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Gene bandage rejuvenates wasted muscle

Story Summary: Around 1 in 3500 boys are born with DMD, the result of mutations in a gene on the X chromosome for the protein dystrophin. Boys with DMD tend to need wheelchairs by age 12 and die of cardiac or respiratory failure before they reach 30. If injected, these bandages cause the mutations, which normally prevent dystrophin production, to be skipped over during protein-making. If you would like to reuse any contentfrom New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndicationdepartment first for permission. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the Report link in that comment to report it to us. 15:34 08 April 2010Analysis of the monsters genome shows that it builds its own virus factory, supporting the idea that giant viruses shaped all animal and plant cells18:00 07 April 2010We are starting to understand why deep brain stimulation works – and its changing our view of the brain12:00 05 April 2010Eye-tracking could improve medical diagnosis or baggage scanning security checks by forcing viewers to look at new parts of an image second time round18:16 08 April 2010Another long-lost cousin is unearthed – of all the australopithicines yet found, its the closest anatomically to the true humans that evolved into us18:00 08 April 2010All todays stories on newscientist….Read the Full Story

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Researchers Identify Gene Pivotal for Immune System Balance

Story Summary: Chemical messengers known as cytokines control the development of naive T-helper cells into a variety of more specialized cells, including the Th1 or Th2 cells. Researchers reported this gene works indirectly by regulating production of interleukin 4 (IL-4), a cytokine that plays a central role in balancing Th1 and Th2 cells. Mice that made large amounts of the Mina protein had low IL-4 levels. Certain diseases are characterized by an imbalance between those cells. An imbalance favoring Th2 cells, known as Th2 bias, is linked to an increased risk of problems like allergies and asthma. In this study, investigators used a variety of tests to sort through 92 known or predicted genes within Dice1. Bix described Mina as a molecular handle scientists can use to grasp the rest of the new pathway, whose other elements Bix described as links in a chain. Each one of those links, including the gene we discovered, constitutes a novel target for therapeutic interventions that could help either promote or diminish development toward the Th2 fate, he explained. The researchers pointed to a region of DNA that included the Mina promoter. SNPs are relatively common variations in the makeup of particular genes. The researchers noted the same DNA region might contain other genomic variations that explain differences in Mina activity. Mina lacks an obvious location for binding to the IL-4 promoter. Minas role in response to a Leishmania major infection also remains unclear. Other St. Jude authors of the paper are Melanie Van Stry, PhD, and Linda Chung, both of Immunology; and Madoka Koyanagi, PhD, formerly of St. Jude. The research was supported in part by the Cancer Research Institute, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the National Institutes of Health and ALSAC. Jude Childrens Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, and has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza. Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,400 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospitals work would not be possible. D. , is an assistant member in the St. Jude Department of Immunology. His research is focused on the developmental regulation of cytokine gene expression within T cells….Read the Full Story

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Counterfeit drugs: an opportunity for innovative chemical thinking?

Can you tell the difference? Left is authentic sample. Right is fake.

A recent article [1] in “Trends in Pharmaceutical Sciences” illustrates the interesting problem of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, especially fake anti-malarials. In the long term, I suspect that as pharmaceutical prices trend upwards, folks at the margins will be looking for ways to cut costs. Doubtless that some will be taken in by the global trade in fake or substandard pharmaceuticals, possibly even in the US.

One village in Burma was definitely taken in [2]: a young man with malaria was treated with what was thought to be arteminisin, the natural product that is an effective means of treating the disease. After he died of malaria, experts discovered that the packages had fake authentication holograms and the tablets failed a colorimetric test. MS results indicated that the main ingredient was acetaminophen and HPLC indicated that the levels of arteminisin was only 20% of the claimed dosage.

The authors ([1], Newton et al.) argue for more support for governmental medicinal regulatory agencies in developing countries; they also push for more inspections of GMP facilities. While I think both of these strategies will bear long-term fruit, there is potential room for innovation from the chemistry front.

Presented with this problem (questionable organic starting materials), the typical university-equipped chemist would perform a number of tests (NMR, MS) to determine the identity of the unknown material. The articles I looked at also mentioned colorimetric tests and TLC, both relatively low-tech analytical chemistry techniques. I like TLC as a potential answer for part of this problem; you’d want something that didn’t rely on silica gel plates, a UV light or complicated stains. You’d want something that worked with paper chromatography and very common chemicals (H2SO4?)

This might be the first foray into a chemical version of “appropriate technology”, which attempts to improve the lives of people in developing countries using materials that are available and sustainable. What do you all think?

References:

1. Newton, P.N., Green, M.D., Fernandex, F.M. “Impact of poor-quality medicines in the ‘developing’ world.” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 2010, 31 (3), 99-101.

2. Newton P.N., McGready R., Fernandez F., Green M.D., Sunjio M., et al. “Manslaughter by fake artesunate in Asia—Will Africa be next?” PLos Med 2006, 3(6): e197.


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Giant mimivirus does its replication in-house

Story Summary: THE worlds largest known virus just got bigger, and analysis of its genome supports the controversial idea that giant virusesshaped the cells of all animals and plants. Armed with almost 1000 genes, the mimivirus is a monster compared with classic virusessuch as HIV or the flu virus, which seldom have more than 10 genes. Jean-Michel Claverie of the Structural and Genomic Information Laboratory in Marseilles, France, has performed the first analysis of its genetic machinery, identifying which of the mimiviruss genes are switched on during each stage of infection. The only other viruses that replicate outside the nucleus are poxviruses, but even they rely on the nucleus to replicate some of their DNA. In fact, the factory is so large it was originally mistaken for a nucleus. Claverie says the mimiviruss independence supports the theory that giant viruses gave rise to the nuclei that package up DNA in all plant and animal cells. This is one of the key aspects of my theory. Abraham Minsky of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, says the results support his own teams recent study showing that the mimivirus lives in a cells cytoplasm entirely independently of the host nucleus. If you would like to reuse any contentfrom New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndicationdepartment first for permission. 18:16 08 April 2010Another long-lost cousin is unearthed – of all the australopithicines yet found, its the closest anatomically to the true humans that evolved into us10:24 08 April 2010No one expected it to happen so quickly, and certainly not everywhere – but Homo sapiensis ageing fast….Read the Full Story

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Drug-resistant HIV set for rapid upsurge

Story Summary: To see how this might increase in future, Blowers team created a model of HIV transmission that predicts how and when resistant strains will emerge. The model suggested that 60 per cent of the resistant strains currently circulating in San Francisco could cause self-sustaining epidemics, says Blower, in which each infected individual spreads the resistant strain to more than one new recipient. The most serious surge in resistance it predicted was against non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) such as nevirapine, introduced in the mid-1990s. Like the earliest anti-HIV drugs such as zidovudine(AZT), introduced 10 years earlier, these block enzymes vital for viral multiplication. The more individuals infected with resistant strains, the faster they will spread. Resistant strains can be kept in check provided infected individuals are diagnosed rapidly, before they pass on the virus, and treated with drugs to which the virus remains vulnerable, says Blower. And according to Blower, a strategy recently unveiled by the World Health Organization to test and treat as many people as possiblein such countries may hasten the emergence of drug-resistant strains, by exposing more people to the drugs. However, Carl Dieffenbach, director of the division of AIDS at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland – which this week launched a similar pilot test and treat program in Washington DC – says that development of resistance is not an insoluble problem. The emergence of HIV drug resistance is not a dead end, he says. Without human promiscuity the virus would virtually cease to exist among humans. The best combat to the virus and prevention from it are monogamous relationships. No mention of barebacking nor that even with a condom anal intercourse that the risk to the passive partner is only reduced four- to five-fold. Time now to understand better why gaymen engage in acts that led to this terrible disease–otherwise the hospice scenes of the 80s will be quickly back. I can see the day where this virus is so resistant to drugs and treatments that it simply ignores them all. There would have to be some genetic engineering of our own cells involved and that science is still developing and hardly reliable. With HIV, you have to get it at the very beginning of infection because once its actually inside the cells, no amount of leafy greens and immuno-boosting supplements are going to prevent it from proliferating. Does the virus attack white blood cell creation in the bone marrow?Because you also have white blood cells outside your blood vessels, in a parallel system called lymph nodes (and vessels). All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules….Read the Full Story

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Infection insight raises hopes of better anti-HIV gels

Story Summary: If you would like to reuse any contentfrom New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndicationdepartment first for permission. Surely any woman who allows sexual intercourse with someone other than a long-term partner to occur *without* a condom is simply asking for trouble? Such a gel should be used in conjunction with condoms (they arent 100% effective), rather than being marketed as a risky replacement. That just isnt the way it works in Africa or most of the developing world. To show trust, you dont use a condom with your partner – if you use a condom, you are suggesting to him that you or he is cheating. A surgeon wouldnt show his certificate on a wall because if he had to, it is fake. Surely any woman who allows sexual intercourse with someone other than a long-term partner to occur *without* a condom is simply asking for trouble?Really? A gel that women can apply independently of what men do gives them autonomy and protection, even if its not perfect. Why cant I find the paper this article refers to? Why cant I find the paper this article refers to? . . help appreciated!All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules….Read the Full Story

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EMBL-EBI Researchers Present Global Map Of Human Gene Expression

Story Summary: By integrating gene expression data from an unprecedented variety of human tissue samples, Alvis Brazma and his team at the European Bioinformatics Institute, an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and their collaborators have for the first time produced a global map of gene expression. The full analysis behind this unique view of the genetic activities determining our appearance, function and behaviour is published in Nature Biotechnology. This established the identity of the six groups: brain; muscle; hematopoietic (blood related); healthy and tumour solid tissues; cell lines derived from solid tissues; and partially differentiated cells. Source: Sonia FurtadoEuropean Molecular Biology Laboratory 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. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form. 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: Do Genes Play A Role In PTSD? Study Of Rwanda Genocide Survivors Suggests Yes26 Feb 2010A study of Rwandan Genocide survivors, some with and some without post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, suggests that genetic factors influence the relationship between a persons traumatic load, or the number of. Getting Fit When Youre Crunched for TimeYou can get a full body workout even if you are crunched for time….Read the Full Story

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Healing touch: the key to regenerating bodies

Story Summary: If you were blind and deaf, youd get around by touch and smell. Biologists thought of cells as automatons that blindly followed the orders they were given. In recent years, however, it has started to become clear that the sense of touch is vital as well, allowing cells to work out for themselves where they are and what they should be doing. The latest findings are also good news for people who need replacement tissues and organs. And doctors are already experimenting with ways of using tactile cues to improve wound healing and regeneration. A hundred years ago, people looked at embryos and saw that it was an incredibly physical process, says Donald Ingber, head of Harvard Universitys Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Then when biochemistry and molecular biology came in, the baby was thrown out with the bath water and everybody just focused on chemicals and genes. In each case, the cells turned into the tissue that most closely matched the stiffness of the gel. The softest gels, which were as flabby as brain tissue, gave rise to nerve cells. Whats surprising is not that there are tactile differences between one tissue and another, says Discher. The details of how they do this are now emerging. Most cells other than blood cells live within a fibrous extracellular matrix. This softness means that tiny external forces can deform the cells and influence their development (Nature Materials, vol 9, p 82). New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing optionsavailable for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to. Fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamin E, may exert a tissue-softening effect too. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the Report link in that comment to report it to us. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the Report link in that comment to report it to us….Read the Full Story

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Picking our brains: Why are some people smarter?

Story Summary: Paul Thompson at the University of California, Los Angeles, has found a correlation between IQ and the quality of the sheaths (The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 29, p 2212). By comparing the intelligence of 11,000 pairs of twins, Robert Plomin of Kings College London found that at age 9, genes explain 40 per cent of the variation, but by 17 they account for roughly two-thirds (Molecular Psychiatry, DOI: 10. Perhaps the genes affect how our brain rewires itself as we mature. Alternatively, they may dictate whether someone is likely to seek out stimulating experiences to help their brain grow and develop. If you would like to reuse any contentfrom New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndicationdepartment first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing optionsavailable for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to. The percentage of variance in IQ due to genes depends in principle on the group studied (as in any question about percent of something due to genes). In more genetically varied subjects, the percentage of variance due to genes will be larger, whereas if the group studied includes a large range of environments, the percentage of the variance due to genes may be smaller….Read the Full Story

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Significant findings about protein architecture may aid in drug design, generation of nanomaterials

Story Summary: Their study culminated in one of the first successful attempts to take apart a complex biological nanostructure and isolate the rules that govern its natural formation. The Nanyang Technological University teams work on the protein ferritin, the results of which appear in this weeks issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is expected to have significant ramifications on the fields of drug design and nanomaterials. The problem is that many of these structures are, like ferritin, self-assembled proteins, and, if we are going to use them for nanomaterials applications, we need to understand the fundamentals that make them form this way naturally. Already, they have developed a new method to grow gold nanoparticles in them. Slight deviations in size or shape can radically change nanoparticles properties, particularly in the case of metals and semiconductors, Orner said. Our ferritin proteins are hollow, so, when we grow mineral or metal clusters inside them, the growth stops when the nanoparticles reach the limits of the protein shell. Those nanoparticles could be used for in-vitro assays to do high-throughput drug screening of some protein-protein interactions involved in virus infection and cancer, for example, he said. Orners team included doctoral students Yu Zhang and Rongli Fan, undergraduate students Siti Raudah, Huihian Teo and Gwenda Teo, and scholar Xioming Sun. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, at nonprofit research institutions and in industry….Read the Full Story

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Fate Therapeutics Expands its Stem Cell Empire Into Canada

Story Summary: This is important because it could be useful for generating human tissues in the lab for use in drug discovery–and it could make it practical for the first time for Big Pharma companies to do so at an industrialized scale. Whats more, the researches showed that certain biologic molecules could activate those pathways to regenerate muscle tissue. The work was publishedlast June in the journal Cell Stem Cell. Thats important for Fate, because the company is looking for specific molecular pathways that can be activated in the body–particularly with conventional small molecule drugs–to trigger a regenerative effect. Instead, it wants to use the knowledge it gleans from stem-cell science to come up with drugs that can coax the bodys existing cells into repairing or regenerating damaged tissues. For its part, Verio already has several biologic drug candidates that mightLuke Timmerman is the National Biotechnology Editor for Xconomy….Read the Full Story

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Start/stop switch for retroviruses found

Story Summary: The findings, published in the journal Nature, could lead to new cancer treatments that kill only tumour cells and leave healthy surrounding tissue unharmed. Danny Leung, a 27-year-old graduate student in the laboratory of Asst. Such changes determine whether or not a gene is expressed. This indicates an independent parallel pathway of silencing the retroviruses. Normal, differentiated cells, which still have DNA methylation to keep retroviruses in check, would be unaffected. His co-lead author on the paper, Toshiyuki Matsui, is a student in the lab of Yoichi Shinkai at Kyoto University. Story Source:Adapted from materials provided by , via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS. Journal Reference:Toshiyuki Matsui, Danny Leung, Hiroki Miyashita, Irina A. Maksakova, Hitoshi Miyachi, Hiroshi Kimura, Makoto Tachibana, Matthew C. Lorincz, Yoichi Shinkai….Read the Full Story

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GE to Boost Research in China

Story Summary: The increased competition for GE from local companies in China is due in part to a massive push by the Chinese government to promote clean energy and R&D. In recent years, it has rolled out a range of renewable energy targets and financial incentives, including significant tax breaks for companies that invest in research related to energy. Its now being adopted by doctors in countries such as the United States. The GE research center has also been key for the development of wind-power technology, including power electronics hardware and software that allow wind turbines to keep operating after lightning strikes and other events cause sudden drops in voltage on the power grid. Five to 10 years ago, it used to be that multinationals were the only game in town. Now, the new companies are trying to hire away veteran researchers from GE, he says. You have to have a leading role, rather than a supporting role, to really make it exciting, he says. In every issue youll learn about new technologies and new ideas FIRST….Read the Full Story

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Human Gut Bacteria Different in Japanese vs. North Americans

Story Summary: And certainly the cut-down pieces, the sugars that are released, are also an energy benefit for the person who has this type of bacteria that is able to degrade them, she said. They were interested in the bacteria that live off of marine organisms and the ways in which they get energy. (Enzymes are molecules that speed up chemical reactions inside cells. But the research team was curious where else they might find this enzyme. They saw this enzyme was present in other organisms, but all their matches came from bacteria that live in the sea- except for one. And that bacteria, calledBacteroides plebeius, had only been found in Japanese individuals. Data from two previous studies confirmed the scientists suspicions about the gut bacteria. The human gut bacteria likely acquired, or stole, the gene for porphyranase from marine bacteria present on the algae eaten by humans. The fact that nori used for sushi isnt traditionally roasted makes it likely that live marine bacteria ended up in human guts to exchange their genes, the researchers say. The researchers dont plan follow-up studies involving human gut bacteria, but instead will go back to looking for new enzyme activities. The researchers dont plan follow-up studies involving human gut bacteria, but instead will go back to looking for new enzyme activities….Read the Full Story

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Genetics Links Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease to Insulin Resistance

Story Summary: Shulmans team found that individuals with two particular versions of the APOC3 gene produced high levels of apolipoprotein C3, which circulates in the blood and appears to impair the bodys ability to process dietary fat. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that more than 23 million Americans have diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness, end-stage renal disease, and non-traumatic limb loss. Shulman says the associated health care costs are estimated to exceed $180 billion a year. Shulman and his colleagues focused on two sites in the promoter region of the APOC3 gene, which were known to influence the abundance of fatty acid molecules – triglycerides -in the blood, in a group of 95 healthy, normal-weight, sedentary Asian Indian men. The team found one or both of the high-triglyceride variants of the SNPs in 76 of the men in their study. Furthermore, those individuals with fatty liver were markedly insulin resistant. Shulman and his colleagues then looked at whether the APOC3 variants had the same correlation to fatty liver disease in 163 healthy non-Asian Indian men. They also were linked to a 60 percent increase in fasting blood levels of triglycerides, the common chemical form of fat in the body and in food, and a 46 percent reduction in triglyceride clearance. Average plasma levels of triglycerides in the liver were higher in the men who carried one or both of the variants. This inhibits the lipoprotein lipase enzyme, which fat cells use to break down dietary fats in the bloodstream. Over time, Shulman says, this process can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatic insulin resistance. Although nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity, Shulmans findings show that people with the gene variants are vulnerable to the disease even if they are of normal weight. These APOC3 variants are predisposing–so instead of getting fatty liver disease and insulin resistance when your body mass index is 30, you may get it when your BMI is only 23 or 24, which is considered normal weight, Shulman explains. I doubt we would have found these gene effects if we looked for it in overweight individuals, who typically develop both of these conditions independent of any genetic factors….Read the Full Story

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Songbird genome to aid understanding of learning, memory and more

Story Summary: This is only the second ever bird genome to be sequenced – the first being that of the chicken. Teams across the USA, Europe and the Middle East, including seven UK-based research groups, have contributed to this substantial project, which includes funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council ( BBSRC ). Having both the zebra finch and chicken genomes sequenced helps us to understand more about the biology and evolution of birds and the comparison of the zebra finch genome with others allowed us to define the genes. Mr Watson continued: When researchers generate data about gene expression, we need powerful computer tools in order to understand what the data tells us. Two UK based bioinformatics tools – the Ensembl resource which is co-developed and jointly run by the European Bioinformatics Institute ( EMBL-EBI ) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the CORNA software developed by the Bioinformatics Group at the Institute for Animal Health, an institute of BBSRC – were vital for drawing out crucial information from data in this project. Dr Paul Flicek, an author on the paper and joint head of Ensembl said: Having a second bird genome helps us to understand vertebrate evolution. By doing this we can identify characteristic evolutionary features that are common to birds and mammals, as well as those evolutionary features that distinguish mammals from birds. Mr Watson concluded: This broad collaboration has allowed a large group of researchers to work together to share data, knowledge, tools and expertise to produce a meaningful genome sequence that will be invaluable to many areas of research. Insights from the zebra finch genome: Learning and MemoryZebra finches and other songbirds have one important thing in common with humans: they learn how to converse with one another, which is very rare in other animals. Chickens ( the only other bird we have a genome sequence for ) do not demonstrate this kind of vocalisation and so a comparison between the zebra finch and chicken genomes has helped to identify where the genes that are directly involved in vocal learning are located. It has been known for a while that listening to songs turns genes on or off in certain areas of the brain of a zebra finch. This project has shown that there are also important changes in what the genome actually produces when a young male zebra finch first learns his song from an adult tutor. The next stage will be to investigate whether these RNAs play roles in learning and memory for the zebra finch, or even for humans. Clearly the two birds are very different but the evidence we had before suggested their genomes were actually very similar. In fact, we now have a clear idea of why this is not the case. Many birds are among the most threatened species in the world, particularly with impending climate change. This will then help us develop new ways of producing vaccines to prevent disease in birds. Dr Slate said: Discovering the genes that explain these differences in fertility is now possible, and it is likely that the same genes will have similar effects in humans as well….Read the Full Story

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New Investigation Supports Correlation Between XMRV And Prostate Cancer, Novel XMRV Retrovirus Diagnostic Test Developed

Story Summary: In light of conflicting data concerning XMRV, standardized diagnostic testing is important to identify patients in which XMRV is present and to determine whether it plays a role in the incidence of prostate cancer. An article published in the April issue of Urology(r) is a step in this direction as researchers from Emory University report the successful development of an experimental clinical test for XMRV. No method is available to screen either blood or tissue donors for infection and no data are available regarding whether the virus can be transmitted by blood transfusion or tissue transplantation. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form. 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: Retrovirus Linked To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome09 Oct 2009Researchers in the US have discovered that a high proportion of people with the debilitating neuroimmune disease Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), have a retrovirus called XMRV in their blood. Good health care, however, depends on an open dialogue between patients and doctors. 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….Read the Full Story

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News From The Journal Of Clinical Investigation: April 1, 2010

Story Summary: Lloyd Miller and colleagues, at the University of California at Los Angeles, have now provided new insight into this by studying a mouse model of the condition. TITLE: IL-17 is essential for host defense against cutaneous Staphylococcus aureus infection in mice VACCINES: CD4+ immune cells control vaccinia virus, the smallpox vaccineImmunization against smallpox was always considered successful if a skin lesion formed at the site of vaccination. TITLE: Control of vaccinia virus skin lesions by long-term-maintained IFN-gamma+TNF-alpha+ effector/memory CD4+ lymphocytes in humans CARDIOLOGY: Switching energy source in stressed hearts under the control of the protein MycWhen heart muscle cells are put under stress, for example by high blood pressureor by oxygen deprivation (such as occurs during a heart attack), they switch from using fatty acids as their source of energy to using glucose. Initial analysis by the authors indicated that expression of Myc was increased in the hearts of mice under conditions that model high blood pressure as well as conditions that model the oxygen deprivation associated with a heart attack. Importantly, the Myc-mediated switch to using glucose as an energy source was associated with preserving heart function and improving recovery from oxygen deprivation. Thus, Myc has an important adaptive role in the mouse heart, equipping it with an enhanced ability to respond to oxygen deprivation. What Causes Pulmonary Edema?15 Oct 2009Pulmonary edema (UK/Ireland: oedema) is fluid accumulation in the lungs. This fluid collects in air sacs in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Life After a Heart TransplantHeart transplant success is determined by your post-surgery quality of life. Successful patients are able to resume activities they enjoyed before the procedure, such as moderate exercise and sexual activity. Successful patients are able to resume activities they enjoyed before the procedure, such as moderate exercise and sexual activity. Join Dr. Mehmet Oz and ex-baseball star and donor-heart recipient Frank Torre, as they. Join Dr. Mehmet Oz and ex-baseball star and donor-heart recipient Frank Torre, as they….Read the Full Story

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New Study Investigates Infection Of Human Cells In Outer Space

Story Summary: On April 5, ASU Biodesign Institute researchers Cheryl Nickerson and her team, including Jennifer Barrila and Shameema Sarker, saw their latest experiment launched into low earth orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-131. The goals of the teams research are to provide fundamental new insight into the infectious disease process, and further undestanding of other progressive diseases, including immune disorders and cancer. This is the third time that Nickerson and her ASU team have flown their NASA-funded experiments aboard a space shuttle. Disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella are capable of keenly sensing the environmental conditions they encounter during infection in their human or animal hosts, adjusting their virulence as conditions dictate. As they infect their hosts, bacteria use a battery of options to dodge attempts to destroy them. Nickersons previous work showed that bacteria can use the Hfq protein to regulate their pathogenic responses to fluid shear. The group hopes to determine if the Sm proteins also act as response regulators during spaceflight, like the Hfq protein does in bacteria. Her current investigation may yield even more discoveries of the fundamental processes of microbial infection of human cells in the space environment. A more thorough understanding of the way pathogens and human cells interact in space may pave the way to new vaccines and therapeutics for a broad range of infectious diseases, as well as other afflictions affecting human populations. Our work using the spaceflight platform for such studies has and will continue to advance our fundamental understanding of the disease process in cells and could lead to major advancements in human health. Our work using the spaceflight platform for such studies has and will continue to advance our fundamental understanding of the disease process in cells and could lead to major advancements in human health. Our work using the spaceflight platform for such studies has and will continue to advance our fundamental understanding of the disease process in cells and could lead to major advancements in human health. For more information, please read our terms and conditions. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Too soon to know H1N1 vaccine total: U.S. official

Story Summary: Credit: Reuters/Brad Bower(Reuters) – It is too soon to determine whether tens of thousands of doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine may have to be thrown out if they are not used before their expiration date, a U. S. health official said on Thursday. The United States ordered enough antigen to make 229 million doses of vaccine as the swine flu pandemic began to ramp up a year ago. She said most of the vaccine has yet to expire, some by the end of June and more next year. Early in the pandemic, there were long lines and chaos with people clamoring for H1N1 vaccines but there was not enough to go round. By the time vaccines were available in ample supplies, most of the public had lost interest. The United States has contracts with five influenza vaccine makers — Novartis, AstraZeneca unit MedImmune, Sanofi Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and Australian vaccine maker CSL. Schuchat said health official were seeing few signs of seasonal flu, which kills about 36,000 people in the United States each year and puts 200,000 in the hospital. *We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language or appear to be spam and review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. The public may still have a sour view of corporate America — but the sage of Omaha is still winning hearts. The public may still have a sour view of corporate America — but the sage of Omaha is still winning hearts. Watch out — the guy sipping a martini at the next table could be an undercover FBI agent. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbookwhich requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

More News From The Journal Of Clinical Investigation: April 1, 2010

Story Summary: Surviving mice were smaller than normal littermates, had soft stool, and were impaired in their ability to absorb fat in the intestines. These vessels have a role in many processes in the body, including regulating fluid levels in tissues and immune surveillance. Although dysfunction in the lymphatic system contributes to human diseases such as the spread of cancerto other sites and lymphademas (localized fluid retention and tissue swelling), little is known about the molecules that regulate the formation of new lymphatic vessels, a process known as lymphangiogenesis. However, a team of researchers, led by Sophia Tsai and Ming-Jer Tsai, at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, has now identified a role for the gene regulatory protein COUP-TFII in lymphangiogenesis in mouse embryonic development and tumor lymphangiogenesis in adult mice. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Research Tackles Problem Of Vaccine Not Matching Flu Virus

Story Summary: Adding a second influenza B virus strain to the seasonal influenza vaccine would take some of the guesswork out of strain selection and help improve the vaccines ability to prevent influenza, said Robert Belshe, M. D. , lead investigator and director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University. Since in five of the last 10 years, the influenza B component in the vaccine has been the incorrect one, this seems like an obvious advance to me. Every spring, scientists predict which strain of influenza will be circulating in the community the following fall. However they had a vigorous antibody response when given a vaccine that contained both strains of influenza B. This showed that immunizing against one strain of influenza B does not appear to protect against the other strain and that a vaccine containing both influenza B strains is likely to offer greater protection from flu. Cold and Flu Smarts for KidsAdults may already know the new ways to avoid catching and spreading the flu. But you may need to teach these behaviors to kids. Flu PreventionOur parents told us to cover our mouths when we cough. But that might not be the best strategy for flu prevention….Read the Full Story

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  3. Preclinical Study Demonstrating That A Virus-like Particle Vaccine Provided Protection Against Highly Pathogenic H1N1 And H5N1 Influenza Strains


Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Building a better flu vaccine: Add second strain of influenza B

Story Summary: ST. LOUIS — Vaccines likely would work better in protecting children from flu if they included both strains of influenza B instead of just one, Saint Louis University research has found. Adding a second influenza B virus strain to the seasonal influenza vaccine would take some of the guesswork out of strain selection and help improve the vaccines ability to prevent influenza, said Robert Belshe, M. D. , lead investigator and director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University. When ferrets were vaccinated against influenza, the ferrets that were exposed to a strain of influenza B virus that did not match what was in the vaccine didnt have a strong antibody response. The pathway to further improving influenza vaccines for children is to include antigens of both influenza B virus strains in the vaccine. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Selecta Biosciences, a Bob Langer Creation, Raises $15M For Nanoparticle Vaccines

Story Summary: Selecta Biosciences, the Watertown, MA-based vaccine developer with ties to the Langer lab at MIT, has raised another $15 million in venture capital to make nanoparticles that it says are the key ingredients in a new generation of more effective vaccines. Selecta collected the cash, its Series C round, from a new lead investor in OrbiMed Advisors, as well as existing backers Polaris Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension, and Leukon Investments. Selecta is developing biodegradable polymer nanoparticles that can be self-assembled at low cost, and at a large commercial scale, Langer says. Selectas executive chairman is Bob Bratzler, the former CEO of Coley Pharmaceutical Group, the cancer immunotherapy company that was boughtby Pfizer in November 2007. Omid Farokhzad of Harvard Medical School is a co-founder, and the board includes George Siber, the former chief scientific officer of Wyeth Vaccines–the company that developed the blockbuster pneumoccocal vaccine for infants (Prevnar). OrbiMeds Carl Gordon is joining the Selecta board in connection with the financing. Animal tests have shown that Selectas method can stimulate a prolific antibody response, which translates into high rates of effectiveness. One key difference, Bratzler says, is that Selecta doesnt use the viral delivery mechanism. Were the only company with a fully integrated synthetic vaccine approach, Bratzler says. While that may not matter much in early demonstration projects, the Selecta approach is thought to have advantages for a commercial product, Langer says. The high degree of potency also allows Selecta to think about different ways of delivering the vaccines, Bratzler says. The high degree of potency also allows Selecta to think about different ways of delivering the vaccines, Bratzler says. Selecta is also thinking about topical delivery through the skin, and through mucosal membranes that line nasal passages, he says. Selecta is also thinking about topical delivery through the skin, and through mucosal membranes that line nasal passages, he says. Luke Timmerman is the National Biotechnology Editor for Xconomy….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Novel Therapy For Blindness Works Only When Specific Gene Mutation Present

Story Summary: Lead investigator Arlene Drack, MD, comments that the interpretation of DNA variants is complex. But in our enthusiasm to offer this novel treatment to patients, we have to be extremely careful to treat only those patients with the one molecular form that is amenable to gene therapy at present. Dr. Dracks article highlights this concern and provides a practical approach toward how this can be accomplished. Genetic testing can detect changes from the norm in the genetic code, but not all changes are cause for alarm. If that patient is erroneously enrolled in the RPE65 gene replacement trial, there will be no benefit. The family received incorrect prenatal counseling based on this result. The researchers found both variations to be benign ethnic polymorphisms. Only Patients 4 and 5 would be eligible for clinical trials of RPE65 gene replacement, for which inclusion criteria are complex. Writing in the article, Dr. Drack and colleagues state, Gene therapy for patients with RPE65- associated LCA is now in clinical trials. In an accompanying editorial, Elise Heon, MD, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, comments on the complexity of the genetic screening needed to isolate patients who can benefit from the gene therapy. The article by Drack and colleagues nicely outlines how to screen for eligible patients and what to look for. This is timely and highlights important points relating this new era of ophthalmology: ocular gene therapy. The likely positive outcome of these trials highlights the critical contribution of the retinal clinician in identifying patients who can benefit from this remarkable therapy and in not misleading those who cannot. 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 Graves Disease? Improving Reading VisionAging can often mean losing the ability to read up close. Learn how surgery for the cloudy lens of a cataract can restore vision….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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