds of thousands of years later? I was looking for places to sample a rock that sank, in a still setting, to the bottom of the Dead Sea, recalls Prof. Shmulik Marco, head of the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

The goal was to measure the magnetic properties of the rock in order to reconstruct the changes that have occurred in the Earths magnetic field. This information is essential to understanding one of the most important mysteries in geology. Scientists still have no satisfactory explanation for the mechanism that causes changes in the magnetic field, such as surprising reversals or constant changes in the position of the magnetic poles. While sampling the rocks, I found layers that looked messy. The study took an unexpected turn when I realized the mess was the result of earthquakes, and that became the main focus of the research.

The lowest place: layers of rock at the Dead Sea

Because modern seismographs have only existed for about a century, which is barely a moment in earthquake terms, its impossible to know how a specific area behaves over long periods of time. In Israel, for example, theres documentation from the Biblical period (about 3,000 years ago), which is still considered very little. But now we have a record of the earthquakes that happened around the Dead Sea in the last 220,000 years. Thats considered a unique, world record, because theres no other documentation in the world thats so long and continuous, concludes Professor Marco.

Neat vs messy: A layer of rock in which the natural order was disturbed

A miracle of light

As she was nearing the end of her postdoctoral studies at Yale University, Dr. Ines Zucker of the Iby and Aladar Fleischmann Faculty of Engineering decided to advise an undergraduate student in a promising, short-term study.

But as we all know, the only thing you can count on in life is that everything changes: The purpose of the study was to show a difference in damage to liposomes (microscopic spheres filled by fluorescent fluid and surrounded by a membrane, used in medicine and in scientific studies of biological membranes) by a nanomatter called MnO2, produced in various structures, explains Dr. Zucker.

In the past, weve shown a fluorescent fluid leak (i.e., liposome damage) was dependent on the surface of the nanomatter, and this time we wanted to show it also depended on its structure. But research has its own rules we couldnt find the kind of damage we were looking for. Right as we were about to give up on the study, we took the system to a fluorescence microscope, where we saw that the liposomes and the nanomatter interact in a way weve never seen before in this context: the liposomes envelop the nanomatter, but remain whole, intact spheres without leakage! It was like a miracle of light.

Many times unexpected discoveries surprise us. Dr. Zucker in the lab

A star (re)born

For Dr. Iair Arcavi, of the Department of Astrophysics at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, a routine evening of surveying space through a robotic telescope led to discovering a brand new phenomenon: the resurrection of a star.

A few years ago, we came across a star that didnt want to die and kept exploding again and again, Dr. Arcavi says. Every night the telescope would find lots of new things, most of them uninteresting. Even with this supernova (which is a star that exploded), we initially thought it was uninteresting, because when the survey first caught it, it was in the dimming stage, and we thought wed missed the interesting part. We noticed for weeks that the supernova was starting to get bright again, which is something that shouldnt happen, so that piqued our interest and made us follow the supernova with additional telescopes.

A supernova exploding far, far away

Usually, when a star explodes, the light intensity goes up and down and eventually disappears after a few months. In our case, the light intensity went up and down, then did it again and again, for a total of five times over two years. What surprised us even more was when we discovered that this star actually exploded in 1954, and after a star explodes, its not supposed to explode again, because the explosion destroys the star. To this day no ones been able to explain it, and we havent seen a similar event since.

The sky is full of surprises: Dr. Arcavi and the Hawaii observatory

Two for the price of one

Have you ever looked for a solution to a problem, only to solve an entirely different problem along the way? Thats exactly what happened to Prof. Noam Shomron of the Sackler School of Medicine.

We wanted to develop a way to identify a specific disease, but along the way we discovered more options, so we made those additional targets of the research, he says. We tracked thousands of pregnant women, to characterize blood molecules that can be early markers of preeclampsia, a condition that can only occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. Not only did we find those molecules, we also managed to characterize other molecules, that could be an indicator of gestational diabetes. (Theres no connection between the two conditions, except that they both occur during pregnancy.)

Whats exciting about this story is that theres still no way of identifying, in the first trimester, using a simple blood test, problems that can occur in the second or third trimester. But our discovery will allow simple blood tests to be developed to identify both conditions, which will then lead to preventative measures at an early stage, and ensure the wellbeing of both mother and baby.

Professor Shomron talking about his accidental discovery at an Atnahta event at TAU

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Why China Is The Future of Nanoscience – OZY

§ February 3rd, 2020 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Why China Is The Future of Nanoscience – OZY

Everything about Chinas drive to become a leading innovator works on a giant scale. Ambitions are enormous, budgets are vast and the focus is widespread. And in many fields, its beginning to close the gap with U.S. and European institutions. But its in the study of materials on the scale of a billionth of a meter nanoscience that China is already fast overtaking its international rivals.

From cloning to cancer research, China is using nanoscience and nanotechnology innovation to drive some of the worlds biggest breakthroughs. In July, an international team of researchers led by Chinese scientists developed a new form of synthetic, biodegradable nanoparticle. Capable of targeting, penetrating and altering cells by delivering the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool into a cell, the nanoparticle can be used in the treatment of some single-gene disorders, as well as other diseases including some forms of cancer.

In a separate project, scientists at Chinas Nanjing University haveused nanoparticles to target and destroy abnormal proteins known to causebreast cancer. Tests in mice showed the treatment reduced the size of tumors byhalf compared to the control group. At the University of Science and Technologyof China, a team of researchers claims to have given mice infrared night visionby injecting nanoparticles into their eyes.

And at the State Key Laboratory of Robotics in the northeast city of Shenyang, researchers have developed a laser that produces a tiny gas bubble. This bubble can be used as a tiny robot to manipulate and move materials on a nanoscale with microscopic precision. The technology promises new possibilities in the field of artificial tissue creation and cloning.These innovations are backed up by a scale of research thats unmatched. In 2018, Chinese researchers were on their own responsible for 40 percent of all global scientific papers in the field, with the U.S. (15 percent) a distant second.

Nanotechnology supports biomedicine and quantum technology development and makes its way into everyday life through advancements in consumer electronics and artificial intelligence, all areas where China seeks global dominance. Being at the forefront of cutting-edge nano research greatly improves Chinas prospects for success, especially in biomedicine, where it has long trailed rivals.

Drug delivery, nanomedicine and tissue engineering are rapidly growing fields that rely on our ability to engineernanoparticles and biomaterialstargeted at specific cells, such as cancer cells,to enhance the therapeutic efficacy, says Dr. Omid Kavehei, deputy director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute.

Chinas gains could help it win critical patents in advanced research in fields like cancer, where the U.S. has historically led.

Strong state support in nanoscience as in tech fields such as artificial intelligence and robotics is also a key advantage for China, Bai Chunli, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), conceded publicly in August. The importance the government places on competitiveness in the field is underlined by its inclusion as a strategic industry in Chinas 13th Five-Year Plan, ensuring state funding and legislative and regulatory support. Nanotech research is also a key component of the ambitious Made in China 2025 initiative aimed at turning China into a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse.

Thats allowing China to find success in myriad areas of nanotechnology. A new nanomaterial invented by CAS scientists promises to eliminate millions of metric tons of liquid pollution and emissions from organic chemicals used in printing plates and ink. It is one of the headline acts for CAS as it drives to apply nanotechnology innovation to the development of consumer tech. So far, the project has landed $780 million in investment.

China still relies on collaborations with foreign institutions in most of the subfields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Shengfu Yang, University of Leicester

In an October 2019 paper published by science journalNano Energy, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics announced the creation of a tiny lithium battery that is resilient to low temperatures, capable of operating at 80 percent efficiency at temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius. While the battery presents huge potential for industries from electric cars to mobile devices, the ability of the battery to operate at extreme temperatures is particularly important to the future of space technology.

Industry experts point to the return of foreign-trained Chinese researchers to the Middle Kingdom, lured by the promise of readily available funding, as an important factor of Chinas progress. The next step is for China to become self-sufficient in developing talent. Currently China still relies on collaborations with foreign institutions in most of the subfields of nanoscience and nanotechnology, says Shengfu Yang, nanochemistry professor at the University of Leicester. The nanoparticle that delivers the gene-editing tool into cells was developed in partnership with scientists at Tufts University in the United States, for instance.

Enhancing innovation in the private sector will also help China kick on, says Zheng Xiao Guo, professor of chemistry and mechanical engineering at the University of Hong Kong. State-funded institutions have played a far bigger role in nanotechnology innovations, and private institutions or enterprises in this area are not as strong, he says.

But the number of private companies driving nanotech product innovation is rapidly growing, Zheng concedes. Nanopolis, the worlds largest nanotech industrial zone, located in the eastern city of Suzhou, houses several private multinationals and new Chinese startups across nanotech fields. China now also leads the globe in newly established nanotech companies. In 2018, Tencent founder Ma Huateng joined a number of high-profile businesspeople in financing the establishment ofChinas first private research institute,Westlake University, with nanotech a main focus for research.

Private-sector involvement opens new and unique pools of funding and talent, and the focus is on applicable research even in a country like China, where state-sponsored institutions still dominate, say experts.

That combination of a growing talent pool and a state-sponsored desire to become a global leader, with an expanding private-sector ecosystem, will be hard for other countries to match. Chinas big leap in small science is just starting.

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