This Chemical Is So Hot It Destroys Nerve Fibers—in a Good Way

This Chemical Is So Hot It Destroys Nerve Fibers—in a Good Way

Inject RTX, as it’s known, into an aching joint, and it’ll actually destroy the nerve endings that signal pain. That’s toxic, leading to the inactivation of the pain-sensing nerve endings.This leaves other varieties of sensory neurons unaffected, because RTX is highly specific to TRPV1.

Meet Jim Allison, the Carousing Texan Who Just Won a Nobel Prize For His Cancer Immunotherapy Breakthrough

Meet Jim Allison, the Carousing Texan Who Just Won a Nobel Prize For His Cancer Immunotherapy Breakthrough

The calls have not stopped since.Allison’s breakthrough was the discovery of a sort of secret handshake that cancer uses to evade the immune system, and a means to block that handshake—what the Nobel committee hailed as “a landmark in our fight against cancer,” which has “revolutionized cancer treatment, fundamentally changing the way we view how cancer can be managed.” (Allison’s co-recipient was Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University.) Advances in cancer typically come in 50-year increments; the science that Allison and Honjo helped advance, cancer immunotherapy, has made a generational leap seemingly overnight.Adapted from The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer by Charles Graeber.

The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors

The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors

“Finding those individuals is currently very difficult,” says Logan.In this study, dogs were trained to sniff out malaria through the scent of the disease in samples of socks worn by infected children.Medical Detection DogsAn entomologist by training, Logan spent the early years of his career trying to understand why some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

To Heal Wounds, Cells Time-Travel Back to a Fetal State

To Heal Wounds, Cells Time-Travel Back to a Fetal State

Instead, the cells of the damaged tissue turn the clock back all the way to a more fetal state, tapping into the proliferative power that once characterized development — and a program thought to have long gone silent.Atom Bombs and Self-Renewing CellsIn the early 1900s, scientists theorized that the specific blood cell types they’d learned to distinguish from one another under a microscope — red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets — came from a common, more primitive source: a stem cell.