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SlipChip counts molecules with chemistry and a cell phone

November 18, 2013 8:31 am | Videos | Comments

In developing nations, rural areas and even one's own home, limited access to expensive equipment and trained medical professionals can impede the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Many qualitative tests that provide a simple "yes" or "no" answer have been optimized for use in these resource-limited settings. But few quantitative tests can be done outside of a laboratory or clinical setting.

Princeton considers meningitis vaccine

November 18, 2013 6:00 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Princeton Univ. officials are deciding whether to give students a meningitis vaccine that hasn't been approved in the U.S. to stop the spread of the disease. A decision could be made as early as Monday. The Food and Drug Administration last week approved importing Bexsero for possible use on Princeton's campus.

Compound stymies polyomaviruses in laboratory

November 13, 2013 11:44 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists reports that a small-molecule compound showed significant success in controlling the infectivity and spread of three polyomaviruses in human cell cultures. To date there has been no medicine approved to treat such viruses, which prey on transplant recipients, people with HIV and others whose immune systems have been weakened.

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Researcher finds potential new use for old drugs

November 13, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

A class of drugs used to treat parasitic infections such as malaria may also be useful in treating cancers and immune-related diseases, a new Washington State Univ.-led study has found. Researchers discovered that simple modifications to the drug furamidine have a major impact on its ability to affect specific human proteins involved in the on-off switches of certain genes.

Genetic mutation link to eczema discovered

November 8, 2013 12:00 pm | News | Comments

Scientists collaborating on an international research project led by Trinity College Dublin and the University of Dundee have identified a new genetic mutation linked to the development of a type of eczema known as atopic dermatitis. They found that a mutation in the gene Matt/Tmem79 led to the development of spontaneous dermatitis in mice.

Discovery of HIV 'invisibility cloak' reveals new treatment opportunities

November 8, 2013 7:00 am | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a molecular invisibility cloak that enables HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to hide inside cells of the body without triggering the body's natural defence systems. The findings could lead to new treatments and help to improve existing therapies for HIV infection.

‘Tumor-on-a-chip’ technology offers new direction

November 7, 2013 10:59 am | News | Comments

A two-year collaboration between the Chan and the Rocheleau labs at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering has led to the development of a new microfluidics screening platform that can accurately predict the way nanoparticles will behave in a living body.

Understanding who is most susceptible to West Nile virus

November 5, 2013 11:23 am | News | Comments

A Yale Univ. study has uncovered a key genetic mechanism that may determine a person’s susceptibility to the ravages of West Nile virus. The Yale researchers focused on the protein ELF4, which is a transcription factor that controls the cellular signaling and flow of genetic information. Working with mice, they discovered that ELF4, when activated by viral infection, directly impacts the production of interferon.

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Strep scorecard might help tell if doctor needed

November 4, 2013 5:17 pm | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Debating whether to seek a strep test for that sore throat? One day there could be a software application for that: Researchers are developing a home scorecard that aims to prevent thousands of unnecessary trips to the doctor for this common complaint. More than 12 million Americans make doctors' visits for a sore throat every year. Usually the culprit is a virus that they just have to wait out with a little care.

Study: Hefty soda tax would reduce U.K. obesity

October 31, 2013 7:31 pm | by MARIA CHENG - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Slapping a 20% tax on soda in Britain could cut the number of obese adults by about 180,000, according to a new study. Though the number works out to a modest drop of 1.3% in obesity, scientists say that reduction would still be worthwhile in the U.K., which has a population of about 63 million and is the fattest country in Western Europe. About one in four Britons is obese.

HIV-like virus suppressed in monkey experiment

October 30, 2013 2:00 pm | by MALCOLM RITTER - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Doctors may one day be able to control a patient's HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. In monkeys, that strategy sharply reduced blood levels of a cousin of HIV. The results also gave tantalizing hints that someday the tactic might help destroy the AIDS virus in its hiding places in the body, something current drugs cannot do.

Study uncovers potential to alleviate tissue damage during strokes

October 29, 2013 10:23 am | News | Comments

A new study from Yale School of Medicine uncovers clues as to how a key part of the immune system is regulated to avoid tissue injury to human organs after stroke or transplant. The study focuses on a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil, and how regulation of the granules inside can protect organs such as kidneys from injury.

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.

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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.

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.

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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