Midnight In The Desert — cells

This Swimming Stingray Robot Is Powered by Real, Living Rat Cells

Posted by K R on

This Swimming Stingray Robot Is Powered by Real, Living Rat Cells

This soft robotic stingray is made of rat heart muscle. Yeah, it's just as crazy as it sounds. "Roughly speaking, we made this thing with a pinch of rat cardiac cells, a pinch of breast implant, and a pinch of gold. That pretty much sums it up, except for the genetic engineering," says Kit Parker, the bio-engineer at Harvard who led the team that developed the strange robot. "I THINK WE'VE GOT A BIOLOGICAL LIFE-FORM HERE." Parker's robotic stingray is tiny—a bit more than half an inch long—and weighs only 10 grams. But it glides through liquid with the very...

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Where did it all go wrong? Scientists identify 'cell of origin' in skin cancers

Posted by K R on

Where did it all go wrong? Scientists identify 'cell of origin' in skin cancers

Scientists have identified for the first time the 'cell of origin' -- in other words, the first cell from which the cancer grows -- in basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, and followed the chain of events that lead to the growth of these invasive tumours. Our skin is kept healthy by a constant turnover, with dying skin cells being shed and replaced by new cells. The process is maintained by 'progenitor' cells -- the progeny of stem cells -- that divide and 'differentiate' into fully-functional skin cells to replenish dying skin. These cells are in...

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