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Identification of contaminated cells impacts decades of research

In biomedical research, one key system used to model disease and test treatments are ‘immortalised’ cell lines. These are cultures of cells, taken from a patient sample or an organ biopsy, and grown in a petri dish. Under the correct conditions they continually divide and do not die, meaning many dishes can be prepared and […]

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The suicide swarm: mosquitoes to halt the spread of disease

Mosquitoes are an annoying, if mostly harmless, summer threat in the UK and Europe. However, they are a major disease carrier in other parts of the world, spreading Dengue fever and Chikungunya. They were the primary vector for transmitting the Zika virus during its 2015 outbreak, and remain a serious threat in South and Central […]

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Brexit the first: our violent geographical divorce from France

The people may have (narrowly) chosen to leave Europe, but Britain itself broke away from the continent long before that. In a new study, researchers have demonstrated how the island of mainland Britain arose through a two-stage flooding process, severing its link with France. This process took millennia, beginning around 450,000 years ago, and finishing […]

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The 30 second blood type test that could save lives

In a packed emergency department, timing is crucial. If an injured patient enters with catastrophic blood loss, they need a transfusion, and quickly. Many people don’t know their blood type, however, so the treatment must be delayed until they can be typed. In a war zone, it can be hard to access the equipment necessary […]

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50 years of methadone treatment

Fifty years ago, America was gripped by a heroin crisis. Addiction had risen rapidly after the second world war, and centred on New York City, where approximately half of the country’s heroin addicts lived. Desperate for a solution, Rockefeller University pitched the use of an alternative opioid, methadone, as a way of helping heroin users […]

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Wake up & smell the anti-inflammation

A new study, published in Nature Medicine, has found that caffeine can block the processes of age-related inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response, important for fighting infection and clearing toxic products from our bodies. However, chronic low-level inflammation is an emerging player in our understanding of ageing, and is thought to be involved in up […]