Neuroscience

What does myelin actually do?

Students of physiology are invariably taught that the primary function of myelin is to insulate nerves. In particular, to make action potentials more efficient by increasing the thickness of the membrane and thereby decreasing ...

Oncology & Cancer

Rigidifying cancer cells for better immunotherapy

EPFL scientists have found that stiffening the membranes of cancer cells can lead to improved immunotherapy outcomes. Preclinical tests show that it can increase long-term survival rates to nearly 50%.

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Membrane

A membrane is a layer of material which serves as a selective barrier between two phases and remains impermeable to specific particles, molecules, or substances when exposed to the action of a driving force. Some components are allowed passage by the membrane into a permeate stream, whereas others are retained by it and accumulate in the retentate stream.

Membranes can be of various thickness, with homogeneous or heterogeneous structure. Membrane can also be classified according to their pore diameter. According to IUPAC, there are three different types of pore size classifications: microporous (dp < 2nm), mesoporous (2nm < dp < 50nm) and macroporous (dp > 50nm). Membranes can be neutral or charged, and particles transport can be active or passive. The latter can be facilitated by pressure, concentration, chemical or electrical gradients of the membrane process. Membranes can be generally classified into three groups: inorganic, polymeric or biological membranes. These three types of membranes differ significantly in their structure and functionality.

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