Seven From Seven: New images of the cosmos and lifesaving pig hearts

15th July 2022

Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…

  1. NASA has published the first images from the James Webb space telescope, revealing ancient galaxies. Infrared images of the universe captured by the telescope can help us significantly develop our understanding of the cosmos.
  2. Horseshoe crabs – a species which lost more than half its population in recent history – have started to thrive once more on the Philippine islet of Pangatalan. Efforts to restore the area have led to many of the crabs returning, and the area has now become protected to encourage future growth of the general marine and wildlife populations. Initiatives like this are hoped to be replicated elsewhere in the world to stimulate specific animal population growth.
  3. The first Welsh satellite will be launched into space later this year. The creators, Space Forge, are behind the launch, deploying multiple satellites into low Earth orbit (within 620 miles). The Welsh satellite is the world’s first returnable and reusable satellites, setting the tone to make the space industry more sustainable.
  4. Two genetically modified pig hearts have successfully been transplanted into humans who had recently been on life support. This has been made possible as the pig genes – that would normally cause a transplant rejection in a human – were successfully ‘turned off’. Meanwhile, the pigs bred for the transplant had been living in special diseases-free facilities. The transplantation of modified pig hearts could lead to the end of the shortage of donor organs, with 105,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the US alone.
  5. Scientists at Aberystwyth University have discovered that a chemical in a common west African plant can be used to treat sickle cell disease. The chemical, quercitrin, has demonstrated its ability to both reverse and hinder the onset of the disease. This discovery hopes to alleviate the symptoms of over 15,000 people in the UK diagnosed with the disease.
  6. Researchers in Singapore have utilised a genetic approach to link altered gene expressions. The approach will provide alternative treatment for childhood epilepsy, particularly in cases where the seizures cannot be treated by anti-convulsant drugs.
  7. Engineers have developed a 3D printing technique to build small autonomous robots. The robots can walk, maneuver, and jump. And it’s hoped that the new technique could lead to new designs for biomedical robots, further advancing innovation in health-tech.

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