Neurodegenerative diseases

‘Skinny fat’ in older adults may predict dementia, Alzheimer’s risk

A new study has found that "skinny fat" - the combination of low muscle mass and strength in the context of high fat mass - may be an important predictor of cognitive performance in older adults. While sarcopenia, the loss of muscle tissue that is part of the natural aging process, as well as obesity both negatively impact overall health and cognitive function, their coexistence poses an even higher threat,
Neuroscience

Microscopic Chariots Deliver Molecules Within Our Cells

On the cellular highway, motor proteins called dyneins rule the road. Dyneins “walk” along structures called microtubules to deliver cellular cargo, such as signaling molecules and organelles, to different parts of a cell. Without dynein on the job, cells cannot divide and people can develop neurological diseases. Now a new study, which appears in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, provides the first three-dimensional (3D) visualization of the dynein-dynactin complex
Biotechnology Uncategorized

Topical gel made from oral blood pressure drugs shown effective in healing chronic wounds

An international team of researchers led by Johns Hopkins has shown that a topical gel made from a class of common blood pressure pills that block inflammation pathways speeds the healing of chronic skin wounds in mice and pigs. A report of the findings, published Oct. 16 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, marks efforts to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use the gel
Biotechnology cancer Immunotherapies

Cancer Immunotherapy May Get a Boost by Disabling Specific T Cells

Cancer immunotherapy drugs only work for a minority of patients, but a generic drug now used to increase blood flow may be able to improve those odds, a study by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers suggests. In mice with melanoma, the researchers found that the drug – called pentoxifylline – boosts the effectiveness of immune-checkpoint inhibitors, a type of immunotherapy now commonly used in the treatment of melanoma and
Gene Therapy

Genetic modifier for Huntington’s disease progression identified

A team led by UCL and Cardiff University researchers has developed a novel measure of disease progression for Huntington's disease, which enabled them to identify a genetic modifier associated with how rapidly the disease progresses. "We've identified a gene that could be a target for treating Huntington's disease. While there's currently no cure for the disease, we're hopeful that our finding could be a step towards life-extending treatments," said Dr
cancer

International study identifies new genetic risk factors for testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is relatively rare with only 8,850 cases expected this year in the United States. A majority of testicular cancer, 95 percent of all cases, begins in testicular germ cells, which are the cells responsible for producing sperm. Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 39 years in the U.S. and Europe. Peter Kanetsky, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair of the Cancer Epidemiology
Clinical Trials Gene Therapy

Altered virus may expand patient recruitment in human gene therapy trials

For many patients, participating in gene therapy clinical trials isn't an option because their immune system recognizes and fights the helpful virus used for treatment. Now, University of Florida Health and University of North Carolina researchers have found a solution that may allow it to evade the body's normal immune response. The discovery, published May 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a crucial step in
cancer Clinical Trials

Alectinib halts lung cancer growth more than a year longer than crizotinib

Findings from a phase III clinical trial point to a more effective initial treatment for patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Compared to the current standard of care crizotinib (Xalkori), the newer ALK inhibitor alectinib (Alecensa) halted cancer growth for a median of 15 months longer and caused fewer severe side effects. The study was featured in a press briefing today and presented at the 2017 American Society
Biotechnology Vaccines

Engineers design a new weapon against bacteria

Over the past few decades, many bacteria have become resistant to existing antibiotics, and few new drugs have emerged. A recent study from a U.K. commission on antimicrobial resistance estimated that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections will kill 10 million people per year, if no new drugs are developed. To help rebuild the arsenal against infectious diseases, many scientists are turning toward naturally occurring proteins known as antimicrobial peptides, which
Biotechnology cancer

The calling card of aggressive thyroid cancer

A new discovery from University of Alberta scientists represents an important milestone in the fight against thyroid cancer. In a study published in EBioMedicine and recently presented at the American Thyroid Association annual meeting, the team has identified a marker of aggressive disease for papillary thyroid cancer, which comprises about 90 per cent of all thyroid cancers. The marker--a protein known as Platelet Derived Growth Factor Receptor Alpha, or PDGFRA--could
cancer Cardiology Genomes

Heart disease, leukemia linked to dysfunction in nucleus

We put things into a container to keep them organized and safe. In cells, the nucleus has a similar role: keeping DNA protected and intact within an enveloping membrane. But a new study by Salk Institute scientists, detailed in the November 2 issue of Genes & Development, reveals that this cellular container acts on its contents to influence gene expression. "Our research shows that, far from being a passive enclosure
cancer

Ginger And Chili Peppers Could Work Together To Lower Cancer Risk

For many people, there's nothing more satisfying than a hot, spicy meal. But some research has suggested that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, might cause cancer. Now researchers show in mouse studies that the pungent compound in ginger, 6-ginergol, could counteract capsaicin's potentially harmful effects. In combination with the capsaicin, 6-gingerol could lower the risk of cancer, they say. The study appears in ACS' Journal of
Uncategorized

Parkinson’s disease biomarker found in patient urine samples

For more than five years, urine and cerebral-spinal fluid samples from patients with Parkinson's disease have been locked in freezers in the NINDS National Repository, stored with the expectation they might someday help unravel the still-hidden course of this slow-acting neurodegenerative disease. Now, research by Andrew West, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has revealed that the tubes hold a brand-new type of biomarker -- a
cancer Cancer Discovery

New anti-cancer strategy mobilizes both innate and adaptive immune response

Though a variety of immunotherapy-based strategies are being used against cancer, they are often hindered by the inability of the immune response to enter the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and to effectively mount a response to cancer cells. Now, scientists from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences have developed a new vaccine that involves injecting cells that have been modified so that they can stimulate both an innate immune response
Uncategorized

Penn Team Identifies Amino Acid Associated with Poor Performance Under Sleep Restriction

The amino acid acetylcarnitine may help predict an individual’s neurobehavioral performance during chronic sleep restriction, according to results of a new study (abstract 0251) from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that will be presented at SLEEP 2016, the 30th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC. Previous studies have shown that sleep loss degrades behavioral attention, cognitive processing and memory, but
Biotechnology Pharmaceuticals

Narcotic painkillers prolong pain in rats, says CU-Boulder study

The dark side of painkillers - their dramatic increase in use and ability to trigger abuse, addiction and thousands of fatal overdoses annually in the United States is in the news virtually every day. Brace for another shot across the bow: Opioids like morphine have now been shown to paradoxically cause an increase in chronic pain in lab rats, findings that could have far-reaching implications for humans, says a new
Prescriptions

Hunting for the brain’s opioid addiction switch

New research by Steven Laviolette's research team at Western University is contributing to a better understanding of the ways opiate-class drugs modify brain circuits to drive the addiction cycle. Using rodent models of opiate addiction, Dr. Laviolette's research has shown that opiates affect pathways of associative memory formation in multiple ways, both at the level of anatomy (connections between neurons) and at the molecular levels (how molecules inside the brain
Uncategorized

Researchers find new signs of stress damage in the brain, plus hope for prevention

Chronic stress can make us worn-out, anxious, depressed--in fact, it can change the architecture of the brain. New research at The Rockefeller University shows that when mice experience prolonged stress, structural changes occur within a little-studied region of their amygdala, a part of the brain that regulates basic emotions, such as fear and anxiety. These changes are linked to behaviors associated with anxiety and depressive disorders There is good news,
Uncategorized

Fighting hospital germs with sugar

A vaccine against one of the most dangerous hospital germs may soon be available. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Freie Universität Berlin have developed a substance that elicits an immune response against the gut bacterium Clostridium difficile. The potential vaccine resembles the sugar structures presented on the surface of the bacterium and therefore primes the immune system to recognize the pathogen
Biotechnology cancer

Breast cancer drug found to reduce seizures

A class of drug that inhibits estrogen production and is used to treat breast cancer has been found to quickly and effectively suppress dangerous brain seizures, according to a new Northwestern University study. "The effect was profound and very clear," said Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study, which was conducted in a rat model of status epilepticus, a condition characterized by a prolonged episode of seizure activity. "This