The most important scientific discoveries of 2013
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Periodically, the U.S. magazine Science informs the readers about the latest and important scientific discoveries. The year 2013 proved to be very rich in discovery, remarkable were considered as follows:
• Immunotherapy against cancer – after several clinical trials, using T lymphocytes and other cells belonging to the immune system, in 2013, researchers concluded that this is the new paradigm in the treatment of cancer – targeting the immune system to attack tumors; even if the method worked only for certain forms of cancer, experts expectations are very high in this direction.
• A new technique of modifying genes – called CRISPR was found also in 2013. This is based on a protein called Cas9 and researchers have shown that protein can manipulate to perform microsurgery on genes, the experiments being done both on cells of mice as well as plants and people.
• A more brain ” transparent ” – a new technique for imaging brain (CLARITY) that makes ” transparent ” brain tissues, this way eliminating the major obstacles of traditional imaging ( lipid molecules making opaque tissue ). Trough this new procedure, neurons can be studied more quickly and effectively.
• Stem cells obtained from clones – a team of researchers from the University of Oregon have created stem cells from cloned human embryos, which are very useful in the study and treatment of diseases.
• Creating mini-human organs – in 2013 for the first time, we managed to create mini-organs – mini-kidneys and mini-brain. In mini-brain case, given that its size is the size of an apple, the similarity with the normal human brain, tissue and structure, was amazing, such a brain is being used to obtain new data on microcephaly ( situation which brain does not develop in size );
• Cosmic particle accelerators – last year, astronomers discovered a great source of energy particles called ” cosmic particles “, of the type that ” strike ” regularly Earth from exploded supernovas, releasing clouds of interstellar gas and waste.
• Cells for converting solar energy into electricity – was discovered a new mineral – perovskite – that can be used in the manufacture of cells able to convert 15% of solar energy into electricity. The advantage of this mineral is that it is cheap ( cheaper than silicon, currently used in solar panels ) and easy to obtain.
• Sleep allows the ” repair ” of the brain – experiments in mice have shown that sleep is essential to ” repair ” the brain, because in this time ( of sleep ) widen the channels beetwin neurons, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to eliminate ” waste “, of proteins associated to Alzheimer’s disease.
• The essential role of bacteria for healthy organism – the researchers demonstrated that the trillions of bacteria found in the human body plays an essential role in determining how the body reacts to various health problems, from malnutrition to cancer. The ‘’ custom ‘’ medicine of the future will have to take into account the role of these bacteria.
• A key ingredient in the making of a vaccine – experts in the field discovered in 2013, a key ingredient in the manufacture of vaccine to combat the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which affects millions of children each year.