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Did Darwinian evolution begin before life itself?

How long-chain molecules are formed

24-Feb-2021

Before life emerged on Earth, many physicochemical processes on our planet were highly chaotic. A plethora of small compounds, and polymers of varying lengths, made up of subunits (such as the bases found in DNA and RNA), were present in every conceivable combination. Before life-like chemical ...

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Detecting single molecules and diagnosing diseases with a smartphone

Researchers show that the light emitted by a single molecule can be detected with a low-cost optical setup. Their prototype could facilitate medical diagnostics

17-Feb-2021

Biomarkers play a central role in the diagnosis of disease and assessment of its course. Among the markers now in use are genes, proteins, hormones, lipids and other classes of molecules. Biomarkers can be found in the blood, in cerebrospinal fluid, urine and various types of tissues, but most of ...

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How cells move and don’t get stuck

New insight for developmental biology and potential cancer treatment

22-Jan-2021

Theoretical physicists from Berlin teamed up with experimental physicists from Munich to determine the precise mechanics involved in cell motility. Cell velocity, or how fast a cell moves, is known to depend on how sticky the surface is beneath it, but the precise mechanisms of this relationship ...

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Functionality of immune cells in early life

A study shows that putatively immature dendritic cells found in young children are able to induce robust immune responses: The results could lead to improved vaccination protocols

21-Jan-2021

Dendritic cells are a vital component of the innate immune system, which constitutes the body’s first line of defense against infectious agents and tumor cells. Their job is to activate the T-cell arm of the adaptive immune system, which confers specific and long-lasting protection against ...

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Bacterial cells can tell the time

Chronobiologists report that soil bacteria possess an internal clock

14-Jan-2021

Biological processes in many organisms are known resonate with natural rhythms. For instance, it is well known that cellular functions in plants and animals are regulated by an internal ‘circadian’ clock mechanism. Circadian clocks synchronize to environmental cycles such as the natural ...

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Nanoparticles as weapons against cancer

Researchers have developed a novel type of nanoparticle that efficiently and selectively kills cancer cells, thus opening up new therapeutic options for the treatment of tumors

17-Dec-2020

Many chemotherapeutic agents used to treat cancers are associated with side-effects of varying severity, because they are toxic to normal cells as well as malignant tumors. This has motivated the search for effective alternatives to the synthetic pharmaceuticals with which most cancers are ...

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Coaxing cancer cells to commit suicide

07-Dec-2020

An LMU team has identified an enzyme that is essential for DNA repair. Loss of this factor leads to cell death when cancer cells accumulate DNA damage. Chemical inhibition of the target protein offers a possible strategy for the treatment of specific cancers. In Germany, as in most Western ...

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Researchers Improve Neuronal Reprogramming by Manipulating Mitochondria

The replacement of lost neurons is a holy grail for neuroscience

18-Nov-2020

A new promising approach is the conversion of glial cells into new neurons. Improving the efficiency of this conversion or reprogramming after brain injury is an important step towards developing reliable regenerative medicine therapies. Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Ludwig ...

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Follow your gut: How farms protect from childhood asthma

children’s gut microbiome is involved in the protection process

05-Nov-2020

Asthma impacts millions of children already at a young age. Children growing up on a farm have a lower risk of developing asthma than children not living on a farm. The mechanisms behind this protective farm effect on childhood asthma are largely unknown. A group of researchers from Helmholtz ...

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Photopharmacology - A light-trigger for the proteasome

A light-sensitive inhibitor can control cell division and cell death – and provides a promising approach for studies of essential cellular processes and the development of novel tumor therapies

03-Nov-2020

The ability to precisely control biological and chemical processes is an essential element of both basic research and medicine. Light represents an attractive stimulus in this context, as its effects can be accurately modulated both spatially and temporally. These desirable properties are the ...

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