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Targeted synthesis of natural products with light

Photoreactions are driven by light energy and are vital to the synthesis of many natural substances. Since many of these substances are also useful as active medical agents, chemists try to produce them synthetically. But in most cases only one of the possible products has the right spatial structure to make it effective. Researchers have now developed a methodology for one of these photoreactions that allows them to produce only the specific molecular variant desired.

Posted: Dec 17th, 2013

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Microprinting leads to low-cost artificial cells

Easily manufactured, low-cost artificial cells manufactured using microprinting may one day serve as drug and gene delivery devices and in biomaterials, biotechnology and biosensing applications, according to a team of Penn State biomedical engineers. These artificial cells will also allow researchers to explore actions that take place at the cell membrane.

Posted: Dec 16th, 2013

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Researchers engineer a hybrid 5 times more effective in delivering genetic material into cells

Researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and the NYU College of Dentistry have developed a carrier in their lab that is five times more efficient in delivering DNA into cells than today's commercial delivery methods - reagent vectors. This novel complex is a peptide-polymer hybrid, assembled from two separate, less effective vectors that are used to carry DNA into cells. The study helps researchers better understand gene function.

Posted: Dec 16th, 2013

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A molecular toolkit for gene silencing

Researchers managed to overcome remaining key limitations of RNA interference (RNAi) - a unique method to specifically shut off genes. By using an optimized design, the scientists were able to inhibit genes with greatly enhanced efficiency and accuracy.

Posted: Dec 13th, 2013

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New way to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria: Target human cells instead

As more reports appear of a grim 'post-antibiotic era' ushered in by the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, a new strategy for fighting infection is emerging that targets a patient's cells rather than those of the invading pathogens. The technique interferes with the way that the pathogens take over a patient's cells to cause infection.

Posted: Dec 11th, 2013

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Unusual fungal metabolites with antitumor activity discovered by crowdsourcing

Since the discovery of penicillin, fungi have been a nearly inexhaustible source for the discovery of new drugs. 'Crowdsourcing', the cooperation of a large number of interested nonscientists, has helped to find a new fungus from which American researchers have now isolated and characterized an unusual metabolite with interesting antitumor activity.

Posted: Dec 11th, 2013

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Precise docking sites for cells

The Petri dish is a classical biological laboratory device, but it is no ideal living environment for many types of cells. Studies lose validity, as cell behavior on a flat plastic surface differs from that in branched lung tissue, for example. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have now presented a method to make three-dimensional structures attractive or repellent for certain types of cells.

Posted: Dec 11th, 2013

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