Exciting cells and controlling heartbeats – could optogenetics create drug-free treatments?

A laser-controlled brain or a heart that beats in time to a disco light display sound like some of the more vivid imaginings of science fiction writers. But scientists are gathering together tricks that may allow us to do just that – and they could be used to create drug-free therapies. This is the growing … Continue reading Exciting cells and controlling heartbeats – could optogenetics create drug-free treatments?

Treating Progeria; How GM mice give hope to some very special children

Something big is going on right now in the world of research. Something very specific for some very special children with a very rare disease. It may not be widely known by name but I am sure you have seen these children. The disease is called Progeria. From the Progeria Research Foundation's website, we learn: … Continue reading Treating Progeria; How GM mice give hope to some very special children

Cancer Stem Cells: Mouse studies lead to paradigm shift in cancer research

For the past 15 years one of the most intriguing ideas in cancer research has been that the growth and spread of most – if not all – cancers is driven by cancer stem cells. The hypothesis is that only a tiny proportion of cancer cells, cancer stem cells, have the stem cell-like ability to … Continue reading Cancer Stem Cells: Mouse studies lead to paradigm shift in cancer research

Natural Antibiotic Casts a Net Against Bacteria

A "natural antibiotic" protects the body against bacteria by tangling them in a net, not poking holes in them, UC Davis researchers have found. Experiments with genetically-modified, or transgenic mice were crucial to the discovery, along with cell cultures, biochemistry and sophisticated studies of how small proteins assemble together. It's an entirely new mechanism of … Continue reading Natural Antibiotic Casts a Net Against Bacteria

Speaking of Research welcomes 2011 UK statistics for animal use in scientific research

The UK Home Office has released the animal research statistics for 2011, which show a 2% increase overall in procedures compared to 2010 figures. A summary of the report is available here, while the full report can be downloaded here.  Once again basic research and breeding of GM animals accounted for the lions share - 88% - … Continue reading Speaking of Research welcomes 2011 UK statistics for animal use in scientific research

Millenium Technology Prize 2012: Mouse stem cell research heralds a new era in biomedical research

Every year since 2004 the Technology Academy Finland has awarded the prestigious Millennium Technology Prize as a tribute to life-enhancing technological innovations, and the list of past winners includes some of the world’s leading technological innovators. This year the Grand Prize is for the first time being shared between two innovators, Linus Torvalds, who created … Continue reading Millenium Technology Prize 2012: Mouse stem cell research heralds a new era in biomedical research

What GM mice can tell us about pancreatic cancer (and medical charities)

I've written on the growing importance of genetically modified (GM) mice in cancer research before, but it's been a little while since I revisited the subject. So when I saw this BBC story yesterday on how scientists at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute has used an elegant study in GM mice to identify a gene … Continue reading What GM mice can tell us about pancreatic cancer (and medical charities)