Robotics

Robotic capsule developed to deliver drugs to the gut

One reason that it's so difficult to deliver large protein drugs orally is that these drugs can't pass through the mucus barrier that lines the digestive tract. This means that insulin and most other "biologic drugs"—drugs ...

Oncology & Cancer

Study describes red meat's cancer-causing mechanism in the colon

Over the past 40 years, red meat has changed roles in the American diet from a supporting player to the main attraction, increasing in both portion size and frequency of consumption. The rise in diagnoses of colorectal cancer ...

Mucus

In vertebrates, mucus (adjectival form: "mucous") is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which contain both serous and mucous cells. It is a viscous colloid containing antiseptic enzymes (such as lysozyme), immunoglobulins, inorganic salts, proteins such as lactoferrin, and glycoproteins known as mucins that are produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes and submucosal glands. This mucus serves to protect epithelial cells in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, visual, and auditory systems in mammals; the epidermis in amphibians; and the gills in fish. A major function of this mucus is to protect against infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. The average human body produces about a litre of mucus per day.

Bony fish, hagfish, snails, slugs, and some other invertebrates also produce external mucus. In addition to serving a protective function against infectious agents, such mucus provides protection against toxins produced by predators, can facilitate movement and may play a role in communication.

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