Infectious Diseases

Molecular virologist fights influenza at the molecular level

Molecular virologist Chad Petit, Ph.D., uses basic science to fight influenza — through experiments at the atomic level. This includes a deadly poultry influenza virus in China called the H7N9 avian flu virus. Since 2013, H7N9 has infected 1,625 people, killing 623. While not highly contagious for humans, just three mutations could change that, turning H7N9 into the feared Disease X, the term health experts use for the next unknown
Biotechnology Cell Therapy Infectious Diseases rare diseases

Cancer Drug and Antidepressants Provide Clues for Treating Fatal Brain-Eating Amoeba Infections

The amoeba Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in warm swimming pools, lakes and rivers. On rare occasions, the amoeba can infect a healthy person and cause severe primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a “brain-eating” disease that is almost always fatal. Other than trial-and-error with general antifungal medications, there are no treatments for the infection. Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego have now identified
Biotechnology cancer Gene Therapy

Skewing the aim of targeted cancer therapies

Headlines, of late, have touted the successes of targeted gene-based cancer therapies, such as immunotherapies, but, unfortunately, also their failures. Broad inadequacies in a widespread biological concept that affects cancer research could be significantly deflecting the aim of such targeted drugs, according to a new study. A team exploring genetic mechanisms in cancer at the Georgia Institute of Technology has found evidence that a prevailing concept about how cells produce
Antibiotics Biotechnology Clinical Trials Immunotherapies Infectious Diseases

Research opens possibility of reducing risk of gut bacterial infections with next-generation probiotic

A team of researchers is exploring the possibility that next-generation probiotics - live bacteria that are good for your health - would reduce the risk of infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile. In laboratory-grown bacterial communities, the researchers determined that, when supplied with glycerol, the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri produced reuterin, an antibacterial compound that selectively killed C. difficile. The study appears in Infection and Immunity. "C. difficile causes thousands of
Antibiotics Biotechnology rare diseases

Penn study details impact of antibiotics, antiseptics on skin microbiomes

The use of topical antibiotics can dramatically alter communities of bacteria that live on the skin, while the use of antiseptics has a much smaller, less durable impact. The study, conducted in mice in the laboratory of Elizabeth Grice, PhD, an assistant professor of Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is the first to show the long-term effects of antimicrobial drugs on the skin
Biotechnology cancer Immunotherapies

Tumor immune fitness determines survival of lung cancer patients

In recent years, immunotherapy, a new form of cancer therapy that rouses the immune system to attack tumor cells, has captivated the public's imagination. When it works, the results are breathtaking. But more often than not it doesn't, and scientists still don't know why. Publishing in the June 19, 2017, issue of Nature Immunology, researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, identify a subpopulation of T cells in
Biotechnology

Body’s Immune Response to Bioterrorism Bacteria That Causes Tularemia Is Focus of Ongoing Research

Meenakshi Malik, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Basic and Clinical Sciences at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has been awarded a three-year research grant totaling $480,000 to expand her study of Francisella tularensis, a bacterium that causes a potentially fatal disease called tularemia. The grant, which is being funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health
Biotechnology Immunotherapies

Flesh-Eating Infections In Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Spur New Discovery

Rheumatoid arthritis patients taking medications that inhibit interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), a molecule that stimulates the immune system, are 300 times more likely to experience invasive Group A Streptococcal infections than patients not on the drug, according to University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers. Their study, published August 19 in Science Immunology, also uncovers a critical new role for IL-1beta as the body’s independent early warning system for bacterial
cancer Cancer Discovery Cell Therapy Vaccines

UMN researchers find distinct differences in structure, features of retroviruses

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers in the Institute for Molecular Virology and School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota report that most types of retroviruses have distinct, non-identical virus structures. Researchers analyzed seven different retroviruses including two types of HIV as well as HTLV-1, a virus that causes T-cell leukemia. They also examined retroviruses that infect birds, mice, chimpanzees and fish, that can cause cancer
Antibiotics Vaccines

New International Initiative Will Focus on Immunology Research and Treatments

Immunology – and the idea that many diseases can best be addressed by boosting the body’s own immune response – is one of the hottest areas in medical research and clinical treatment. University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan have announced a new collaborative research center to investigate the most promising aspects of immunology, especially the area of mucosal immunology, and