Israeli researchers have developed a new method for rapid and inexpensive analysis of the chemical composition of blood samples, Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) said on Tuesday.
The new test method, developed by Technion researchers and published in the journal Nature Communications, takes just 30 seconds, thus reducing its cost by about 98 percent.
This innovative technology may hasten the early diagnosis of diseases, as first application to be tested will be the early detection of various cancerous tumors based on blood tests.
The method is based on a combination of a mass spectrometer device that determines the concentrations of molecules in biological samples, and computational methods developed by the team.
Testing using this device typically requires a time-consuming, expensive preliminary process called chromatography, entailing the separation of the materials in the sample according to chemical properties.
However, the new method skips this step without impairing the quality of the analysis.
The method identifies optimal working configurations in the device, which allows for a high-sensitivity analysis for specific types of biological samples.
The computational analysis also corrects the measured raw information and accurately quantifies concentrations of thousands of molecules in blood samples.
China has completed the modification of two relay satellites to prepare them for country's Mars exploration mission Tianwen-1.
The Tianlian I-02 and Tianlian II-01 geosynchronous orbit satellites mainly provide global tracking and data-relay support for the country's in-orbit spacecraft, reports Xinhua.
The fourth Long March-5 rocket will be used to launch China's first Mars exploration mission.
It was transported to the launch site at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province on July 17.
The carrier rocket, coded as Long March-5 Y4, is planned to be launched in late July or early August.
An Egyptian engineer has invented a robot at his Roboto Academy for the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and post-infection medical care.
The 26-year-old mechatronic engineer Mahmoud el-Komy dubbed his robot Cira 02.
The effeminate robot is all white, with a monitor on the chest that displays scan results of anyone facing it.
It also has several sensors and a chinrest for a physical sample to be taken for a COVID-19 PCR test.
It is enough for a person to pass or stand in front of Cira 02 to be scanned for body temperature, and hear in the robot’s voice if his temperature is normal or if he is suspected of being infected with COVID-19 respiratory disease.
The no-entry barrier on the right shoulder of Cira 02 acts as a gate guard that will not allow a person suspected of infection to go through.
The structure of Cira 02, a development of older Cira 01 version, is composed of assembled pieces made by a 3D printer invented by the Egyptian engineer.
"Cira 01 had limited abilities, but Cira 02 has better sensors for faster fevering tests and oral communication to give advice, being a gate guard to protect vital places from infected visitors," el-Komy told Xinhua.
Cira 02 can be used in crowded places, such as banks, airports and stations. It can also disinfect the place when it recognizes an infected or possibly infected person through face recognition, according to the Egyptian engineer.
"In case of infection or suspected infection, it sounds an alarm and reports the person to concerned authorities," el-Komy explained.
Standing and moving on four wheels, fully autonomous Cira 02 is supplied with IoT (Internet of Things), a remote-control system through which the robot can be controlled from anywhere in the world via an internet link that can be sent to anyone by the inventor.
"It has always been my dream since childhood to see Egypt as a technology exporting country rather than a technology consumer," the Egyptian robot inventor concluded.
The creative young man's efforts did not go in vain, for his robot was welcomed by the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).
Designed for teaching children robotics, the Roboto Academy is full of tools and electronic accessories, with posters of robots and scientific shapes and phrases hanging on its walls.
Abdel-Rahman Hossam, a 16-year-old high school student, is one of two creative boys who have worked as el-Komy's assistants during his invention of Cira versions.
A group of Hungarian scientists say they unintentionally created a hybrid of two endangered species – Russian sturgeons and American paddlefish – that last shared a common ancestor 184 million years ago.
The hybrid has been named "sturddlefish" and the study was published in the journal Genes in May, reports Live Science.
Currently, there are about 100 of the hybrids in captivity.
Attila Mozsár, a senior research fellow at the Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Hungary, told The New York Times that they "never wanted to play around with hybridisation” and that it was “absolutely unintentional".
Russian sturgeons or acipenser gueldenstaedtii, are critically endangered and are the source of much of the world's caviar. They can grow to more than 7 feet in length and live on a diet of molluscs and crustaceans.
American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) filter-feed off of zooplankton in the Mississippi River drainage basin. They grow up to 8.5 feet long.
Both these species have a slow rate of growth and development which puts them at risk of overfishing.
Much to the surprise of Mozsár and his colleagues, they were able to breed.
The researchers were trying to breed Russian sturgeon in captivity through a process called gynogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction.
In gynogenesis, a sperm triggers an egg's development but fails to fuse to the egg's nucleus. That means its DNA is not part of the resulting offspring, which develops solely from maternal DNA.
The researchers were using American paddlefish sperm for the process, but something unexpected happened. The sperm and egg fused, resulting in offspring with both sturgeon and paddlefish genes.
The resulting sturddlefish hatched by the hundreds, and about 100 survive now, according to the Times.
Some are just about 50-50 mixtures of sturgeon and paddlefish genes, and some are far more sturgeon-like. All are carnivores, like the sturgeon, and share the sturgeon's blunter nose, compared with the paddlefish's pointy snout, the report said.
But the fact that fish separated by 184 million years of evolution could cross-breed indicates that they're not so different after all.
"These living fossil fishes have extremely slow evolutionary rates, so what might seem like a long time to us isn't quite as long of a time to them," Solomon David, an aquatic ecologist at Nicholls State University in Louisiana, told the Times.
Scientists of University of Southern California and Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences said they may have found the beginnings of a path toward increasing human lifespan.
Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences published the research on Friday that shows the drug mifepristone can extend the lives of two very different species used in laboratory studies, suggesting the findings may apply to other species, including human beings, reports news-medical.net.
Fruit fly Drosophila findings
John Tower, professor of biological sciences, and his team found that the drug mifepristone extends the lives of female flies that have mated.
The researchers went through one of the most common laboratory models used in genetic research- the fruit fly Drosophila.
Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, is used by clinicians to end early pregnancies as well as to treat cancer and Cushing disease.
During mating, female fruit flies receive a molecule called sex peptide from the male.
Previous research has shown that sex peptide causes inflammation and reduces the health and lifespan of female flies.
Tower and his team, including Senior Research Associate Gary Landis, lead researcher on the study, found that feeding mifepristone to the fruit flies that have mated blocks the effects of sex peptide, reducing inflammation and keeping the female flies healthier, leading to longer lifespans than their counterparts who did not receive the drug.
The drug's effects in Drosophila appear similar to those seen in women who take it.
Juvenile hormone effects
Searching for a better understanding of how mifepristone works to increase lifespan, Tower and his team looked at the genes, molecules and metabolic processes that changed when flies consumed the drug.
The researchers found that a molecule called juvenile hormone plays a central role.
Juvenile hormone regulates the development of fruit flies throughout their life, from egg to larvae to adult.
Sex peptide appears to escalate the effects of juvenile hormone, shifting the mated flies' metabolism from healthier processes to metabolic pathways that require more energy to maintain.
Further, the metabolic shift promotes harmful inflammation, and it appears to make the flies more sensitive to toxic molecules produced by bacteria in their microbiome and Mifepristone changes all of that.
When the mated flies ate the drug, their metabolism stuck with the healthier pathways, and they lived longer than their mated sisters who did not get mifepristone.
Notably, these metabolic pathways are conserved in humans, and are associated with health and longevity, said Tower.
New hope for human beings!
Tower and collaborators Chia-An Yen, who obtained her Ph.D. last spring from USC Dornsife College, and Sean Curran, associate professor of gerontology and biological sciences at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and USC Dornsife College, also gave mifepristone to another common laboratory model, a small roundworm called C. elegans.
The scientists found the drug had the same life-extending effect on the mated worm.
Drosophila fruit flies and C. elegans worms sit on relatively distant branches of the evolutionary tree, Tower believes the similar results in such different species suggest other organisms, including humans, might see comparable benefits to lifespan.
Tower said that "In terms of evolution, Drosophila and C. elegans are equally as distant from each other as either one is distant from humans."
He also said that the fact that mifepristone can increase lifespan in both species suggests the mechanism is important to many species.
Tower emphasized that a clearer understanding of the intricacies of mifepristone's actions is needed before drawing any firm conclusions.
"Our data show that in Drosophila, mifepristone either directly or indirectly counteracts juvenile hormone signaling, but the exact target of mifepristone remains elusive."
Revealing that target may give scientists critical insight needed to extend lifespan in people.