Tag Archives: medicine

Smart pills to help diabetics?

Scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Novo Nordisk collaborate on creating a new kind of drug which aim is to make diabetics’ lives easier and less painful.

Nowadays people suffering from diabetes have to inject insulin multiple times per day to maintain a proper blood glucose level. For the last 100 years scientists tried to find a way to make insulin possible to be taken orally, which is quite a challenge, because many pharmaceutical compounds can’t survive the stomach’s harsh, acidic environment.

The new device created by previously mentioned scientists is about to finally allow diabetics to put injections off and make the whole process a lot easier. The smart pill works by attaching itself to the inside of the stomach and then injecting a payload through the gastric wall. Once the sugar glass that surrounds it is dissolved by acid in the stomach a tiny needle is released and a patient gets a proper dose of insulin.

The current injection is not the most comfortable process because of the pain related to inserting the needle into veins, right? Taking this smart pill orally means the injection will be done inside your stomach, which exactly means that you will not feel any pain. Why? According to Robert Langer, coauthor of the whole project, there are no pain receptors within the gastrointestinal tract.

Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis), Kruger National Park, South Africa

Moreover, the shape of the pill is inspired by the shape of a leopard tortoise’s shell, which automatically self-rights no matter how it lands – that kind of structure ensures that the device will attach to the gastric wall every time. It’s worth noting that the whole project is still at the proof-of-concept stage and has only been tested in animals, so the device won’t be available in the nearest future.

So, what are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think that in the futue smart pills will be a common thing? Let me know down below!

 

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612917/smart-pills-filled-with-tiny-needles-could-inject-medicine-directly-into-your/

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/pills-armed-tiny-needles-could-inject-insulin-other-important-meds-directly-stomach?r3f_986=https://www.google.com/

 

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LONGEVITY CLOSER THEN WE THINK?

Humans are thinking about immortality since the dawn of time. Thanks to the current progress in technology we are witnessing a discovery that potentially could rewrite our lives. Senolytics are new class of drugs which may provide us with a better, healthier lives.

Judith Campisi is a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, and cofounder of a company called Unity Biotechnology in 2011. She is known as a leading figure in the biology of ageing since the early 1990s, when her research revealed that cells enter a phase known as senescence that prevents them from becoming cancerous.

Her research is currently focused on the role of cellular senescence in cancer and other age-related diseases. So, what cellular senescence basically means? According to Wikipedia, it is „one phenomenon by which normal cells cease to divide”. In 1960’s, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead found out that normal human fetal fibroblasts in culture reach a maximum of approximately 50 cell population doublings before becoming senescent. This phenomenon was called Hayflick limit and is known or overturning a 60-year-old dogma which maintained that all cultured cells are immortal.

It is worth noting that senescent cells in some point come to the kind of twilight state where they are still active but no longer dividing. Campisi’s and other scientists’ researches showed that this was a ‘strategy’ of the evolution process to derail incipient cancer cells, which are known to spread thanks to the cells division.

(PRNewsFoto/UNITY Biotechnology)

Now, Campisi is conducting researches on new class of drugs called senolytics, which eliminate senescent cells and restore more youthful characteristics (in animal experiments). The company called Unity Biotechnology, which she cofounded in 2011, launched a human trial of its first senolytic drug last July.

This actions can cause a moral dilemma whether we should live longer than we already do. Campisi points out that we should not confuse aging and death. She expects that, thanks to senolytics, we will be able to extend our “health span”, which basically means that there is a possibility that we will extend the duration of good health condition of our bodies while living the same amount of time as we currently do.

Today we can observe a debate about the limit to the human life span. Some say it can be 110 years, others claims it to be 150 years. Speaking of this case, Campisi provides us with examples such as world record for extending the life span of a little worm called C. elegans, which is 10-fold. On the other hand, most of the really intensive experiences extend mouse life span (which is about 97% genetically identical to human being) by 20-30%. In the end we just simply do not know what the maximum life span of human being, but there is a possibility that we can extend it even more than we already did, for example thanks to the discovery of vaccines.

 

So, what are your expressions on this topic? Would you like to live longer? Why? Or why not? Would you like to extend your “health span” or you believe that ageing is a necessary part of our lives? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Sources:

https://www.wikipedia.org

https://www.technologyreview.com

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Are You ready to give Your blood away?

Couple days ago Google (now Alphabet) sent a patent query about the “needle-free blood draw”. The idea is to patent a system of blood draw and insert it in wearable electronics. According to the Alphabet the procedure lasts for couple seconds and pain-free (system sends a gas into a barrel containing a micro-particle that pierces the skin. Once blood is released from the skin, it’s sucked up into the negative pressure barrel.

red ink dissolving in water

 

The Company announces that it enables to collect small portion of blood enough to conduct a glucose  test, so it makes, if released, be a indispensable for diabetics.

Indeed the number of people with diabetes is huge in US and it can open a valuable door for new business. But again and again we are prompted to raise the personal data issue: what will be happening with blood samples? Where the base of samples will be stored? Just inside the device?

What Do You think, guys?

 

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