Posts tagged cool

Smart Knife Sniffs Out Cancer Cells

When it comes to cancer surgery today, tumours must be removed and specimens sent to pathologists for review. The problem is knowing how much or how little you have; cut too much and you may hurt the patient; cut too little and you will leave cancer behind. Only once there are satisfactory margins - a buffer zone of normal cells that indicates the tumour is completely resected - can the surgery be finished. To check with the pathologist was always time consuming.

Now, Dr. Zoltan Takats from the Imperial College London has created the iKnife system, an electric cautery with an attached mass spectrometer to sample the smoke let off by cauterized flesh to differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous cells in real time.

Simpsonized Dr. Gregory House by Adrien Noterdaem.
Mr. Burns is someone who has been described as having every disease known to man and is exactly the sort of patient he prefers. That should keep him occupied for some time though I am sure Dr. House is bitter that he was not the one to come up with Mr. Burns’ “Three Stooges Syndrome.”

Simpsonized Dr. Gregory House by Adrien Noterdaem.

Mr. Burns is someone who has been described as having every disease known to man and is exactly the sort of patient he prefers. That should keep him occupied for some time though I am sure Dr. House is bitter that he was not the one to come up with Mr. Burns’ “Three Stooges Syndrome.”

Book Autopsy by Kathleen Sawyer.

Reminiscent of the anatomical books of yesteryear, this book autopsy begins with the sutured incisions on the first page and move through many layers of tissue and organs as the reader continues. From lungs, to heart, to bowel, this is a wonderfully conceived project.

DNA Testing Chip for SNP Identification for Personalized Drug Therapy.

When I was in pharmaceutical sciences, one of the biggest buzzwords was pharmacogenomics. The fast-growing knowledge base of genetic determination and predispositions, coupled with the advent of more efficiency, more affordable genetic testing methods was driving a new market and treatment area: personalized medicine.

The two areas of research and interest were in genetic predispositions to disease and the genetic variability to pharmacological response. Some people are fast metabolizers and others slow; some have the mutation to make a drug effective while others do not.

This DNA chip was designed for rapid sequencing for specific single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs, variations in a single DNA base among individuals to find these mutations to best tailor pharmacotherapy.

The Hypodermic Syringe by Mariana Silva.
An info-graphic about the history and culture of the hypodermic syringe from its creation to the present day. It is both educational and stylish.

The Hypodermic Syringe by Mariana Silva.

An info-graphic about the history and culture of the hypodermic syringe from its creation to the present day. It is both educational and stylish.

Muscle Skin Suit by Tomek Pietek.

Imagine seeing a runner or bicyclist on the road, bare, raw muscle weathering a chilling wind. It would be an impressive sight. From the detail to the texture. A real head turner.

A Girl Dying from Leukaemia Saved Using Altered T-Cells

Now this is very impressive.

Last summer, Emma, then six was near death from chemo-resistant leukaemia but is now in remission thanks to an experimental cancer treatment method developed by the University of Pennsylvania.

Doctors remove millions of Emma’s T-cells, and inserted new genes that enabled them to combat cancer cells. The kicker is that it involved using disabled HIV virions to deliver the genetic material. HIV particles are excellent genetic vectors and already have specificity towards T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells.

The treatment very nearly killed her but she has emerged cancer free and still in complete remission.

This is very exciting stuff but make no mistake this is no end-all-be-all. Emma might have done extremely well with her treatment but the experiment has had its share of mixed results. Despite this, the researchers involved and the experts of the field think this approach has tremendous promise.

Venus de Medici circa early 18th century by Francesco Calenzuoli (1796-1821).

In my first two years of medical training, I was fortunate enough to have didactic anatomical teachings supplemented with laboratory dissections of cadavers.

In the history of medical training, wax models such as the one above were used for teaching anatomy to medical students. Model makers could be consulted to pick out and emphasize body features and thus make the structures and functions easier to understand. In times when few bodies were available for dissection, detailed models would be highly sought after as a substitute.

Today, prosections - carefully dissected body parts - can be infused with paraffin to make them more hardy compared to the formaldehyde-only treated bodies. In many respects, these waxy organs serve the same purpose as its earlier predecessors: allowing generations of medical students an opportunity to learn and study.

100: from 0 to 100 years in 150 seconds by Filmersblog.

Patients can come from anywhere. They come from all walks of life. They come from different points of their journey on this earth, from 0 to 100. While certainly the older we get, the more health-related issues we have to deal with, let us not forget that even the young need our attention.

Cyborg Tissue Monitors Cells

Researchers at Harvard University have constructed a material that merges nanoscale electronics with biological tissues—a literal mesh of transistors and cells. The meshwork, acting as a scaffolding to facilitate improved cell growth, also acts as a monitoring system. Possible applications include monitoring localized pH and pharmacotherapy efficacy.

First it was "smart" sutures and now this. Where will nanotechnology take us next?