From a CalTech news article (February 4, 2020):
The hope, Lee says, is that ultrasound will kill cancer cells in a specific way that will also engage the immune system and arouse it to attack any cancer cells remaining after the treatment.
A new technique could offer a targeted approach to fighting cancer: low-intensity pulses of ultrasound have been shown to selectively kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.
Ultrasound waves—sound waves with frequencies higher than humans can hear—have been used as a cancer treatment before, albeit in a broad-brush approach: high-intensity bursts of ultrasound can heat up tissue, killing cancer and normal cells in a target area. Now, scientists and engineers are exploring the use of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) in an effort to create a more selective treatment.
A study describing the effectiveness of the new approach in cell models was published in Applied Physics Letters on January 7. The researchers behind the work caution that it is still preliminary—it still has not been tested in a live animal let alone in a human, and there remain several key challenges to address—but the results so far are promising.
From a Caltech online article:
During this decade, as in previous decades, Caltech scientists and engineers reinvented the landscape of scientific endeavor: from the first detection of gravitational waves and the discovery of evidence for a ninth planet in the solar system; to bold missions to explore and understand the solar system; to the development of new methods to see inside the body and the brain and understand the universe around us; to the invention of devices to improve human health, some taking inspiration from nature; to the initiation of a transformative new effort to support research into the most pressing challenges in environmental sustainability.
Though the brain orchestrates how we experience the world, many questions remain about its complex workings. During the past 10 years, Caltech scientists have discovered how the brain recognizes faces and drives and quenches thirst, and learned about the pathways that govern sleep. A major focus has been on understanding the experience of non-neurotypical individuals, such as those who have autism or those who are missing a brain hemisphere. New realms of neuroscience research were made possible in 2016, when philanthropists Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen announced a gift to establish the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech.
As modern technology advances, so do the possibilities for treating medical conditions that were previously considered untreatable. Caltech researchers used an electrode array to help a paralyzed patient stand and move his legs voluntarily and developed a novel method for preventing the spread of diseases, contact lenses for preventing blindness in diabetic patients, an app that monitors heart health, gene therapy for repairing nerves in the brain, and a robotic arm controlled by a paralyzed patient’s intent to move. The decade also saw the establishment of the Merkin Institute for Translational Research, which aims to advance medical technologies, and a continued commitment to the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center.
To read more: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/decade-of-discovery
From a Caltech online news release:
“Such wearable sweat sensors have the potential to rapidly, continuously, and noninvasively capture changes in health at molecular levels,” Gao says. “They could enable personalized monitoring, early diagnosis, and timely intervention.”
The development of such sensors would allow doctors to continuously monitor the condition of patients with illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or kidney disease, all of which result in abnormal levels of nutrients or metabolites in the bloodstream. Patients would benefit from having their physician better informed of their condition, while also avoiding invasive and painful encounters with hypodermic needles.
Gao’s work is focused on developing devices based on microfluidics, a name for technologies that manipulate tiny amounts of liquids, usually through channels less than a quarter of a millimeter in width. Microfluidics are ideal for an application of this sort because they minimize the influence of sweat evaporation and skin contamination on the sensing accuracy. As freshly supplied sweat flows through the microchannels, the device can make more accurate measurements of sweat and can capture temporal changes in concentrations.
To read more: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/wearable-sweat-sensor-detects-gout-causing-compounds
From a Caltech online article:
When a bee lands on water, the water sticks to its wings, robbing it of the ability to fly. However, that stickiness allows the bee to drag water, creating waves that propel it forward. In the lab, Roh and Gharib noted that the generated wave pattern is symmetrical from left to right. A strong, large-amplitude wave with an interference pattern is generated in the water at the rear of the bee, while the surface in front of the bee lacks the large wave and interference. This asymmetry propels the bees forward with the slightest of force—about 20 millionths of a Newton.
Walking on Caltech’s campus, research engineer Chris Roh (MS ’13, PhD ’17) happened to see a bee stuck in the water of Millikan Pond. Although it was a common-enough sight, it led Roh and his advisor, Mory Gharib (PhD ’83), to a discovery about the potentially unique way that bees navigate the interface between water and air.
To read more: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/bees-surf-atop-water