New hope for multiple sclerosis sufferers

A drug which was developed in Cambridge and initially designed to treat a form of leukaemia has also proven effective against combating the debilitating neurological disease multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, has found that alemtuzumab not only stops MS from advancing in patients with early stage active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) but may also restore lost function caused by the disease. The findings were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Continue reading “New hope for multiple sclerosis sufferers”

Advertisements

Researchers successfully reprogram keratinocytes attached to a single hair

The first reports of the successful reprogramming of adult human cells back into so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which by all appearances looked and acted liked embryonic stem cells created a media stir. But the process was woefully inefficient: Only one out of 10,000 cells could be persuaded to turn back the clock.

Now, a team of researchers led by Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, succeeded in boosting the reprogramming efficiency more than 100fold, while cutting the time it takes in half. In fact, they repeatedly generated iPS cells from the tiny number of keratinocytes attached to a single hair plucked from a human scalp. Continue reading “Researchers successfully reprogram keratinocytes attached to a single hair”

Scientists develop sensitive nanowire disease detectors

Yale scientists have created nanowire sensors coupled with simple microprocessor electronics that are both sensitive and specific enough to be used for point-of-care (POC) disease detection, according to a report in Nano Letters.

The sensors use activation of immune cells by highly specific antigens — signatures of bacteria, viruses or cancer cells — as the detector. When T cells are activated, they produce acid, and generate a tiny current in the nanowire electronics, signaling the presence of a specific antigen. The system can detect as few as 200 activated cells. Continue reading “Scientists develop sensitive nanowire disease detectors”

Scientists identify gene that may make humans more vulnerable to pulmonary tuberculosis

Researchers from the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and its collaborators have now identified for the first time a new gene that may confer susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis. Their findings, published October 10 in the open access journal PLoS Genetics, reported that a gene named Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8), previously shown only to recognize some factors from viruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has a probable role in human susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. The results from the study also found that males are more susceptible than females. Continue reading “Scientists identify gene that may make humans more vulnerable to pulmonary tuberculosis”

New nano device detects immune system cell signaling

Scientists have detected previously unnoticed chemical signals that individual cells in the immune system use to communicate with each other over short distances.

The signals the researchers detected originated in dendritic cells – the sentinels of the immune system that do the initial detection of microscopic invaders – and were received by nearby T-cells, which play a number of crucial roles in the immune system, including coordination of attacks on agents that cause disease or infection.

Vanderbilt)
artist

An artist’s rendering of the completed MTN shows cells trapped inside as signals travel to them. (Source: Vanderbilt)

Continue reading “New nano device detects immune system cell signaling”

Scientists suspect omega-3 fatty acids could slow acute wound healing

A recent study shows that popular fish oil supplements have an effect on the healing process of small, acute wounds in human skin. But whether that effect is detrimental, as researchers initially suspected, remains a mystery.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are widely considered to benefit cardiovascular health and other diseases related to chronic inflammation because of their anti-inflammatory properties. But insufficient inflammation during the initial stage of wound healing may delay the advancement of later stages.
Continue reading “Scientists suspect omega-3 fatty acids could slow acute wound healing”

Scientists resurrected 1918 flu antibodies from elderly survivors

Ninety years after the sweeping destruction of the 1918 flu pandemic, researchers at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt have recovered antibodies to the virus – from elderly survivors of the original outbreak.

In addition to revealing the surprisingly long-lasting immunity to such viruses, these antibodies could be effective treatments to have on hand if another virus similar to the 1918 flu breaks out in the future.
Continue reading “Scientists resurrected 1918 flu antibodies from elderly survivors”