Archive

Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

DNA Hackers: Synthetic biology weaponized virus, zero-day exploit to infect your brain?

January 26, 2012 Comments off

computerworld.com

From the let’s get futuristically freaky department, future hacking crimes could take a decidedly sinister twist; not hacking to breach systems but brains, bodies and behaviors. This DNA hacking goes way beyond potentially using police bees to bust biohackers, or even storing unhackable data in box of bio-encrypted bacteria. It’s not science fiction to hack insulin pumps or to use jamming signals to stop hackers from lethal pacemaker attacks, but now bioengineers and security futurists are warning that the day is coming when criminals and bioterrorists hunt for vulnerabilities that will give a new meaning to zero-day exploits. In the future, a weaponized virus will aim to infect you, your brain and body biology, and not just your computer or mobile device.

While some people resist the idea of needing antivirus or other security software defenses for their smartphones, in the world of synthetic biology, a world where bits, bytes, atoms and biology mix dreams with nightmare realities, it could be lethal to lag behind in patching potential vulnerabilities. Some day, when you hear about something going ‘viral,’ it Read more…

Using a Lab-Grown Trachea, Surgeons Conduct the World’s First Synthetic Organ Transplant

July 8, 2011 Comments off

popsci

Making a Trachea Left: Two UCL researchers with the synthetic windpipe. Right: The scaffold after it has been filled in with stem cells, just prior to transplant. University College London

Surgeons working at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden have taken a huge step forward for regenerative medicine by successfully executing the world’s first synthetic organ transplant. The donor-less transplant saved the life of a 36-year-old cancer patient, who is doing well now after having received a new windpipe grown from his own stem cells.

This story is about as international as it gets: The Eritrean patient, Andemariam Teklesenbet Beyene, was pursuing his doctorate in geology in Iceland when his trachea was consumed by an inoperable tumor that grew so bad that it was actually blocking his breathing. So 3-D scans of his windpipe were sent to scientists at University College London, which crafted a glass scaffold that was a perfect match for Beyene’s trachea Read more…