Custom Kidneys; the Gut/Brain Connection (Abstract Science: Feb. 4 –8)
Building a lung cancer breathalyzer; moving closer to made-to-order kidneys; the microbiome-brain crosstalk
(Nanoscale, E. Kovalska et al, 2/7/19)
University of Exeter researchers published findings of their trial to build a lung cancer breathalyzer. Their “e-nose” was modified with bare multi-layer graphene (MLG) to detect the most common biomolecules associated with lung cancer biomarkers. The researchers discuss how their use of graphene improved the detection of cancer biomarkers that are often missed or misidentified in previous breath-based cancer detection models.
(Science Daily, 2/5/19)
Researchers in Japan at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences used blastocyst complementation to successfully grow mouse kidneys in rat fetuses. The rats had been genetically modified to not grow their own kidneys, so when they were implanted with stem cells from the mice, the kidneys they grew matched the mouse donor’s stem cells. Two thirds of the rats grew intact mouse kidneys, and half of those were shown to be functional.
(The New York Times, Carl Zimmer, 1/28/19)
Some scientists are hypothesizing that the human microbiome could affect the brain and behavior. They are finding possible connections between certain bacterial species and diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, and even autism. For example, researchers found a connection between mice that were acting antisocial and were also lacking the bacterial species Lactobacillus reuteri. When the bacteria was added to their diet, the mice’s behavior changed.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker