medical breakthroughs 20132013 is a year that brought numerous medical and scientific achievements. However, three of them, in accordance with the scientific community, are expected to change our lives for the better.

The hidden second code in DNA

U.S. scientific team led by Professor of Genetics School of Medicine University of Washington John Stamatoyannopoulos identified a second genetic code in the DNA.

In accordance with the research team, the genome uses the genetic code to “write” using two different “languages” of biological programming. In particular, the first encodes and directs the protein and the second guides the cell on how genes are controlled.

According to the professor Stamatoyannopoulos, the fact that the genetic code can write simultaneously two kinds of information means that many changes in DNA, which appear to alter the sequences of proteins, may actually disrupt the programs that control genes and thereby cause diseases.

Mutations that cause tumorigenesis

British researchers at the Sanger Centre of the Cambridge University identified 21 major genetic mutations that cause 97% of oncogenesis in the 30 most common types of the disease.

The deeper we understand the causes of the disease, the more we approach the methods of prevention and treatment of cancer,” the researchers explained.

3D printers printing organs and skin

A team of U.S. scientists managed to print a skin cell sample. The printer uses cell cultures instead of ink and the human body instead of paper.

Also, scientists from St Vincent Hospital, Melbourne, went even further “printing” cartilage, muscle and nerve cells on a 3D printer.

The main challenge to face is to keep the ‘printed’ tissues alive, though scientists believe that within the decade the first fully functional organ transplants, designed specifically for the needs of each patient, will take place.


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