The vast majority of the thousands of chemicals in our homes and workplaces have not been tested to determine if they cause cancer. That’s because today’s options are lacking. Rodent tests are too slow, and cell culture tests don’t replicate how cells interact in the body, so their relevance to cancer is limited. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have set out to change that.
Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most...
For the 12 million people worldwide who suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an...
Biomedical engineers at the Univ. of Toronto have invented a new device that more quickly and accurately “listens in” on the chemical messages that tell our cells how to multiply. The tool improves our understanding of how cancerous growth begins, and could identify new targets for cancer medications.
Researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have successfully stopped cocaine and alcohol addiction in experiments using a drug already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat high blood pressure. If the treatment is proven effective in humans, it would be the first of its kind—one that could help prevent relapses by erasing the unconscious memories that underlie addiction.
As part of their long-term investigation of regulatory factors in the bacterial cell cycle, molecular biologists at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst now report finding a surprising new role for one factor, CpdR, an adaptor that helps to regulate selective protein destruction, the main control mechanism of cell cycle progression in bacteria, at specific times.
A human skull, on average, is about 0.3 in thick, or roughly the depth of the latest smartphone. Human skin, on the other hand, is about 0.1 in, or about three grains of salt, deep. While these dimensions are extremely thin, they still present major hurdles for any kind of imaging with laser light.
Public health officials stand poised to eliminate polio from the planet. But a new study shows that the job won't be over when the last case of the horrible paralytic disease is recorded. Using disease-transmission models, a Univ. of Michigan team has demonstrated that silent transmission of poliovirus could continue for more than three years with no reported cases.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have proven that the brain’s cortex doesn’t process specific tasks in highly specialized modules, showing that the cortex is, in fact, quite dynamic when sharing information. Previous studies of the brain have depicted the cortex as a patchwork of function-specific regions.
Over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected by HIV. Antiviral therapies can keep the virus from multiplying. However, no drug can cure infection so far, because various cell types continue to carry the virus in a latent, quiescent, state. Scientists have now established a model for latent HIV infection of brain cells. The researchers used this model to identify various compounds that affect latency of the virus in the brain.
Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg have solved a question that has puzzled cell biologists for decades: How does the protein machine that allows cells to swallow up molecules during endocytosis function? Endocytosis is the process by which cells engulf molecules and draw them inside the cell where they perform different functions.
Researchers at the Univ. at Buffalo have discovered a previously unknown neural pathway that can regulate changes made in the brain due to cocaine use, providing new insight into the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have shown that they can cure the symptoms of depression in mice by artificially reactivating happy memories that were formed before the onset of depression. The findings offer a possible explanation for the success of psychotherapies in which depression patients are encouraged to recall pleasant experiences.
Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information, new research shows. While humans may lack the scent-tracking sophistication of, say, a search-and-rescue dog, we can sniff our way, blindfolded, toward a location whose scent we’ve smelled only once before.
A Purdue Univ.-led team of researchers studying the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, have found molecules that shut down the activity of an essential enzyme in the virus and could lead the way to better treatments for those infected.
New, ultra-high-field magnetic resonance images of the brain by researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago provide the most detailed images to date to show that while the brain shrinks with age, brain cell density remains constant. The study, of cognitively normal young and old adults, was published in NMR in Biomedicine.
Often referred to as the "body clock", circadian rhythm controls what time of day people are most alert, hungry, tired or physically primed due to a complex biological process that is not unique to humans. Circadian rhythms, which oscillate over a roughly 24–hr cycle in adaptation to the Earth's rotation, have been observed in most living things on the planet, and are responsible for regulating many aspects of organisms' functions.
The immune system must constantly adapt to its environment in order to protect a body effectively. The so-called T cells are an important example in this regard. One of their functions is to form the immune system's "memory". Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technische Universität München recently examined the surface of precursors of these T cells and identified previously unknown proteins there.
Many cancer patients survive treatment only to have a recurrence within a few years. Recurrences and tumor spreading are likely due to cancer stem cells that can be tough to kill with conventional cancer drugs. But now researchers have designed nanoparticles that specifically target these hardy cells to deliver a drug. The nanoparticle treatment, reported in ACS Nano, worked far better than the drug alone in mice.
With genetic roots of many autoimmune diseases pinpointed, scientists are zeroing in on the variety of molecular mechanisms triggered by these harmful variants. A team led by Yale School of Medicine researchers has implicated a central regulator of inflammation as a cause of many cases of multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as ulcerative colitis.
Comparing the genomes of different species is the basis of a great deal of modern biology. DNA sequences that are conserved across species are likely to be functionally important, while variations between members of the same species can indicate different susceptibilities to disease. The basic algorithm for determining how much two sequences of symbols have in common is now more than 40 years old.
Cornell Univ. engineers have created a functional, synthetic immune organ that produces antibodies and can be controlled in the lab, completely separate from a living organism. The engineered organ has implications for everything from rapid production of immune therapies to new frontiers in cancer or infectious disease research.
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited intellectual disability and the greatest single genetic contributor to autism. Unlocking the mechanisms behind fragile X could make important revelations about the brain. In a new study, researchers from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison show that two proteins implicated in fragile X play a crucial role in the proper development of neurons in mice.
Contrary to current medical dogma, researchers at Univ. of California, San Diego report the common antibiotic azithromycin kills many multidrug-resistant bacteria very effectively. The researchers believe the finding could prompt an immediate review of the current standard of care for patients with certain so-called “superbug” infections.
Tissues and organs in the body are sometimes damaged to such an extent that they require artificial support to heal. Now, A*STAR researchers have used star-shaped polymers to produce a 3-D network that is both compatible with human tissue and facilitates cells to adhere and proliferate under controlled biological conditions.
Univ. of California, Davis, researchers have identified the molecular interactions that allow capsaicin to activate the body’s primary receptor for sensing heat and pain, paving the way for the design of more selective and effective drugs to relieve pain. Capsaicin is the ingredient that makes chili peppers spicy and hot.
Protein locations in a cell have been recorded in unprecedented detail as part of a “protein map” developed by Univ. of Toronto scientists. The new map allows researchers to look much more closely into what happens in a cell when disease strikes and will also help scientists determine better treatments.
Biobanks play an important role in enabling researchers to develop therapies for chronic diseases. Research institutions, hospitals and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have turned to biobanks as a key tool in the research of new treatments and the identification of disease biomarkers from the large cohorts of patients through the collection, storage, inventory, characterization and distribution of valuable samples.
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