New Nanobots Kill Cancerous Tumors by Cutting off Their Blood Supply

Tiny Bots, Big Potential

In a major breakthrough for the field of nanomedicine, researchers have developed tiny autonomous robots that can shrink cancer tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

Using a technique known as DNA origami, scientists from Arizona State University (ASU) and China’s National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) programmed tiny robots to carry payloads of a blood-clotting enzyme called thrombin to tumor-associated blood vessels in mice. Once the nanobots reached the surface of those blood vessels, they sent the thrombin to the heart of the tumor.

According to the team’s study, which was published in Nature Biotechnology, the nanobots blocked the tumor’s blood supply and caused damage to its tissue within 24 hours of treatment. Two days post-treatment, the researchers saw evidence of advanced thrombosis, and after three days, they noted thrombi in all tumor vessels.

A Targeted Approach

Unlike chemotherapy, which takes something of a scorched-earth approach to fighting cancer, these nanobots are far more targeted in their attack thanks to something called a DNA aptamer.

This special payload on each bot’s surface directs it toward a protein called nucleolin, which is only generated in large amounts on the surface of tumor endothelial cells. Because it isn’t found on the surface of healthy cells, the nanobots pass right by them.

This is an extremely important aspect of this experiment because thrombin could be dangerous if delivered elsewhere in the body. For example, it could cause a patient to have a stroke if released in their brain.

So far, the researchers have only tested their nanobots in mice and Bama miniature pigs, but in both cases, the bots proved to be safe and effective at shrinking tumors. Now, the researchers are looking for clinical partners to help them take their technology to the next level.

Eventually, these nanobots could be used to target a variety of cancers, all without causing damage to a patient’s healthy cells.

The post New Nanobots Kill Cancerous Tumors by Cutting off Their Blood Supply appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

It’s Great That Supermarkets Are Cutting Plastic Waste. But That’s Not Going to Solve the Problem.

Things that belong in the ocean: sharkscoral reefs, mermaids (well, they would if they were real, anyway). Things that don’t belong in the ocean: milk jugs, water bottles, plastic bags.

And yet we’re headed toward a future where our oceans contain more plastic than fish. If she actually existed, Ariel would be so disappointed in us.

She wouldn’t necessarily want to be part of our world, either. The situation up here on land isn’t any better: humans have a serious plastic addiction, and it’s wreaking havoc on our planet.

An Ocean of Plastic [Infographic]
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As supermarkets are one of the primary peddlers of this plastic waste, they’ve been an obvious target for those looking to crack down on it. A recent investigation by The Guardian found U.K. supermarkets produced 800,000 metric tons of plastic packaging waste every year. That alarming statistic has nudged at least a couple of chains toward taking action.

First, the British supermarket chain Iceland vowed to stop using plastic to package any of its own-brand products within five years (nice!). A few weeks later, Asda, another British chain, agreed to do the same – albeit on a much smaller scale (10 percent). The smaller goal shouldn’t be discounted though because Asda wants to achieve it on a much quicker timeline: within 12 months.

So, that’s progress, right? Eh. Maybe not.

“Asda’s pledge to slash plastic use is certainly very welcome — but why can’t it copy Iceland’s lead and ditch plastics from all its own-brand products?” asked Friends of the Earth waste campaigner Julian Kirby in an interview with The Guardian.

That’s a good question.

Tisha Brown’s criticism of Asda’s commitment was a bit more direct.

“A 10 percent reduction in own-brand products over one year doesn’t beat Iceland’s pledge,” the Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner told The Guardian. “If Asda applied the same tactic to reducing plastics as it does to competing on price, we’d be really impressed.”

Dang. Which aisle do you keep the burn cream in, Asda?

Really, it’s hard to fault anyone from responding to Asda’s pledge with an eye roll. Did they not get the memo about plastic outweighing fish in our oceans? Drastic times call for drastic measures, and a 10 percent reduction isn’t anywhere near drastic enough.

The post It’s Great That Supermarkets Are Cutting Plastic Waste. But That’s Not Going to Solve the Problem. appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Verizon rolling out new $30 prepaid plan, cutting price on Prepaid Unlimited plan

Verizon logo new lights

Verizon today announced that it’s making some changes to its prepaid plans starting February 20.

First up, Verizon is rolling out a new prepaid smartphone plan. This plan is priced at $ 30 per month and includes unlimited talk and text as well as 500MB of data. It also includes the same features as other Verizon prepaid plans like Carryover Data and mobile hotspot.

On the other end of the plan spectrum, Verizon is lowering the price of its Prepaid Unlimited plan. Priced at $ 80 per month now, its price will drop to $ 75 per month next week.

Verizon is also adding mobile hotspot to its Prepaid Unlimited plan. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that this mobile hotspot is capped at 3G speeds, or around 600Kbps.

Finally, Verizon is bringing its Travel Pass feature to prepaid plans. This enables prepaid customers to use their talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada. Pricing for this add-on is $ 5 per day, and you’ll only be charged on the days that you actually use it.

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HomePod teardown needs sawing, cutting to get into interior, but is built ‘like a tank’

Article Image

As it does with every Apple device, iFixit has torn apart the HomePod, finding a device that is a "labyrinth to open." That means, like many other devices, it’s probably not a great candidate for user repairs.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Twitter made a profit by cutting costs, not by growing its business

Twitter made $ 91 million in Q4, its first profitable quarter ever.

Twitter is finally making some money. After nearly 12 years, the company reported its first-ever profitable quarter: It made $ 91 million in the last three months of 2017.

Investors loved the flip, and Twitter stock is up almost 16 percent.

But it didn’t get there by growing its business. It got there by cutting costs.

Twitter revenue only grew by 2 percent from a year ago. That makes sense since Twitter’s user base only grew by 4 percent in 2017, and the company didn’t add any net new users in Q4, maintaining its monthly user count of 330 million.

So Twitter cut costs to make profit instead. A quick look at the company’s income statement shows us where: 1) Stock-based compensation, or stock awards given to employees as part of their salary; 2) research and development; and 3) sales and marketing. Twitter made notable cuts to all three categories in the past year.

  • Twitter spent just over $ 102 million on stock-based compensation in Q4, down from $ 138 million the year earlier. That’s a 26 percent decrease.
  • Twitter also spent just $ 134 million on research and development, down from $ 202 million the year prior. That includes a decrease of roughly $ 26 million in stock-based compensation for R&D employees, folks like engineers and designers who work on Twitter products. If you take out stock-based compensation entirely (it’s already accounted for above), Twitter’s R&D budget went from $ 120.3 million in 2016 to $ 78.3 in 2017 — a decrease of roughly 35 percent.
  • Twitter also spent almost $ 70 million less on sales and marketing in Q4 2017 than it did in the same quarter in 2016 — that means spending less on things like agency help, conferences and events for the company. Excluding stock-based compensation for sales and marketing employees, Twitter’s sales and marketing budget went from roughly $ 233 million in 2016 to $ 163.5 million in 2017 — a decline of almost 30 percent.

Taken in aggregate, those changes help explain the bulk of Twitter’s turnaround.

Talk to the folks at Twitter and they will point out that cost cuts weren’t the only reason the company turned a profit.

Twitter claims its business is stronger than it looks on paper — that 2 percent revenue growth would have been 8 percent growth if you ignore the fact that some of Twitter’s 2016 revenue came from now-defunct marketing platform Tellapart, which it shuttered in early 2017. (Of course, shuttering Tellapart also helped with the cost-cutting, too.)

The bottom line is that Twitter achieved profitability by getting smarter about its spending.

Don’t expect that profit margin to soar. “We’re investing to make 2018 a year of growth and expect our expenses to more closely align with revenue after a year of significant margin improvement,” CEO Jack Dorsey said on Thursday’s call.

That roughly translates to a promise from Twitter to spend what it makes this year.

One quarter of profitability down. Now it’s up to Twitter’s revenue business to keep it going.


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