Cancer cells hibernate to survive chemotherapy, finds study

Researchers discover that cancer cells go into hibernation to avoid chemotherapy effects.

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  • Cancer cells go into a state similar to hibernation when attacked by chemotherapy.
  • The low-energy state is similar to diapause—the embryonic survival strategy of over a 100 species of mammals.
  • Researchers hope to use these findings to develop new cancer-fighting therapies.
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Ginger may guard against the progression of some autoimmune diseases

A new study on mice showed that ginger may counter certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.

  • A new Michigan Medicine study on mice suggests that the primary bioactive compound of ginger root, 6-gingerol, could help counter the autoimmune disorders lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.
  • The researchers found that the mice had lower levels of NETs (which play a role in the pathogenesis of lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome by stimulating autoantibody formation) after being giving 6-gingerol.
  • 6-gingerol won't be able to be the primary therapy for individuals with lupus or active antiphospholipid syndrome, but the research team is eager to see if the natural supplement offers help to those at high risk for developing the diseases.
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Startup looks to begin pig-to-human organ transplants by 2022

Porcine gene edits may allow such transplants without rejection.

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  • A company called Revivicor has received clearance from the FDA to use their genetically modified pigs for medical use or as food.
  • The pigs lack genes for alpha-gal sugar, which human bodies reject.
  • Revivicor anticipates the first human transplant trials as early as this year.
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New type of dual-acting antibiotic shows promise

A new antibiotic hits germs with a two pronged attack.

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  • Antibiotic resistance is a big problem, but not many new drugs are currently under development.
  • A recent discovery may give us a new antibiotic that is effective against a wide range of germs, including those resistant to other drugs.
  • The new drug's mechanism also appears to signal the immune system, helping to amplify its response.
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Psychedelics: The scientific renaissance of mind-altering drugs

There is a lot we don't know about psychedelics, but what we do know makes them extremely important.

  • Having been repressed in the 1960s for their ties to the counterculture, psychedelics are currently experiencing a scientific resurgence. In this video, Michael Pollan, Sam Harris, Jason Silva and Ben Goertzel discuss the history of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, acknowledge key figures including Timothy Leary and Albert Hoffman, share what the experience of therapeutic tripping can entail, and explain why these substances are important to the future of mental health.
  • There is a stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs that some scientists and researchers argue is undeserved. Several experiments over the past decades have shown that, when used correctly, drugs like psilocybin and LSD can have positive effects on the lives of those take them. How they work is not completely understood, but the empirical evidence shows promise in the fields of curbing depression, anxiety, obsession, and even addiction to other substances.
  • "There's a tremendous amount of insight that can be plumbed using these various substances. There's also a lot of risks there, as with most valuable things," says artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel. He and others believe that by making psychedelics illegal, modern governments are getting in the way of meaningful research and the development of "cultural institutions to guide people in really productive use of these substances."
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