News Column

Gene therapy wipes out cancer cells

August 12, 2014



Gene therapy wipes out cancer cells

Scientists at York University have discovered a technique that could revolutionize cancer treatment. Experts say it can kill off cancer cells without giving patients serious side-effects.

In tests, rogue cells causing cervical cancer, which kills more than 1,250 women a year in Britain, were wiped out by the therapy, which targets specific genes while leaving healthy tissue unharmed, Daily Mail said.

Doctors believe the breakthrough could transform treatments for other forms of the disease—such as lymph cancer and leukemia—by avoiding the need for surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

It could even be used to treat AIDS. Researchers at the University of York "knocked out" aggressive genes carried in a virus linked to cervical cancer, which are thought to trigger the disease and tumor growth.

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus that attacks two natural tumor suppressors in the body.

The new technique, called RNA interference, works by knocking out genes within cervical cancer cells, which are crucial to the virus.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) acts as a messenger molecule within cells and is crucial to their function.

The scientists have developed a way of interfering with this process in rogue genes by inserting other RNA messengers. These force cells to die and stop the disease process.

Doctors hope their experimental approach may lead to new treatments for patients within three to five years.

It could result in the development of an ointment that could be applied locally if signs of cervical cancer are detected.





New generation of electronic

devices

University College London (UCL) scientists have discovered a new method to efficiently generate and control currents based on the magnetic nature of electrons in semiconducting materials, offering a radical way to develop a new generation of electronic devices.

According to Jersey Tribune, one promising approach to developing new technologies is to exploit the electron's tiny magnetic moment, or spin. Electrons have two properties—charge and spin—and although current technologies use charge, it is thought that spin-based technologies have the potential to outperform the 'charge'-based technology of semiconductors for the storage and process of information.

In order to utilize electron spins for electronics, or 'spintronics', the method of electrically generating and detecting spins needs to be efficient so the devices can process the spin information with low-power consumption. One way to achieve this is by the Spin-Hall Effect, which is being researched by scientists who are keen to understand the mechanisms of the effect, but also which materials optimize its efficiency.

If research into this effect is successful, it will open the door to new technologies.

The Spin-Hall Effect helps generate "spin currents", which enable spin information transfer without the flow of electric charge currents. Unlike other concepts that harness electrons, spin current can transfer information without causing heat from the electric charge, which is a serious problem for current semiconductor devices.

The effective use of spins generated by the Spin-Hall Effect can also revolutionize spin-based memory applications.

The study shows how applying an electric field in a common semiconductor material can dramatically increase the efficiency of the Spin-Hall Effect, which is key for generating and detecting spin from an electrical input.





Physicists create water tractor beam

Physicists at the Australian National University have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.

The group, led by Professor Michael Shats, discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling them to move floating objects at will, Physorg wrote.

"We have figured out a way of creating waves that can force a floating object to move against the direction of the wave," said Dr Horst Punzmann, from the Research School of Physics and Engineering, who led the project.

"No one could have guessed this result," he said.

The new technique gives scientists a way of controlling things adrift on water in a way they have never had before, resembling sci-fi tractor beams that draw in objects.

Using a ping-pong ball in a wave tank, the group worked out the size and frequency of the waves required to move the ball in whichever direction they want.

Advanced particle tracking tools, developed by team members Dr Nicolas Francois and Dr Hua Xia, revealed that the waves generate currents on the surface of the water


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Iran Daily


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