EU trachea transplant clinical trial TETRA “uncertain to take place”

The scandal of regenerative medicine surgeon Paolo Macchiarini and his deadly plastic tracheas made world news. Yet this human abuse, which started at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, was just a part of a much bigger horror story. The suffering and deaths of other trachea transplant patients of Macchiarini and his collaborators, those who received a decellurised cadaveric trachea, is much less known. I focused my reporting on it, bringing back to memory all those dead patients which the hospitals in London, Florence and Barcelona pretend never existed. Presently, 62 patients were scheduled to be treated with decellurised cadaveric trachea in two phase 1 clinical trials in UK and one EU-funded phase 2 clinical trial, all led by former Macchiarini partner, UCL laryngologist Martin Birchall. But now, all 3 clinical trials are not going anywhere.

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Plant nutrition Innovation Awards open for applications

Two researchers or research laboratories from across the world will be awarded a total of 60,000 euros each, as part of the 2018 Groupe Roullier Innovation Awards. Previous winners have had their work from a broad range of research areas, including plant nutrition, soil science, biocontrol and plant engineering, among others. This is a unique opportunity to get financial support for work which is likely to benefit the sponsor of the competition.

Post-Brexit plans on funding and mobility

On 8th May 2017, one of the arm of the British scientific establishment, the Royal Institution, has opened its famous lecture theatre to a debate about Brexit. Brexit is not about extricating the UK from the European scientific endeavour. And Brexit does not bring to an end many important aspects of the integrated European scientific projects. Today, it is not obvious, however, which strategies the UK–and the other EU 27 countries–could adopt to sustain as much as possible international collaborations and mobility. In this opinion piece, representatives of EuroScience argue that scientists need to raise their voices to guarantee their future and the future of our societies. Should all negotiation fail and the UK ends up with weakened relations with the EU 27, the authors argue, it remains to be seen whether the UK plan to strengthen relations and collaborations with the US, the Commonwealth and East-Asia will be an adequate substitute.

Designing antivirus for nuclear power plants to fend off cyber-terrorism

In 2008, it was the first time that a software virus replicating the automatic process control system of a nuclear facility was recorded. In this opinion piece, Anastasia Tolstaya, an engineer at the Institute for Cyber-Intelligence Systems, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, in the Russian Federation, explores what can be done to prevent exposing the safety of nuclear plants, in the case of a cyber attack. Finding solutions, she argues, is not trivial.

The airplane of the future

A simple white paper napkin depicts the future: at an informal dinner with aviation professionals the lead technical design engineer of Boeing sketches his personal vision of the airplane of the future, which is so futuristic that it even outranges the companies conceptual airplane. Any minute when a plane is not flying is a waste of money – the goal is to minimise the downtime. Leading airline companies already try to have their birds in the air around the clock. What still takes time is passenger boarding and de-boarding from an aircraft. Since there is no way to beam the humans aboard, the creative engineer found another solution to save time. In his futuristic vision, an airplane consists of a movable compartment, a ‘container’, where all passengers can be seated in a comfortable way before the plane has even landed. After embarking, while the passengers already enjoy their welcome drink, the whole compartment will be safely moved and secured to the fuselage, which consists mainly of one big airfoil with the engines.

Fostering the adaptive creative thinker in every child

To succeed in today’s knowledge-based and creative society, children must learn to think creatively, plan systematically, analyse critically, work collaboratively, communicate clearly, design iteratively, and, above all, learn continuously. Unfortunately, most uses of technologies today do not support these 21st-century learning skills.