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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most daunting challenges facing pharmaceutical scientists today are "undruggable proteins"—the approximately 80% of proteins involved in human disease that do not interact with current drugs. Yale University researchers have identified a novel way to design drugs for these previously inaccessible proteins.
The secret to the deadly 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany has been decoded, thanks to research conducted at Michigan State University. The deadliest E. coli outbreak ever was traced to a particularly virulent strain that researchers had never seen in an outbreak before. By focusing on the bacteria's biofilm, the researchers have devised a way to potentially tame the killer bacteria.
A team of University of California, Berkeley scientists in collaboration with researchers at the University of Munich and University of Washington, in Seattle, has discovered a chemical that temporarily restores some vision to blind mice, and is working on an improved compound that may someday allow people with degenerative blindness to see again.
Yale University Cancer Center scientists have developed a new class of proteins that inhibit HIV infection in cell cultures and may open the way to new strategies for treating and preventing infection by the virus that causes AIDS.
Thanks to tiny microneedles, eye doctors may soon have a better way to treat diseases such as macular degeneration that affect tissues in the back of the eye. For the first time, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have demonstrated that microneedles less than a millimeter in length can deliver drug molecules and particles to the eye in an animal model.