Tag Archives: molecule

Osteoporosis and the goo that might prevent it

woman radiography scanNew research helps explain the extraordinary strength of human bones, and the answers are in the form of goo! It turns out that your bones are made up of a mix of tiny crystal-like fragments and molecules of citrate. A citrate molecule bonds to calcium, creates a sticky fluid when mixed with water, and acts as a kind of shock absorber for the bone crystals.

And your bones depend on that gooey shock absorber every day! Regardless of your body weight, your bones certainly take on quite a strain every time you jump, twist, run, or even walk. Without citrate, the layers of calcium phosphate in your bones fuse into clumps, and the bone becomes brittle and more likely to shatter.

This new understanding of the role of citrate ‘goo’ as it relates to bone strength will hopefully help researchers understand some of the mechanisms of osteoporosis and brittle bone disease. Past studies in bone structure and strength and new research in treating brittle bone disease in children have relied on animal studies and clinical trials, and hopefully researchers can utilize all resources at their disposal to make the most of this new discovery!



Exploding cancer cells? Yes, please!

iStock_000006862055SmallGlioblastoma is an aggressive type of brain tumor. Glioblastomas are difficult to treat, very aggressive, and survival rates aren’t very good. But researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have found a potential silver bullet- a substance called Vacquinol-1 that makes glioblastoma cells explode and die!

So how does it work? This molecule alters the cancer cells so they can’t control the substances being carried into the cell from the outside. This results in a large number of vacuoles forming inside the cell, and eventually, the cell explodes.

To develop this treatment, researchers used cell cultures and exposed tumor cells to different molecules. Once they found molecules that killed the tumor cells, they did more research to narrow down potential candidates for a treatment. They identified a single molecule that they wanted to pursue, and through further studies in mice, they found that tumor growth was reversed and the mice survived for longer than those in control groups.

This could potentially work on other types of cancer cells, too, but until clinical trials proceed, researchers won’t know. The hope is to get this treatment into clinical trials quickly, because this is definitely a novel approach to attacking this type of tumor! Read more: