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The amazing travels of small RNAs

Short double-​stranded RNA fragments “transmits” RNA interference

29-Jul-2020

Biologists have known for some time that RNA interference can silence genes in far-​off cells. They suspected that a messenger substance “transmits” RNA interference. Now, ETH researchers have definitively shown that these messengers in plants are short double-​stranded RNA fragments. In most ...

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Using electrical stimulus to regulate genes

Basis for medical implants that can be switched on and off using electronic devices outside the body

02-Jun-2020

A team of researchers led by ETH professor Martin Fussenegger has succeeded in using an electric current to directly control gene expression for the first time. Their work provides the basis for medical implants that can be switched on and off using electronic devices outside the body. This is ...

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Lighting the path for cells

Instructing cells to grow in a particular direction is a long-cherished dream

13-May-2020

ETH researchers have developed a new method in which they use light to draw patterns of molecules that guide living cells. The approach allows for a closer look at the development of multicellular organisms – and in the future may even play a part in novel therapies. Highly complex organisms can ...

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Prostate cancer treatment may protect from COVID-19

Even if men did not have prostate cancer could take androgen-​deprivation therapies to prevent infection

11-May-2020

Androgen-​deprivation therapy could protect against infection with SARS-​CoV-2 and against severe disease progression. This is suggested by a study led by a professor from the Università della Svizzera Italiana and ETH Zurich. Male cancer patients have a 1.8-​fold increased risk of COVID-​19 ...

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A new biosensor for the COVID-19 virus

Detection in the environment

23-Apr-2020

A team of researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich and Zurich University Hospital has succeeded in developing a novel sensor for detecting the new coronavirus. In future it could be used to measure the concentration of the virus in the environment - for example in places where there are many people or ...

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New COVID-19 test quickly and accurately detects viral RNA

17-Apr-2020

Millions of people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, most using a kit that relies on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This sensitive method amplifies SARS-CoV-2 RNA from patient swabs so that tiny amounts of the virus can be detected. However, as the pandemic surges, this laboratory ...

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Antiviral treatment for textiles

08-Apr-2020

An ETH spin-​off has developed a new treatment for textiles that reduces viral infectivity on treated surfaces. The technology can be used for face masks and other textile products. Recently, the ETH spin-​off HeiQ Materials presented an innovative antiviral and antibacterial treatment for ...

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Fast, sensitive blood tests for use at home

03-Mar-2020

They should be fast, portable and easy to use: blood tests that can be done at home. Having already come up with a prototype, ETH Pioneer Fellow Alexander Tanno is working with doctoral student Yves Blickenstorfer to bring the idea to market. The prototype that Alexander Tanno is holding between ...

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How enzymes build sugar trees

Findings could accelerate development of new, protein-​based medications

02-Mar-2020

Researchers have used cryo-​electron microscopy to elucidate for the first time the structure and function of a very small enzyme embedded in cell membranes. This enzyme builds complex sugar trees that are subsequently attached to other membrane proteins. The findings could accelerate the ...

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Synthetic phages with programmable specificity

05-Nov-2019

ETH researchers are using synthetic biology to reprogram bacterial viruses – commonly known as bacteriophages – to expand their natural host range. This technology paves the way for the therapeutic use of standardized, synthetic bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections. Bacteriophages ...

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