Biomedicine

Learning practical atomically precise fabrication

October 30, 2013

If you’d like to learn about (and perhaps help advance) the state of the art in fabricating intricate, nanoscale, atomically precise objects, you might want to examine this paper: Practically Useful: What the ROSETTA Protein Modeling Suite Can Do for You (open-access pdf). The materials are peptide polymers, a diverse class of materials that can […]

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An advance in atomically precise
building-block assembly

May 27, 2011

A paper in Science reports a design method that substantially advances the macromolecular technology base for building atomically precise nanosystems. Background: foldamer engineering As many readers know, biology shows an effective way build large, intricate, atomically precise systems: Use covalent chemistry to build chains of small building blocks, and design these chains to fold into […]

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Across the blood-brain barrier with exosomes

March 22, 2011

New work with exosomes promises wide-ranging advances in medicine, courtesy of an emerging biomolecular nanotechnology. As pharmaceutical chemists know, the blood-brain barrier blocks delivery of many molecules that do wonderful things if injected directly into the brain, but injecting the brain isn’t quite as convenient as injecting a vein. Exosomes are lipid vesicles manufactured by […]

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Semi-synthetic implants of semi-tissue

February 3, 2011

There’s been striking progress in not-quite-tissue engineering, and the technique brings several strong practical advantages over methods that yield products more like genuine tissue. The problem situation looks like this: Some tissue structures don’t regrow, or regrow slowly; grafts of tissue from another person often lead to rejection; grafts of tissue from a patient’s own […]

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Why We Get Fat

December 8, 2010

Gary Taubes has started a blog, and his first post nicely summarizes his case against the idea that overeating causes obesity: A tiny caloric imbalance of ~1% (only while actively gaining weight, of course) isn’t a cause of obesity, it’s a consequence of the onset of obesity, which is itself best understood as a consequence […]

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A meta-meta-analysis from the CDC

November 30, 2010

As a meta-oriented post, Metamodern is pleased to report a meta-meta-analysis. In this month’s issue of the CDC-sponsored journal Preventing Chronic Disease, we find, published as a “Systematic Review”: Quality of Systematic Reviews of Observational Nontherapeutic Studies …Of the 145 systematic reviews we found, fewer than half met each quality criterion; 49% reported study flow, […]

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For the next Nobel Prize in Medicine,
I nominate…

November 3, 2010

During a three-month test across eight hospitals, several continents, and almost 4,000 patients, a new technology reduced serious surgical complications by 36% and deaths by almost 50% — in raw numbers, over 150 cases of severe harm and nearly 30 patient deaths. This performance was demonstrated in the spring of 2008 with the prototype version […]

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Nanomedicine by nanoparticle:
Toward killing cancer,
tweaking cell function,
and inserting Boolean logic

October 24, 2010

Compared to small molecules, nanoparticles offer more physical scope for functional engineering, and according to a report in Science, more than 50 companies are pressing forward to exploit this for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Nearly a dozen nanoparticle-based medicines are reportedly in clinical trials, and lab research suggests a road to programmable control of cellular […]

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Antioxidants block cell repair —
New information and what it may mean

September 26, 2010

Abstract: Antioxidants inhibit basal autophagy and block the induction of autophagy by calorie restriction and other means. Because this effect inhibits the central mechanism of cell repair, it helps explain why dietary antioxidants have failed to deliver their expected benefits to health and longevity. The nature of the effect suggests prudent modifications to popular supplementation […]

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Trehalose vs. trehalase

September 18, 2010

Update, 3 March 2011: Trehalose reportedly “has good blood–brain barrier penetration”. My recent post, “Trehalose, autophagy, and brain repair” references a few of the papers that suggest potential advantages to absorbing and circulating some of the wonder-sugar, trehalose. The problem is trehalase. – Trehalose – In us animals, trehalase metabolizes trehalose into glucose, but the […]

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Trehalose, autophagy, and brain repair: Sweet

September 15, 2010

Abstract of recent abstracts: Trehalose induces autophagy. Autophagy induces neuronal repair. Starvation induces autophagy. Trehalose goes well with coffee and tea. – Trehalose –Now on sale Quote: “Macroautophagy (here simply called autophagy) is a cellular housekeeping process that degrades and recycles long-lived proteins, large protein aggregates, and even entire organelles like mitochondria. The term autophagy […]

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Boron is the new carbon…

September 13, 2010

…and I read it in EMBO Reports. Declaring that “boronate esters are the new [reversible covalent linkers in foldamers and self-assembly]” would be less playful and entertaining, but I say something like that here: “Exploiting strong, covalent bonds for self assembly of robust nanosystems”.

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