David Hess

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Scientists create 'biological pacemaker' inside off-tempo hearts

Pacemakers have long been a life-saving device for people whose hearts don't keep the right beat – but they can sometimes come with complications. Now, a team of researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles have managed to transform regular heart cells in pigs into pacemaker cells …

Your Body Can Kill Cancer. It Just Needs Better Instructions.

Researchers have been programming peoples' immune systems to recognize and destory cancer.<p>Part of what makes cancers so insidious is that they’re not invaders: They’re our own cells turned against us. That means the body usually doesn’t see them as a threat. But over the last few years, teams at …

Immunotherapy

How DNA Sequencing Is Changing Medicine

In April 2013, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project. Led by the National Institutes of Health, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed 2.5 years ahead of schedule and well under budget. “For the first time, anyone could freely read the fundamental …

New stem cell operation could revolutionise treatment of knee injuries

Surgeons have pioneered a new knee operation that could prevent the development of arthritis and extend sporting careers.<p>The procedure, which is being trialled at Southampton general hospital, involves coating damaged cartilage with stem cells, taken from a patient's own hip, and surgical …

Scientists just created some of the most powerful muscles in existence

In a surprising breakthrough for the world of materials science, researchers have created some of the most powerful artificial muscles we've ever …

3D printer produces synthetic tissue capable of transmitting signals like nerves

Scientists have used a custom-made 3D printer to make a synthetic tissue that could have a variety of applications — including the ability to transmit long-distance electric signals much like nerves. The process, published in <i>Science</i> by an Oxford University team led by Hagan Bayley, prints a network …

Toward a Pill That Helps Us Learn as Fast as Kids

Scientists are using mood drugs to return the adult's brain to an earlier stage of development. Here's why that won't be easy.<p>Shannon, a 14-year-old who lives in Massachusetts, has amblyopia, a condition sometimes referred to as “lazy eye.”<p>You can’t tell by looking at her, though. Unlike some …

Polio virus engineered to kill brain tumor

<b>DUKE (US) —</b> A modified polio virus appears to be effective in attacking glioblastoma brain tumor cells, researchers report in an early study to …

3D-Printed Human Cells Will Replace Animal Testing in Five Years, Says Bioengineer Expert

<i>Photo via Yurchyks/Shutterstock</i><p>3D-printing could soon bring about an end to animal abuse in drug testing, according to bioengineering expert Alan …

Animal Abuse

Bioengineer is working to make E. coli fight obesity, depression

Scientists have made great strides in cataloging the human microbiome, the collection of tiny organisms that live on and in our bodies. Now some researchers want to put those microbes to work.<p>At the forefront of this effort is Jeff Tabor, a synthetic biologist in the Department of Bioengineering …

Single-Celled Organism Smashes And Rebuilds Its Own Genome

A new study has found that the pond-dwelling, single-celled organism <i>Oxytricha trifallax</i> has the remarkable ability to break its own DNA into nearly a …

Dentists Study Alligators To Figure Out How Humans Could Regrow Teeth

Gators may grow 4,000 teeth over their lifetimes.<p>Once your adult teeth come in, that's all you've got to work with. Knock one out, or lose a few to decay, and you'll have to get dentures. It's a pain, but at least one team of dental researchers is now studying how to regrow human teeth—by looking …

This lizard's DNA might hold the key to regenerating human tissue

The humble green anole has but a few claims to fame: it was featured on the cover of the very first <i>Animorphs</i> book, and it can self-amputate and regrow its tail after coming face to face with a predator. It's that latter ability that's tickled the scientific community's fancy (though c'mon, <i>Animorphs</i> …

Bio-Hackers, Get Ready

When I speak to technical founders, they often look back with fondness to days of tinkering with a Commodore 64 or Hypercard.<p>But perhaps tomorrow’s founders will experiment with a very different kind of code — the genetic code that underlies how everything from one-celled organisms to humans …

BaseHealth launches a wellness platform that melds genomics and devices

Promising to reinvent preventative medicine by bringing genomic data, medical research and connected devices together in a single platform, a startup …

Scientists Train Genetically Modified E. coli Bacteria to Mass Produce Super Strong Spider's Silk

Spider’s silk is such an amazing and versatile substance, it’s hard not to get the feeling that Mother Nature intended it for much more than a sticky …

Flatley's Law: The Company Speeding A Genetic Revolution

When Renee Valint’s daughter Shelby was born in 2000, she seemed weak, like a rag doll. Shelby learned to walk and talk, but she did so slowly, missing developmental milestones. By age 4 she was confined to a wheelchair, and she started using a computerized voice to communicate in the fifth grade. …

This Genetically-Engineered Bacteria Eats Grass, Poops Out Biofuel

Scientists are getting better at making bacteria do our bidding.<p>Image: US Department of Agriculture<p>One of the main problems with making biofuels such as ethanol a true alternative to gasoline is the fact that processing the stuff costs a lot of money, nullifying any sort of economic advantage you'd …

Genetically engineered mosquitoes could be vital weapon against malaria

627,000 deaths per year: that's a good figure. Malaria, the deadly illness caused by infected mosquitoes, is on the retreat, thanks to medical treatments that have reduced mortality rates by 42% since 2000. Among African children, the mortality rate has dropped even more: 54%. Even so, one African …

Public Health

Powerful Genetic Engineering Technique Could Modify Entire Wild Populations

When it comes to genetic engineering, we’re amateurs. Sure, we’ve known about DNA’s structure for more than 60 years, we first sequenced every A, T, …

Scientists create antibody that blocks pain and itchiness

The pharmaceuticals used to treat pain haven’t changed substantially in many years, and they all come with a range of possible side effects. In the …

Stem cell research gets huge boost from Australian zebrafish discovery

Australian researchers studying zebrafish have made one of the most significant ever discoveries in stem cell research.<p>They have uncovered the mystery of how a critical type of stem cell found in blood and bone marrow, and essential to replenishing the body’s supply of blood and immune cells, is …