Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated hospitals have uncovered an easily detectable, “pre-malignant” state in the blood that significantly increases the likelihood that a person will go on to develop blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome.
The scientists showed that the Parkin protein functions to repair or destroy damaged nerve cells, depending on the degree to which they are damaged People living with Parkinson's disease often have a mutated form of the Parkin gene, which may explain...
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2014 Jun;39(11):2071-5. English Abstract; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Pasquale Valente's insight:
To observe the effect of Astragali Radix polysaccharides (APS) on the learning and memory functions of aged rats, in order to explore its mechanism for improving the learning and memory functions. Natural aging female SD rats were selected in the animal model and randomly divided into the control group, the APS low-dose group (50 mg x kg(-1)), the APS high-dose group (150 mg x kg(-1)) and the piracetam-treated group (560 mg x kg(-1)). They were orally administered with the corresponding drugs for consecutively 60 days. Besides, a young control group was set. The learning and memory functions of the rats were tested by the open-field test and the Morris water maze task. The Western-blot method was used to observe the levels of relevant neural plasticity protein N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA receptor) in hippocampus, calcium/calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaMK II), protein kinase (PKA), the phosphorylation level of CAMP response element binding protein (CREB) and the protein expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor(BDNF). In this study, the authors found that the learning and memory functions and the hippocampus neural plasticity protein expression of the aged rat group were much lower than that of the young control group (P < 0.01). Compared with the aged rat group, the APS group showed the significant improvement in the impaired learning and memory functions of aged rats and the up-regulation in the hippocampus neural plasticity protein expression. The results showed that APS may improve the learning and memory functions of aged rats by increasing the expressions of relevant neural plasticity proteins.
A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. This is only the second 'sleep node' identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.
Stanford Bioengineer Christina Smolke has been on a decade-long quest to genetically alter yeast so they can brew opioid medicines in stainless steel vats,
Stanford bioengineers have hacked the DNA of yeast, reprograming these simple cells to make opioid-based medicines* via a sophisticated extension of the basic brewing process that makes beer.
Led by Associate Professor of Bioengineering Christina Smolke, the Stanford team has already spent a decade genetically engineering yeast cells to reproduce the biochemistry of poppies, with the ultimate goal of producing opium-based medicines, from start to finish, in fermentation vats.
“We are now very close to replicating the entire opioid production process in a way that eliminates the need to grow poppies, allowing us to reliably manufacture essential medicines while mitigating the potential for diversion to illegal use,” said Smolke, who outlines her work in the August 24 edition of Nature Chemical Biology.
Smolke added five genes from two different organisms to yeast cells. Three of these genes came from the poppy itself, and the others from a bacterium that lives on poppy plant stalks.
Researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico concluded from a review of the recent scientific literature that microbes influence human eating behavior and dietary choices to favor consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way.
There are numerous research efforts underway to develop new treatments and improve the lives of people suffering type 2 diabetes, whose ranks have increased dramatically in recent decades due in large part to the so-called obesity epidemic. A new generation of safer and more effective diabetes drugs could be in the offing with researchers at the Salk Institute discovering that when mice with diet-induced diabetes were given a single injection of a protein, their blood sugar levels were restored to a healthy range for more than two days.
Although type 2 diabetes can sometimes be managed through a healthy diet and regular exercise in the initial stages, tablets that boost the body's production of insulin are generally prescribed as the disease progresses. Such tablets can have side effects, including nausea and diarrhea, and aren't suitable for everyone, such as pregnant women and those with severe liver, kidney or heart disease. They can also cause blood glucose levels to drop too low, potentially resulting in hypoglycemia.
Now Salk researchers have found that injecting obese mice with the equivalent of type 2 diabetes in humans with a single dose of protein FGF1 quickly restored their blood glucose levels to normal levels where they remained for more than two days. Importantly, even when given high doses, the mice suffered none of the side effects common to most current diabetes treatments, such as weight gain or heart and liver problems.
Specialized software now combines multiparametric MRI and transrectal ultrasound images to improve targeted biopsy of suspicious lesions. The technology has the potential to significantly improve localization and characterization of prostate cancer when added to a 12-core biopsy.
WHO has published profiles on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) for all Member States, including the 53 countries in the WHO European Region. Where data are available, the profiles estimate for each country the current burden of and recent trends in NCD mortality, the prevalence of selected major risk factors and the national health system’s capacity to respond. They update the profiles produced in 2011.
An international team led by King’s College London and the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) has developed the first lab-grown epidermis (the outermost skin layer) with a functional permeability barrier akin to real skin.
The new epidermis, grown from human pluripotent stem cells, offers a cost-effective alternative lab model for testing drugs and cosmetics, and could also help to develop new therapies for rare and common skin disorders.
The epidermis, the outermost layer of human skin, forms a protective interface between the body and its external environment, preventing water from escaping and microbes and toxins from entering.
Tissue engineers have been unable to grow epidermis with the functional barrier needed for drug testing or produce an in vitro (lab) model for large-scale drug screening. That’s because the number of cells that can be grown from a single skin biopsy sample has been limited.
The new study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports (open access), describes the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) (stem cells that can develop into different types of body cells) to produce an unlimited supply of pure keratinocytes (the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of skin). These new keratinocytes closely match keratinocytes generated from other stem-cell types: human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and primary keratinocytes from skin biopsies.
Engineers at Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) have invented a lab device to give cancer researchers an unprecedented microscopic look at metastasis (spread of tumor cells, causing more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths), with the goal of eventually stopping the spread, described in their paper in the journal Cancer Report.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells spread from the primary tumor into the bloodstream that might represent an important biomarker in lung cancer. The prognosis of patients diagnosed with lung cancer is generally poor mainly due to late diagnosis. Recent evidences have reported that tumor aggressiveness is associated with the presence of CTCs in the blood stream; therefore, several studies have focused their attention on CTC isolation, characterization, and clinical significance. So far, the CellSearch® system is the only approach approved by FDA for metastatic breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer intended to detect CTCs of epithelial origin in whole blood and to assess prognosis. To date, no specific biomarkers have been validated in lung cancer and the identification of novel tumor markers such as CTCs might highly contribute to lung cancer prognosis and management. In the present review, the significance of CTC detection in lung cancer is examined through the analysis of the published studies in both non-small cell and small cell lung cancers; additionally the prognostic and the clinical role of CTC enumeration in treatment monitoring will be reported and discussed.
Nano-biotechnologists have reported the discovery of a new, third class of biomotor, unique in that it uses a "revolution without rotation" mechanism. These revolution biomotors are widespread among many bacteria and viruses.
Mice lacking a specific protein (TRAP-1) live longer lives with fewer age-related illnesses, such as tissue degeneration, obesity, and spontaneous tumor formation, when compared with normal mice, researchers at The Wistar Institute have discovered.In healthy cells, TRAP-1 is an important regulator of metabolism and has been shown to regulate energy production in mitochondria, which are organelles that generate chemically useful energy for the cell.