Designing Artificial Microswimmers for Targeted Drug Delivery

3A983339-069B-4049-8E81-1886E9229883

Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. Mathematical models of this cell motion are guiding the design of artificial microswimmers for targeted drug delivery.

Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts and spermatozoa in the female reproductive tracts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. In recent years, the motion of these ‘microswimmers’ has been mimicked in the design of self-propelled micro- and nano-scale machines for applications including targeted drug delivery. Optimising the design of these machines requires a detailed, mathematical understanding of microswimmers in these environments. A large, international group of physicists led by Abdallah Daddi-Moussa-Ider of Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany has now generated mathematical models of microswimmers in clean and surfactant-covered viscous drops, showing that the surfactant significantly alters the swimmers’ behaviour. They have published their work in EPJ E.

Continue reading… “Designing Artificial Microswimmers for Targeted Drug Delivery”

Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19

6FC47CC5-B2E4-40DC-A256-544E0EA232CF

Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19

Bristol scientists have demonstrated a new virtual reality [VR] technique which should help in developing drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus—and enable researchers to share models and collaborate in new ways. The innovative tool, created by University of Bristol researchers, and published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, will help scientists around the world identify anti-viral drug leads more rapidly.

A SARS-CoV-2 enzyme known as the main protease (Mpro) is a promising target in the search for new anti-viral treatments. Molecules that stop the main protease from working—called enzyme inhibitors—stop the virus reproducing, and so could be effective drugs. Researchers across the world are working to find such molecules. A key predictor of a drug’s effectiveness is how tightly it binds to its target; knowing how a drug fits into the protein helps researchers design changes to its structure to make it bind more tightly.

Continue reading… “Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19”

Human aging process biologically reversed in world first

C8E14048-47A7-4A4D-9905-3D849245A493

The ageing process has been biologically reversed for the first time by giving humans oxygen therapy in a pressurised chamber.

 Scientists in Israel showed they could turn back the clock in two key areas of the body believed to be responsible for the frailty and ill-health that comes with growing older.

As people age, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes – called telomeres – shorten, causing DNA to become damaged and cells to stop replicating. At the same time, “zombie” senescent cells build up in the body, preventing regeneration.

Increasing telemere length and getting rid of senescent cells is the focus of many anti-ageing studies, and drugs are being developed to target those areas.

Now scientists at Tel Aviv University have shown that giving pure oxygen to older people while in a hyperbaric chamber increased the length of their telomeres by 20 per cent, a feat that has never been achieved before.

Continue reading… “Human aging process biologically reversed in world first”

Medical innovations that will revolutionize the future of you healthcare

7AB29F77-3769-4586-8367-48DD1C8B12F8

2020 has ingrained in me an age-old adage my mom loves to quote – health is wealth. Focus on our healthcare and the strain on our healthcare system has increased exponentially this year. While the world altogether has jumped up to help improve our healthcare systems, what can truly help is improved preventive methods, devices that help the patients monitor their health from home as well as to stay in touch with their doctors virtually while providing accurate data. The best example of the data’s impact is how an Apple Watch helped saved a man’s life by detecting problems with his heartbeat – and this is just the beginning. The products here show the best of healthcare we can provide to make this world a better place!

Continue reading… “Medical innovations that will revolutionize the future of you healthcare”

Researchers 3D-printed a cell-sized tugboat

 A8A37081-6319-405E-9D04-FFBDB8BC5A2D

The aim was to see how microorganisms like sperm or bacteria swim.

 Physicists at Leiden University in the Netherlands have 3D printed what could be the world’s smallest boat, a test object known as Benchy (via Gizmodo). At 30 microns long, it’s a third smaller than the thickness of a human hair and about six times larger than a bacteria cell. It’s not only small but surprisingly detailed, with an open cockpit that features some tricky geometry. The goal is to understand how “microswimmers” like bacteria and sperm move through liquids.

Continue reading… “Researchers 3D-printed a cell-sized tugboat”

3D-printed pharmaceuticals pave the way for customizable drug therapies

0C3660DB-AE06-41CC-903E-B5081D25FC08

Personalized pills created by 3D printers will help treat complex diseases cheaply.

Since its inception during the later decades of the last century, 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) has moved far beyond merely fabricating simple plastic parts. Today the technique can be used to produce much-needed medical supplies such as personal protective equipment for health care workers fighting COVID-19. Among other advances, 3D printing is now also considered a serious tool to advance medicine and pharmacology through bioprinting. Bioprinting can create anatomical models of patients prior to surgery and some biological tissues, with the goal of progressing to printing whole complex organs such as the heart. However, another emerging and potentially revolutionary use for 3D bioprinting is the production of pharmaceutical drugs that are tailored to meet the needs of specific patients.

In 2015 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first 3D-printed pharmaceutical, SPRITAM (levetiracetam), created by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of seizures. Although the drug remains the only 3D-printed drug currently approved by the FDA, the many advantages of 3D-printed drugs place them at the forefront of what’s ahead for medicine as the FDA works on formulating a regulatory framework for them.

Continue reading… “3D-printed pharmaceuticals pave the way for customizable drug therapies”

Robot that can perform colonoscopies aims to make it less unpleasant

 

 C98B583C-6D55-4909-8B7E-135218196C73

 A robot that can perform colonoscopies may make the procedure simpler and less unpleasant.

Pietro Valdastri at the University of Leeds in the UK and his colleagues have developed a robotic arm that uses a machine learning algorithm to move a flexible probe along the colon.

The probe is a magnetic endoscope, a tube with a camera lens at the tip, that the robot controls via a magnet external to the body.

The system can either work autonomously or be controlled by a human operator using a joystick, which pushes the endoscope tip further along the colon. Valdastri likens the movement to the intuitive motion of playing a video game. The system also keeps track of the location and orientation of the endoscope inside the colon.

Continue reading… “Robot that can perform colonoscopies aims to make it less unpleasant”

AI tool could predict how drugs will react in the body

 

104172E3-AD63-4107-A9F0-1C67C731F903

“The safety of a drug does not depend only on the drug itself but also on the metabolites
that can be formed when the drug is processed in the body,” says Eleni Litsa

A new deep learning-based tool called Metabolic Translator may soon give researchers a better handle on how drugs in development will perform in the human body.

When you take a medication, you want to know precisely what it does. Pharmaceutical companies go through extensive testing to ensure that you do.

Metabolic Translator, a computational tool that predicts metabolites, the products of interactions between small molecules like drugs and enzymes could help improve the process.

The new tool takes advantage of deep-learning methods and the availability of massive reaction datasets to give developers a broad picture of what a drug will do. The method is unconstrained by rules that companies use to determine metabolic reactions, opening a path to new discoveries.

Continue reading… “AI tool could predict how drugs will react in the body”

Breast milk could stop virus spreading, researchers claim

 274B52CD-A047-4AD7-80A1-87A0DDC9C666

Whey proteins in cow and goat milk also could inhibit the virus but is less effective than human breast milk.

 

Human breast milk could help to prevent or treat COVID-19, according to a new study by Chinese scientists, lending support to World Health Organisation guidelines that mothers should breastfeed their newborn babies even if they are infected with the coronavirus.

Continue reading… “Breast milk could stop virus spreading, researchers claim”

Experimental cancer treatment destroys cancer cells without using any drugs

AB0A30DC-8060-4F4D-BFBC-A261FCBBE416

One of the latest methods pioneered by scientists to treat cancer uses a Trojan horse sneak attack to prompt cancer cells to self-destruct – all without using any drugs.

Key to the technique is the use of a nanoparticle coated in a specific amino acid called L-phenylalanine, one of several such acids that cancer cells rely on to grow. L-phenylalanine isn’t made by the body, but absorbed from meat and dairy products.

In tests on mice, the nanoparticle – called Nano-pPAAM or Nanoscopic phenylalanine Porous Amino Acid Mimic – killed cancer cells specifically and effectively, posing as a friendly amino acid before causing the cells to destroy themselves.

The self-destruction mode is triggered as the nanoparticle puts production of certain chemicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) into overdrive. It’s enough to bring down the cancer cells while leaving neighbouring, healthy cells intact.

Continue reading… “Experimental cancer treatment destroys cancer cells without using any drugs”

How CRISPR is tackling the troubling immune response that’s plagued gene therapy until now

B2CD48F2-8E96-4A82-A2D2-35B9D7D5A896

One of the major challenges facing gene therapy — a way to treat disease by replacing a patient’s defective genes with healthy ones — is that it is difficult to safely deliver therapeutic genes to patients without the immune system destroying the gene, and the vehicle carrying it, which can trigger life-threatening widespread inflammation.

Three decades ago researchers thought that gene therapy would be the ultimate treatment for genetically inherited diseases like hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, and genetic diseases of metabolism. But the technology couldn’t dodge the immune response.

Since then, researchers have been looking for ways to perfect the technology and control immune responses to the gene or the vehicle. However, many of the strategies tested so far have not been completely successful in overcoming this hurdle.

Continue reading… “How CRISPR is tackling the troubling immune response that’s plagued gene therapy until now”

To repair a damaged heart, three cells are better than one

 44398B0B-0814-4806-B341-853F2D52D2BD

Cell therapy for cardiac regeneration, while promising, has been hampered by issues with long-term survival of the transplanted cells. Now, a technique that combines three different types of cells in a 3-D cluster could improve its efficacy in reducing scar tissue and improving cardiac function after a heart attack.

Called CardioCluster, the bioengineering technique was developed by Megan Monsanto, a recent doctoral candidate who worked with Mark Sussman, distinguished professor of biology at the San Diego State University Heart Institute. They found there is strength in numbers, even in cell therapy.

Their research shows the cell clusters improve heart function because they have much better retention rates compared to single cell injections—the clusters persisted inside the heart walls of mice models for as long as five months after transplantation, a significant advancement.

Continue reading… “To repair a damaged heart, three cells are better than one”