Cellular Health News: What happened in 2022?
At Mikra, one of our founding principles is staying up to date on scientific data, clinical research and various industry studies. We know that the world is ever-changing; and that it’s especially true when it comes to science. New discoveries are being made all the time, allowing the human race to continue to evolve, learn and improve our health and lifespans.
We wanted to round up some of the coolest and most groundbreaking discoveries and studies that came about in 2022. When it comes to cellular health, the limit truly does not exist. Because we’re made up of so many cells, and they have such intricate systems, scientists are constantly diving into these amazing, microscopic organisms.
All articles are linked below, and while we’re going to give you the basic rundown, we also encourage you to give one or more of them a read. Why not learn something new today? Let’s jump right in.
1. Cell Rover: Exploring and augmenting the inner world of the cell, MIT
MIT researchers have designed and developed an intracellular antenna that can explore the inner world of a cell, which can be used to monitor and detect abnormalities. This is incredibly important as it pertains to diagnostics and cancer research, allowing for much more on-demand insight. It opens many more possibilities than were previously allowed by the current systems as far as intracellular discoveries.
“Instead of destroying cells to examine their cytoplasm as is typically done, the Cell Rover could monitor the development or division of a cell, detecting different chemicals and biomolecules such as enzymes, or physical changes such as in cell pressure — all in real-time and in vivo.”
Humans are increasingly relying on cell and Mars rovers alike to help us explore places we otherwise couldn’t reach. These expeditions are no doubt going to be increasingly more important as we evolve!
(Image Credit: MIT)
2. Technology restores cell, organ function in pigs after death, Yale University
As you may imagine, once an organism dies, there are many cascading functions and systems that follow suit, but do not happen immediately. Generally, a lack of blood flow and oxygen will cause the cells to die in time. However, a team of scientists has developed a protection technology that was able to slow this process, and even restore blood circulation and other functions within pig cells hours after their deaths.
“[The technology] could extend the life of organs in human patients and expand the availability of donor organs for transplant. It might also be able to help treat organs or tissue damaged by ischemia during heart attacks or strokes.”
Being able to hinder or put off the true "death" of cells for even just a few hours, this will allow for much more time for both research and real-life application. This technology could be developed and used for human surgeries, organ donation and transplants, and many more life-saving procedures.
3. Study finds cells take out the trash before they divide, MIT
While using a relatively new method of measuring dry cell mass, scientists found that cells dropped around 4% of their overall mass before performing their division. They hypothesize that cells are shedding excess toxins and other junk before creating fresh, newborn cells.
“Further experiments revealed that as cells enter mitosis, they ramp up activity of a process called lysosomal exocytosis. Lysosomes are cell organelles that break down or recycle cellular waste products, and exocytosis is the process they use to jettison any molecules that aren’t needed any more.”
Cellular division and toxins is a common research area in cellular biology; for a similar topic, check out our piece on cellular senescence, or “zombie cells” here.
4. A “door” into the mitochondrial membrane, MIT
We talk a lot about mitochondria around here, because these amazing organelles power the cell. The proteins and functions of the mitochondrial membrane are especially important, as they allow the mitochondria to communicate with the rest of the cell and organelles. Researchers recently discovered a protein that acts as a “door” for a variety of proteins to access and penetrate the mitochondrial membrane, something that was previously unknown.
“It was sort of a mystery why this one protein affects so many different processes. This study gives a molecular basis for understanding why MTCH2 was implicated in Alzheimer's and lipid biosynthesis and mitochondrial fission and fusion: because it was responsible for inserting all these different types of proteins in the membrane,” said one researcher.
5. Human Cell Atlas’ Maps 1 Million Cell Types in 33 Organs, US News & World Report
The Human Cell Atlas project made a major milestone this year – an extensive addition added “the mapping of nearly 500,000 cells from 24 human tissues and organs, including the lungs, skin, heart and blood.”
This group of more than 2,300 scientists, researchers and more from 83 countries works to create the most in depth and extensive database for cellular mapping, alongside the Human Genome Project. This is truly one of the most crucial research efforts when it comes to human health.
“The Atlas is intended to aid future medical research by helping scientists understand the precise cells that are being affected by diseases, as well as the medications used to treat them, the researchers said.”
There you have it! Some of our coolest finds of the year. What's interesting about cellular research, is that even when you think you know everything there is to know about a specific area, there's always more to discover. Our bodies (and the doctors, scientists and researchers who study them) are truly inspiring.
We wish you all a happy and healthy 2023! Here's to more cool science in the future.