Pinpointing prostate problems – The chemical cousin of magnetic resonance imaging, MR spectroscopy, could be used to pinpoint the exact location of prostate cancers and to determine the aggressiveness of a tumour without major surgical intervention, according to research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
“Magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy which can analyse the biochemistry rather than the physical structure of tissues could give oncologists a better way to home in on prostate cancers at the early stages of growth and so ultimately improve treatment success rates,” team leader Leo Cheng of Harvard U told me.
Twenty-year old HIV problem – Science journalists (and press officers alike) are often lambasted for using the word breakthrough, but when twenty years of research culminates in a development with the potential to change the way drug research for HIV/AIDS is undertaken, we can be forgiven, surely. An X-ray diffraction study of the enzyme integrase has led to a breakthrough in our understanding of how retroviruses replicate. The structural results lay bare a problem that scientists have been trying to solve for more than two decades.
Sniffing out the Tempranillo – It’s unclear how common fraud is in the wine industry, but certainly there is the opportunity for unscrupulous producers to blend wine of the same variety from different areas and claim it comes from the most well-renowned regions. Now, Australian scientists have developed a new approach to testing the origin of wines based on a sophisticated statistical analysis of the wine’s spectra.
Atomic biodiesel assessment – Metal contaminants in your car’s biofuel will cause the build up of sludge inside the engine and potentially cause it to fail, replacing a burned out engine is not the green option for those hoping to save the environment by burning crops instead of oil in their vehicles. Now, Brazilian scientists have turned to Flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) to quickly and cheaply determine the metal content of biodiesel with a view to improving quality control on this renewable fuel.
Wu, C., Jordan, K., Ratai, E., Sheng, J., Adkins, C., DeFeo, E., Jenkins, B., Ying, L., McDougal, W., & Cheng, L. (2010). Metabolomic Imaging for Human Prostate Cancer Detection Science Translational Medicine, 2 (16), 16-16 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000513