UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News

July 13, 2010 at 5:51 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

Transplantable artificial lung studied

BOSTON, July 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers are developing an artificial lung that could be used in transplant surgeries to treat lung disease, observers say.

Fifty million sufferers of end-stage lung disease worldwide are candidates for lung transplant procedures but organ shortages are a limiting factor, an article in the journal Nature Medicine said Tuesday.

Researchers at Harvard University say they removed the cells from rat lungs while preserving a matrix with the structural characteristics of the original organ, then "seeded" the matrix with different lung cell types.

The "repopulated" matrices supported lung function and could even be transplanted into rats, where they functioned for up to six hours, lead researcher Harald Ott at the Harvard Medical School said.

The research could lead to transplantable lung grafts as a potential treatment for lung disease, the journal article said.


Mathematics could be anti-terror tool

PITTSBURGH, July 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say those fighting the war on terrorism may soon have a new weapon to add to their arsenal -- mathematics.

Mathematicians and computer scientists have begun to develop equations and algorithms for combing through mountains of data and uncover hidden "rules" that govern terrorism behavior, ScienceNews.org reported Monday.

Each bit and byte of data about cellphone calls, Web-browsing records, e-mail messages, credit card receipts and airline passenger lists could illuminate a terrorist's movements and intentions, researchers say.

"The area has exploded, in terms of the types of techniques and technologies," says computer scientist Kathleen Carley of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

"There are huge, rapid advances in this area with, of course, some very interesting challenges," she says.

Other researchers are seeking simple mathematical formulas that could describe the optimal arrangement of a secret terrorist cell and provide clues on how to destroy it.

"If you have a mathematical model that can describe the structure of a terror network -- and the model works -- then you can predict the future," says Alexander Gutfraind, a mathematician at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.


Solar storm created 'zombie' satellite

WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they've identified a massive solar storm that reached Earth and caused a satellite to malfunction, turning it into a "zombie satellite."

A NASA sun-watching spacecraft observed the explosion of plasma and magnetic energy, called a coronal mass ejection, on April 3, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.

Charged particles in the solar storm disabled the Galaxy 15 communications satellite, causing it to lose contact with ground controllers on April 5, officials said.

While the satellite has stopped communicating with its ground control center, its telecommunications payload providing broadcast services to customers is stuck on, earning it the "zombie satellite" nickname, SPACE.com said.

The now-uncontrolled electronic signal from Galaxy 15 has forced other communications satellites to conduct occasional evasive maneuvers to avoid signal interference, officials say.


'Mahjong' gene key player in cell battles

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 13 (UPI) -- British and U.S. scientists say they've found a gene playing a key role when normal and cancerous cells compete, and have named it the "Mahjong" gene.

Florida State University biologists and researchers in Britain discovered the gene is involved in a life-or-death "cell competition" process that suppresses cancer by causing cancerous cells to kill themselves, an FSU release said Tuesday.

The "Mahjong" gene can determine the winners of the competition through its close relationship with another powerful protein player, researchers said.

Researchers named the new-found gene after the Chinese game of skill and luck.

The study findings shed light on the critical interactions between cancerous cells and surrounding tissue,

Scientists discovered Mahjong binds to and interacts with a tumor suppressor gene in a bond that bond allows Mahjong to influence the outcome of cell competition, the release said.

"A better understanding of the ways that inherited or acquired mutations in key proteins lead to cell competition should help foster new therapies that increase the odds of victory for normal cells," said study author Yoichiro Tamori of Florida State's Department of Biological Science.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories