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COMPAMED Newsletter

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Image: analysis tool - cmpared to OpenMS and industry standard MaxQuant, IonStar lowered the amount of missing data; Copyright: Jun Qu

New tool analyzes disease and drug effects with unprecedented accuracy and consistency


IonStar could upend industry standards, and quicken medical diagnosis and drug development.
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Image: A topographical view of the mesh capable of growing neurons; Copyright: Mark Del Borgo

Building better beta peptides


Designing bioscaffolds offers bioengineers greater flexibility when it comes to tissue engineering and biomedicine. Systems that use self-assembling peptides can create a variety of materials. Beta peptides have especially become a key tool in building more robust biomaterials.
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Image: man wearing glasses - Prof. Wilhelm Röll; Copyright: UKB

Heartbeat out of sync


Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias often occur after a heart attack, as the scar tissue can interfere with the spread of electrical impulses that activate the heart.
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Image: Brett Byram explaining something to his collegues; Copyright: Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt University

Ultrasound helmet would make live images, brain-machine interface possible


Ultrasound technology for the brain could mean real-time images during surgery, a better idea of which areas get stimulated by certain feelings or actions and, ultimately, an effective way for people to control software and robotics by thinking about it.
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Image: wristband; Copyright: University of South Florida

New movement monitoring system to prevent falls


Technology that allows BMW's assembly lines to run more efficiently is now being used to accurately indicate when residents in Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are at increased risk of falling.
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Image: man playing Tic Tac Toe with the robotic system; Copyright: Ben-Gurion University

First robotic system plays tic tac toe to improve task performance


Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel have demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of a robotic system that plays Tic Tac Toe with rehabilitation patients to improve real-life task performance.
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Image: robotic hand next to a human hand; Copyright:

Luke Skywalker's hand inspires scientists to create robotic skin


Scientists at the University of Bristol are engineering human skin on artificial robotic muscles that can stretch and bend the tissue just like in the real world. This living and moving skin equivalent represents a much more realistic model of human skin and it could have potential applications for burns patients needing skin grafts.
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Image: the words 3D printing on a blue and green background; Copyright:

3-D printing is transforming care for congenital heart disease


3-D printing is an emerging technology that is impacting the way cardiologists treat patients with congenital heart disease (CHD), according to a review paper published today in JACC: Basic to Translational Science.
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Image: an array of semitransparent organic pixels on top of a ultrathin sheet of gold; Copyright: Thor Balkhed

Organic printing inks may restore sight to blind people


A simple retinal prosthesis is being developed in collaboration between Tel Aviv University in Israel and Linköping University in Sweden. Fabricated using cheap and widely-available organic pigments used in printing inks and cosmetics, it consists of tiny pixels like a digital camera sensor on a nanometric scale. Researchers hope that it can restore sight to blind people.
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Image: patients perform various everyday tasks with a sensory control module integrated with his prosthetic arm; Copyright: Aadeel Akhtar, University of Illinois

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds


Losing an arm doesn't have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback.
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Image: x-ray image of a knee; Copyright: UPM

Enhanced human body response to implants


UPM researchers have developed a new surface treatment that, applied to biomaterials, will allow us to reduce the implant rejection by our body. This will extend the prosthesis life and thus increase the quality of life of patients.
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Image: red and yellow image with the writing

New microscope reveals biological life as you've never seen it before


Astronomers developed a "guide star" adaptive optics technique to obtain the most crystal-clear and precise telescopic images of distant galaxies, stars and planets. Now a team of scientists, led by Nobel laureate Eric Betzig, PhD, are borrowing the very same trick.
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Image: laptop and wired devices on a table from above; Copyright: SUSU Institute of Sport, Tourism and Service

Non-contact ECG T-shirt patented by SUSU scientists


Every day athletes experience serious physical loads, that is why it is important for them to constantly monitor their health status. To obtain indices of the functional state of athletes in a distance mode and at all training periods, the scientists of South Ural State University have created a system of simplified and continuous electrocardiogram tracing.
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Image: 3-D rendering of a novel bone-fixing composite in yellow; Copyright: Bryant Heimbach/UConn

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite


University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
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Image: smiling woman and man holding a golden cup; Copyright: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Spectacle lens designed by PolyU slows myopic progression by 60 percent


A specially designed spectacle lens developed by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) was found to have slowed down myopia progress by 60% in participating children, and 21.5% of them had their myopic progression halted completely. This lens will be launched in summer this year, offering a non-contact, spectacle lens solution to myopic children.
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Image: Microscopic image of the encapsulated cells; Copyright: KTH

Newly-developed permeable capsule could be packed with cells that fight cancer


One way that cancer may be fought in the future is with micro-sized capsules containing living cells engineered to secrete toxins that attack cancer cells. Although the science of cell micro-encapsulation has yet to overcome certain limitations, recent developments in Sweden might finally offer a way forward.
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Image: two scientists in front of ATLAS, the high-performance laser in LMU's Laboratory for Extreme Photonic; Copyright: Thorsten Naeser

Laser-based x-ray imaging picks up speed


Using a novel, laser-based X-ray technique, laser physicists in Garching have imaged a bone sample in three dimensions by microtomography within minutes, thus taking a significant step towards the medical application of the technology.
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Image: fractured leg bone; Copyright:

A bone fracture glue is successfully tested on live animals, with stronger fixation than dental fillers


Acute bone fractures may soon be treated with an adhesive patch inspired by dental reconstruction techniques. Scientists in Sweden report a new method which they say offers unprecedented bonding strength and a solution to the incredibly difficult problem of setting an adhesive in the wet environment inside the body.
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Image: on the left a football held by a hand, on the right a 3D-graphic of the football with markings; Copyright: American Chemical Society

Robotics takes mass spec to the third dimension


Within the past decade, many advancements have been made in the 3-D market from printing to movies. Now scientists report in ACS' Analytical Chemistry that by combining a robotic arm and mass spectrometry, they can analyze the surface of irregularly shaped 3-D objects, potentially opening up new branches of forensics and pharmaceutics.
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Image: three microscope images from organoids created from the bladder cancers; Copyright: Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Organoids created from patients' bladder cancers could guide treatment


Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and NewYork-Presbyterian researchers have created patient-specific bladder cancer organoids that mimic many of the characteristics of actual tumors. The use of organoids, tiny 3-D spheres derived from a patient's own tumor, may be useful in the future to guide treatment of patients.
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Image: three trees in the form of faces, two of which are gradually losing leaves.; Copyright: Lancaster University

Brain ageing may begin earlier than expected


Physicists have devised a new method of investigating brain function, opening a new frontier in the diagnoses of neurodegenerative and ageing related diseases.
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Image: a rat brain 11C-Me-NB1 PET images (0-60 min) superimposed on an MRI template; Copyright: SD Krämer et al., ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Novel PET imaging agent could help guide therapy for brain diseases


Researchers have developed a new imaging agent that could help guide and assess treatments for people with various neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis. The agent, which is used in positron emission tomography (PET) scans, targets receptors in nerve cells in the brain that are involved in learning and memory.
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Image: liquid biopsy technology to improve prostate cancer treatment; Copyright: University of Toronto

Single-cell mRNA cytometry via sequence-specific nanoparticle clustering and trapping


Cell-to-cell variation in gene expression creates a need for techniques that can characterize expression at the level of individual cells.
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Image: Schematic representation of quantum hyperpolarization; Copyright: David Broadway, University of Melbourne

Towards greater MRI sensitivity by harnessing quantum hyperpolarization


Researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a technique which could increase the sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for patient diagnosis.
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Image: two men in a laboratory holding a flat object; Copyright: UZH

New method speeds up development of medication


UZH researchers have developed a novel method that speeds up the process of determining crystal structures of organic salts and significantly reduces the effort required to do so. As about 40 percent of all active pharmaceutical ingredients are salts, this new crystallographic method is set to greatly accelerate drug development.
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Image: small silver and box-shaped device; Copyright: Fraunhofer IAF

Drug or duplicate?


Imagine holding two different medications in your hands, one being the original, the other one being a counterfeit. Both appear exactly the same. Is there any way for you to distinguish them? The answer is: yes. Our quantum cascade laser (QCL) has the ability to identify substances in a split second.
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Image: green circular laser; Copyright: image_com.png

A new laser source for infrared chemical imaging: a promising tool for early cancer diagnostic


Sébastien Février, reader at the university of Limoges and researcher at XLIM (CNRS/Université de Limoges), and his team demonstrated that a bench-top, optical fibre-based laser source can be used to perform infrared spectromicroscopy with a precision rivaling, and in some regards even surpassing, that of experiments at large-scale synchrotron facilities.
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Image: Female scientist in front of the microarray rapid test device; Copyright: Technical University of Munich

Measurement chip detects Legionella


Microarray rapid test speeds up detection in case of a Legionella pneumophila outbreak.
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Image: 14 days post-wounding tissue section; Copyright: Disease Biophysics Group/Harvard University

Drawing inspiration from plants and animals to restore tissue


Nanofiber dressings heal wounds, promote regeneration.
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Image: human neck and thyroid gland highlighted in red; Copyright: LUCA Project

New optical modules could improve thyroid cancer screening


An international team of researchers is building a point-of-care device that can simultaneously probe a patient's hemodynamics, chemical constitution, and anatomy.
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Image: close-up of the chip; Copyright: Felice Frankel

'Body on a chip' could improve drug evaluation


MIT engineers have developed new technology that could be used to evaluate new drugs and detect possible side effects before the drugs are tested in humans.
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Image: close-up of the chip; Copyright: S. Döring /Leibniz-IPHT

Spreading antibiotic-resistances: rapid test helps with administering the "correct" drug


Multi-resistent microbes are a growing danger. The often unnecessary and mass use of antibiotics causes the impassivity of pathogens against drugs. Infections that were easily curable up to now, may become life threatening. In just three hours, a new rapid test will give information on which available antibiotic is still effective in a concrete case.
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Image: colorful illustration of the new method to imprint biochips; Copyright: Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY

Scientists develop new tool for imprinting biochips


The new technology could allow researchers to fit more biochemical probes onto a single biochip and reduce the cost of screening and analyzing changes associated with disease development, detecting bioterrorism agents, and other areas of research.
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Image: inscribed illustration of a person in the mri; Copyright: CIN, Tübingen University

Why the world looks stable while we move


Every head movement changes the image of our environment that enters our eyes. We still perceive the world as stable, because our brain corrects for any changes in its visual information due to those head movements.
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Image: microfluidic chip used to fabricate nanoparticles that could be used to deliver therapeutic genes to specific organs of the body; Copyright: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Comparison shows value of DNA barcoding in selecting nanoparticles


The first direct comparison of in vitro and in vivo screening techniques for identifying nanoparticles that may be used to transport therapeutic molecules into cells shows that testing in lab dishes isn't much help in predicting which nanoparticles will successfully enter the cells of living animals.
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Image: colorful illustration of a human figure, stem cells and a pair of scissors; Copyright: Kyoto University / Knut Woltjen

Stem cell "twins" to study disease


Researchers led by Dr. Knut Woltjen report a new gene editing method that can modify a single DNA base in the human genome with absolute precision.
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Image: structure of a cell with ribosome; Copyright:

Drug-producing bacteria possible with synthetic biology breakthrough


Bacteria could be programmed to produce drugs, thanks to breakthrough research into synthetic biology from the Universities of Warwick and Surrey.
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Image: Germicidal contact lenses; Copyright: Fraunhofer IAP

A gentle approach treating microbial keratitis


Microbial infections of the cornea can have serious consequences, including blindness in the worst case. The treatment of keratitis, a condition caused by certain pathogens, always presents major challenges to ophthalmologists. These corneal infections frequently cannot be successfully treated with the therapies currently available.
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Image: three different pictures of the structure of the heart; Copyright: MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Maelstroms in the heart


Every five minutes in Germany alone, a person dies of sudden cardiac arrest or fibrillation, the most common cause of death worldwide. This is partly due to the fact that doctors still do not fully understand exactly what goes on in the heart during the occurrence. Until now, it was impossible to visualize dynamic processes in the fibrillating heart muscle, or myocardium.
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Image: structure made of different coloured elements on black ground; Copyright: Michael Weinmueller / TUM

The "Holy Grail" of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally


Peptides, short amino acid chains that control many functions in the human body, represent a billion-dollar market, also in the pharmaceutical industry. But, normally these medications must be injected. A research team led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now determined how peptides can be designed so that they can be easily administered as a liquid or tablet.
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Image: yellow structure; Copyright: Parameswaran et al/University of Chicago

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals


The human brain largely remains a black box: How the network of fast-moving electrical signals turns into thought, movement and disease remains poorly understood. But it is electrical, so it can be hacked--the question is finding a precise, easy way to manipulate electrical signaling between neurons.
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Image: close-up of a microscope; Copyright:

Histology in 3D: new staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples


To date, examining patient tissue samples has meant cutting them into thin slices for histological analysis. This might now be set to change – thanks to a new staining method devised by an interdisciplinary team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This allows specialists to investigate three-dimensional tissue samples using the Nano-CT system also recently developed at TUM.
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Image: sheet with a text about hepatits b with a vial lying on top; Copyright:

Organ-on-chip technology enters next stage as experts test hepatitis B virus


Scientists at Imperial College London have become the first in the world to test how pathogens interact with artificial human organs.
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Image: a parkinson's patient holding a nurse's hand; Copyright:

New method maps the dopamine system in Parkinson's patients


With the aid of a PET camera, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed a new method for investigating the dopamine system in the brains of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. The method measures levels of a protein called dopamine transporter and could lead to improved diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and the development of new treatments.
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Image: graphic showing a human liver and an enlarged picture of liver cells; Copyright:

Digital liver scanning technology could halve the number of liver biopsies needed in the NHS


A study jointly led by the University of Birmingham and University of Edinburgh has revealed that a new scanning technology could almost halve the number of liver biopsies carried out on people with fatty liver disease.
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Image: representation of light-activated cancer drugs; Copyright: Robbin Vernooij/University of Warwick

Light-activated cancer drugs without toxic side effects: fresh insight


Cancer drugs activated by light, minimizing toxic side-effects, are a step closer thanks to new research from University of Warwick and Monash University through the Monash Warwick Alliance.
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