Implantable sensor could monitor cancer
Researchers from M.I.T. have created a sensor implanted under the skin that can monitor inflammation and detect nitric acid, which can indicate certain cancers. The sensor could also be modified to detect glucose, which could help monitor diabetes, according to the study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
In order to understand how nitric oxide functions when cancer is present, researchers created nanotube sensors, which are 1-nanometer-thick, hollow cylinders that are made out of carbon. Carbon nanotubes have a natural fluorescence, and when molecules attach themselves to a certain target, the tube brightens or dims.
One sensor was injected into the blood stream for short-term monitoring. In mice, the sensor was able to pass through the lungs and heart, and gather in the liver, without causing any harm. Once in the liver, it monitored the nitric oxide molecules. The second sensor was implanted under the skin for a longer period of time. When implanted in mice, it was functional and stayed in place for 400 days. This sensor could be useful for monitoring cancer, inflammation and immune response disorders.
Researchers are now working on the sensors to detect glucose. If the sensor is effective, it could eliminate the need for diabetic patients to take blood samples.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Implantable sensor may monitor cancer and diabetes
Published On: Nov 7, 2013
Brain may play key role in development of diabetes
In an article in the latest issue of Nature, researchers from four universities suggest that normal glucose regulation relies on “highly coordinated interactions” between the brain and insulin-producing islets in the pancreas. If this is the case, it could open the door to many new treatment options for type 2 diabetes.
The idea that the brain might play a role in insulin regulation was first brought to light in 1920, but the focus shifted exclusively to insulin, and so all treatments for type 2 diabetes are developed either to increase insulin or to increase the body’s sensitivity to it.
The study’s authors argue that type 2 diabetes is the result of failure of both the pancreatic islet cell system and this brain-centered system for regulating blood sugar levels. According to the research, the brain system is the one most likely to fail first. This puts pressure on the islet system, which can compensate and carry on for a while, but then also fails, causing further decompensation in the brain system. The result is a vicious cycle of deterioration that ends in type 2 diabetes.
While the researchers recognize the necessity of insulin to reduce blood sugar back to normal levels, they believe what’s happening in the brain also needs to be addressed to control, and possibly even reverse, the disease.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Brain may play key role in development of type 2 diabetes
Published On: Nov 7, 2013