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After nearly seven hours of preparation, Dr. Joseph Madsen turned on the laser at Boston Children’s Hospital that would burn a tiny hole in the brain of 13-year-old Justin Griffin.
The laser was on for only a minute, but scored a direct hit on the area Madsen thought was causing Justin’s weekly epileptic seizures.
Twice more the surgeon pulsed the laser, and then concluded the operation was a success: The left hippocampus of Justin’s brain had been effectively destroyed and with it the catalyst for the boy’s disruptive seizures.
Dr. Joseph Madsen led the surgical team (left) at Children’s Hospital.
This scanning electron micrograph shows HIV particles infecting a human T cell.
Image: National Institutes of Health
New approaches to drug delivery offer hope for new, more targeted treatments.
Modern medicine is largely based on treating patients with “small-molecule” drugs, which include pain relievers like aspirin and antibiotics such as penicillin.
Those drugs have prolonged the human lifespan and made many life-threatening ailments easily treatable, but scientists believe the new approach of nanoscale drug delivery can offer even more progress. Delivering RNA or DNA to specific cells offers the promise of selectively turning genes on or off, while nanoscale devices that can be injected or implanted in the body could allow doctors to target drugs to specific tissues over a defined period of time. Read more...
Human breast cancer cells (purple) are targeted by nanoparticles (green) developed by MIT professor Paula Hammond. The particles bind to receptors overexpressed by cancer cells.
Image: Paula T. Hammond and Erik C. Dreaden
Speaker: Gari Clifford - University Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering; Director, Centre for Doctoral Training in Healthcare Innovation at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Oxford.
Surprising result suggests that enhancing these mutations’ impact could offer a new way to treat cancer.
A typical cancer cell has thousands of mutations scattered throughout its genome and hundreds of mutated genes. However, only a handful of those genes, known as drivers, are responsible for cancerous traits such as uncontrolled growth.
Cancer biologists have largely ignored the other mutations, believing they had little or no impact on cancer progression.
A scanning electron micrograph of a squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. The cell has been frozen and split open to reveal its nucleus.
Image: Anne Weston, LRI,CRUK.Wellcome Images
Professor J.J. Collins
Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University; Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Building E25 Room 111
Pre-lecture reception: 5-5:30pm
Title: "Network Biology Approaches to Microbial Threats"
NSBRI's Graduate Education Program in Space Life Sciences is conducted jointly at Texas A&M University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Students in these programs work toward a Ph.D. that focuses on space life sciences.
The program is developing modules to strengthen current graduate curricula at these two institutions enabling students to experience advanced courses in biomedical science and engineering, specifically as these fields relate to the space program. Once fully developed, it is anticipated that the educational modules will be applicable to accredited doctoral programs across the nation.