Scientists develop cystic fibrosis cure
An attempt by researchers at the Department of Pediatrics at Heidelberg University Hospital to treat the most common genetic disease, cystic fibrosis, in living organisms has proven to be successful.
The therapy directly attacks the root cause of the disease, which is the drying up of the mucous membrane, and involves the spraying of amiloride into the lungs. The therapy was successfully tested on young mice.
Mutations in a gene called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene are responsible for the dehydration of the surfaces of the mucous membranes in the intestines, lungs, and other organs. Amiloride acts by inhibiting the sodium channels and preventing the drying up of these mucous membranes.
FDA approves drugs made in goats
A drug produced by genetically engineered animals was approved by the FDA for the first time. The drug is a human protein to prevent blood clots that has to be extracted from the milk of genetically engineered goats. The approval of this first drug also accompanies another major step — the approval of the goats that produce this drug.
This drug is manufactured by GTC Biopharmaceuticals. It was produced by a herd of 200 goats, which were carefully bred in a farm with controlled conditions in central Massachusetts.
Source: The New York Times
Cancer prevalent near oil sand plants
More cancer cases than expected were found in a small village in Canada due to its proximity to large oil sand plants. Residents believe that oil sand developments may be responsible for bile duct cancer, a very rare type of cancer.
The complaints made by the residents led to a study conducted by Alberta health authorities. The study revealed that the village had 1400 cases of cancer, which was higher than the expected rate, but only two of the six reported patients were actually suffering from the rare cancer of the bile ducts, also called cholangiocarcinoma, while one had no cancer at all. However, it was also found that 47 individuals in the community suffered from 51 different cancers. This was far more than the 39 cases that were expected to be found.
Scientists grow neurons on chips
Researchers at Edinburgh University have discovered a new technique, which can help repair damaged tissue in the human body through the use of silicon chips. The technique involves the use of computer chips that allow neurons to grow in fine, detailed patterns on their surfaces.
In this technique, patterns are printed on the chip’s smooth silicon surface. Then the chip is dipped in a mixture of proteins. As a result of this, neurons that have grown on the surface of the chips along the patterns designed by the scientists are obtained. It has been found that this technique can also work successfully with stem cells. It is believed that the technique can be used in the development of prosthetics.
Source: BBC News