When radioactive materials were first introduced into society, it took a while before scientists understood the risks. The same is true of nanotechnology today, according to Dr Vladimir Baulin, from University Rovira i Virgili, in Tarragona, Spain, who together with colleagues has shown for the first time how nanoparticles can cross biological - or lipid - membranes in a paper published in the journal Science Advances.
Cancer treatments that are personalised to an individual’s tumour cells or body clock, a boost to the hunt for dark matter using new findings from Large Hadron Collider data, and long-distance communications enhanced by augmented reality are just some of the scientific breakthroughs expected by researchers this year.
Testing new medicines on miniature samples of human tissue, known as organ-on-a-chip or – in the case of multiple tissues – body-on-a-chip technology, promises to make medical research faster while reducing the use of lab animals.
We will see vaccines for malaria and HIV within the next one or two decades, predicts Dr Leonardo Santos Simão, the former health minister of Mozambique, who has been appointed High Representative South of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), which aims to accelerate the development of new treatments, vaccines and diagnostic tools for diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
Trillions of pieces of plastic, many of which will last for thousands of years, are floating in the oceans, potentially damaging human health, killing birds and fish, and even adding to global warming.
Floating research laboratories are reaching the fringes of space.
Automated and connected devices can save lives.
EU firms should be brought within ‘innovation ecosystems’ to develop breakthrough technology, according to Prof. Luke Georghiou.