Hilary Koprowski, the scientist who developed the first live-virus polio vaccine, has died at the age of 96. He is respected not least for refusing to patent his discovery. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/us/hilary-koprowski-developed-live-virus-polio-vaccine-dies-at-96.html?ref=obituaries&_r=0
We are asked so often about animal testing and cosmetics we decided to commission a poll on the subject. Unfortunately almost two thirds of British people are unaware it is illegal to use animals in cosmetic testing.
Ignorance of another sort was all too evident in a break-in to labs at the University of Milan last weekend. Animal rights activism is on the increase in Italy. We are glad Pro-Test Italia has formed to counter this.
On the science front researchers have observed the earliest stages of synapse building in the transparent embryos of zebrafish.
A US research team has successfully treated damaged mouse brains with stem cells, resulting in improved memory.
A new mouse model might remove the need to use primates in heptitis research.
Research published this week in Gastroenterology describes a new biopsy tool that can access narrow conduits within the body and potentially find early signs of cancer. The 'untethered microgrippers react to body heat, closing onto target tissues and collecting a sample. They can then be retrieved using a magnet. The team have successfully applied this technique to studying the gastrointestinal tract of a pig.
In the world of seriously cool science, a team of scientists in China have developed a set of ‘optical tweezers’ that use laser beams to grab microscopic objects. They moved blood cells around inside the capillaries of a mouse ear, “unpicking a blockage cell by cell”. New Scientist have included a fantastic video of the device in action, with a thumping video game-style soundtrack.