Archive by category | Medical research

Top 20 books: discovering worlds

Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

In terms of job satisfaction, discovering worlds must take the Sachertorte. Sibling astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, for instance, rejoiced in a haul that included Uranus, eight comets and several moons gleaned from what William called the “luxuriant garden” of the skies. Their final tally of deep-sky objects, with that of William’s gifted son John, numbered in the thousands. I’m sure their minds would be boggled by today’s exoplaneteering exploits — such as the TRAPPIST-1 system of seven Earth-like planets that fully emerged this year.  Read more

Superbugs: fighting the flood of antimicrobial resistance

View of the monumental 'wall' and xxx at the exhibition.

Antimicrobial resistance has spread to London this month. The source of the outbreak? The Science Museum: its new exhibition, Superbugs, explores this monumental issue and our responses to it.  Read more

Women in Medicine: opening the clinic door

Asha Kasliwal, xxx, holds portrait of xxx in the Women in Medicine exhibition at the xxx.

Visitors stepping into the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London are normally greeted by the sombre stares of imposing men, in portraits lining the walls. From today, women outshine them, in 26 photographic portraits of modern female clinicians ranged along the central stairwell. Each holds an image of a historical figure who inspired them.  Read more

An immortal life: Henrietta Lacks on film

An immortal life: Henrietta Lacks on film

The idea that people should have a say over how their cells are used in research isn’t revolutionary, but it flies in the face of research practices over the past century. That it nearly became law is due in no small part to Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the story of the African-American woman living in Baltimore, Maryland, whose fatal tumour – taken by scientists at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951 without the knowledge or permission of Lacks or her family — gave rise to the first immortal human cell line, HeLa.  Read more

The Emperor of All Maladies, redux

The Emperor of All Maladies, redux

One of the remarkable features of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies (2010), is its philosophical acuity. “Science embodies the human desire to understand nature; technology couples that desire with the ambition to control nature,” he writes. Cancer treatment is at the very edge of technological possibility, intervening in a disease that is our “desperate, malevolent, contemporary doppelganger”. To Mukherjee, cancer was not something, but someone.  Read more

Resistance: the movie

Resistance: the movie

At the age of 12, I was knocked off my bicycle by a car, resulting in a compound fracture to my right leg that required pins and an external cage to enable the bone to reset and the wound to heal. Antibiotic therapy kept the threat of infection at bay. Recently during childbirth my wife contracted an infection that, fortunately, was cleared in her and our new-born baby following a brief course of antibiotics.  Read more

Rare diseases and precision medicine on film

Bea Rienhoff with US President Barack Obama.

When US President Barack Obama introduced his $215 million precision medicine initiative early this month, he showcased his politician’s penchant for sharing the inspiring personal stories of extraordinary citizens. One story that might be familiar to Nature readers was that of Hugh Rienhoff and his daughter Beatrice.  Read more