Our Technological Future – Mixed Bag #2

Scientists Eye Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy for 2012.

CHEJU _ Cheju National University plans to set up a large biology research center with the aim of starting to use human embryonic stem cells in actual therapy around 2012.Koh Choong-suk, president of the scenic Cheju Island-based university, yesterday unveiled the project that will be spearheaded by illustrious embryologist Park Se-pill.

“We recruited Park as the head of the stem cell center to be established at our university, and seek to hire about 20 more researchers and experts,” Koh told a press meeting at the university.

“Under the stewardship of Park, we believe the lab will be able to use embryonic stem cells in therapy by 2012,” Koh added.

Gene-therapy results touted in 2 advanced-cancer cases.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute on Thursday reported they have successfully treated two patients with advanced cancer using gene therapy.Two men, both with the rapidly growing skin cancer melanoma, were given immune-system cells taken from their own blood and engineered to attack their tumors. They are alive, with no evidence of cancer, 18 months later. Fifteen other patients who got the same treatment died.

The senior author of the study and others cautioned it would take several years to translate the treatment into a practical therapy.

The report, published online by the journal Science, is the latest result of a 30-year effort by Dr. Steven Rosenberg to find ways to manipulate the human immune system to fight cancer.

‘Augmented reality’ glasses tackle tunnel vision.

Superimposing computer-generated images over real scenes can dramatically improve the way people with visual impairment use their sight, say US researchers.That conclusion is the result of tests of a so-called augmented-reality system on patients with tunnel vision, a condition which narrows a person’s field of view.

Physicists invent ‘QuIET’ – single molecule transistors.

University of Arizona physicists have discovered how to turn single molecules into working transistors. It’s a breakthrough needed to make the next-generation of remarkably tiny, powerful computers that nanotechnologists dream of.

Re-inventing nature for cheaper solar power.

A research team in Sydney has created molecules that mimic those in plants which harvest light and power life on Earth.“A leaf is an amazingly cheap and efficient solar cell,” says Dr Deanna D’Alessandro, a postdoctoral researcher in the Molecular Electronics Group at the University of Sydney. “The best leaves can harvest 30 to 40 percent of the light falling on them. The best solar cells we can build are between 15 and 20 percent efficient, and expensive to make.”

Are genomic technologies the answer to world hunger?.

Genomic technologies may have the potential to alleviate food insecurity and food shortages around the world. Researchers believe that biotechnology has the potential to improve the nutritional content of food crops and, crucially, resistance to insects and disease. This could lead to improved yields of food crops for both human and animal consumption. Researchers are also working on ‘molecular farming’ – production of pharmaceutical products in plants, with the potential to revolutionise vaccination procedures.

4 thoughts on “Our Technological Future – Mixed Bag #2

  1. Explodicle

    *sigh* I wish my country would invest more in embryonic stem cell research. It’s comforting to know that others with more sense are getting the job done.

  2. Jan-Willem Bats

    Yeah, you started out pretty well with the whole freedom thingy.

    These days, the rest of the world ain’t that impressed with Bush’s ‘freedom policy’ anymore.

    But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Come November, I expect the democrats to march into the senate. That means bigger chances for stem cell tech. 😉

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