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Top stories: A medical miracle, a new cancer treatment, and a rodent of unusual size
(left to right) James Gurney; NCI; P. Riedinger/EMBL

Top stories: A medical miracle, a new cancer treatment, and a rodent of unusual size

Ratzilla: Ancient giant rodent chomped like a crocodile

Meet Ratzilla, an immense, bison-sized rodent that lived in South America 3 million years ago. The rodent weighed about a metric ton and had a bite force three times higher than that of today's tigers and crocodiles. Talk about rodents of unusual size!

Fill up your gas tank with bamboo?

2014 was a banner year for biofuels, but they're still a lot more expensive than gas. Researchers are always on the lookout for new ways to trim costs, and now they've found a microbe that just might solve their problems.

BUDGET 2016 COVERAGE: A roundup of Obama's science spending request

The Obama administration presented its budget request to Congress on 2 February for the 2016 fiscal year. It calls for about a 6% increase in R&D budgets, but basic research would get just about 3%. That tilt toward the practical worries some researchers.

Lab on a chip turns smart phones into mobile disease clinics

Researchers have designed a cheap, easy-to-use smart phone attachment that can test patients for diseases like HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes, and it only uses a tiny bit of power: A fourth-generation iPod Touch could screen 41 patients on a single charge.

Electric fields deliver drugs into tumors

Chemotherapy is a mainstay of cancer treatment, but most of the drugs are toxic and have a hard time penetrating tumors. Now, researchers have figured out how to use electric fields to drive chemo compounds specifically into tumors, dramatically increasing the drugs’ concentration and shrinking the tumors.

Shattered chromosome cures woman of immune disease

Call it a scientific oddity—or a medical miracle. A girl who grew up with a serious genetic immune disease was apparently cured in her 30s by one of her chromosomes shattering into pieces and reassembling.