Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

14-20 December 2015

Delhi And Beijing: 2 Cities And 2 Ways Of Dealing With Smog

Two cities. Two very polluted cities. And two very different ways of dealing with twin public health crises. When Beijing’s air was forecast to reach hazardous levels for three straight days earlier in December,the government issued a smog red alert. The result: Half the city’s cars were off the roads within hours, schools were closed and construction sites shut down. Less than three days later, pollution levels had dropped by 30 per cent. (Read more)

Stem cells: latest developments and potential therapeutics

This article is part of the media coverage of Stem Cell Society Singapore (SCSS) Symposium‘Opportunities & Challenges in Stem Cell Based Medicine’, held 17-18 November 2015 at Biopolis, Singapore. Stem cells have shown a lot of promise as potential therapeutics in treating a wide variety of disorders. However, significant challenges remain to be overcome before stem cell based therapies are routine in the clinic. This will need the troika of clinicians, researchers and regulators to work together to solve these challenges. (Read more)

New Type 4 diabetes not linked to obesity

A new type of diabetes that’s not associated with insulin deficiency or obesity has been discovered — in mice. In a study published Wednesday, researchers led by Salk Institute scientists found that in a mouse model of the disease regarded as predictive of human diabetes, some develop an unusual type that affects old, lean mice. (Read more)

Most cancer cases are avoidable, say researchers

Most cases of cancer result from avoidable factors such as toxic chemicals and radiation, according to a study. The findings clash with research published earlier this year which found that differences in cellular processes were the chief reason some tissues became cancerous more frequently than others. That study led to claims that certain cancers were mainly the result of bad luck, and suggested these types would be relatively resistant to prevention efforts. (Read more)

Researchers mass-producing stem cells to satisfy the demands of regenerative medicine

Growing demand of stem cells in regenerative medicine led scientists to expedite the production of these cells. Researchers at the A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) in Singapore have designed a process for mass-production of stem cells. Dr Steve Oh’s group has been growing stem cells by conventional means at BTI for seven long years, when in 2008 his colleague Shaul Reuveny proposed an idea for mass-production. (Read more)

Implications of finding liquid water on Mars

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) recently detected intermittent signs of liquid water in present day Mars. This finding provides the strongest evidence yet for the presence of liquid water in the red planet after fifteen years of intensive exploration. While researchers believe Mars was once a warm and wet planet which could have supported life, it is believed that its smaller size, lesser gravity and thinner atmosphere as compared to earth could have led to most of the water being evaporated and lost into space. (Read more)

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