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Model virus structure shows why there’s no cure for common cold

October 29, 2013 8:40 am | News | Comments

In a pair of studies that exploit the genetic sequencing of the “missing link” cold virus, rhinovirus C, scientists at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison have constructed a 3-D model of the pathogen that shows why there is no cure yet for the common cold. The new cold virus model was built in silico, drawing on advanced bioinformatics and the genetic sequences of 500 rhinovirus C genomes, which provided 3-D coordinates of the viral capsid.

New biomarkers in rheumatoid arthritis

October 28, 2013 12:05 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Hasselt Univ. and INOVA Diagnostics are pleased to announce the completion of an exclusive, worldwide license agreement and research collaboration for technology developed at the University. This technology represents an important advance in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). VIB, the Flemish life sciences research institute, assisted Hasselt Univ. in patenting the RA markers and in the license negotiations.

London uses van with x-ray machine to find TB

October 23, 2013 7:41 pm | by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Famed for its historic sites, its double-decker buses and its West End shows, London now has a more dubious distinction: Britain's public health agency says it has become the tuberculosis capital of Western Europe. In response, health officials are taking to the streets in an effort to stop the spread of the infectious lung disease.

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Tests suggest baby born with HIV may be cured

October 23, 2013 5:38 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus—a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated. The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom's blood.

FDA issues positive review for Gilead's hep C drug

October 23, 2013 10:00 am | by MATTHEW PERRONE - AP Health Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a positive review for a highly anticipated hepatitis C drug from Gilead Sciences, saying the pill cures more patients in less time than currently available treatments. The agency posted its review of Gilead's sofosbuvir online ahead of a meeting Friday where government experts will vote on whether to recommend the drug's approval.

Artificial protein mimics a part of the HIV outer coat

October 23, 2013 8:35 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists has created an artificial protein coupled with a sugar molecule that mimics a key site on the outer coat of HIV where antibodies can bind to neutralize a wide variety of HIV strains. The finding provides a potential new strategy in vaccine development to elicit the broadly neutralizing antibodies considered essential for long-lasting protection from the ever-changing HIV virus.

Single mutation gives virus new target

October 22, 2013 11:45 am | News | Comments

In a study published online in PLoS Pathogens, an international team of scientists showed that by swapping a single amino acid they could change the sugar to which the human BK polyomavirus will binds on the surface of cells. The BK polyomavirus lost the ability to bind its usual target sugar and instead “preferred” the same sugar as its cousin SV40 polyomavirus, which is active in monkeys.

Two genetic wrongs make a biochemical right

October 21, 2013 8:01 am | News | Comments

In a biological quirk that promises to provide researchers with a new approach for studying and potentially treating Fragile X syndrome, scientists at UMass Medical School have shown that knocking out a gene important for messenger RNA translation in neurons restores memory deficits and reduces behavioral symptoms in a mouse model of a prevalent human neurological disease.

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Finding blood clots before they wreak havoc

October 16, 2013 7:53 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Life-threatening blood clots can form in anyone who sits on a plane for a long time, is confined to bed while recovering from surgery, or takes certain medications. There is no fast and easy way to diagnose these clots, which often remain undetected until they break free and cause a stroke or heart attack. However, new technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology may soon change that.

Packaging stem cells in capsules for heart therapy

October 11, 2013 10:43 am | News | Comments

Stem cell therapy for heart disease is happening. Around the world, thousands of heart disease patients have been treated in clinical studies with some form of bone marrow cells or stem cells. But in these studies, the actual impact on heart function was modest or inconsistent. One reason is that most of the cells either don’t stay in the heart or die soon after being introduced into the body. Cardiology researchers have a solution.

Recombinant human prion protein inhibits prion propagation

October 10, 2013 10:07 am | News | Comments

Case Western Reserve Univ. researchers have published findings that point to a promising discovery for the treatment and prevention of prion diseases, rare neurodegenerative disorders that are always fatal. The researchers discovered that recombinant human prion protein stops the propagation of prions, the infectious pathogens that cause the diseases.

NIH admits a dozen critically ill despite shutdown

October 9, 2013 5:53 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A few desperately ill patients have managed to get into clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health's famed hospital, even though the government's partial shutdown has others being turned away, the agency said. Normally, about 200 new patients every week enroll in studies at the NIH's research-only hospital, often referred to as the "house of hope" because so many of those people have failed standard treatments.

Gilead Sciences stops successful cancer drug study

October 9, 2013 5:02 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Gilead Sciences said Wednesday it stopped a late-stage clinical trial of a cancer treatment because it was clear the drug was working. Gilead was studying idelalisib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The company said an early analysis of data from the study showed that patients who were treated with idelalisib had a longer time before the resumption of disease progression or death.

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Urine test could diagnose eye disease

October 9, 2013 11:54 am | News | Comments

You might not think to look to a urine test to diagnose an eye disease. But a new Duke Univ. study says it can link what is in a patient's urine to gene mutations that cause retinitis pigmentosa, or RP, an inherited, degenerative disease that results in severe vision impairment and often blindness.

A better way to make antibody-guided therapies

October 8, 2013 8:12 am | News | Comments

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute have devised a new technique for connecting drug molecules to antibodies to make advanced therapies. Antibody-drug conjugates are the basis of new therapies on the market that use the target-recognizing ability of antibodies to deliver drug payloads to specific cell types. The new technique allows drug developers to forge more stable conjugates than are possible with current methods.

Innovative approach could end sleeping sickness

October 7, 2013 9:18 am | News | Comments

A tag team of two bacteria, one of them genetically modified, has a good chance to reduce or even eliminate the deadly disease African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, researchers at Oregon State Univ. conclude in a recent mathematical modeling study. African trypanosomiasis, caused by a parasite carried by the tsetse fly, infects 30,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa each year and is almost always fatal without treatment.

DNA study points to new heart drug targets

October 7, 2013 7:55 am | News | Comments

A global hunt for genes that influence heart disease risk has uncovered 157 changes in human DNA that alter the levels of cholesterol and other blood fats—a discovery that could lead to new medications. Each of the changes points to genes that can modify levels of cholesterol and other blood fats and are potential drug targets.

Pills made from feces cure serious gut infections

October 3, 2013 11:31 am | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Hold your nose and don't spit out your coffee: Doctors have found a way to put healthy people's poop into pills that can cure serious gut infections—a less yucky way to do "fecal transplants." Canadian researchers tried this on 27 patients and cured them all after strong antibiotics failed to help.

Gene scans solve mystery diseases in kids, adults

October 2, 2013 5:10 pm | by MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

They were mystery diseases that had stumped doctors for years—adults with strange symptoms and children with neurological problems, mental slowness or muscles too weak to let them stand. Now scientists say they were able to crack a quarter of these cases by decoding the patients' genes. Their study is the first large-scale effort to move gene sequencing out of the lab and into ordinary medical care.

How meningitis bacteria slip under the radar

September 26, 2013 9:26 am | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a natural temperature sensor in a type of bacteria that causes meningitis and sepsis. The sensor allows the bacteria to evade the body’s immune response, leading to life-threatening infections. The Oxford Univ. team found that increasing temperature causes the bacteria to make more of a protective layer that surrounds the bacterium like an 'invisibility cloak' and helps it evade detection by the immune system.

Nanoparticle vaccine offers better protection

September 26, 2013 7:39 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Many viruses infect humans through mucosal surfaces. To help fight these viruses, scientists are working on vaccines that can establish a defense at mucosal surfaces. Vaccines can be delivered to the lungs via an aerosol spray, but are often cleared away before they can provoke an immune response. To overcome that, engineers have developed a new type of nanoparticle that protects the vaccine long enough to generate a strong immune response.

Study explores barriers to HIV vaccine response

September 23, 2013 11:38 am | News | Comments

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute discovered that an antibody that binds and neutralizes HIV likely also targets the body’s own “self” proteins. This finding could complicate the development of HIV vaccines designed to elicit this protective antibody, called 4E10, and others like it, as doing so might be dangerous or inefficient.

Disarming HIV with a “pop”

September 20, 2013 7:51 am | News | Comments

Pinning down an effective way to combat the spread of HIV, the viral precursor to AIDS, has long been a challenge for scientists and physicians, because the virus is an elusive one that mutates frequently and, as a result, quickly becomes immune to medication. A team of Drexel Univ. researchers is trying to get one step ahead of the virus with a microbicide they’ve created that can trick HIV into “popping” itself into oblivion.

Association between virus, bladder cancers detected

September 11, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

A Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory-developed biological detection technology has been employed as part of an international collaboration that has detected a virus in bladder cancers. The research is believed to be the first study to demonstrate an association between Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8, and bladder cancers.

Study suggests early signs of multiple sclerosis in spinal fluid

September 10, 2013 5:01 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

New research suggests it might be possible to spot early signs of multiple sclerosis in patients' spinal fluid, findings that offer a new clue about how this mysterious disease forms. The study released Tuesday was small and must be verified by additional research. But if it pans out, the finding suggests scientists should take a closer look at a different part of the brain than is usually linked to MS.

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