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Measuring molecules with the naked eye

October 26, 2012 1:36 pm | News | Comments

When someone develops liver cancer, the disease introduces a very subtle difference to their bloodstream, increasing the concentration of a particular molecule by just 10 parts per billion. That small shift is normally difficult to detect without sophisticated equipment, but new lab-on-a-chip technology designed at Brigham Young University can reveal the presence of ultra-low concentrations of a target molecule.

Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man

October 26, 2012 9:26 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Scientists in Oregon have created embryos with genes from one man and two women, using a provocative technique that could someday be used to prevent babies from inheriting certain rare incurable diseases. The embryos are not being used to produce children, but it has already stirred a debate over its risks and ethics in Britain, where scientists did similar work a few years ago.

Additive restores antibiotic effectiveness against MRSA

October 22, 2012 4:50 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have increased the potency of a compound that reactivates antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Their improved compound removes the bacteria's antibiotic resistance and allows the antibiotic to once again become effective at normal dosage levels.

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Preventing infection on long flights

October 19, 2012 11:22 am | News | Comments

On a long spaceflight unique conditions including microgravity could give microbes the upper hand, but not if astronauts and their spacecrafts are properly prepared. In a new paper, infectious disease expert Dr. Leonard Mermel brings together a broad base of research to come up with specific recommendations for keeping astronauts safe in deep space.

At CDC, scientists fight to halt a deadly outbreak

October 14, 2012 10:20 am | by KATE BRUMBACK - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scattered across the carefully landscaped main campus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the staff on the front lines fighting a rare outbreak of fungal meningitis: A scientist in a white lab coat peers through a microscope at fungi on a glass slide. In another room, another researcher uses what looks like a long, pointed eye dropper to suck up DNA samples that will be tested for the suspect fungus.

Researcher molecular “e-brake” governing cell self-digestion

October 12, 2012 4:46 pm | News | Comments

In times of distress, cells start to digest their own parts and recycle them for metabolic purposes. Called autophagy, this process plays a role in immune defense as a way to eliminate pathogens. Scientists have recently found the molecular “emergency brake” that regulates autophagy to keep it from getting out of control.

Math adds new weapon in fight against pandemics

October 10, 2012 3:12 pm | News | Comments

Mathematicians have developed a powerful tool to quantify the spread and infectiousness of viruses like the pandemic H1N1 flu strain, which can be used together with modern laboratory techniques to help the health care system plan its response to disease outbreaks.

Watermelon shown to boost heart health

October 3, 2012 4:01 am | News | Comments

Eating an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but eating watermelon may just keep the cardiologist at bay. A study from Purdue University and the University of Kentucky showed that mice fed a diet including watermelon juice had lower weight, cholesterol, and arterial plaque than a control group.

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zarre tumor case may lead to custom cancer care

October 1, 2012 5:01 am | by Marilynn Marchone, AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

It's a medical nightmare: a 24-year-old man endures 350 surgeries since childhood to remove growths that keep coming back in his throat and have spread to his lungs, threatening his life. A new discovery, however, allows doctors to grow "mini tumors" from each patient's cancer in a lab dish, then test various drugs or combinations on them to see which works best.

Bizarre tumor case may lead to custom cancer care

September 26, 2012 1:40 pm | by Marilynne Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's a medical nightmare: a 24-year-old man endures 350 surgeries since childhood to remove growths that keep coming back in his throat and have spread to his lungs, threatening his life. Now doctors have found a way to help him by way of a scientific coup that holds promise for millions of cancer...

Scientists uncover virus with potential to stop pimples

September 26, 2012 6:18 am | News | Comments

Watch out, acne. Doctors soon may have a new weapon against zits: A harmless virus living on our skin that naturally seeks out and kills the bacteria that cause pimples. In the new findings, scientists looked at two little microbes that share a big name: Propionibacterium acnes , a bacterium thriving in our pores that can trigger acne, and P. acnes phages, a family of viruses that live on human skin.

Exposing cancer's lethal couriers with nanochains

September 25, 2012 8:02 am | News | Comments

Malignant cells that leave a primary tumor, travel the bloodstream and grow out of control in new locations cause the vast majority of cancer deaths. New nanotechnology developed at Case Western Reserve University detects these metastases in mouse models of breast cancer far earlier than current methods, a step toward earlier, life-saving diagnosis and treatment.

New breast cancer clues found in gene analysis

September 24, 2012 4:37 am | News | Comments

Scientists reported Sunday that they have completed a major analysis of the genetics of breast cancer, finding four major classes of the disease. The new finding, which is the latest example of research into the biological details of tumors, offers hints that one type of breast cancer might be vulnerable to drugs that already work against ovarian cancer.

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Team deciphers structural details of deadly enzyme

September 20, 2012 8:09 am | by Lori Ann White | News | Comments

Scientists have been spending nearly a decade trying to pin down the crystalline structure of an enzyme complex that bacteria such as anthrax, leprosy, diptheria, and tuberculosis use to replicate themselves. X-ray analysis at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory now reveals how the enzyme is employed to synthesize a nucleotide these bacteria needs to produce DNA.

Diseases of aging map to a few “hotspots” on the human genome

September 19, 2012 9:19 am | News | Comments

Researchers have long known that individual diseases are associated with genes in specific locations of the genome. Now, genetics researchers have shown definitively that a small number of places in the human genome are associated with a large number and variety of diseases. In particular, several diseases of aging are associated with a locus which is more famous for its role in preventing cancer.

Chemists develop nose-like sensor array to “smell” cancer diagnoses

September 13, 2012 12:36 pm | News | Comments

In a pre-clinical non-small-cell lung cancer metastasis model in mice, a research team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst uses a sensor array system of gold nanoparticles and proteins to “smell” different cancer types in much the same way our noses identify and remember different odors.

Scientists discover how an out-of-tune protein leads to heart muscle failure

September 13, 2012 4:25 am | News | Comments

Troponin I, found exclusively in heart muscle, is already used as the gold-standard marker in blood tests to diagnose heart attacks, but the new findings by Johns Hopkins University researchers reveal why and how the same protein is also altered in heart muscle malfunctions that lead to heart failure. Scientists have known of “out-of-tune” proteins for a while, but the precise origin had remained unclear.

Mapping neurological disease

September 5, 2012 4:36 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Disorders such as schizophrenia can originate in certain regions of the brain and then spread out to affect connected areas. Identifying these regions of the brain, and how they affect the other areas they communicate with, would allow drug companies to develop better treatments and could ultimately help doctors make a diagnosis. But interpreting the vast amount of data produced by brain scans to identify these connecting regions has so far proved impossible, until now.

Biophysicists unravel secrets of genetic switch

August 31, 2012 6:36 am | by Carol Clark | News | Comments

An invading bacterium or virus uses proteins to achieve both specific and non-specific binding with the DNA in a cell nucleus. Emory University biophysicists have experimentally demonstrated, for the first time, how the nonspecific binding of a protein known as the lambda repressor, or C1 protein, bends DNA and helps it close a loop that switches off virulence. The work support the idea that nonspecific binding is not so random after all, and plays a critical role in virulence.

Gene sleuths stop superbug that killed six

August 27, 2012 3:36 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Over six frightening months, a deadly germ untreatable by most antibiotics spread in the nation's leading research hospital. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health locked down patients, cleaned with bleach, even ripped out plumbing—and still the germ persisted. It took gene detectives teasing apart the bacteria's DNA to solve the germ's wily spread, a CSI-like saga with lessons for hospitals everywhere as they struggle to contain the growing threat of superbugs.

Scientists learn one of cancer’s key “feeding” tricks

August 24, 2012 5:12 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier | News | Comments

Like ravenous monsters, cancer tumors need plentiful supplies of cellular building blocks such as amino acids and nucleotides to keep growing at a rapid pace. This process has not been fully understood, but now chemists at the California Institute of Technology have shown for the first time that a specific sugar, known as GlcNAc ("glick-nack"), plays a key role in keeping the cancerous monsters "fed."

Sensor detects glucose in saliva, tears for diabetes testing

August 21, 2012 10:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers have created a new type of biosensor that can detect minute concentrations of glucose in saliva, tears, and urine, and might be manufactured at low cost because it does not require many processing steps to produce.

Study details power of new chip to diagnose disease, analyze proteins

August 20, 2012 10:33 am | by Krista Conger | News | Comments

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Intel Corp. have collaborated to synthesize and study a grid-like array of short pieces of a disease-associated protein on silicon chips normally used in computer microprocessors. Used recently to identify patients with a severe form of lupus, the new technology has the potential to improve diagnoses of a multitude of diseases.

Using years of cell evolution in the fight against cancer

August 9, 2012 8:47 am | News | Comments

As the medical community continues to make positive strides in personalized cancer therapy, scientists know some dead ends are unavoidable. Drugs that target specific genes in cancerous cells are effective, but not all proteins are targetable. In fact, it has been estimated that as few as 10% to 15% of human proteins are potentially targetable by drugs. For this reason, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are focusing on ways to fight cancer by attacking defective genes before they are able to make proteins.

Tumor cells change when put into a “tight spot”

August 1, 2012 11:45 am | by Allison Chambliss, Johns Hopkins University | News | Comments

Surprisingly, 90% of cancer deaths are caused from metastasis,the migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor to other parts of the body, not from the primary tumor alone. To better understand what happens to cells affected by this process, Johns Hopkins University researchers have fabricated a microfluidic-based cell migration chamber that has already yielded surprising results.

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