Researchers Helping You

By Rhoda Baer (Photographer) , via Wikimedia Commons

Do you or a family member have a disease? An injury? A lifelong condition? Chances are that somewhere in the world, a team of dedicated medical researcher is working hard to find ways to treat you and improve your health. Often, this requires looking at your illness or injury in a new way. In the Archive, you can find many examples of how medical researchers are finding innovative ways to make your life better, from an improved tool for monitoring glucose levels in diabetic patients to finding a new use for an ancient material.

How would you like to have to stab your finger five or six times a day, every day of your life, in order to get a drop of your own blood? People with diabetes do that to check their glucose levels … and it’s no fun. But now scientists are developing other, less painful, tools for patients. One of them is a glucose monitoring “tattoo”. You can read more about it here: “Honey, I Shrunk the Sensor

People getting chemotherapy for cancer know only too well that the powerful drugs they take to kill the cancer also attack the healthy cells in their bodies. Killing off healthy cells can cause a whole range of bad side effects from hair loss to heart damage.  Many scientists are working hard to create chemo drugs that target only the cancer cells. “Bullseye – Making Drugs Hit Their Targets” explains one researcher’s approach. Another story, “The Medicine of the Future – Controlled-Release Systems” looks at a different avenue to delivering medicine only where it’s needed.

Since 3000 BCE, silk has been woven to create a range of luxurious items from robes to tapestries. But did you know that silk can also have modern medical applications? From suturing, drug storage, tissue scaffolds, artificial tendons, and more, these two articles describe novel uses of this ancient material:  “Silk of the Future” and “Smooth as Silk.”

Resources throughout the Archive can introduce you to some of the wonders of modern research. What are your favorites?

2 thoughts on “Researchers Helping You”

Research to help manage disease and novel approaches to disease treatment should be given greater public visibility especially in these times when most people do not often see the benefits of research on their lives. I also think the public should be more aware of how instrumental animal research can be in discovering new disease treatments. It is always frustrating to see “celebrities” wearing their cancer and aids ribbons while supporting PETA or other radical animal rights groups.

“Do-It-Yourself Scientific Cancer Laboratory” summer program sounds great! I have been thinking about doing with my school for some time now. I would like to know more about the logistics as far as raising the money for the resources as well as how did you coordinate this program with your nearby university. Further, I would also like to know if any part of the program had an student-driven inquiry component to it.

Thank you,
Jason Econome

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