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.
In the midst of an unusually deadly flu season and armed with a vaccine that only offers partial protection, a Purdue University researcher is working on a flu vaccine that overcomes the need to predict which strains will hit each year and eliminates the common causes of vaccine shortages.
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.
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have developed a way to alter the function of RNA in living cells by designing molecules that recognize and disable RNA targets. As a proof of principle, the team designed a molecule that disabled the RNA causing myotonic dystrophy. This small molecule is cell-permeable, offering benefits over traditional methods of targeting RNAs for degradation.
A research team has recently made a breakthrough with enormous potential significance for the treatment of serious diseases. Their work has made it possible, for the first time, to detect the smallest virus particle. Since even one viral particle can represent a deadly threat, the research likely will make an important contribution to ongoing research on early detection of diseases such as AIDS and cancer.
In an effort to aid the administration of medication at the cellular level, researchers in The Netherlands have pioneer a way to control or speed up the process of binding ligands, or antibodies, to diseased cells. This ability relies on a new method that uses supramolecules to electrically switch the behavior of individual cells.
A series of papers published recently in the journal The Lancet are calling attention to the rapid spread of vector-borne, zoonotic diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue fever, and Lyme disease. These diseases, spread to humans by animals like mosquitos and ticks, are advancing as a result of urbanization, land use, and more intensive agricultural practices.
Scientists have been working on microfluidic devices that can isolate circulating tumor cells, but most of these have two major limitations: It takes too long to process a sufficient amount of blood, and there is no good way to extract cancer cells for analysis after their capture. To help overcome these limitations, a research team has developed a microfluidic device inspired by the tentacles of jellyfish.
Scientists have identified a group of small molecules that interfere with the activity of a compound that initiates multiple steps in blood clotting, including those that lead to the obstruction of veins or arteries, a condition called thrombosis. Blocking the activity of this compound, polyphosphate, could treat thrombosis with fewer bleeding side effects than the drugs that are currently on the market.
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.
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.
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.
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.