COVID-19 may continue to grab the headlines, but this year’s biomedical advances aren’t just about the “Rhone.” 2022 sees fruitful and seemingly miraculous research that could one day mean good news for patients.
growing synthetic embryos
Two reports this year reveal how Making the Early Stages of Mammalian Life. Through some lab magic, scientists have mixed mouse stem cells that self-assemble to produce what appears to be fledgling embryo — No eggs or sperm are required. As they grow, these stem cell-derived synthetic embryos can form primitive hearts, brains and internal organs. But the similarity to natural mouse embryos quickly faded. Synthetic and natural versions only match about eight days of development time. Still, studying similar clusters of human stem cells may one day provide a way to explore human embryonic development without relying on the real thing.
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Next Level Organ Transplantation
Organ transplants have begun to mimic science fiction. in january, A diseased 57-year-old man gets a heart from a genetically modified pig and survived for two months with the transplanted organ (SN: 12 Mar 22, p. 3. 26). Other surgeries Pig heart implanted in brain-dead patientthis step prepares researchers for future clinical trials (SN Online: 7/12/22). A high-tech system attached to the pig carcass an hour after death helps keep the organs functioning. This technique may one day preserve human organs for surgery, A mix of real and artificial blood is pumped into animals (SN: 9/10/22, p. 12).
Epstein-Barr Association with MS
Scientists came up with an Epstein-Barr bombshell earlier this year when they proposed The virus is a major cause of the neurodegenerative disease multiple sclerosis. An analysis of millions of U.S. military recruits has found that contracting the virus greatly increases the odds of later developing multiple sclerosis.The link between viruses and MS, which scientists suspected but never outlined so clearly, may guide us Potential MS Treatment — There might even be a day when a vaccine could prevent the disease (SN: 8/13/22, p. 14).
A Complete Human Genome, Finally
Back in 2003, researchers announced that they had read all the genetic information in a strand of human DNA — the first sequence of the human genome. But that genome is not complete; some tangled lengths of DNA remain elusive. This year, a team solved an unsolved problem.In March, researchers reported that A new and improved human genome — this time, from start to finish (SN: 4/23/22, p. 6).
Artificial intelligence predicts protein structure
Artificial intelligence has made structural biology soar.A deep learning program called AlphaFold is now Predicted 3-D shapes of over 200 million proteins (SN: 9/24/22, p. 16). Although these shapes are not lab-proven structures, the large dataset could help researchers study the health and disease of organisms ranging from humans to bees. According to the co-founder of the artificial intelligence company that created AlphaFold, looking up the predicted structure of a protein is now almost as easy as typing it into Google.