Studies raise questions over how epigenetic information is inherited

30 Oct 2018

Evidence has been building in recent years that our diet, our habits or traumatic experiences can have consequences for the health of our children – and even our grandchildren. The explanation that has gained most currency for how this occurs is so-called ‘epigenetic inheritance’ – patterns of chemical ‘marks’ on or around our DNA that are hypothesised to be passed down the generations. But new research from the University of Cambridge suggests that this mechanism of non-genetic inheritance is likely to be very rare.

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The body in miniature

20 Mar 2018

The past few years has seen an explosion in the number of studies using organoids – so-called ‘mini organs’. While they can help scientists understand human biology and disease, some in the field have questioned their usefulness. But as the field matures, we could see their increasing use in personalised and regenerative medicine.

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‘Mini liver tumours’ created in a dish for the first time

16 Nov 2017

Scientists have created mini biological models of human primary liver cancers, known as organoids, in the lab for the first time. In a paper published in Nature Medicine, the tiny laboratory models of tumours were used to identify a new drug that could potentially treat certain types of liver cancer.

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Scientists reveal the beautiful simplicity underlying branching patterns in tissue

21 Sep 2017

In the centenary year of the publication of a seminal treatise on the physical and mathematical principles underpinning nature – On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson – a Cambridge physicist has led a study describing an elegantly simple solution to a puzzle that has taxed biologists for centuries: how complex branching patterns of tissues arise. 

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A counterintuitive approach to fighting cancer

09 Nov 2016

When you’re under attack, you fight back. You gather your troops and attack the invading enemy, hoping to wound and defeat them, while supporting and treating your own injured soldiers. It’s common sense.

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