Gamma brain waves might prevent cognitive effects of chemotherapy

Caption:A noninvasive treatment may help to counter “chemo brain” impairment often seen in chemotherapy patients: Exposure to light and sound with a frequency of 40 hertz protected brain cells from chemotherapy-induced damage in mice, MIT researchers found.[Image courtesy of Christine Daniloff, MIT; iStock]

MIT researchers say a noninvasive treatment could stimulate gamma frequency brain waves and potentially help treat chemo brain.

In a study of mice, the researchers delivered daily exposure to light and sound with a frequency of 40 hertz. They found that this protected brain cells from chemotherapy-induced damage — also called chemo brain. The treatment also helped to prevent memory loss and the impairment of other cognitive functions.

Originally developed as a way to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the team at MIT says this treatment could have more widespread effects capable of helping with a range …

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These inhalable nanoparticle sensors could help diagnose lung cancer

MIT engineers have designed diagnostic particles that can be aerosolized and inhaled. At bottom is a scanning electron micrograph of the particles, which are coated with nanosensors that interact with cancer-associated proteins in the lungs. [Image courtesy of MIT]

Researchers at MIT developed a new diagnostic based on nanosensors that patients can inhale through an inhaler or nebulizer.

If the sensors encounter cancer-linked proteins in the lungs, they produce a signal that accumulates in urine. Patients can then take a urine test with a simple paper test strip and it reveals the potential presence of a tumor.

The researchers say the approach could potentially replace or supplement the low-dose computed tomography (CT) imaging currently used as the gold standard for diagnosing lung cancer. Particularly, according to MIT, it could help low- and middle-income countries that lack widespread CT scanner avai…

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Engineers say robot mimics heartbeats, blood pumping

A new bio-robotic model developed by MIT engineers simulates the function of the heart. Soft, balloon-like “muscles” (in blue) wrap around and contract the right ventricle, mimicking its real pumping action. The model could help to test new implants and devices to treat a range of cardiac disorders. [Image courtesy of the researchers]

Engineers at MIT developed a robotic right ventricle replica that mimics the live heart’s beating and blood-pumping capabilities.

This technology combines real heart tissue with synthetic, balloon-like artificial muscles. The researchers say it enables scientists to control the ventricle’s contractions while observing how natural valves and other structures function.

According to MIT, the engineers can tune the artificial ventricle to mimic healthy and diseased states. They manipulated it to simulate the conditions of right ventricular dysfunction, including pul…

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MIT researchers use 3D printing to produce self-heating microfluidic devices

MIT researchers developed a fabrication process to produce self-heating microfluidic devices in one step using a multi-material 3D printer. Pictured is an example of one of the devices. [Image courtesy of the researchers]

Researchers at MIT used 3D printing to create self-heating microfluidic devices, highlighting the potential for this technique in future applications.

Microfluidics have uses in detecting diseases within tiny samples of blood or fluids, like in COVID-19 test kits. The team at MIT believes the technique could someday help rapidly create cheap but accurate disease detection tools.

According to MIT, many microfluidic applications require chemical reactions performed at specific temperatures. More complex devices of this nature have heating elements created in a difficult-to-scale fabrication process. To address this, the MIT team used multilateral 3D printing to create self-heating microfl…

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Researchers successfully 3D print polymer-based robotic hand with laser scanning

3D printed in one go: A robotic hand made of varyingly rigid and elastic polymers. [Image courtesy of ETH Zurich/Thomas Buchner]

Researchers at ETH Zurich and a U.S. startup used slow-curing plastics to develop durable and robust robots from high-quality materials.

The team can now print these complex robots in one go and combine soft, elastic and rigid materials. This enables the creation of delicate structures and parts and parts with cavities as desired.

MIT spinoff Inkbit developed the new printing technology. ETH Zurich researchers developed several robotic applications and helped optimize the technology for use with slow-curing polymers. The researchers jointly published their work in the journal Nature.

Using this new technology, the researchers succeeded for the first time in printing a robotic hand with bones, ligaments and tendons made of different polymers in one go.

“We wouldn’t…

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This sensor prototype mimics natural cell membrane function

A team led by MIT researchers designed a sensor that could help screen for hard-to-diagnose cancers or metastatic tumors.[Image courtesy of the researchers/MIT]

A team of engineers at MIT have developed a novel sensor that could detect molecules typically identified by naturally occurring cell receptors.

The prototype sensor can detect an immune molecule called CXCL 12. They say this could help develop a routine screening system for hard-to-diagnose cancers or metastatic tumors. The technology could also be used as a highly biomimetic electronic “nose,” according to an MIT news release.

“Our hope is to develop a simple device that lets you do at-home testing, with high specificity and sensitivity,” said Shuguang Zhang, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab. “The earlier you detect cancer, the better the treatment, so early diagnostics for cancer is one important area we want…

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MIT researchers build wearable ultrasound scanner for earlier breast cancer detection

This wearable ultrasound scanner could offer frequent, at-home imaging of breast tissue to spot tumors earlier and increase survival rates. [Photo courtesy of MIT]

A wearable ultrasound scanner developed by researchers at MIT could improve the survival rate of breast cancer patients.

The researchers 3D-printed a flexible patch that can attach to a bra using magnets. The patch has six openings where a miniaturized ultrasound scanner can contact the skin and image the wearer’s breast tissue from different angles.

The goal is to detect breast cancer earlier with more frequent screening for patients at high risk.

“We changed the form factor of the ultrasound technology so that it can be used in your home,” MIT Media Lab Associate Professor Canan Dagdeviren, who designed the miniaturized scanner, said in a news release. “It’s portable and easy to use, and provides real-time, user-frie…

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MIT engineers say they can control signals from the brain to the gut

These fibers could manipulate and monitor the connections between the brain and the digestive tract. [Image courtesy of the researchers]

Engineers at MIT say they developed a new technology that can control neural circuits connecting the gut and the brain.

Using fibers embedded with sensors, plus light sources for optogenetic stimulation, the researchers demonstrated this control in mice. The study showed that they could induce feelings of fullness or reward-seeking behavior by manipulating cells of the intestine. This could lead to the exploration of the correlations between digestive health and neurological conditions like autism and Parkinson’s disease.

“The exciting thing here is that we now have technology that can drive gut function and behaviors such as feeding. More importantly, we have the ability to start accessing the crosstalk between the gut and the brain with the millisecond precision…

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This RNA sensor could trigger cells to turn on a synthetic gene

Caption:MIT researchers demonstrated that their RNA sensor could accurately identify cells expressing a mutated version of the p53 gene, which drives cancer development. [Image courtesy of MIT/iStock]

Engineers at MIT designed a new way to trigger cells that could lead to targeted therapies for cancer and other diseases.

Using an RNA sensor for the trigger, the researchers ensure that synthetic genes activate only in specific cells. They demonstrated that the sensor could accurately identify cells expressing a mutated version of the p53 gene, which drives cancer development. Additionally, they found they could turn on a gene encoding a fluorescent protein only within those cells.

With this approach, the engineers feel they can develop sensors to trigger production of cell-killing proteins in cancer cells, sparing healthy cells, too. They see the possibility of developing treatments for other diseases, too…

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This T-cell vaccine could be the future of COVID-19 protection

[Image courtesy of Production Perig/Adobe Stock]

The current mRNA vaccines from Moderna (Nasdaq:MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (Nasdaq:BNTX) stimulate the production of neutralizing antibodies that bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

But there is a novel mRNA vaccine that activates T cells to attack cells infected with the virus. Developed by researchers at MIT and other institutions, the new vaccine could sidestep the need for updated boosters based on currently circulating variants.

In a preclinical study published in Frontiers in Immunology, the T-cell vaccine successfully attacked cells infected with the virus rather than activating the part of the immune system that releases neutralizing antibodies. In addition, the researchers tested the vaccine in humanized mice and successfully generated both CD8+ (cytotoxic) and CD4+ (helper) T-cell responses.

This new MIT-T-COVID vaccine could …

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MIT engineers say new purification method enable cheaper protein drugs

A microfluidic device was designed to combine protein solution with nanoparticles and then form thousands of tiny, identical droplets. Inside each of these droplets, the proteins interact with the nanoparticles, which help them to form protein crystals. [Courtesy of the researchers, colorized by MIT News]

Engineers at MIT developed a new way to accomplish purification while manufacturing protein drugs, potentially reducing costs of production.

The researchers say the manufacturing process represents one of the most expensive steps in manufacturing protein drugs. These kinds of drugs include antibodies or insulin. Purification involves isolating the protein from the bioreactor used to produce it.

According to an MIT website post, the step can account for up to half the total cost of manufacturing a protein. In order to reduce these costs, the MIT team developed an approach using specialized nanoparticle…

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Researchers say ingestible sensor could help with diagnosing GI disorders

MIT engineers demonstrated that they can use magnetic fields to track the location of this ingestible sensor within the GI tract. [Image courtesy of the researchers]

Engineers at MIT and Caltech have developed an ingestible sensor that could more easily diagnose gastrointestinal motility disorders.

This advance could help with the diagnosis of constipation, gastroesophageal reflux disease and gastroparesis.

The engineers designed their tiny sensor to detect a magnetic field produced by an electromagnetic coil located outside of the patient’s body. The strength of the field varies with distance from the coil, which allows for the calculation of the sensor’s position based on its measurement of the magnetic field.

In a new study, the researchers demonstrated the ability to track the sensor as it moved through the digestive tract of large animals. They believe this could offer an alternat…

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