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Posts from the ‘Behind the picture’ Category

Behind the picture: The sponge that turns cells into bone-fixing factories

The first UK Regenerative Medicine Conference took place in London this week. Professor Fergal O’Brien, who heads the Tissue Engineering Research Group at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, tells us about his work to help the body to fix itself.

Sponge-like scaffold made from collagen with nanoparticles inserted in. Credit: Dr Rosanne Raftery

Although our bodies have an amazing capacity to repair themselves, some damage is too big or too difficult for us to fix.

Fergal’s team have found a way to boost that capacity by developing a sponge-like implant that reprograms our cells to supercharge the healing process. Read more

Preparing to move – how cancer can use your immune system as a highway

Dr Jacqui Shields and Dr Angela Riedel at the MRC Cancer Unit explain the science behind these brightly-coloured blobs that show us how cancer cells prepare their road ahead so they can spread around the body.

A healthy lypmh node next to a lymph node that has been damaged by signals from a cancer.

Breaking down your defences: cancer cells send signals to a healthy lymph node (left) that distort its shape and damage its function (right) making it easier for a tumour to take hold.

One of cancer’s deadliest features is its ability to move through your immune system’s ready-made network of vessels and nodes.

Often, we don’t know a cancer has spread through the immune system until it’s too late, but now we may have found something that could help us predict when that’s going to happen: our findings suggest that before cancer cells even begin to move, they emit signals which send the new area into chaos. Read more

To the Crick! Part four: Think long and hard

Today, Professor Tim Bliss will be awarded The Brain Prize alongside Graham Collingridge and Richard Morris. Bliss worked at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) from 1967 to 2015 and is now a visiting worker at The Crick. Archivist Emma Anthony found this photo of the young Bliss in the NIMR records and Sylvie Kruiniger finds out more.

Tim Bliss sits in his lab surrounded by equipment

The work on ‘long term potentiation’ (LTP) by Bliss, Collingridge and Morris has demonstrated how our brains change as we build memories. Bliss and Terje Lømo were the first to detail how LTP worked back in 1973 when they published the results of their studies conducted in anaesthetised rabbits. Read more