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Researchers Discover Unusual Genetic Mutation Linked to Adolescent Liver Cancer

February 28, 2014 1:27 pm | News | Comments

A collaboration of researchers found an unusual mutation has been found that is strongly linked to one such disease: a rare liver cancer that affects teens and young adults. The results suggest that the mutation plays a key role in the development of the disease, called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, and may also underlie more common cancers as well.

Dangerous Mistaken Identity

February 28, 2014 1:19 pm | News | Comments

Tau proteins, which are responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, bind to the folding protein Hsp90. The molecular recognition mechanisms that play a role here, have been unveiled by an international team of scientists led by the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen. This might open the door for new approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Emergency Alert in the Cell

February 28, 2014 12:10 pm | News | Comments

When a cell is exposed to dangerous environmental conditions such as high temperatures or toxic substances, the cellular stress response, also called heat shock response, is initiated. Scientists could uncover an entire network of cellular helpers and thus identify new regulatory mechanisms of this stress response.

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Breaking News: Do Obesity, Birth Control Pills Up MS Risk?

February 27, 2014 4:00 pm | News | Comments

In two new studies, the so-called “obesity hormone” leptin and hormones used for birth control are being examined for their potential role in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS).                   

Breast Cancer Cells Less Likely to Spread When One Gene is Turned Off

February 27, 2014 2:17 pm | News | Comments

New research suggests that a protein only recently linked to cancer has a significant effect on the risk that breast cancer will spread, and that lowering the protein’s level in cell cultures and mice reduces chances for the disease to extend beyond the initial tumor.

One Gene Influences Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

February 27, 2014 2:01 pm | News | Comments

Researchers report that one tiny variation in the sequence of a gene may cause some people to be more impaired by traumatic brain injury (TBI) than others with comparable wounds. The study measured general intelligence in a group of 156 Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head injuries during the war. All of the study subjects had damage to the prefrontal cortex.

Artificial Muscles That Do the Twist

February 27, 2014 1:55 pm | Videos | Comments

In the heart, as in the movies, 3D action beats the 2D experience hands down. In 3D, healthy hearts do their own version of the twist. Rather than a simple pumping action, they circulate blood as if they were wringing a towel. The bottom of the heart twists as it contracts in a counterclockwise direction while the top twists clockwise. Scientists call this the left ventricular twist—and it can be used as an indicator of heart health.

Experimental Treatment Eradicates Acute Leukemia in Mice

February 27, 2014 1:49 pm | News | Comments

A team of scientists from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has developed an experimental treatment that eradicates an acute type of leukemia in mice without any detectable toxic side effects. The drug works by blocking two important metabolic pathways that the leukemia cells need to grow and spread.

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Can a Simple Handshake Predict Cancer Survival Rates?

February 27, 2014 1:35 pm | News | Comments

New acquaintances are often judged by their handshake. Research has now recognized the simple squeeze as an important diagnostic tool in assessing strength and quality of life among critical care patients. In a recent study, Concordia professor Robert Kilgour and his colleagues at the McGill Nutrition and Performance Laboratory confirmed a link between handgrip strength and survival rates.

Cancer Vaccine Could Use Immune System to Fight Tumors

February 27, 2014 1:22 pm | News | Comments

Cincinnati Cancer Center (CCC) and UC Cancer Institute researchers have found that a vaccine, targeting tumors that produce a certain protein and receptor responsible for communication between cells and the body’s immune system, could initiate the immune response to fight cancer.

Finding a Few Foes Among Billions of Friends

February 26, 2014 2:40 pm | News | Comments

A team of chemists is reporting a new way to detect just a few lurking tumor cells, which can be outnumbered a billion to one in the bloodstream by healthy cells. The researchers have constructed an ultrasensitive nanoprobe that can electrochemically sense as few as four circulating tumor cells, and it doesn’t require any enzymes to produce a detectable signal.

Nanoparticles and Magnetic Fields Train Immune Cells to Fight Cancer in Mice

February 26, 2014 2:21 pm | News | Comments

Using tiny particles designed to target cancer-fighting immune cells, Johns Hopkins researchers have trained the immune systems of mice to fight melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. The experiments represent a significant step toward using nanoparticles and magnetism to treat a variety of conditions, the researchers say.

3-D Printer Creates Transformative Device for Heart Treatment

February 26, 2014 2:14 pm | News | Comments

Using a 3-D printer, biomedical engineers have developed a custom-fitted, implantable device with embedded sensors that could transform treatment and prediction of cardiac disorders. An international team of biomedical engineers and materials scientists have created a 3-D elastic membrane made of a soft, flexible, silicon material that is precisely shaped to match the heart’s epicardium, or the outer layer of the wall of the heart.

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Researchers Generate New Neurons in Brains, Spinal Cords of Living Adult Mammals

February 26, 2014 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Researchers created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells. Although the research indicates it may someday be possible to regenerate neurons from the body’s own cells to repair traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, it is too soon to know whether the neurons created in these initial studies resulted in any functional improvements.

Nuclear Stiffness Keeps Stem Cells and Cancer Cells in Place

February 26, 2014 1:50 pm | News | Comments

Adult stem cells and cancer cells have many things in common, including an ability to migrate through tiny gaps in tissue. Both types of cells also experience a trade-off when it comes to this ability; having a flexible nucleus makes migration easier but is worse at protecting the nucleus’ DNA compared to a stiffer nucleus.

A Paper Diagnostic for Cancer

February 25, 2014 2:16 pm | News | Comments

MIT engineers have developed a simple, cheap, paper test that could improve diagnosis rates and help people get treated earlier. The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer.

Building a Better Mouse (Model) to Study Pancreatic Cancer

February 25, 2014 2:09 pm | News | Comments

Researchers report two breakthroughs in understanding lesions in the pancreas and its ducts and their role in pancreatic cancer: the development of the first mouse model that simulates a precursor lesion called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia (IPMN), and the identification of an enzyme, Brg1, that appears to help cause the formation of IPMN lesions while also suppressing another precursor lesion.

New Ideas Change Your Brain Cells

February 25, 2014 1:38 pm | News | Comments

A new University of British Columbia study identifies an important molecular change that occurs in the brain when we learn and remember. The research shows that learning stimulates our brain cells in a manner that causes a small fatty acid to attach to delta-catenin, a protein in the brain. This biochemical modification is essential in producing the changes in brain cell connectivity associated with learning, the study finds.

Multi-Parametric Electrophysiological Imaging of the Mammalian Heart in vivo

February 24, 2014 2:41 pm | by James Joubert, application scientist, Photometrics | Photometrics | Articles | Comments

Cardiac arrhythmia is one of the most common diseases encountered in clinical cardiology. High-speed electrophysiological imaging using fluorescent probes has yielded tremendous insights into the basic mechanisms of arrhythmias and the effects of anti-arrhythmic drugs. However, optical mapping, as it is known to the cardiac research community, has remained relegated to the isolated (i.e. explanted) heart.

Medical Researchers Use Light to Quickly and Easily Measure Blood’s Clotting Properties

February 24, 2014 1:51 pm | News | Comments

To provide caregivers with timely information about the clotting properties of a patient’s blood, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed an optical device that requires only a few drops of blood and a few minutes to measure the key coagulation parameters that can guide medical decisions, like how much blood to transfuse or what doses of anticoagulant drugs to administer.

Abdominal Fat Accumulation Prevented by Unsaturated Fat

February 24, 2014 1:44 pm | News | Comments

New research from Uppsala University shows that saturated fat builds more fat and less muscle than polyunsaturated fat. This is the first study on humans to show that the fat composition of food not only influences cholesterol levels in the blood and the risk of cardiovascular disease but also determines where the fat will be stored in the body.

Research Team Discovers Disease-Causing Bacteria in Dental Plaque Preserved for 1,000 Years

February 24, 2014 12:56 pm | News | Comments

When a University of Oklahoma researcher and an international team of experts analyzed the dental calculus or plaque from teeth preserved for 1,000 years, the results revealed human health and dietary information never seen before. The team discovered disease-causing bacteria in a German Medieval population, which is the same or very similar to inflammatory disease-causing bacteria in humans today.

Researchers Devise a Fast and Effective Mechanism to Combat Ovarian Cancer

February 24, 2014 12:37 pm | News | Comments

Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths of American women than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A researcher has proposed a new strategy to tackle an aggressive subtype of ovarian cancer using a new nanoscale drug-delivery system designed to target specific cancer cells.

Scientists Discover 11 New Genes Affecting Blood Pressure

February 21, 2014 1:42 pm | News | Comments

New research from Queen Mary University of London has discovered 11 new DNA sequence variants in genes influencing high blood pressure and heart disease. Identifying the new genes contributes to our growing understanding of the biology of blood pressure and, researchers believe, will eventually influence the development of new treatments.

Dismantling Pancreas Cancer’s Armor

February 21, 2014 12:07 pm | News | Comments

Pancreas cancer is notoriously impervious to treatment and resists both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It has also been thought to provide few targets for immune cells, allowing tumors to grow unchecked. But new research shows that pancreas cancer “veils” itself from the immune system by recruiting specialized immune suppressor cells.

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