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Vaccine Has Led To Changes In Pneumococcal Infections

Story Summary: The vaccine is called PC7 because it protects against seven major disease-causing strains of pneumococci. As infections with PC7-covered strains decreased, infections with strains not covered by PC7 increased as a result, the overall rate of serious infections remained about the same. Although most of the children recovered from their infection, the fatality rate was 1. However, from 2006 to 2008, the infection rate began to rise again. This is of special concern because these antibiotic-resistant bacteria were not previously identified in Dallas; the Massachusetts study also showed an increased rate of antibioticresistance. The new results are consistent with worldwide data on trends in pneumococcal infection, according to an accompanying editorial by Dr. Steve Black of Cincinnati Childrens Hospital. He stresses that the fluctuations in infection rates and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria do not mean that the PCV7 vaccination program is a failure patterns of antibiotic use have probably played a more important role in the shift toward serotype 19A. Lippincott Williams & WilkinsLippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher for healthcare professionals and students with nearly 300 periodicals and 1,500 books in more than 100 disciplines publishing under the LWW brand, as well as content-based sites and online corporate and customer services. LWW is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health and pharmacy. Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company. 8 billion), employs approximately 19,300 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to: These are the most read articles from this news category for the last 6 months: What Is Glandular Fever? What Is Infectious Mononucleosis?14 Oct 2009Glandular fever is a type of viral infection. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account….Read the Full Story

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  2. Newborn ICUs Seeing More Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections
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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Scientists Find New Genetic Clue For Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis, Treatment

Story Summary: MicroRNAs are small ribonucleic acids (RNA) that contain genetic information transcribed from genes contained in our DNA. After 10 years of follow-up on more than 1,000 patients receiving uniform treatment, the researchers were able to show that patterns in just 70 of the 25,000 genes tested could predict less aggressive, or low-risk, and more aggressive, or high-risk, forms of the disease. Approximately 20 percent of newly diagnosed cases are thus identified as high-risk. In our latest research, we found uniformly high levels of microRNAs in high-risk myeloma patients. The UAMS researchers also examined the relationship between microRNAs and the gene called EIF2C2 or Argonaute 2. Shaughnessys group had previously shown that Argonaute 2 is one of 51 overexpressed genes in high-risk multiple myeloma. In addition, if the behavior of the microRNAs are driving high-risk disease, which, in turn, is driven by elevated expression of Argonaute 2, then controlling Argonaute 2 expression might be a new treatment strategy for high-risk multiple myeloma, Shaughnessy said. The researchers reported in the PNAS paper that silencing Argonaute 2 in myeloma cell lines causes cell death. D. , as authors were Lijuan Chen, postdoctoral fellow; Owen Stephens, research associate; Xiaosong Wu, research associate; David R. Williams, research associate; Marie-Astrid Cartron, research associate; Frits van Rhee, M. D. , Ph. D. , professor of medicine and director of clinical research at the Myeloma Institute; Bijay Nair, M. D. , assistant professor of medicine; Sarah Waheed, M. D. , assistant professor of medicine; Mauricio Pineda-Roman, M. D. , assistant professor of medicine; Yazan Alsayed, M. D. , assistant professor of medicine; and Elias Anaissie, M. D. , professor of medicine and director of supportive care at the Myeloma Institute. Founded in 1989 by Barlogie, the UAMS Myeloma Institute has seen more than 9,000 patients from every state in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the states largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Some, like low blood counts, are serious. It is important for patients to take imatinib as prescribed by their doctor to fight the disease and to guard against resistance. It is important for patients to take imatinib as prescribed by their doctor to fight the disease and to guard against resistance….Read the Full Story

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  3. Use of multiple genetic markers not linked with better risk prediction of CVD


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TGen-Asuragen partner to advance pancreatic cancer research

Story Summary: If we can identify among higher-risk individuals a potential biomarker that suggests additional investigation is warranted, such as a imaging, that has potential value particularly if it leads to earlier detection and catching the cancer in an early stage, said Dr. Weiss, who also is director of Thoracic Oncology at TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare (TCRS). In addition, our collaboration will seek to identify better prognostic indicators for predicting the course of the disease and the prospects for recovery. Austin-based Asuragen is a leader in the development and use of microRNA technology to help find biomarkers that can pinpoint the genetic origins of disease. MicroRNAs are small molecules that regulate gene expression in the process of making proteins as well as directing the structure and function of cells. Asuragen is currently conducting a multi-institution study to develop a miRNA-based test for PDAC using fine needle aspirate specimens. Asuragen recognized the value of blood-based miRNA markers very early and has been working steadily to enable early detection of cancer in circulating biofluids using miRNAs. The only current prognostic in pancreatic cancer is a blood test for tumor markers known as CA-19-9. If we can identify biomarkers that improve on the performance of CA-19-9 as a prognostic test for disease relapse after surgery, that may be helpful in identifying those higher-risk individuals for new therapies that may prevent disease relapse, Dr. Weiss said. Asuragen is currently leveraging its CLIA laboratory to offer and further commercialize the first ever laboratory developed microRNA diagnostic assay, designed to aid in the diagnosis and disease management of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Asuragen also manufactures and markets its Signature(r) Oncology and Genetic diagnostic kits for use in other clinical laboratories. The cGLP laboratory services include sample preparation know-how, genomic profiling applications, biomarker discovery capabilities, assay design and validation, CLIA-based clinical testing, bioinformatic analysis, a high level of regulatory proficiency, and project management expertise. In addition, Asuragen has a cGMP manufacturing facility that allows it to span the spectrum of discovery, testing, production, and commercialization. About TGenThe Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan….Read the Full Story

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  1. Affymetrix and Asuragen Sign Agreement to Supply RNA Control Kits for Molecular Diagnostic Applications
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  3. Asuragenas CLIA Laboratory Receives Accreditation from College of American Pathologists


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Ultrasensitive imaging method uses gold-silver nanocages

Story Summary: It allows us to clearly identify the nanocages and the tissues. His team fabricated the nanocages and nanoparticles used in the research. The gold-silver structures yielded images 10 times brighter than other experimental imaging research using gold nanospheres and nanorods. Normally, three-photon luminescence is too dim to be used for imaging. The ultrafast laser also is thought to possibly play a role by causing third harmonic generation, which increases the brightness. The new technique does not use plasmon enhancement, eliminating this heating, Cheng said. The cages and particles are about 40 nanometers wide, or roughly 100 times smaller than a red blood cell. The researchers intravenously injected the nanocages into mice and then took images of the tiny structures in tissue samples from organs such as the liver and spleen. This composite image shows luminous nanocages, which appear like stars against a black background, and a living cell, at upper left. The gold-silver nanocages exhibit a bright three-photon luminescence when excited by the ultrafast pulsed laser, with 10-times greater intensity than pure gold or silver nanoparticles. The signal allows live cell imaging with negligible damage from heating. The signal allows live cell imaging with negligible damage from heating….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

CSHL scientists discover how a tumor suppressor induces senescence and staves off cancer

Story Summary: Mutations in the gene disable the vast and intricate RB pathway in virtually all tumor cells, leading to disturbances in a host of cellular functions and ultimately provoking cancer. But which of these functions is crucial for the genes tumor-suppressing activity has been uncertain. One of the cellular processes controlled by the RB family is cellular senescence, which is now known to act as a barrier against cancer. D. , a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Lowe and the lead investigator in the study. Its normal function is to spur DNA replication during the cell cycle and hence it is tightly suppressed by RB in senescent cells. The team showed that the loss of RB frees cyclin E1, thus allowing cells to escape senescence. Our teams findings suggest that the selective targeting of DNA replication genes during senescence represents one key activity of RB in tumor suppression, says Lowe. The full citation is: Agustin Chicas, Xiaowo Wang, Chaolin Zhang, Mila McCurrach, Zhen Zhao, Ozlem Mert, Ross A. Dickins, Masashi Narita, Michael Zhang, Scott W. Lowe. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, not-for-profit research and education institution at the forefront of efforts in molecular biology and genetics to generate knowledge that will yield better diagnostics and treatments for cancer, neurological diseases and other major causes of human suffering….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

A lab rat — created in the lab

Story Summary: New research in the field of tissue engineering by Prof. Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv Universitys Faculty of Engineering holds a promise that far fewer lab animals will be needed for the necessary experimental trials. Dr. Gefens research into fat cells, published in a recent issue of Tissue Engineering, has led him to conclude that the necessary tissue can be produced from fat, skin, bone and muscle cells. A more efficient road to scientific researchBridging the worlds of biology and engineering, Prof. Gefen is now using adult rat stem cells — cells that can be stimulated to create skin, bone, fat and muscle tissue from an animal in a laboratory setting. Our tools spare an enormous number of lives, Prof. Gefen says. He is currently bringing together a number of discrete research directions from the separate fields of mechanics, tissue engineering and biology. He is also developing a new tool for researchers to investigate fat accumulation in cells (an important question for diabetes researchers) and weight loss drugs. Another measures how much sensation is left in a diabetic limb. For all these approaches, Prof. Gefen has adopted tissue engineering methods to use fewer animals in his trials….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Stanford researchers find electrical current stemming from plants

Story Summary: From the photosynthesizing cells, the electrode collected electrons that had been energized by light and the researchers generated a tiny electric current. Plants use photosynthesis to convert light energy to chemical energy, which is stored in the bonds of sugars they use for food. The process takes place in chloroplasts, the cellular powerhouses that make sugars and give leaves and algae their green color. In the chloroplasts, water is split into oxygen, protons and electrons. In this experiment, the researchers intercepted the electrons just after they had been excited by light and were at their highest energy levels. They placed the gold electrodes in the chloroplasts of algae cells, and siphoned off the electrons to generate the tiny electrical current. But the question is, is it economically feasible?Ryu said they were able to draw from each cell just one picoampere, an amount of electricity so tiny that they would need a trillion cells photosynthesizing for one hour just to equal the amount of energy stored in a AA battery. Ryu said it could theoretically reach 100 percent efficiency one day. ) Possible next steps would be to use a plant with larger chloroplasts for a larger collecting area, and a bigger electrode that could capture more electrons. ) Possible next steps would be to use a plant with larger chloroplasts for a larger collecting area, and a bigger electrode that could capture more electrons. Ryu is now a professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Scientists find new genes for cancer, other diseases in plants, yeast and worms

Story Summary: The University of Texas at Austin scientists exploited the fact that all life on Earth shares common ancestry, and therefore shares sets of genes. They found genes in yeast, for example, that humans use to make veins and arteries, even though yeasts have no blood vessels at all. In doing so, it highlights genes that are known to work together to do one thing in the non-human organism, but the function of which are not yet known in humans. The newly found human angiogenesis genes are great candidates for drugs, says Marcotte. Tumors fool your body into feeding them by initiating blood vessel growth, and thats the reason were interested in angiogenesis, says Marcotte. Surprisingly, it is the same set of genes in the worms responsible for determining how many male offspring a parent worm births. Their goal is to find new genetic targets for therapy. Their goal is to find new genetic targets for therapy. By exploiting evolution and looking at lower organisms that dont even have the organs were looking for–blood vessels or even heads–but share some of the underlying molecular processes, were able to discover genes relevant to human diseases, says Marcotte. By exploiting evolution and looking at lower organisms that dont even have the organs were looking for–blood vessels or even heads–but share some of the underlying molecular processes, were able to discover genes relevant to human diseases, says Marcotte. Marcotte admits it may seem odd to look for human disease genes in something like a plant or yeast, but that the information is proving to be extremely useful, if not surprising. Marcotte admits it may seem odd to look for human disease genes in something like a plant or yeast, but that the information is proving to be extremely useful, if not surprising….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

The Search For Brains Defenses To Ward Off Infections, Prevent Memory Loss

Story Summary: While the blood-brain barrier generally blocks harmful pathogens from reaching brain tissue, Williams said not all parts of the brain have this protection. The big question is what role, if any, do beta defensins play in the development of chronic inflammatory response in the brain, Williams said. Beta defensins are found in the skin and in lung, kidney, intestines, mouth, stomach, and vagina. Some 20-beta defensins are known to exist in humans, other mammals and plants. This study is among a number of funded projects by the University Center on Aging and Health supported by the Presidents Strategic Initiatives Fund and McGregor Foundation, located in the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and under the direction of Diana Morris, that encourage interdisciplinary research projects among campus researchers. Source: Susan Griffith Case Western Reserve University Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Improving Health CareImprovements are necessary to make sure Americans get the best quality health care and that money for this care is being spent as effectively as possible. Meningitis OverviewEach year you hear about small outbreaks of meningitis. Learn why the classic symptoms of a high fever and stiff neck shouldnt be ignored. Learn why the classic symptoms of a high fever and stiff neck shouldnt be ignored….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Bringing better grapes a step closer to reality

Story Summary: A team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers has found a way to speed things up by developing a way to identify genetic markers in the grapevines genome that can be linked with specific traits, such as fruit quality, environmental adaptation, and disease and pest resistance. Computational biologist Doreen Ware, geneticists Edward Buckler and Charles Simon, and research leader Gan-Yuan Zhong have developed a relatively fast and inexpensive way to identify genetic markers not only in grapes, but also in other crops by using modern sequencing approaches. They found the SNPS contained enough data to identify the relationships and geographic origins of the cultivars. But in the meantime, the work will help researchers identify portions of the grape genome where they can find genes that confer desirable traits, offering better information for breeders developing new varieties. The technique also should make it easier to identify the origins of other types of plants, characterize relationships in other plant collections, and accelerate genetic mapping efforts in a number of crop species. Story Source:Adapted from materials provided by . Original article written by Dennis OBrien. 0008219ARS researchers have developed a relatively fast and inexpensive way to identify genetic markers in grapes that can be linked with specific traits such as fruit quality, environmental adaptation, and disease and pest resistance, which can speed up breeding better grape varieties. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:FeedbackTell us what you think of the new ScienceDaily — we welcome both positive and negative comments….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Genes under control: Scientists develop gene switch for chloroplasts in plant cells

Story Summary: The organelles of photosynthesis — the chloroplasts — also have their own DNA, messenger RNA and ribosomes for forming proteins. Max Planck scientists have now discovered how to regulate the formation of proteins in the chloroplasts. These RNA molecules are the instruction manuals that show the ribosomes — the cells protein factories — how to build a protein. So the theophylline riboswitch allows us to switch a gene on or off at will and see what effects result, explains Ralph Bock from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. This had previously been a difficult thing to achieve, given that the chloroplast genome contains numerous genes which are essential for survival. However, studying the way chloroplasts work in more specific detail is not the only thing that can be done with the theophylline riboswitch. Riboswitches could also play an important role in the biotechnology of the future, given that chloroplasts are well-suited to the production of potential drugs. By way of example, the Potsdam-based scientists modified the genes of the tobacco plant such that it was able to produce large quantities of an antibiotic in its leaves. Chloroplasts rarely spread through pollenProteins could be produced in much larger quantities in genetically modified chloroplasts. In many cases, however, these foreign proteins damage cellular metabolism or photosynthesis if the cells produce them continuously. Consequently, the growth of such plants is often inhibited or extremely slow. They could be used to switch on the corresponding genes when the plant is already fully formed and about to be harvested. It is therefore extremely rare for foreign genes to spread through the pollen of the tobacco plants. Story Source:Adapted from materials provided by . Journal Reference:Andreas Verhounig, Daniel Karcher, and Ralph Bock….Read the Full Story

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Hepatitis A virus: Recent advances for improving treatment strategies

Story Summary: The study reported in the article was carried out by a team of experts from the University of Barcelona Enteric Viruses Group, a leading international group in the genomic study of the hepatitis A virus, directed by Rosa M. Pinto and Albert Bosch, lecturers for the Department of Microbiology and members of the Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety Research (INSA-UB). According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 1. There are still many aspects of its biology about which very little is known: it has a very low replication rate, which means that the process for obtaining a vaccine antigen is also slow and very expensive, explains Albert Bosch. This usage strategy is linked to the tRNA pool available to the virus during its life cycle and which will be translated by the cellular, says Rosa M. Pinto. However, the hepatitis A virus displays a contrasting pattern, in which selection of codon usage to optimize translation kinetics causes some codons to pair with common tRNAs and others to pair with rare tRNAs. The HAV is also a highly unique virus that demonstrates different codon usage to that of the host cell, exhibiting a deoptimized strategy. Rosa M. Pinto explains that in this scenario, Finding a rare tRNA is much more difficult — really just a question of luck. One of the questions commonly asked by researchers is whether, under optimum conditions, it would be possible to optimize the HAV codon usage strategy. To find an answer, the group designed a protocol using the dug actinomycin D, which inhibits cellular transcription, increasing the available tRNA pool and allowing the virus codon usage to readapt. According to experts, the strategic usage of rarer codons favours the virus survival by enhancing protein folding in the capsid, the protein shell which remains highly stable in the external environment. The research community is interested in how the translation rate of HAV can be accelerated and whether other viruses show similar codon usage biases. The UBs Enteric Virus Group, a pioneering group in international research into codon usage in picornaviruses, aims to answer these questions and to pursue important goals such as determining whether the underlying mechanism of the usage bias is unique to the hepatitus A virus, designing genomic strategies for optimizing codon usage and the viral replication rate, obtaining more efficient strains of the virus, and lowering the costs of producing the vaccine against this common liver disease. ppat. 1000797In Other News . . ….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Community research guidelines set stage for real world scholarship

Story Summary: Instead, they developed a program in which undergraduates served as research assistants and, in return, garnered hands-on experience and received elective academic credit. And it contributed substantially to the success of the research projects themselves, Taliaferro says. But, while successful, the researchers also found that incorporating students into community-based research projects was a lot of work. We learned some lessons that we think will be useful for other researchers interested in community engagement, Taliaferro says. You need to accommodate the schedules of both students and community members, which are often very different. And you need to make sure that students know from the outset that a program like this involves a significant time commitment well beyond what is expected in the classroom. Similarly, faculty must realize that a program like this one is much more than a classroom experience, Taliaferro says. It involves hours of student training, preparing community partners to work with students and coordination effort. You need students who are intrinsically motivated, Taliaferro says, to go beyond what is normally expected of undergraduates….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

JCI online early table of contents: April 12, 2010

Story Summary: Similarly, in a mouse model of ovarian cancer, restraint stress and the associated increases in norepinephrine and epinephrine protected the tumor cells from anoikis and promoted their growth. TITLE: Adrenergic modulation of focal adhesion kinase protects human ovarian cancer cells from anoikisAUTHOR CONTACT: Anil K. Sood University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA. EDITORS PICK: Clinical trial drug exacerbates tuberculosis in miceType I IFNs are immune molecules that have a central role in antiviral host defense. They have been shown to be of clinical benefit in the treatment of a number of viral infections and cancers, and molecules such as Poly-ICLC that potently induce long-lived type I IFN responses are in clinical trials. However, data generated by Lis Antonelli and colleagues, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, indicate that Poly-ICLC exacerbates lung damage and bacterial load in mice infected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, leading them to suggest that such agents should be used with caution in individuals in which M. tuberculosisis dormant. In the study, the marked increase in lung bacterial load and widespread lung damage observed in Poly-ICLCtreated M. tuberculosisinfected mice, which was absent in mice lacking the receptor for type I IFNs, was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the number of myeloid immune cells characterized as CD11b+F4/80+Gr1int in the lungs. These cells, which were recruited to the lungs by the chemoattractant CCL2 induced by Poly-ICLC, preferentially supported bacterial growth, providing a mechanistic explanation as to why Poly-ICLC exacerbates lung damage and bacterial load in M. tuberculosisinfected mice. EDITORS PICK: Immune molecules target swine- and avian-origin influenza Antibodies are immune molecules that have a key role in protecting against infection with influenza virus. The target of the protective antibodies is the influenza protein HA, which varies so dramatically among influenza viruses that it is used to classify them into subtypes (H1H16). However, Antonio Lanzavecchia and colleagues, at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Switzerland, have now found that some individuals vaccinated with seasonal influenza vaccine containing H1 and H3 influenza viruses produce antibodies that can target H5 HA, the form of HA used by the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus. However, Valerie Weaver and colleagues, at the University of California, San Francisco, have now generated data that provide an explanation for the loss of BRCA1 expression in sporadic human breast tumors in the absence of BRCA1 genetic modifications by analyzing human breast cancer tissue and cell lines. TITLE: HOXA9 regulates BRCA1 expression to modulate human breast tumor phenotypeAUTHOR CONTACT: Valerie M. Weaver University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA. orgIMMUNOLOGY: A NOD(1) to antibacterial host defense via type I IFNsType I IFNs are immune molecules that have a central role in antiviral host defense. The protein NOD1 is found inside the epithelial cells that line the various body cavities, including the intestines and stomach. In this study, which was led by Warren Strober and Tomohiro Watanabe, stimulating NOD1 in human epithelial cells was unexpectedly found to activate a signaling pathway that leads to the production of type I IFNs. These data expand our knowledge of the role of both NOD1 and type I IFNs in host defense. TITLE: NOD1 contributes to mouse host defense against Helicobacter pylori via induction of type I IFN and activation of the ISGF3 signaling pathwayAUTHOR CONTACT: Warren Strober National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. gov. HEMATOLOGY: Setting the story straight: HDL does not regulate blood clottingHDL cholesterol is considered good cholesterol and its levels in the blood correlate inversely with hardening of the arteries, a condition that is a major cause of heart attack and stroke. Previous studies have indicated a role for HDL as a regulator of blood clotting (blood coagulation). Specifically, it was found that HDL helped the anticoagulant protein APC degrade the blood clotting protein FVa. However, a team of researchers, led by Bjorn Dahlback, at Lund University, Sweden, has now isolated HDL from human plasma using a different purification technique and found that HDL does not have the ability to perform this function, rather this property of HDL is instead caused by contaminating negatively charged phospholipid membranes. TITLE: Reevaluation of the role of HDL in the anticoagulant activated protein C system in humansAUTHOR CONTACT: Bjorn Dahlback Lund University, University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden. Despite treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, some patients go on to develop graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), a condition in which immune cells derived from the transplanted cells attack and destroy the recipients body. This is one of the most common and clinically important problems affecting long-term HSCT survivors and it is associated with a relative deficiency in immune cells known as Tregs in the blood. Jerome Ritz and colleagues, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, have now determined that Treg deficiency occurs in patients in which the number of immune cells known as CD4+ T cells takes a long time to rebound following HSCT. This is because the amount of salt in our body determines how much fluid is retained, and too much salt in our body means excess fluid is retained and blood pressure rises. One cause of high blood pressure is abnormal retention of sodium, the component of salt responsible for regulating fluid levels, by the kidney. However, Dominique Eladari and colleagues, at INSERM U872, France, have now determined in mice that thiazides target the protein SLC4A8 and that this is an ion exchanger that mediates thiazide-sensitive sodium retention in a region of the kidney known as the cortical collecting ducts….Read the Full Story

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  1. JCI online early table of contents: April 1, 2010
  2. JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 15, 2010
  3. JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 8, 2010


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

UNC study offers first clinical evidence of anti-cancer drug triggering viral infection

Story Summary: A new study led by UNC scientists shows that a common cancer drug can activate a viral infection that, paradoxically, can help anti-viral medications eradicate virus-associated cancer. The cooperative study, conducted by a team of UNC School of Medicine scientists and the UNC Project in Malawi, demonstrated for the first time in humans that a common drug used to treat Burkitt lymphoma can activate infection by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a virus which typically lies latent inside the tumor cells of affected patients. Gulley is a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through laboratory analysis of biopsy samples, researchers found that cyclophosphamide seems to induce the phase of viral infection most susceptible to antiviral therapy. The next step, explains Gulley, is to design a clinical trial using both cytoxan and an antiviral agent simultaneously. Plans for such a trial are already underway under the leadership of Carol Shores, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery in UNCs Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and senior author of the study….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Medical Spas Warned about Lipodissolve

Medical spas are making big bucks on a procedure called lipodissolve, the latest fad for getting rid of unwanted fat. The procedure involves the injection directly into subcutaneous fat deposits of two active ingredients that allegedly break the bonds in the molecular form of stored fat (for more, see Human Biology 5th ed., pp. 94-95.). The active ingredients may also disrupt the cell membranes of fat cells, causing death of the cells. Goodby, fat! But does it work?

In fact, the products used in the lipodissolve procedure have never been evaluated and approved for that purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The safety and efficacy of the lipodissolve procedure is unknown. So this month the FDA sent warning letters to six U.S. medical spas and to a Brazilian firm that advertises the lipodissolve procedure over the internet, warning them to stop making false or misleading statements about the products used in the procedure. The letters warned that assertions that the products used in lipodissolve are safe and effective, have an outstanding safety record, or are superior to other fat-loss procedures are unwarranted and are in violation of the federal FDA Cosmetic act. The companies must take action to correct the violations and to prevent future ones or they will face legal action.

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Sigma(R) Life Science Announces the Next Generation of the Award-Winning Your Favorite Gene Powered By Ingenuity Research Portal

Story Summary: We launched Your Favorite Gene Powered By Ingenuity to serve as a leading destination for researchers and students exploring diseases, functions and gene pathways, said Dr. David Smoller, president of Sigma-Aldrichs Research Biotech business unit. We have responded to that need by adding not only content but also greater functionality that allows researchers to quickly connect with information that is directly relevant to their research. Your Favorite Gene Powered By Ingenuity provides researchers with the capability to model and evaluate prospective experiments in the context of previously published scientific literature, and provides streamlined access to Sigma-Aldrichs extensive portfolio of validated shRNAs, siRNAs, Prestige Antibodies(r) powered by Atlas antibodies, bioactive small molecules, CompoZr(r) ZFNs, and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. About Sigma Life Science: Sigma Life Science is a Sigma-Aldrich brand that represents Sigmas leadership in innovative biological products and services for the global life science market and offers an array of biologically-rich products and reagents that researchers use in scientific investigation. Product areas include biomolecules, genomics and functional genomics, cells and cell-based assays, transgenics, protein assays, stem cell research, epigenetics and custom services/oligonucleotides. Sigma Life Science also provides an extensive range critical bioessentials like biochemicals, antibiotics, buffers, carbohydrates, enzymes, forensic tools, hematology and histology, nucleotides, amino acids and their derivatives, and cell culture media. Its biochemical and organic chemical products and kits are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostic and other high technology manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich has customers in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals, and in industry. Sigma-Aldrich operates in 38 countries and has 7,700 employees providing excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to Accelerating Customers Success through Innovation and Leadership in Life Science, High Technology and Service. sigma-aldrich. About Ingenuity Systems: Ingenuity Systems enables researchers to model, analyze, and understand complex biological and chemical systems foundational to human health and disease. About Ingenuity Systems: Ingenuity Systems enables researchers to model, analyze, and understand complex biological and chemical systems foundational to human health and disease. All of Ingenuitys products and services have one common goal — to provide relevant context and understanding to life science researchers. Ingenuity was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California with offices in Germany, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Silence Therapeutics Executes Strategic Plan to Optimize and Integrate Technologies and Assets From Intradigm Merger

Story Summary: Moving forward, all research activities related to Silences novel RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic platforms, including technologies that have emerged from both Silence and Intradigm, will take place at the Companys Berlin location. Other functions including operations, business development, legal and certain drug development activities will be conducted in Palo Alto. We believe this new structure will allow us to most effectively advance Silences novel RNAi therapeutic platforms, support our ongoing partnerships and focus our business development efforts that are critical to establishing new partnerships, stated Philip Haworth, Ph. com) Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) is a leading global biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of targeted, systemic RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. The company possesses multiple proprietary siRNA delivery technology platforms including AtuPLEX(TM), a system that enables the functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake. A second, complementary delivery technology known as PolyTran(TM) uses a library of novel peptide-based biodegradable polycationic polymers for systemic siRNA administration. The companys strong and diverse intellectual property portfolio includes exclusive licenses from the University of Massachusetts on three patent families associated with the Zamore Design Rules, which cover broad structural features of siRNA design for more potent next generation siRNA sequences. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Silence Therapeutics and Silence Therapeutics assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Silence Therapeutics and Silence Therapeutics assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Silence Therapeutics and Silence Therapeutics assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Case Western Reserve team discovers smart insulin molecule

Story Summary: Studies have demonstrated that obesity and excess insulin – whether naturally produced by the body or injected in synthetic form – are associated with an increased incidence of some common cancers. With the release of todays study, Supramolecular Protein Engineering – Design of Zinc-Stapled Insulin Hexamers as a Long Acting Depot, in the prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry, a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, led by Michael Weiss, MD, PhD, Cowan-Blum Professor of Cancer Research and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry, reveals their invention of a smart insulin protein molecule that binds considerably less to cancer receptors and self-assembles under the skin. We regard the injected insulin solution as forming a new biomaterial that can be engineered to optimize its nano-scale properties, says Dr. Weiss. The potential of interfacial zinc-binding sites, introduced by design, to modify the pharmacokinetics of a protein in a subcutaneous depot. Such bottom-up control of assembly illustrates general principles of supramolecular chemistry and their application to nanobiotechnology. Zinc stapling of insulin exemplifies a general strategy to modify the pharmacokinetic and biological properties of a subcutaneous protein depot….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

International research team discovers novel genes influencing kidney disease risk

Story Summary: The team, known as the CKDGen Consortium, examined common variations in DNA sequences in more than 65,000 individuals of European descent. Common variations in several genes were found to be more frequent among people with poor kidney function or chronic kidney disease than in those with normal kidney function. Research over the past 10 years has shown that chronic kidney disease increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Weve know for a long time that diabetes, hypertension and family history are strong risk factors for kidney disease, but we have not been able to fully understand why. These findings will ultimately shed light on how and why kidney disease clusters in families and why it occurs in some individuals but not others, said Linda Kao, PhD, MHS, associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Healths departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the senior Johns Hopkins author on the study. By studying the genes identified in this study, we can learn more about basic mechanisms underlying kidney function and disease. It is exciting to see research from around the world come together to collaborate and unlock the mysteries of kidney disease genetics….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Fight-or-flight hormones help tumor cells escape to spread

Story Summary: In preclinical research, the team found that heightened levels of the fight-or-flight stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine permit more malignant cells to safely leave the primary tumor, a necessary step in metastasis and cancer progression. They also found that ovarian cancer patients face earlier mortality when a crucial protein activated by the hormones is present at high levels in their tumors and that depressed patients have higher levels of the protein. Two promising approaches – directly silencing a crucial protein or using beta blockers to preempt its activation – worked in cell culture and mouse models, making them candidates for human use. The researchers examined 80 cases of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer to assess the role of stress-induced FAK activity. FAK abundance tied to earlier deathPatients with high levels of either measure had greatly reduced overall survival over three years. About 65 percent of those with low FAK expression survived at least three years compared with 30 percent of those with high expression. Major depression was defined as a score greater than 16 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression CESD scale for the purposes of this study….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

The pre-history of life: Elegantly simple organizing principles seen in ribosomes

Story Summary: Although different hypotheses abound, just how individual amino acids were assigned to specific three-letter combinations or codons during the evolution of the genetic code is still subject to speculation. Taking their hints from relics of this evolution left behind in modern cells, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies concluded that after only two waves of matching and some last minute fiddling, all 20 commonly used amino acids were firmly linked with their respective codons, setting the stage for the emergence of proteins with unique, defined sequences and properties. Cells provide a dazzling variety of functions that cover all of our bodys needs, yet they make do with a very limited number of molecular building blocks. Also, the ribosome emerged from an early evolutionary stage of life to help with the translation of the genetic code before the last universal common ancestor, explains Wang, and therefore is more likely to serve as a molecular fossil that preserved biological evidence. When Wang and Johnson probed bacterial ribosomes for imprints of the genetic code, they found evidence that direct interactions between amino acids and nucleotide triplet anticodons helped establish matching pairs. We now believe that the genetic code was established in two different stages, says Johnson. We found evidence that a few amino acids were reassigned to a different codon but once the code was in place it took over, says Johnson….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Mapping the fruit fly brain

Story Summary: WASHINGTON– A new computer-based technique is exploring uncharted territory in the fruit fly brain with cell-by-cell detail that can be built into networks for a detailed look at how neurons work together. The research may ultimately lead to a complete master plan of the entire fly brain. The brains come from flies that were genetically programmed so that select neurons glow when struck with a particular type of laser light. We want to map a lot of neuron streets onto the Earth, he said. Peng and his colleagues have started combing their preliminary brain map for interesting features and comparing different flies brains to one another. For the most part, patterns of neuron-connecting axons dont vary much from brain to brain, the researchers found. For example, the variety of shapes found in the neurons of a wheel-shaped brain structure called the ellipsoid body are just amazing, Peng says. In the same fly, some of the cell bodies spread inside the ring, while others point outward in a complex lock-and-key arrangement. V3D enables real-time 3D visualization and quantitativeanalysis of large-scale biological image data sets. A 3D Compartment-Level Digital Atlas of the Adult Fruit Fly Brain. A 3D Compartment-Level Digital Atlas of the Adult Fruit Fly Brain….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Japanese gut bacteria gain special powers from sushi

Story Summary: The enzyme turned up in samples of marine bacteria, but also, curiously, the gut of a Japanese person. The gene was not found in any North American, but the group found porphyranase genes in 5 of the 13 Japanese. But we can say that apparently this enzyme is present only in Japanese and not in North Americans. But this is the first time a gut bacterium has been found to have got new genes from its hosts food. Its a really nice demonstration of genetic variation of microbiota between individuals, says Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford University in California. But non-Japanese readers shouldnt rush off for a sushi fix to grow your own porphyranase enzymes just yet. Supermarket seaweeds are commonly roasted to sterilise them, Czjzek says. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the Report link in that comment to report it to us. 14:00 12 April 2010Some caterpillars warning signals may have evolved from walking – the best evidence yet that communication can evolve from routine behaviour13:56 12 April 2010MAOAis the gene that causes aggression. But though his tale is seen through insect eyes, its really about us14:39 12 April 2010Noctilucent clouds wax and wane over a period of 27 days, which suggests that their formation is partly controlled by the rotation of the sun14:00 12 April 2010Some caterpillars warning signals may have evolved from walking – the best evidence yet that communication can evolve from routine behaviour13:56 12 April 2010MAOAis the gene that causes aggression….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Dangerous DNA: The truth about the warrior gene

Story Summary: In the following years, evidence poured in to bolster the connection between MAOAand aggression. Unravelling the interaction between genes and behaviour is one of the toughest tasks in biology. The publication of the entire human genetic code, a decade ago, dispelled any illusions that having the genetic blueprint of our species would give a clear insight into our nature. Instead, what became clear is that we have far fewer genes than anyone imagined, and that understanding how these shape us as individuals is going to be a colossal task. Working out the exact steps is devilishly difficult, and conveying the findings to those without a scientific background is just as problematic. It provides four key messages for anyone trying to get to grips with the interplay between genes and behaviour. It encodes a protein that breaks down some of the brains signalling molecules when they have outlived their usefulness – including serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine. If it slacks on the job, the build-up of these neurotransmitters leads to abnormal moods and behaviour. Like the defunct version of MAOAfound in the Dutch family, MAOA-L, is associated with violence and aggression. Headlines proclaimed that gang culture may be due to warrior gene and that boys who carry the gene are likely to be dangerous, violent and carry weapons. MAOA-Lis actually very common: a third of white people have this version and most of them have nothing to do with gangs. Besides, aggression is not the only behaviour associated with MAOAand, moreover, problem behaviours are not just associated with underactive versions of the gene. MAOA-Hhas been linked with risky financial choices, such as playing the lottery and not buying insurance. While some of the findings are questionable, MAOAs reach is likely to be extensive because the brain signalling molecules it helps break down have a wide range of roles. Other genes, including MAOBand COMT, affect the creation, use and breakdown of the same neurotransmitters. For example, one found that women with MAOA-Lare more likely to become depressed while pregnant, but only if they also carry a low-activity version of COMT. (56% of 46 men is significantly more than the 33% found in white people. And saying that another study found no link in non-white Americans between the allele and aggression doesnt mean anything unless we know what the study would have been capable of finding (the statistical power)….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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