New research findings may help scientists design drugs to treat a virus infection that causes potentially fatal brain swelling and paralysis in children. The virus, called enterovirus 71, causes hand, foot, and mouth disease and is common throughout the world. Although that disease usually is not fatal, the virus has been reported to cause fatal encephalitis in infants and young children, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, no cure exists for the infection. However, new findings show the precise structure of the virus bound to a molecule that inhibits infection.
The drug-resistant bacteria known as MRSA, once confined to hospitals but now widespread in communities, will likely continue to exist in both settings as separate strains, according to a new study. Researchers at Princeton University used mathematical models to explore what will happen to community and hospital MRSA strains, which differ genetically.
Archaeologists recently unearthed a “Black Death” grave in London, containing more than a dozen skeletons of people suspected to have died from the plague. The victims are thought to have died during the 14th century and archaeologists anticipate finding many more as they excavate the site. Results of their reveal a number of factors that show we are still at risk of plague today.
An international team of researchers, have, for the first time, used an ultra-intense X-ray laser to determine the previously unknown atomic-scale structure of a protein. The team determined the structure of an enzyme key to the survival of the single-celled parasite Trypanosoma brucei, responsible for African sleeping sickness, a disease that kills 30,000 people each year.
Biogen Idec has filed for federal marketing approval of a longer-lasting treatment for hemophilia A. Biogen says the drug rFVIIIFc can be injected once or twice a week, while other treatments for hemophilia A need to be injected three or four times a week. The drug could be the first major advance in the treatment of hemophilia in more than 20 years.
New work from the Broad Institute and partnering organizations has expanded the understanding of how one type of immune cell—known as a T helper 17 or Th17 cell—develops, and how its growth influences the development of immune responses. By figuring out how these cells are “wired,” the researchers make a surprising connection between autoimmunity and salt consumption.
A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses Researchers show that the new tool can produce transmissibility estimates for swine flu, allowing researchers to better evaluate the possible pandemic threat posed by this virus. ntil now, estimates of transmissibility were derived from detailed outbreak investigations, which are resource intensive and subject to selection bias.
In systemic lupus erythematosus, the body attacks itself for largely mysterious reasons, leading to serious tissue inflammation and organ damage. Current drug treatments address symptoms only and can require life-long daily use at toxic doses. Now, scientists at Yale University have designed and tested a drug delivery system that uses biodegradable nanoparticles to deliver low drug doses. The method shows early promise for improved treatment of lupus and other chronic, uncured autoimmune diseases.
Defective viruses have genetic mutations or deletions that eliminate their essential viral functions. Thought for decades to be essentially garbage unrelated to the transmission of normal viruses, new research shows that they now appear able to play an important role in the spread of disease.
A homebrewed diagnostic mixture containing a single drop of blood, a dribble of water, and a dose of DNA powder with gold particles could mean rapid diagnosis and treatment of the world's leading diseases in the near future. The cocktail diagnostic is being developed at the University of Toronto and it involves the same technology used in over-the-counter pregnancy tests.
Inspired by a chemical that fungi secrete to defend their territory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemists have synthesized and tested several dozen compounds that may hold promise as potential cancer drugs.
When viruses like HIV/AIDS strike in underdeveloped regions of the world, they often spiral out of control in part because there is no easy way to bring diagnostic equipment to remote areas so that the diseases can be identified, treated, and stopped before they spread. Now, an inexpensive, portable, easy-to-use device, built by a team of Caltech engineers and biologists, promises to speed the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and other diseases—and improve treatment—in even the most far-flung corners of the world.
Running cockroaches start to recover from being shoved sideways before their dawdling nervous system kicks in to tell their legs what to do, researchers have found. These new insights on how biological systems stabilize could one day help engineers design steadier robots and improve doctors' understanding of human gait abnormalities.
An international team of scientists has discovered how an important natural antibiotic called dermcidin, produced by our skin when we sweat, is a highly efficient tool to fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous bugs. Their results could contribute to the development of new antibiotics that control multi-resistant bacteria.
According to Michigan State University plant biologist Carolyn Malmstrom, when we start combining the qualities of different types of plants into one, there can be unanticipated results. In the domestication of wild plants for bioenergy, for example, long-lived plants are being selected for fast growth like annuals. In contrast, perennial plants in nature grow slower, but are usually better equipped to fight off invading viruses. When wild-growing perennials do get infected they can serve as reservoirs for viruses.
Better cancer drugs that zero in on a tumor with fewer side effects. A universal flu vaccine that could fight every strain of influenza without needing a yearly shot. Research into potentially life-saving products like these will be delayed and newer discoveries shelved if Congress can't avert impending budget cuts that the director of the National Institutes of Health warns will have far-reaching effects.
Cancer researchers from Rice University suggest that a new man-made drug that’s already proven effective at killing cancer and drug-resistant bacteria could best deliver its knockout blow when used in combination with drugs made from naturally occurring toxins.
Researchers at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute have found that amlexanox, an off-patent drug currently prescribed for the treatment of asthma and other uses, also reverses obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver in mice.
In a promising step against a genetic disease that causes deafness and gradual loss of vision, scientists have partly restored hearing with a single injection to young mice. Experts praised the study on Usher syndrome, but the results are still a long way from preventing the disease.
A genetic variant commonly found in Chinese people may help explain why some got seriously ill with swine flu, a discovery scientists say could help pinpoint why flu viruses hit some populations particularly hard and change how they are treated. Less than one percent of Caucasians are thought to have the gene alteration, which has previously been linked to severe influenza. Yet about 25% of Chinese people have the gene variant, which is also common in Japanese and Korean people.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers describe a new type of vaccine-delivery film that holds promise for improving the effectiveness of DNA vaccines. If such vaccines could be successfully delivered to humans, they could overcome not only the safety risks of using viruses to vaccinate against diseases such as HIV, but they would also be more stable, making it possible to ship and store them at room temperature.
International scientists who last year halted controversial research with the deadly bird flu say they are resuming their work as countries adopt new rules to ensure safety. The outcry erupted when two laboratories—in the Netherlands and the U.S.—reported they had created easier-to-spread versions of bird flu.
A new software tool, developed at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, streamlines the detection of disease-causing genetic changes through more sensitive detection methods and by automatically correcting for variations that reduce the accuracy of results in conventional software. The software, called ParseCNV, is freely available to the scientific-academic community.
Researchers have discovered a new compound that restores the health of mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an otherwise dangerous bacterial infection. The new compound targets an enzyme not found in human cells but which is essential to bacterial survival.
Researchers used electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain to release an opiate-like substance that's considered one of the body's most powerful painkillers. The findings expand on previous work done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the City University of New York where researchers delivered electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients, and found a decrease in the intensity and pain of their headache attacks.