Weekly Roundup: biotechin.asia

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November 2 – November 9, 2015

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NTU scientists use dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells

Colorectal cancer is the number one cancer in Singapore and the third most commonly occurring cancer in the world. It is characterised by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the epithelial tissue of the large intestine. Like other cancers, treatment options for colorectal cancer haven’t changed much over the years and is still restricted to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. However, a group of NTU scientists from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering (SCBE) led by Prof. Teoh Swee Hin and first author Madhura Satish have opened up a fourth dimension for the treatment of these cancers- using dead bacteria! (Click here to read more)

How India Became The Antibiotics Capital Of The World And Wasted The Wonder Cure

“The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. There is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.” – Alexander Fleming at his 1945 Nobel Prize lecture. In 2009, A 59-year-old Swede of Indian origin began visiting a hospital in Örebro, a small city about 160 km away from Stockholm. The patient, a diabetic male, needed treatment for bed sores and urinary tract infection. He had recently returned from India, where he had developed an abscess in his buttocks and had been hospitalised, first in Ludhiana and later in Delhi. He had undergone a surgery in Delhi, recovered and returned to Sweden. (Click here to read more)

Depression can now be diagnosed by a simple blood test

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder which can go under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed. It affects 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population in a year. The current method of diagnosing depression is subjective and based on non-specific symptoms such as poor mood, fatigue and change in appetite, all of which can apply to a large number of mental or physical problems. A diagnosis also relies on the patient’s ability to report his symptoms and the physician’s ability to interpret them. But depressed patients frequently under report or inadequately describe their symptoms. Hence, there is a need for a clinically validated diagnostic test that can assure correct and timely diagnosis. (Click here to read more)

Cell therapy for heart repair

An innovative study on repairing damaged heart tissue through stem cell therapy has given a hope to patients suffering from heart disease. Heart attacks damage cardiac muscle cells or ‘cardiomyocytes’, often leading to irreversible functional damage. In earlier trials, treatment with stem cells of non-cardiac origin had limited success due to graft rejection and failure on host tissue. Researchers from the A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) have developed a method to isolate and expand human heart stem cells, also known as cardiac progenitor cells, which lead to a potential treatment option by replacing the damaged cells with new functional cardiomyocytes through stem cell therapy. (Click here to read more)

Conventional Stormwater Treatment in Singapore: An Overview

Water is an abundant resource occupying about three quarters of Earth’s surface, yet usable water remains scarce in many countries. Being deprived of natural resources, the subject of water management naturally becomes of utmost relevance in Singapore. With nationwide operations entirely managed by Singapore’s national water agency Public Utility Board (PUB), the diagram below summaries how the water loop, from collection from raw sources to the distribution of potable water, is closed to maximise water usage efficiency. (Click here to read more)

3D-printed highly uniform embryonic stem cells as building blocks of life

Scientists have developed a 3D-printing method capable of producing highly uniform blocks of embryonic stem cells. These cells – capable of generating all cell types in the body – could be used as the ‘Lego bricks’ to build tissue constructs, larger structures of tissues, and potentially even micro-organs. The results are published today in the journal Biofabrication. “It was really exciting to see that we could grow embryoid body in such a controlled manner,” explains Wei Sun, a lead author on the paper. “The grown embryoid body is uniform and homogenous, and serves as much better starting point for further tissue growth.” (Click here to read more)

IndieBioSF Announces $250,000 in Seed Funding, Spring 2016 Class-Applications Open!

IndiaBio is an incubator/accelerator devoted to funding and building biotech startups dedicated toward solving humanity’s most pressing problems with Life itself. IndieBio is short for Independent Biology, a new way for scientists, entrepreneurs, and tinkerers to shape their own destiny and make something that matters. At Indie.bio, they provide seed funding and intensive mentorship to drive this transition in only three months, then launch our graduate companies into the world of biotechnology to make their fortune, buffered by our many partners and alumni and ready to excel. (Click here to read more)