From fighting the Ebola outbreak to expanding the genetic alphabet, here is just a small sampling of clinical advances, promising medical advances, and insights from the lab by NIH-supported scientists in 2014.
The 21st century is an exciting time — a revolutionary period for the life sciences. We have learned a lot about the biological parts and systems that make up all living things. We also realize that it is just as important to understand how behavior and society affect health and can help fight disease. Combining information from both biomedical and behavioral and social sciences research will lead to the most effective interventions.
Cancers of the colon and rectum, also known as colorectal cancers, are the third most commonly diagnosed cancers among men and women in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death in this country. In 2010, it is estimated that more than 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 will die of the disease.
Over the past several decades, researchers have learned a lot about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the disease it causes, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). But still more research is needed to help the millions of people whose health continues to be threatened by the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.
NIH has an entire institute, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), devoted to developing new imaging devices and other leading edge technologies. Another NIH institute, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), supports many basic researchers who use imaging as a tool to understand life processes — understanding that lays the foundation for health advances.
Nanotechnology is defined as the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, a scale at which unique properties of materials emerge that can be used to develop novel technologies and products.
18th-century stories of the strange appearance and behavior of this mystery creature, now known as the duck-billed platypus, left naturalists mystified as to what could fit its seemingly catch-all characteristics. We now know that the platypus is a monotreme, an ancient type of mammal that lays eggs.
Studying stem cells will help us understand how they transform into the dazzling array of specialized cells that make us what we are. Some of the most serious medical conditions, such as cancer and birth defects, are due to problems that occur somewhere in this process. A better understanding of normal cell development will allow us to understand and perhaps correct the errors that cause these medical conditions.