On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed two new draft guidelines for the evaluation and use of nanomaterials in food and cosmetics The documents are available for public comment for 90 days. The agency said in a Consumer Update that this is the continuation of a "dialogue" that started in June 2011, when they issued a draft of the first guideline on the subject, one that helps industry decide whether an FDA-regulated product involves the use of nanotechnology, by considering for instance the size and properties of the materials. The first of these latest two guidelines, "Guidance for Industry: Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products" deals with what manufacturers should consider to ensure the safety of cosmetics made using nanomaterials. The second guideline, "Guidance for Industry: Assessing the Effects of Significant Manufacturing Process Changes", is for the food industry.
MIT and Boston University researchers have discovered that while antibiotics attack many parts of bacteria cells, it is the damage they cause to their DNA that inflicts the fatal blow. They write about their findings in a paper published online on 20 April in the journal Science. It is astonishing that we have been using antibiotics like penicillin for over 70 years, yet we did not know the exact mechanism by which they kill bacteria, until now. The researchers say understanding this mechanism could help improve existing drugs, a most welcome piece of news as few new antibiotics have been developed in the last 40 years, and many strains of bacteria have developed resistance to the ones currently available. Co-author Dr James J Collins, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and William F.
Developmental biologists at Tufts University have identified a "self-correcting" mechanism by which developing organisms recognize and repair head and facial abnormalities. This is the first time that such a mechanism has been reported for the face and the first time that this kind of flexible, corrective process has been rigorously analyzed through mathematical modeling. The research, reported in the May 2012 issue of the journal Developmental Dynamics, used a tadpole model to show that developing organisms are not genetically "hard-wired" with a set of pre-determined cell movements that result in normal facial features. Instead, the process of development is more adaptive and robust. Cell groups are able to measure their shape and position relative to other organs and perform the movements and remodeling needed to compensate for significant patterning abnormalities, the study shows.
Breast cancer is at least 10 different diseases, each with its own genetic signature and pattern of weak spots, according to a new landmark study that promises to revolutionize diagnosis and prognosis, and pave the way for individualized, tailored treatment. The study group, METABRIC (Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium), reports its findings in the 18 April online issue of Nature. The Cancer Research UK-funded study is the largest global gene study of breast cancer tissue ever conducted, involving a large team of researchers, primarily in the UK and Canada. Led by Professor Carlos Caldas from Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute and Professor Sam Aparicio from the British Columbia Cancer Centre in Canada, the team uncovered crucial new information about breast cancer.
Primary cilia are hair-like structures which protrude from almost all mammalian cells. They are thought to be sensory and involved in sampling the cell's environment. New research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Cilia, launched today, shows that cilia on cells in the retina and liver are able to make stable connections with each other - indicating that cilia not only are able to sense their environment but are also involved in cell communication. Primary cilia are structurally and functionally very similar to eukaryotic flagella (motile tails used to propel microorganisms). For many decades it was thought that cilia on human cells were primarily for movement, for example, cilia on respiratory cells drive mucous up and out of the airways by beating together, however it is now believed that they are also 'cellular antennae' - important for cell to cell communication.