Chemistry news as a ten pack: Slinn Pickings

  • U of Alberta researcher discovers potential cancer therapy target – One of the most important genes in the human genome is called p53 and its function is to suppress tumours, according to Roger Leng, a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Leng has discovered the mechanism by which p53 is inactivated in cancerous cells, allowing tumours to grow.
  • Hershey scientists improve methods for analysis of healthful cocoa compounds – Two scientific publications report on improved methods for determining the amounts of flavanol antioxidants in cocoa and chocolate.
  • Valentine’s Day Potpourri – Two international teams of scientists have sequenced the genomes of the cocoa plant and a species of wild strawberry.
  • Small material, big impact – European Repository of Reference Nanomaterials will improve safety assessment The European Commission‘s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has just launched the first European repository of nanomaterials with a representative range of 25 different types of reference nanomaterials.
  • The Mixture is the Key Factor – In case of the Bose-Einstein-Condensation gases consisting of ultra-cold atoms change into a collective quantum state where they all have the same features.
  • Van Gogh doomed his sunflowers by adding white pigments to yellow paint – White powders that van Gogh added to brighten the yellows of his sunflowers triggered a reaction that turns the paint brown
  • Guiding electrons through graphene – US researchers have created a graphene-based device that guides electrons through the material in the same way an optical fibre guides light, using electrical gates. The work suggests new ways to create electrically reconfigurable wiring in future graphene-based electronic devices.
  • First purely organic phosphor – Scientists in the US have made a major advance in the development of novel light-emitting materials by designing the first purely organic phosphorescent compound. The finding could open the way for a new generation of materials for electronic displays and lighting, exploiting the relatively low cost and chemical versatility of systems based on organic molecules.
  • New hepatitis C drug – Scientists in the UK have developed a compound to combat the hepatitis C virus that could be taken as a pill. David Pryde and his team from Pfizer Global Research and Development, Sandwich, have made new compounds to activate a protein in the immune system called TLR7 – toll-like receptor 7 – which fights the infection. Toll-like receptors identify foreign DNA, such as a virus, and produce proteins that inhibit the virus’ replication.
  • Small and sensitive nanoparticles – A new highly sensitive nanoparticle contrast agent for imaging in the body stays in the bloodstream longer and is better at targeting tumours than other nanoparticle contrast agents, say Chinese scientists. Xintao Shuai from Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou,and colleagues encapsulated individual – or nonclustered – superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles inside micelles composed of folate and a polymer.

Another high yielding news day from Robert Slinn for Reactive Reports in his regular column: Slinn Pickings.