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New evidence supports earlier findings that cancer therapy drugs based on a family of enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs) failed in clinical trials because they were aimed at the wrong target. Berkeley Lab researchers who previously demonstrated that MMP14 interacts with a partner to promote mammary invasion and – under abnormal conditions – tumors through a mechanism distinct from catalytic activity, have now shown that MMP3 can also promote tumors but via interaction with a different partner.

From brain to heart to stomach, the bodies of humans and animals generate weak magnetic fields that a supersensitive detector could use to pinpoint illnesses, trace drugs – and maybe even read minds. Sensors no bigger than a thumbnail could map gas deposits underground, analyze chemicals, and pinpoint explosives that hide from other probes.

Medical electronic implants could be powered wirelessly, without the need for batteries or bulky receiver coils, if an approach described in Physical Review Letters pays off. The researchers propose a new design to allow wireless power transfer to even sub-millimeter-sized devices and show that in theory it should deliver enough power to drive a pacemaker.  Researchers looking for a way to reduce the size of the receiver found that, despite the issue of tissue absorption, there is an optimal middle ground between near and far fields in the gigahertz range where power transfer is optimized over a wide range of frequencies, removing the need for relatively large batteries for implanted medical devices.