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Social Media, DNA Typing Help Track Illness

July 18, 2013 3:13 pm | News | Comments

Facebook posts helped alert public health officials to a strep throat outbreak among a high school dance team in 2012, and DNA fingerprinting led investigators to pasta prepared by a previously ill parent as the likely source. Although strep throat, or Group A Streptococcus (GAS) pharyngitis, usually spreads from person to person by droplets, foodborne transmission is also possible.

Genetic Cause of Obesity Found

July 18, 2013 2:41 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have identified a genetic cause of severe obesity that, though rare, raises new questions about weight gain and energy use in the general obese population. The research involved genetic surveys of several groups of obese humans and experiments in mice.

The Future of Tissue Engineering

July 18, 2013 11:37 am | by Christina Smith | Articles | Comments

Over the course of just one month, physician-scientist Jeffrey Lawson, a vascular surgeon and vascular biologist out of Duke University, successfully implanted three bioengineered blood vessels in human patients – a milestone that marks the culmination of a 15-year project and a breakthrough that Lawson calls “the end of the beginning” in the field of human tissue engineering.

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3-D Structure of Key Glucose Regulator Analyzed

July 18, 2013 11:09 am | News | Comments

An international team has determined and analyzed the three-dimensional atomic structure of the human glucagon receptor. The receptor, found mainly on liver and kidney cells, helps regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream and is the target of potential therapeutic agents for type 2 diabetes.

Ocean Microbe Could Treat Anthrax, MRSA

July 18, 2013 10:31 am | News | Comments

A research team has discovered a new chemical compound from an ocean microbe in a preliminary research finding that could one day set the stage for new treatments for anthrax and other ailments such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Nano Drug Crosses Blood-Brain Tumor Barrier

July 18, 2013 10:06 am | News | Comments

An experimental drug in early development for aggressive brain tumors can cross the blood-brain tumor barrier, kill tumor cells and block the growth of tumor blood vessels, according to a new study. The laboratory and animal study also shows how the agent, called SapC-DOPS, targets tumor cells and blood vessels.

Gold Particles Enhance Cardiac Patches

July 18, 2013 9:48 am | News | Comments

In the search for innovative methods to restore heart function, scientists have been exploring cardiac "patches" that could be transplanted into the body to replace damaged heart tissue. Now, researchers are literally setting a gold standard in cardiac tissue engineering by integrating cardiac cells with nanofibers made of gold particles.

Blood Cells Converted into Autoimmune Treatment

July 18, 2013 9:30 am | News | Comments

Cells from one's own blood could be converted into a treatment for autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease, based on a new discovery. Researchers have created a way to direct the differentiation of T-cells, a white blood cell that is a key player in the body's immune system.

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Surgical Knife Instantly Detects Cancer

July 17, 2013 2:34 pm | by MARIA CHENG - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Surgeons may have a new way to smoke out cancer. An experimental surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they've removed all the cancerous tissue, doctors reported Wednesday. Surgeons typically use knives that heat tissue as they cut, producing a sharp-smelling smoke. The new knife analyzes the smoke and can instantly signal whether the tissue is cancerous or healthy.

Breaking News: Tissues Help Target Malaria

July 17, 2013 1:29 pm | News | Comments

Although malaria has been eradicated in many countries, including the United States, it still infects more than 200 million people worldwide. Researchers have developed a way to grow liver tissue that can support the liver stage of the life cycle of the two most common species of malaria. This system could be used to test drugs and vaccines against both species.

The Right Snack May Aid Satiety, Weight Loss

July 17, 2013 10:56 am | News | Comments

Healthy snacks that promote a feeling of fullness (satiety) may reduce the amount of food intake at subsequent meals and limit overall food consumption, according to a presentation at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo. 

Stem Cell-based Blood Vessels Function in Mice

July 17, 2013 10:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers have coaxed stem cells into forming networks of new blood vessels in the laboratory, then successfully transplanted them into mice. The stem cells are made by reprogramming ordinary cells, so the new technique could potentially be used to make blood vessels genetically matched to individual patients and unlikely to be rejected by their immune systems, the investigators say.

RNA Diagnostic Test Improves Lung Cancer Diagnosis

July 17, 2013 10:41 am | News | Comments

Scientists have developed a histology expression predictor for the most common types of lung cancer: adenocarcinoma, carcinoid, small cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. This predictor can confirm histologic diagnosis in routinely collected paraffin samples of patients’ tumors and can complement and corroborate pathologists’ findings. 

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New Biomaterial Can Regenerate Back Discs

July 17, 2013 10:16 am | News | Comments

Cell therapies may stop or reverse the pain and disability of degenerative disc disease and the loss of material between vertebrae, according to scientists. In a proof-of-concept study, researchers describe a new biomaterial designed to deliver a booster shot of reparative cells to the nucleus pulposus, or NP- the jelly-like cushion naturally found between spinal discs.

Stem Cells Directed Using Magnets

July 17, 2013 10:04 am | News | Comments

Magnets could be a tool for directing stem cells’ healing powers to treat conditions such as heart disease or vascular disease. By feeding stem cells tiny particles made of magnetized iron oxide, scientists can then use magnets to attract the cells to a particular location in a mouse's body after intravenous injection.

Leachables and Extractables as Factors Effecting Assay Results

July 17, 2013 9:53 am | by Kyle T. Harris, BioScience Applications Manager, Porex Corp. | Articles | Comments

Technological advancements of analytical instrumentation platforms coupled with demand for higher sensitivity in many life science applications have led to a critical need for significant improvement in the cleanliness of plastic consumables. 

MS Drug Promising for Heart Failure Prevention

July 17, 2013 9:38 am | News | Comments

A drug already approved to treat multiple sclerosis may also hold promise for treating cardiac hypertrophy, or thickening of the cardiac muscle, a disorder that often leads to heart failure, researchers report. Cardiac hypertrophy, which afflicts one in 500 people, can be caused by high blood pressure or inherited through genes that control contraction of the heart.

Molecular Switch Could Lead to Cheaper Biofuels

July 16, 2013 10:54 am | by Skip Derra | Articles | Comments

One of the biggest tradeoffs in renewable biofuels pertains to the raw materials of the process. The most common renewable raw materials for biofuel production include wood waste and straw. But obtaining the cellulose from these sources is difficult to do because of its complex structure.

Gene Profiling Distinguishes Bacterial from Viral Infections

July 16, 2013 10:41 am | News | Comments

In children with fever but no other symptoms of illness, it is difficult to know whether a child has a viral infection that will resolve on its own or a potentially serious bacterial infection that requires antibiotics. Now, researchers report that they can distinguish between viral and bacterial infections in children with fever by profiling the activity of genes in a blood sample.

DNA Forensics Tracks Dual Genomes in Melanoma

July 16, 2013 10:24 am | News | Comments

A new study reports the first proof of cancer’s ability to fuse with blood, giving cancer the ability to travel and seeding sites of metastasis around the body. The work used DNA fingerprinting of a bone marrow transplant patient with cancer, along with DNA fingerprinting of the patient’s bone marrow donor, to show that metastatic cancer cells carried parts of both genomes, fused together into a hybrid cancer cell.

Psychedelic Drug Erases Fear in Mice

July 16, 2013 9:57 am | News | Comments

Low doses of a psychedelic drug erased the conditioned fear response in mice, suggesting that the agent may be a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions, a new study found. The unexpected finding was made by a reasearch team studying the effects of the compound psilocybin on the birth of new neurons in the brain and on learning and short-term memory formation.

Path of Plaque Buildup is Possible Alzheimer's Biomarker

July 16, 2013 9:34 am | News | Comments

The trajectory of amyloid plaque buildup— clumps of abnormal proteins in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease— may serve as a more powerful biomarker for early detection of cognitive decline rather than using the total amount to gauge risk, researchers suggest in a new study.

Cancer-causing DNA Flaw More Common in Diabetes Patients

July 15, 2013 10:40 am | News | Comments

A type of genetic abnormality linked to cancer is more common in people with type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population, a new study has found. People with type 2 diabetes are already known to have a higher risk of cancers, especially blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. The new study suggests that mutations called clonal mosaic events (CMEs) may partly explain why this is.

Kill-switch Controls Immune-suppressing Cells

July 15, 2013 10:21 am | News | Comments

Scientists have uncovered the mechanism that controls whether cells that are able to suppress immune responses live or die. The discovery of the cell death processes that determine the number of "regulatory T-cells" an individual has could one day lead to better treatments for immune disorders.

Sleep Time Implicated in Poor Concussion Testing Results

July 15, 2013 9:59 am | News | Comments

Athletes who didn’t get enough sleep the night before undergoing baseline concussion testing didn’t perform as well as expected, say researchers presenting their work at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Ill.

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