Discovery of how Taxol works could lead to better anticancer drugs

29 05 2014

UC Berkeley scientists have discovered the extremely subtle effect that the prescription drug Taxol has inside cells that makes it one of the most widely used anticancer agents in the world.

The details, involving the drug's interference with the normal function of microtubules, part of the coello skeleton, could help in designing better anticancer drugs, or in improving Taxol and other drugs already known to disrupt the workings of microtubules.


Close up of the tubulin subunit that makes up the microtubule network of the cell (green). The nucleus is blue.

Close up of the tubulin subunit that makes up the microtubule network of the cell (green). The nucleus is blue.

The findings are being reported in the May 22 issue of the journal Cell.

"Efforts towards understanding these chemotherapeutics better are very important, because there are some microtubule differences in cancer cells versus normal cells that maybe we can exploit,"said principal author Eva Nogales, a biophysicist, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). "We are not there yet, but this is the kind of analysis we need to get there. "

Taxol, originally extracted from the bark of the Pacific you tree, is one of the mostly commonly used drugs against solid tumors, and is a front-line drug for treating ovarian and advanced breast cancer. The drug is known to bind to microtubules and essentially freeze them in place, which prevents them from separating the chromosomes when a cell divides. This kills dividing cells, in particular cancer cells, which are known for rapid proliferation.

Nogales, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has worked on microtubules since she was a doctoral student in England in the early ' 90s, using techniques such as X-ray scattering and cryoelectron microscopy to study how Taxol and other anticancer agents affect microtubules. Later, during her postdoctoral work at LBNL with Ken Downing, she was the first to discover exactly where Taxol binds the basic building block, called tubulin, of the microtubule polymer.


YouTube Preview Image

Microtubules – the skeleton of the cell – grow and shrink constantly, pushing and pulling things around the cell. They grow by addition of tubulin, hydrolyzing (red turns to blue) and locking into a strained position. When the tubulin cap stops growing, the strain pulls the microtubule apart in a rapid peeling motion. Chromosomes attached to a peeling microtubule are physically pulled along. Taxol prevents the compaction and straining of the microtubule, inactivating it and eventually killing the cell. Video by Eva Nogales lab, UC Berkeley.


Microtubules are the coello skeleton

Work by many scientists around the world has shown the microtubule network inside cells, called the cytoskeleton, to be very different from rigid animal skeletons. Microtubules are polymer filaments that constantly grow and shrink, and in doing so push and pull things around the cell, including the chromosomes. Scientists call this dynamic instability. The microtubules also provide a highway for transporting the coello organelles and other packages around the cell.

Tubulin, the basic structural unit of the microtubule, is a complex of two proteins – alpha and beta tubulin. Tubulin units stack one atop another to form strips that align with other strips and then zip up to form a hollow tube, the microtubule.

"Tubulin, the cytoskeletal protein that self-assembles into microtubules, is absolutely essential for the life of every eukaryotic cell, which is why it has become a major target of anticancer agents,"Nogales said. "It's amazing how microtubules probe and try new things almost at random, but there is a level of control built into the cell that ultimately makes sense of this chaos, and the cell survives and prospers. "

Microtubules grow from their free end at about 1 micron per minute by continually adding more tubulin (around 20 tubulin molecules per second). But if they stop growing, they rapidly peel apart like the skin of a banana, releasing tubulin for recycling into other microtubules. This peeling, or depolymerization, takes place at up to 15 microns per minute, or about 300 tubulin molecules falling off per second, Nogales said.


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The coello skeleton is a constantly growing and shrinking network of microtubules, which provides a highway for transport as well as the muscle to move things like chromosomes around. Taxol interferes with the shrinking. Time-lapse video ourtesy of Gary Borisy.


Microtubules are like compressed springs

Nogales has now discovered why microtubules peel apart so rapidly. When they assemble, the strips of tubulin are put under intense strain, but prevented from bending and pulling apart by the growing cap of tubulin on the end. Once growing stops and that cap disappears, the restrained tension rips the microtubule apart.

The tension is created when the tubulin complex, which has a small energy molecule called GTP (guanosine triphosphate) attached, becomes hydrolyzed and the GTP turns into GDP (guanosine diphosphate). This chemical reaction compacts the alpha and beta subunits, much like compacted vertebrae, keeping the tubulin stack under tension as long as the microtubule is growing at its end.

"It had been proposed that tubulin had to be constrained, but no one had proved it,"Nogales said. "What we have seen is that as GTP hydrolysis happens, the tubulin structure gets stuck in a strained state, like a compressed spring. The end subunits are holding the whole thing together. "

When growth stops, the tension is unleashed, and the strips peel apart rapidly.

"This work represents a major step forward on a problem with a long history,"wrote Tim Mitchison in a commentary in the same issue of Cell. Mitchison, a Harvard University professor of systems biology, was the first to show the importance of GTP hydrolysis in destabilizing microtubules. The model proposed by Nogales and her team, he added, "provides our first glimpse into (the) destabilization mechanism. "

Nogales also found that Taxol inserts itself into the tubulin protein and prevents compaction of the alpha and beta subunits, so that no tension builds up. As a result, even if the microtubule stops growing, it remains intact, basically frozen in place, unable to peel apart, or depolymerize, and carry out its normal function.

"Taxol reverses the effects of GTP hydrolysis,” she said.


Pushing the limits of cryoelecton microscopy

Nogales and her team discovered these structural changes by pushing the limits of cryoelectron microscopy, a technique in which samples are frozen and probed with a high-powered electron beam. They have now achieved a resolution sufficient to see details smaller than 5 angstroms (one-tenth of a nanometer) across, which is about the size of five hydrogen atoms. While most information to date about the structure of tubulin inside the microtubule has come from the study of artificial, flat sheets of aligned strips of tubulin, Nogales was able to probe three-dimensional microtubules frozen into their natural state, with and without Taxol bound to tubulin. This comparison clearly showed the effect Taxol has on microtubule structure.

Other coauthors of the paper are former UC Berkeley biophysics graduate student Gregory M. Alushin, now of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md.; former LBNL postdoc Gabriel C. Lander, now of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.; Elizabeth H. Kellogg of UC Berkeley; Rui Zhang of LBNL and David Baker of the University of Washington, Seattle.

The research is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (GM051487), the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.




ByRobert Sanders [en línea] Berkeley, CA (USA):, 29 de mayo de 2014 [REF. 22 in May of 2014] Available on Internet:

Learning from the brain

26 05 2014

The visual cortex in the human brain interprets visual input. A computer scientist from the University of Innsbruck has managed to simulate the workings of the visual cortex with high accuracy in a computational model.


Die Verarbeitung optischer Signale im visuellen Cortex hat ein Innsbrucker Wissenschaftler als Modell nachgebaut. (Foto:

Die Verarbeitung optischer Signale im visuellen Cortex hat ein Innsbrucker Wissenschaftler als Modell nachgebaut. (Photo:

The human brain is a remarkable organ: It integrates and computes all the information the human body perceives. The information processing properties of the brain are the main research subject of Computational Neuroscience, an inter-disciplinary branch of science targeted at studying and understanding the inner workings of the human brain. Different parts of the brain process different signals; the part responsible for seeing is the visual cortex. Antonio Rodríguez-Sánchez, a computer scientist at the University of Innsbruck, recently published a computational model which aims at answering the question about how neurons in the human brain interpret shapes and objects.


Artificial neurons

The visual cortex consists of millions of neurons. Modern understanding of this part of the brain dates back to the work of the neuroscientists Torsten N. Wiesel and David H. Hubbell from 1962 onwards; both received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1981 for that work. "You can picture the neurons responsible for perceiving and interpreting objects as a pyramid,"Antonio Rodríguez-Sánchez explains. Rodríguez-Sánchez has translated this hierarchy – lower levels are responsible for the interpretation of e.g. corners and edges, higher levels for recognizing whole objects – into a computational model, with mathematical equations replacing neurons.

The results of the model have been compared to existing data taken from medical research on the primate brain. The outcome is promising: "My model resulted in a 83% match, which is very high for a model of this kind,"Rodríguez-Sánchez says. For practical use, that means that robots with near-human visual capabilities are no longer a matter of the far future.


Use cases

Robots with these capabilities could, for example, help handicapped people: "One example is a project called Playbot, a project in my previous lab at York University in Canada: An advanced wheelchair which is equipped with sensors that recognize the direction in which a person is looking and which is able to initiate the appropriate actions ", says Rodríguez-Sánchez. "The system recognizes objects – when you look at a door, the chair will close it or open it for you and drive you through it. " Through the scientist's new model this research could be advanced even further. Another possible use case for Rodríguez-Sánchez ' findings is medicine: "There are people whose eyes work but who cannot see due to a damaged visual cortex,"he explains. For eyes, research is already contemplating and prototyping artificial retina implants. "Who knows, maybe we will even be able to replace damaged parts of the brain in the future. Current research already points in this direction. "


1.Rodríguez-Sánchez, AJ, Tsotsos, JK. The roles of endstopped and curvature tuned computations in a hierarchical representation of 2D shape. PLoS ONE 7 (8), pp. 1–13, 2012.

2.Research Group on Intelligent and Interactive Systems at the Institute for Computer Science

 [en línea] Innsbruck (AUT):, 26 in May of 2014 [REF. 21 November of 2012] Available on Internet:

Retinal Implant System for restoring vision in blind people

22 05 2014

Pixium Vision initiates clinical study with IRIS1 retinal implant system for restoring vision in blind people


Electrode array placed on the retinal surface

Electrode array placed on the retinal surface

Pixium Vision ("Pixium"), a developer of innovative retinal implant systems that aim to restore vision in the blind, announces that it has initiated a clinical study to investigate the safety and effectiveness of its first Intelligent Retinal Implant System (IRIS1) in patients who are blind as a result of retinal dystrophy, such as retinitis pigmentosa, choroideremia or cone-rod dystrophy. In these conditions, the photoreceptors – specialized cells in the retina that convert light to a nerve signal that is processed and transmitted to the visual cortex in the brain – are destroyed. The nerves from the retina that collectively form the optic nerve, however, remain intact and functional.


The IRIS1 device is designed to replace the functions of photoreceptors in the healthy retina and stimulate the retinal nerve cells (the ganglion cells) to send a signal via the optic nerve to the brain.


The IRIS1 system includes an intraocular implant (a ' retinal stimulator ') that is surgically placed into the eye of a patient and attached to the surface of the retina (' epi-retinal '). The patient wears a pair of spectacles containing an integrated mini-camera and wireless transmitter. The spectacles are connected to a pocket computer worn at the patient's waist, which processes the image captured by the camera into a signal that is transferred back through the spectacles onto the retinal implant to stimulate the ganglion cells and generate an image. The brain learns to interpret the signals it receives from the implant during a structured rehabilitation program undertaken by patients after healing from the implant surgery.


The study will enroll up to 20 blind patients and is being conducted at three leading eye hospitals in France, Germany and Austria. The primary outcome will be safety and tolerability, with patients undergoing ophthalmological examinations at predefined intervals over an 18-month period after implantation. The effectiveness of the implant for restoring sight in patients will be measured using tests for improved visual acuity, light localization and contrast sensitivity and comparing scores from before and after implantation of the device.

Interim data on the first ten patients is expected in 2014 and will form the basis of an application for a CE Mark, which if successful would allow the device, and potentially any next generation products based on the same format, to be commercialised. Final data is expected in 2015.


Dr Yannick Le Mer, Head of the Vitreo-retinal Unit at Fondation Adolphe de Rothschild Hospital in Paris, said: "If this trial is successful we would expect blind patients to regain some level of visual perception, such as being able to see the outline of shapes and appreciate the main components of an unknown environment. This will be a significant improvement and enable patients to have a greater level of independence than when they were totally blind. "


Dr Bernard Gilly, Chairman and CEO, commented: "In addition to the improvement we hope to see in patient's vision, success in this study would provide solid proof of concept for the IRIS device. As well as providing the basis for a CE Mark application in 2014, the data generated by the study will be extremely useful for guiding the development of our future generations of retinal implant devices that feature additional breakthrough technologies and are being designed to offer even better visual acuity to patients. A key benefit of IRIS2, for example, is that the retinal implant is based on the same format as the IRIS1 implant, and so patients could upgrade as the technologies advance and get closer to regaining normal sight. "



Bernard Gilly, Chairman and CEO

+33 1 76 21 47 30 [en línea] Paris (FRA):, 22 in May of 2014 [REF. 24 April of 2013] Available on Internet:

First chain of 6 kidney transplants carried out in Spain

19 05 2014

The chain, It has been in three times, It began in early March and it ended at the beginning of April and, both donors and recipients have already been discharged from.


The Hospital de Cruces de Barakaldo (Bizkaia) It is one of five health centers that have participated in the first string that it has made in Spain of six kidney transplants from live, Samaritan donor, in several times.

It is the longest chain of transplants performed so far in Spain, with a total of six transplant patients, as reported by the national transplant organisation (ONT).

She attended a donor ‘ Samaritan’ o “altruistic” (one who donates a kidney to a stranger you need a transplant), five couples incompatible donante-receptor between itself and a recipient of the deceased donor waiting list, It has closed cycle.

The chain, It has been in three times, started at the beginning of March and has finished at the beginning of April and, both donors and recipients have already been discharged from.


‘ Donor bridge’

To achieve this series of chained transplants, the ONT has appealed for the first time to the ‘ donor bridge’ (He who awaits make effective donation, When has your partner already been transplanted), a figure which was adopted by the Committee of transplants of the Inter-territorial Health Council in 2013.

So far, This type of transplant was made simultaneously in time.

For the ONT, make interventions on different days It has allowed to increase the number of patients that it may benefit, by incorporating new pairs of donante-receptor chain.

The ONT explains that couples five characters from the string, three have a parental/materno-filial relationship and the other two are spouses.

The Samaritan donor of this string, the fifth recorded in Spain since it was launched the altruistic donor program, is one young person with a high degree of social commitment.


Five hospitals

The following hospitals have participated in the process: Andalusia (Puerta del Mar in Cadiz), Catalunya (Clinic of Barcelona), Madrid (12 October and Ramón y Cajal) and Basque country (Crosses of Barakaldo).

From 2009, 293 patients and their respective donors have been included at some point in this record and they, to date 30 April, they were active 104 couples.

The ONT confirms the increase of cross renal transplantation and, until today, 77 patients have benefited of it, that already represents the 11 % all live kidney transplants.

Of the 382 living donor kidney transplants made in Spain in 2013, 41 they were crossed. [en línea] Bilbao (ESP):, 19 de mayo de 2014 [REF. 08 in May of 2014] Available on Internet: es/news/society/detail/2226370/cruces-trasplante–en-Primera-Cadena-Espanola-6-renales-Vivo/

Scientists Create First Living Organism that Transmits Added Letters in DNA ' Alphabet’

15 05 2014

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have engineered a bacterium whose genetic material includes an added pair of DNA "letters,"or bases, not found in nature. The cells of this unique bacterium can replicate the unnatural DNA bases more or less normally, for as long as the molecular building blocks are supplied.

"Life on Earth in all its diversity is encoded by only two pairs of DNA bases, A-T and C-G, and what we have made is an organism that stably contains those two plus a third, unnatural pair of bases,"said TSRI Associate Professor Floyd E. Romesberg, who led the research team. "This shows that other solutions to storing information are possible and, of course, takes us closer to an expanded-DNA biology that will have many exciting applications—from new medicines to new kinds of nanotechnology. "

The report on the achievement appears May 7, 2014, in an advance online publication of the journal Nature.


Many Challenges

Romesberg and his laboratory have been working since the late 1990s to find pairs of molecules that could serve as new, functional DNA bases—and, in principle, could code for proteins and organisms that have never existed before.

The task hasn't been a simple one. Any functional new pair of DNA bases would have to bind with an affinity comparable to that of the natural nucleoside base-pairs adenine–thymine and cytosine–guanine. Such new bases also would have to line up stably alongside the natural bases in a zipper-like stretch of DNA. They would be required to unzip and re-zip smoothly when worked on by natural polymerase enzymes during DNA replication and transcription into RNA. And somehow these nucleoside interlopers would have to avoid being attacked and removed by natural DNA-repair mechanisms.

Despite these challenges, by 2008 Romesberg and his colleagues had taken a big step towards this goal; in a study published that year, they identified sets of nucleoside molecules that can hook up across a double-strand of DNA almost as snugly as natural base pairs and showed that DNA containing these unnatural base pairs can replicate in the presence of the right enzymes. In a study that came out the following year, the researchers were able to find enzymes that transcribe this semi-synthetic DNA into RNA.

But this work was conducted in the simplified milieu of a test tube. "These unnatural base pairs have worked beautifully in vitro, but the big challenge has been to get them working in the much more complex environment of a living cell,"said Dennis A. Malyshev, a member of the Romesberg laboratory who was lead author of the new report.


Microalgae Lead to Breakthrough

In the new study, the team synthesized a stretch of circular DNA known as a plasmid and inserted it into cells of the common bacterium E. coli. The plasmid DNA contained natural T-A and C-G base pairs along with the best-performing unnatural base pair Romesberg's laboratory had discovered, two molecules known as d5SICS and dNaM. The goal was to get the E. coli cells to replicate this semi-synthetic DNA as normally as possible.

The greatest hurdle may be reassuring to those who fear the uncontrolled release of a new life form: the molecular building blocks for d5SICS and dNaM are not naturally in cells. Thus, to get the E. coli to replicate the DNA containing these unnatural bases, the researchers had to supply the molecular building blocks artificially, by adding them to the fluid solution outside the cell. Then, to get the building blocks, known as nucleoside triphosphates, into the cells, they had to find special triphosphate transporter molecules that would do the job.

The researchers eventually were able to find a triphosphate transporter, made by a species of microalgae, that was good enough at importing the unnatural triphosphates. "That was a big breakthrough for us—an enabling breakthrough,"said Malyshev.

Though the completion of the project took another year, no hurdles that large arose again. The team found, somewhat to their surprise, that the semi-synthetic plasmid replicated with reasonable speed and accuracy, did not greatly hamper the growth of the E. coli cells, and showed no sign of losing its unnatural base pairs to DNA repair mechanisms.

"When we stopped the flow of the unnatural triphosphate building blocks into the cells, the replacement of d5SICS–(d)NaM with natural base pairs was very nicely correlated with the cell replication itself—there didn't seem to be other factors excising the unnatural base pairs from the DNA,"Malyshev said. "An important thing to note is that these two breakthroughs also provide control over the system. Our new bases can only get into the cell if we turn on the ' base transporter ' protein. Without this transporter or when new bases are not provided, the cell will revert back to A, T, G, (C), and the d5SICS and dNaM will disappear from the genome. "

The next step will be to demonstrate the in-cell transcription of the new, expanded-alphabet DNA into the RNA that feeds the protein-making machinery of cells. "In principle, we could encode new proteins made from new, unnatural amino acids—which would give us greater power than ever to tailor protein therapeutics and diagnostics and laboratory reagents to have desired functions,"Romesberg said. "Other applications, such as nanomaterials, are also possible. "

Other contributors to the paper, "A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet,"were Kirandeep Dhami, Thomas Lavergne and Tingjian Chen of TSRI, and Nan Dai, Jeremy M. Foster and Ivan are. Corrêa Jr. of New England Biolabs, Inc. For more information, see

The research was funded in part by the US National Institutes of Health (GM 060005). [en línea] La Jolla, CA (USA):, 15 de mayo de 2014 [REF. 07 in May of 2014] Available on Internet:


Alert failure of medical guides

12 05 2014

The 664 the Ministry of health medical guides, you looking to standardize care for patients, they do not work, they alerted specialists.

Carmen García Peña, Research of the IMSS, He said that the manuals are not updated and are not used.

“If I do a guide to improve the management of diabetes, what I hope is that better controlled diabetic patients there are”, expressed in interview.

“That would be proof that a guide works, but data from national health surveys, that are made every six years, they reveal that the prevalence of diabetes continues to grow”, said the specialist that he has participated in the elaboration of various guides.

Juan Luis Durán, Head of the Department of public health of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM, indicated, on the other hand, What before seeking to standardize care must be something fundamental: There are general practitioners in each first-level care clinic.

It was considered that the guidelines could be very useful if the system is not in crisis.

The Guide says that you should deal with these medications to the patient, and it is that the IMSS is desfinanciado and can not buy all the medications that you need and, It is therefore, the Guide does not apply“.

A study of the General direction of performance evaluation reveals that the country only 53 per cent of doctors of first level, and 49 per cent in hospitals, they received some kind of training about the guides.

María Luisa González Retiz, Director of the National Center of technological excellence in health, It depends on the Ssa, He acknowledged that still ensure that guides are available to let the doctor know them, see and deploy. [en línea] Torreon, Coahuila (MEX):, 12 in May of 2014 [REF. 23 March of 2014] Available on Internet: noticia/975063.alertan-fallas-en-guias-medicas.html before seeking to standardize care must be something fundamental: There are general practitioners in each first-level care clinic

Advances with stem cells

8 05 2014

The center of regenerative cell therapy, in its three years of existence, hundreds of patients has been successfully treated with rebel injuries to conventional treatments.

Last February, the Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal declared for the first time in two years he had no pain in his knees. This breakthrough in your health and quality of life was that he was subjected to a treatment with stem cells, that allowed him to face the season with enthusiasm. In the previous, on the other hand, He played much of their parties with anti-inflammatory drugs: This treatment is the hope for many people with various ailments rebel to conventional treatments.


In Chile is three years in the Regenerative cell therapy center of Clinica Las Condes, where more than 100 patients have benefited, some of them from the United States and Latin America.


This Center, unique in its kind in South America and one of the few in the world, It was created as a project Innova Corfo, but last June it became a formal Center. There is used the technology in which the patient and then be cultivated three-week mesenchymal stem cells are extracted, they are applied directly in injury.


Between injuries, the cartilage are, Spinal trauma, spinal and lumbar, moderate osteoarthritis and colorectal fistulas.


According to its director, doctor Rodrigo Mardones, the results have been "more important than we expected", but still, It is only an auspicious start, Since "there is a whole range to discover", says. Respect of patients who have been treated at the Clinica Las Condes, the 95% of those who had cartilage injuries they recovered.


"It's a technique that is accepted by the international society for Cellular therapy and incorporated as a therapeutic tool for the staff of knee", Adds specialist.


In addition, in the Center was a protocol to use stem cells on trauma undergoing, that is to say, column with a degree of plejia lesions. "Doctor Andrés Chahin managed a protocol of lumbar and neck and was treated to" 20 patients. All of them have referred an advance from the subjective point of view, but in specific measurements, "all the with cervical lesions".


At the same time, Adds, some not-so-standardised treatments of cartilage have been made, Arthritis and trauma undergoing injury more specific and less frequent especially in neurological patients with chronic damage. "The last protocol that we launched was for patients with colorectal fistula".



Treatment for Crohn's disease


Doctor Claudio Wainstein, who manages the Protocol for patients with fistula colorectal clinic, last year visited two centres that have the most experience in Europe in the use of complex fistulas cell therapy and Crohn's disease: the Hospital La Paz in Madrid and the Hospital Virgen del Rocío in Seville.


"There we participate in surgery and we were able to collect information. Back to Chile, a treatment protocol was defined using the techniques learned in Spain for the treatment of our patients", says the doctor Wainstein, who also raises that to date have five patients with inflammatory bowel disease (four people with Crohn's disease and one with ulcerative colitis) treated with this technique.


"In all of them, the procedure has been successful, achieving closure of fistulae. It is important to note that a long term follow up in all patients is necessary to confirm cure", He says and points out that the results obtained with this technique have shown to be upper and lower percentage of complications than conventional surgical treatment.



Clinicalascondes.CL [en línea] Santiago (CL): clinicalascondes.CL, 9 in May of 2014 [REF. 29 April of 2014] Available on Internet: news/progress-with-cells-madre.aspx

Cortex: Plaster in 3D

5 05 2014

It seems ridiculous that seeing the advance of medical technology if today we break an arm we have to wear a plaster cast identical to that other people used in past decades. That's why Jake Evill, the Victoria University of Wellington, created the Orthopedic corrector Cortex, a kind of network of plastic generated by a 3D printer to fit perfectly with the bone to maintain static.



Medical technology is becoming more advanced and we can see it in prosthesis, Dental appliances and all kinds of surgical processes. Then it seems ridiculous that if we break an arm to us we have to wear a plaster cast identical to that put our grandfather in 1957. Sooner or later some inventor was going to deal with this problem, and last year Jake Evill, the Victoria University of Wellington, created the Orthopedic corrector Cortex, a kind of network of plastic generated by a 3D printer to fit perfectly with the bone to maintain static, What could to be at once more comfortable, lighter and also more hygienic.


YouTube Preview Image


The plaster Cortex It is currently undergoing technical tests, but Evill in collaboration with other scientists already perfected the model with something worthy of science fiction: an ultra sound module which contributes to the correction of the bones. According to Deniz Karasahin, the scientist in question, is proven that the use of low-intensity pulsed ultra sound in daily sessions of twenty minutes increases the pace of healing in a 80% generating an imperceptible tremor for the patient but that stimulates the union of a fracture. This is basically impossible with traditional plaster, but with the design Osteroid of Karasahin It would be much easier to do.



By now the mould of Osteroid It is only a prototype but its design looks comfortable since added vents to allow the entry of air on the skin and the possibility of scratching when arises itching (something very common and quite annoying in such cases). Tests of models have been most successful so that don't be surprised if in a few years we forget what was a gypsum plaster....


By Matias Benitez [en línea] Madrid (ESP):, 5 de mayo de 2014 [REF. 01 in May of 2014] Available on Internet: cortex-plaster-in-3d /


1 05 2014

The same dose of radiation therapy, but in many fewer sessions, more accurately, and with fewer side effects for patients. Coinciding with the world day against Cancer (4 February), the first seven months of operation are met from the first True Beam Accelerator installed in the community of Madrid, a new technology to cancer, According to experts, you will configure a new paradigm in the approach to this disease in the coming years.

El acelerador True Beam de la Clínica La Luz

True Beam of light the clinic Accelerator


In these first months of operation the True Beam It has allowed patients with complex tumors Oncology radiation of the Clinica La Luz Integral unit benefit from the so-called hipofraccionamiento, that is to say, of a considerable number of session of irradiation reduction, which has made it possible to shorten the treatment time up to in a 75% in some cases, with all that this implies in terms of reduction of side effects for patients.

Although each case presents several particularities, in general terms this new accelerator of particles, that allows even the treatment of patients with metastasis at initial stages with expectations of healing, It has made it possible reduce in a 33% the sessions of treatment of breast cancer (de 30 a 20 sessions); in a 25% those of prostate (de 40 a 30) and in a 76% in the brain and lung (de 30 onof seven sessions).

Apart from having a beam of radiation greatly accurate (with a lower mm deviation), True Beam has two powerful techniques that allow to optimize the treatment in each case: the RapidArc and respiratory gating systems. The first of these systems, the gating, allows you to synchronize the breath of the patient (that inevitably causes the movement of the tumor tissue) with the administration of doses of radiation, therefore minimizing damage to the surrounding tissues, and especially in vital organs of the patient, as in the case of the breast cancer and the heart.

“In breast cancer, to synchronize the accelerator with the respiratory movement of the patient, We always radiate at the time of the stroke cycle where the MOM is farthest from the heart and lung. This, attached True Beam is designed to radiate more and smaller volumes of tissue, allows us to to minimize the dose in adjacent tissues", explains Dr. Rosa Meirino, specialist in radiation oncology La light MÁS quickly and ACCURATELY

But this technology includes a second system that goes on the same line to minimize the side effects on the patient while the treatment is shortened. It's the call RapidArc, a technique of administration of doses that "allows you to shape the radiation beam much more precisely and solves the problems that often arise by the mobility of the internal tissues of the patient, and all this in addition to extremely quickly", explains Dr. Meiriño. "Having the RapidArc, in terms of speed, It's like shoot cancer with a machine gun instead of which with a gun", Adds specialist, Remember that the x-ray tube of the latest generation which is installed the Accelerator for the control of the positioning of the patient allows images in three dimensions in a 60% less time and with a rate of radiation a 25% minor. "Is like an optimized GPS which recognizes and relocates the tumor or treatment area immediately before emitting the radiation curative", Adds.

In short, for specialists in radiation oncology of La Luz, the True Beam system is a "paradigm shift" regarding the current way of understanding and applying radiotherapy, Since the level of precision and accuracy achieved with this new technology and the reduction in treatment times allow move towards single dose treatments, being more effective in certain pathologies and getting a greater comfort to the patient by reducing the duration of treatment of several weeks. [en línea] Madrid (ESP):, 1 in May of 2014 [REF. 03 de febrero de 2014] Available on Internet: