Friday January 24, 2020

New Expanding Pills To Track Ulcers and Stomach Cancer

In the lab, the researchers dunked the pill in various solutions of water and fluid resembling gastric juices.

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Aspirin, Ovarian cancer
New ingestible, expanding pill to track ulcers, stomach cancer.

MIT engineers have designed an ingestible pill that upon reaching the stomach quickly swells to the size of a soft, squishy ping-pong ball and could potentially track ulcers, cancers, and other intestinal conditions.

The inflatable pill is embedded with a sensor that continuously tracks the stomach’s temperature for up to 30 days.

The pill may safely deliver a number of different sensors to the stomach to monitor, for instance, pH levels, or signs of certain bacteria or viruses.

Ulcers, Pill
The combination enables the pill to quickly swell. IANS

“The dream is to have a Jell-O-like smart pill, that once swallowed stays in the stomach and monitors the patient’s health for a long time such as a month,” said Xuanhe Zhao, Associate Professor at MIT.

“With our design, you wouldn’t need to go through a painful process to implant a rigid balloon.

“Maybe you can take a few of these pills instead, to help fill out your stomach, and lose weight. We see many possibilities for this hydrogel device,” Zhao said.

Pills
The inflatable pill is embedded with a sensor. IANS

If the pill needs to be removed from the stomach, a patient can drink a solution of calcium that triggers the pill to quickly shrink to its original size and pass safely out of the body.

The new pill, detailed in Nature Communications journal, is made from two types of hydrogels — mixtures of polymers and water that resemble the consistency of Jell-O.

The combination enables the pill to quickly swell in the stomach while remaining impervious to the stomach’s churning acidic environment.

Also Read: This Biodegradable Plaster can Treat Your Mouth Ulcers

In the lab, the researchers dunked the pill in various solutions of water and fluid resembling gastric juices, and found the pill inflated to 100 times its original size in about 15 minutes – much faster than existing swellable hydrogels.

Once inflated, Zhao noted that the pill is about the softness of tofu or Jell-O, yet surprisingly strong. (IANS)

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Males Have Higher Risk of Suffering from Cancer: Study

Researchers explain why cancer risk is higher in males

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Cancer
DNA differences between men and women may explain why cancer risk is higher in males. Pixabay

DNA differences between men and women may explain why cancer risk is higher in males, according to a new study.

In findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers have reported that loss of function in certain genes of the sex-determining Y chromosome, which is present only in men, may cause them to have an elevated risk for cancer.

Using data from 9,000 individuals, the researchers studied Y-chromosome gene function in patients with various types of cancer. The findings showed that cancer risk increases with loss of function of six key Y-chromosome genes in various types of cells.

“Recent studies have shown that complete loss of the Y chromosome, which is essential to foetal sex differentiation, occurs, with aging, in the cells of some men,” said study author Juan Ramon Gonzalez from Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain.

Cancer DNA
Suppression of the Y chromosome can occur as a result of loss of function in the chromosome. Pixabay

“Although the loss of the Y chromosome has previously been associated with higher incidence of cancer, the causes of this association are poorly understood,” Gonzalez added.

These six Y-chromosome genes are involved in cell-cycle regulation, the failure of which can lead to tumour development.

According to the study, understanding the biological differences between men and women in cancer is crucial for the development of personalised lines of treatment and prevention.

“Men are not only at higher risk of cancer than women, they also face a worse prognosis. In fact, these differences partially account for the lower life expectancy of men,” Gonzalez added.

According to the researchers, although men may be more exposed to carcinogens due to the type of work they do and at higher risk because they are less likely to consult a doctor, the study has shown that there are also biological factors that increase cancer risk among men.

“In fact, it seems that one of these factors can be found in the Y chromosome, the very essence of maleness,” said study lead author Alejandro Caceres.

Also Read- Know About the Health Benefits of Green Tea

Suppression of the Y chromosome can occur as a result of loss of function in the chromosome, which would explain previous findings, or as a result of other mechanisms mediated by the chemical (epigenetic) inactivation of the same regions, the research said.

“Certain environmental exposures, for example to tobacco or other harmful substances, could affect chromosome function and lead to epigenetic modifications,” Gonzalez said. (IANS)