Identifying Molecules in Infrared Could Lead to New Medicines – US News and World Report




An interdisciplinary team of researchers has created a new, ultra-sensitive technique to analyze life-sustaining protein molecules. The technique may profoundly change the methodology of biomolecular studies and chart a new path to effective diagnostics and early treatment of complex diseases.Researchers from Boston University and Tufts University near Boston recently demonstrated an infrared spectroscopy technique that can directly identify the “vibrational fingerprints” of extremely small quantities of proteins, the machinery involved in maintaining living organisms.


via Identifying Molecules in Infrared Could Lead to New Medicines – US News and World Report.

Premature death risk factor analysis points to inflammation

An article published online on September 1, 2009 in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences reported the results of a study of men and women aged 65 and older which revealed risk factors associated with dying over a 13 year average period.

via Premature death risk factor analysis points to inflammation.

Human variation revealed

Scientists have generated the most comprehensive map of the structural variation that exists among normal, healthy humans, according to a study published online today in Nature. Understanding normal variation between individuals is critical to identifying abnormal changes that may contribute to a wide variety of heritable diseases.

Image: Wikimedia commons

“I think it’s considered to be a landmark paper,” said geneticist Frank Speleman of the Center for Medical Genetics at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, who was not involved in the work. “It’s quite important in the complete context of genome wide association studies and genetic predisposition.”

via Human variation revealed :The Scientist [7th October 2009].

Major improvements made in engineering heart repair patches from stem cells

University of Washington (UW) researchers have succeeded in engineering human tissue patches free of some problems that have stymied stem-cell repair for damaged hearts.

The disk-shaped patches can be fabricated in sizes ranging from less than a millimeter to a half-inch in diameter. Until now, engineering tissue for heart repair has been hampered by cells dying at the transplant core, because nutrients and oxygen reached the edges of the patch but not the center. To make matters worse, the scaffolding materials to position the cells often proved to be harmful.

VIDEO: University of Washington researchers in the Chuck Murry lab at the UW Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative medicine engineered this heart repair patch from a mix of stem cells….

Click here for more information.


Heart tissue patches composed only of heart muscle cells couldn’t grow big enough or survive long enough to take hold after they were implanted in rodents, the researchers noted in their article, published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers decided to look at the possibility of building new tissue with supply lines for the oxygen and nutrients that living cells require. Continue reading “Major improvements made in engineering heart repair patches from stem cells”

Researchers find brain cell transplants help repair neural damage

A Swiss research team has found that using an animal’s own brain cells (autologous transplant) to replace degenerated neurons in select brain areas of donor primates with simulated but asymptomatic Parkinson’s disease and previously in a motor cortex lesion model, provides a degree of brain protection and may be useful in repairing brain lesions and restoring function. Continue reading “Researchers find brain cell transplants help repair neural damage”

HIV tamed by designer ‘leash’

Researchers have shown how an antiviral protein produced by the immune system, dubbed tetherin, tames HIV and other viruses by literally putting them on a leash, to prevent their escape from infected cells. The insights reported in the October 30th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, allowed the research team to design a completely artificial protein — one that did not resemble native tetherin in its sequence at all — that could nonetheless put a similar stop to the virus. Continue reading “HIV tamed by designer ‘leash’”

Widely used cholesterol-lowering drug may prevent progression

Simvastatin, a commonly used, cholesterol-lowering drug, may prevent Parkinson’s disease from progressing further. Neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center conducted a study examining the use of the FDA-approved medication in mice with Parkinson’s disease and found that the drug successfully reverses the biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes caused by the disease. Continue reading “Widely used cholesterol-lowering drug may prevent progression”