Genetics and Precision Medicine

The mRNA Revolution is Coming

Author(s): Mary Bates
The mRNA Revolution is Coming 2309 1299 IEEE Pulse
A bright spot during this COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid development of effective vaccines that work by harnessing the power of messenger RNA, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines might seem like a relatively new idea, but researchers have been working on the technology behind them for decades. Now, the success of Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines are highlighting the immense potential for mRNA therapies—not just for infectious diseases, but also to treat cancer and genetic disorders. read more

Stem Cell Update: Where Are We Now?

Author(s): Mary Bates
Stem Cell Update: Where Are We Now? 500 300 IEEE Pulse
Since stem cells give rise to all the different cell types that make up our bodies, they have the potential to repair or replace cells that are missing or dysfunctional in a wide range of diseases and injuries. In recent years, an explosion of clinical trials involving stem cell therapies has inspired hope that such regenerative strategies may soon cure some of our most vexing diseases. Before that hope is realized, we will need a greater understanding of the fundamentals of stem cell biology as well as the specifics of different disease processes. Although the challenges seem daunting, stem cell research is rapidly advancing and ushering in a new era of regenerative medicine. read more

CRISPR Tech Behind Super-Sensitive, Smartphone COVID Test

Author(s): Leslie Mertz
CRISPR Tech Behind Super-Sensitive, Smartphone COVID Test 1897 1581 IEEE Pulse
Advanced CRISPR technology is part of a new test that determines within minutes whether a person has been infected with even very low levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19), and also quickly and directly measures the viral load, or how much replicating virus is in a person’s body [1]. read more

Spellchecking for the Story of Life With CRISPR-Cas9 and Base, Prime Editors

Author(s): Jim Banks
Spellchecking for the Story of Life With CRISPR-Cas9 and Base, Prime Editors 1000 640 IEEE Pulse
Just four letters—A, G, T, and C—make up the alphabet of the genome. It may seem simple, but a small difference in spelling can create mutations that result in life-threatening diseases. Gene variants that cause genetic diseases come in many varieties. Transition point mutations cause conditions such as progeria, the rapid aging disease. Transversion point mutations cause sickle-cell disease and other major disorders. Small insertions can cause Tay-Sachs, which stops nerves working properly and is usually fatal, and deletions can result in cystic fibrosis. read more

The Unknown Human Health Legacy of Nuclear Weapons Testing

Author(s): Wudan Yan
The Unknown Human Health Legacy of Nuclear Weapons Testing 1295 810 IEEE Pulse
For nearly half a century, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a fierce battle although no shots were actually fired. Starting in the 1940s, both started developing their arsenal of nuclear weapons, in preparation for an all-out nuclear war. The U.S. government primarily used a patch of land in Nye, NV, that was formerly a military base, to conduct their tests. read more

How Precision Medicine Might Better Serve Downwinders

Author(s): Wudan Yan
How Precision Medicine Might Better Serve Downwinders 1365 768 IEEE Pulse
Despite the advances in developing nuclear weapons and other technologies, not much is known about the long-term effects of radiation on human health. In a world where nuclear energy could help curb carbon emissions, it almost seems paradoxical that its possible long-term risks and impacts to human health are still poorly understood. read more
Advances in Gene Therapy Offer Hope for Rare Disorders

Advances in Gene Therapy Offer Hope for Rare Disorders

Author(s): Mary Bates
Advances in Gene Therapy Offer Hope for Rare Disorders 620 375 IEEE Pulse

After decades of promise tempered by setbacks, gene therapies are now bringing new treatment options for a variety of inherited and acquired diseases. Recently, clinical trials at the NIH Clinical…

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Joint Ventures

Joint Ventures

Author(s): Leslie Mertz
Joint Ventures 620 375 IEEE Pulse

Within a decade, life will likely become a lot easier for people with low back pain. The reason is cell therapy. Research is progressing rapidly and clinical trials are ongoing…

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Gift of Sight: Stem-Cell Patches for Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration

Gift of Sight: Stem-Cell Patches for Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration

Author(s): Leslie Mertz
Gift of Sight: Stem-Cell Patches for Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration 620 375 IEEE Pulse

For people who have relied on good eyesight for the first six or seven decades of their lives, the diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is devastating. This disease, which…

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