Scientists claim creation of a non-addictive opioid compound

In what has been called a potential“holy grail” of opioid research,scientists at Wake Forest BaptistMedical Center have created whatthey are calling a non-addictive opioidcompound, a result which could havewidespread repercussions for paintreatment and the ongoing opiateaddiction crisis.

Reported in the journal Proceedings ofthe National Academy of Sciences, thestudy profiles the synthetic opioidBU08028 which was tested on 12 non-human primates and found to not onlybe an effective pain killer but also to be free of adverse side effects such as decreased respiratory functionand, importantly, addiction.

“Based on our research, this compound has almost zero abuse potential and provides safe and effective painrelief,” says Mei-Chuan Ko, professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist and leadauthor of the study. “This is a breakthrough for opioid medicinal chemistry that we hope in the future willtranslate into new and safer, non-addictive pain medications.”

Ever since heroin was first synthesized in the late 1800s -and initially proclaimed to be free from the hazardsof abuse- research efforts have been ongoing in the quest to create an opioid analgesic which does notpromote addictive behaviour. And while advances in pharmacology over the past few decades haveproduced dozens of synthetic opioids currently in use for pain management, from effective pain killers likeoxycodone and the extremely potent fentanyl to opioid antagonists such as naloxone that block the body’sreceptor sites from taking in other opioids, the prospect of the addiction-free opioid has remained out ofreach.

But scientists see real potential in BU08028, which binds to two opioid receptors in the body named MOPand NOP like the known compound buprenorphine but is said to have improved activity over buprenorphineat NOP receptors. Researchers studied the behavioral, physiological and pharmacological effects ofBU08028 on non-human primates and found the drug to be highly potent and long-lasting in its analgesiceffect while not inhibiting respiratory or cardiovascular functioning or causing acute physical dependence.

“To our knowledge, the present study provides the first functional evidence in nonhuman primates thatBU08028 with mixed MOP/NOP agonist activities is an effective and safe analgesic without apparent abuseliability or other opioid-associated side effects,” say the study’s authors.

In a commentary on the new study, Dr. Jun-Xu Li of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciencesat the University of Buffalo has written of the opioid’s “double-edged sword.” “Despite their effectiveness,opioids produce many clinically significant side effects.” says Li. “For decades, research pursued the ‘HolyGrail’ of opioid analgesic research: the development of opioids that retain the analgesic efficacy withreduced side effects. [The new study] reports a systematic evaluation of a novel opioid, BU08028, may leadus one step closer to this ultimate goal.”

The use and abuse of opioids for pain treatment has reached crisis levels in Canada and the United States.Last year in Canada alone, 21.7 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed, a 20 per cent increase over theprevious half-decade.



What has the form of an octopus, was born in a lab and is powered by oxygen gas under pressure?

Welcome to the “octobot,” the world’s first entirely soft, 3D-printed, autonomous robot created by Harvard University researchers.

The octobot “may serve as a foundation for a new generation of completely soft, autonomous robots,” the researchers wrote in a paperthat appeared in the Aug. 25 issue of Nature, an international weekly journal of science.

Soft robotics is a budding field that aims to develop safer robots that can better adapt to natural environments, according to the research team led by Robert Wood and Jennifer A. Lewis, professors at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Now that the octobot has been launched, researchers are hoping to give it a greater range of behaviors.

Next steps in its development include increasing the complexity of the fluidic controller—the system built into the robot that distributes hydrogen peroxide to catalyst sites so it can produce oxygen gas, Wood told Bloomberg BNA.  The pressurized gas inflates the octobot’s arms, resulting in bending.

As for other behaviors the researchers would like to see, “The first and simplest is effective locomotion,” Wood said. So, a walking octobot? Sounds like the stuff sci-fi dreams are made of.


Alexis Kramer has been with Bloomberg BNA since 2014 and serves as a legal editor for the Electronic Commerce & Law Report. She holds a B.F.A. from Long Island University and a J.D. and M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s Washington College of Law. Follow Alexis on Twitter at @alexis_s_kramer.

Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ to Protect Your Wearables From Scratches

Best Smartwatches

Corning’s tough Gorilla Glass, which has long protected smartphones, is heading to smaller screens.

Gorilla Glass SR+ is designed for wearable devices and promises a significant reduction in visible scratches, as well as better optical clarity and touch sensitivity.

While most folks store their smartphone or tablet in a pocket, purse, or protective case, everyday wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches are exposed to the elements. So Corning needed to develop glass that could better endure bumps, knocks, and scrapes without losing functionality.

“In early 2015, Corning launched Project Phire with the goal of engineering glass-based solutions with the scratch resistance approaching luxury cover materials, combined with the superior damage resistance of Gorilla Glass,” Scott Forester, director of innovation products, said in a statement. “Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ delivers a superior combination of properties that is not available in any other material today—it is in a class of its own.”

In lab tests, the company managed “superior” scratch resistance—nearly at the level of “alternative luxury cover materials” like sapphire, which Apple uses to protect its Watch.

According to the company, Gorilla Glass SR+ delivers up to 70 percent better damage resistance against impacts, and 25 percent better surface reflection than its competition. Available now to manufacturers, Corning’s new composite is expected to be integrated into products launched later this year.

Last month, Corning revealed Gorilla Glass 5, which promises scratch resistance as well as better protection against a common smartphone pitfall: dropping your handset from “selfie height.”

Google Cast Now Fully Built Into Chrome

Google is making it even easier to extend the Web to the biggest screen in your home.

The Web giant on Monday announced that Google Cast is now built fully into Chrome, meaning you can beam content from your favorite websites to your TV using Chromecast without having to install or configure anything. In the past, showing content from Chrome meant having to download the Google Castbrowser extension, which has been around for two years.

Now, when you’re on a Cast-friendly website, and on the same network as a Cast device, you’ll see the Cast icon appear on your screen. Just press that and with a couple more clicks, you’ll be able to view that page on your TV or listen to music through your home speakers.

For websites that aren’t integrated with Cast, you’ll need to navigate to the Chrome menu and select “Cast…” to view that content on the big screen — an option Google rolled out last month.

“With Google Cast and Chrome, you can share what you love to watch with those around you,” Chrome Product Manager Stephen Konig wrote in a blog post. “We’re excited to make this available to everyone.”

To try out this new built-in Cast functionality, just make sure you’re running the latest version of Chrome.

Meanwhile, if you’re a Cast user and in the market for a new monitor, LG has you covered. The company on Monday unveiled new ultra-wide LG monitors, which feature built-in Google Cast, letting you easily stream your favorite shows and music from your smartphone or tablet to your computer screen.

LG has three new 21:9 ultra-wide monitors to choose from: a top-of-the-line 38-inch curved model (38UC99), available in mid-September for $1,499; a 34-inch 144Hz IPS curved model for gamers (34UC79G), coming in mid-October for $699; and a 34-inch flat model (34UM79M), available mid-November for $599.

Google announces Search In Apps, a new way to search for personal content

Android’s always been pretty good at search – it’s developed by the world’s biggest search company,so you’d hope so – but one thing that it’s always struggled with is searching content on your device,having removed it in Ice Cream Sandwich because the API was not up to scratch. Google isattempting to fix that today with the launch of the new ‘Search In Apps’ feature, which Codyuncovered part of during a recent Google app teardown.

InAppsSearch LgV20InApps

In Apps is basically an extension to the Google search bar. When searching something that’s’personal’ such as a name or place, scroll to the end of list of available searches – the one with ‘Web,”Images,’ ‘Shopping,’ ‘Maps,’ and more on it. The resulting ‘In Apps’ list will show results from appslike Google Messenger, Spotify, Twitter, YouTube, Gmail, Google Play Music, and Instagram. Moreapps are on their way, too: Google says Facebook Messenger, shown in the GIF but not live ondevices yet, is coming, as well as apps like Evernote, LinkedIn, Google Keep, and Todoist. If you don’twant an app appearing in the search results, individual apps can be turned off in the Settings menu.

The first phone to fully embrace this is the LG V20, which is of course the first phone to ship withAndroid 7.0 Nougat; in fact, the V20 will get a homescreen shortcut directly for searching in apps,which might be the icon Cody found in the aforementioned teardown, plus the ability to search LG’spre-installed apps. In Apps is appearing on devices running Nougat and Marshmallow, but it mayonly be live on devices running the beta Google app – it’s not very clear at the moment. Members ofthe Android Police team are seeing new or different search results showing up in the Phone tab, asare users on reddit, but it looks like this isn’t the same thing as the results that are in the In Apps tab.

InAppsM9 InApps6P

The cool thing about this feature is that it happens entirely on your phone – it does not require WiFi ora cellular connection to use, meaning it stays private to you and isn’t uploaded as part of the dataGoogle collects on you. In Apps appears to be rolling out now, so get searching, but keep in mind theconfusion mentioned above.