Weekly News Bites: Plant factories, lifting weights for nicer skin, and a controllable glue

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are how the tobacco plant could be used to help treat cancer, how lifting weights is good for your skin, and a glue that can be switched on and off.

Immunotherapy uses a person’s immune system to help fight cancer but the drugs can be expensive to produce, making them less accessible. Chulalongkorn University scientists have found a cheaper way to produce antibodies that could inhibit cancer growth by using tobacco plants as “factories”. 

Strength exercises are good for a variety of reasons but Ritsumeikan University has added a new one to the list: better skin. The researchers studied women who began exercising and found that after 16 weeks their skin was more elastic and less saggy. The deeper layers of skin became thicker and the cells had healthier mitochondria.

By targeting cells that can overexpress a certain protein, Juntendo University researchers may have a vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease. The team saw promising behavioral and physical changes in mice during testing. Previous studies showed that eliminating cells that produced senescence-associated glycoprotein (SAGP) also helped with other age-related diseases.

Changes in the energy signals of a jet blasting out from a black hole have been detected by Wuhan University using the FAST telescope in China. This “wobble” in the jet stream, likely caused by a misalignment, happens in a fraction of a second and occurs very rarely. 

People in China were mining coal over 3 600 years ago, says research by Lanzhou University who studied a Bronze Age site. The archeological findings showed that the coal was easily accessible and used for various tasks. Coal from different sources was found, indicating that the people could have quality-tested different types of coal.

Using a sticky substance usually requires a trade-off between strength and how easily it can come apart. This is not the case for a new glue developed by researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS). This glue can be “switched on and off” using UV light to make it hold and then release objects.