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Research corner

We want to give you an idea as to what shape healthcare may take in future based on the ongoing research. However, it may take decades before these treatment modalities and/or discoveries are actually proven useful and are widely available.

Growing organs from scratch
A team of researchers at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh Scotland have managed to grow a complete, fully functional thymus gland from scratch using lab-created cells. Thymus is an organ found close to the heart which produces T-cells in the body that are vital to our immune system. Scientists took cells known as fibroblasts from the embryo of a mouse and reprogrammed them in the lab to produce fully functioning thymus cells capable of supporting production of T-cells. These were transplanted into a mouse where they were able to grow a complete organ with the same structure and functionality as a "real” one. This research gives hope that one day they will do the same with other organs. And it will help patients who have to wait long to get an organ donation.

Research corner
A better test for heart attack risk
High cholesterol is usually used to assess the risk of heart attack in a patient, but now we have to be worried about increased level of TMAO. According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, people with the highest levels of TMAO in their blood have 2.5 times the risk of a heart attack compared to those with the lowest levels. TMAO is a compound produced by the intestine. The element which increases it is found in eggs, red meat, and dairy. The compound accelerates the process of cholesterol formation that develops plaques in the arteries, which later leads to heart problems.

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New pill to kill cancer
During the treatment of cancers, it is a difficult goal to kill the tumor without damaging the healthy cells. But recently, a better understanding of what makes cancer cells has allowed scientists to develop a class of drugs that pinpoint a weakness in cancer’s uncontrolled growth. Now doctors developed a new drug called Ibrutinib that blocks BTK, responsible for growth of cancer. A pair of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the oral pill helped 71 percent of chronic leukemia patients and 68 percent of patients with a type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Most importantly, the new drug killed the lymphoma without affecting the other healthy cells.

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