Scientists are unraveling a mystery behind a fairly common disease that leads to heart failure: Why do some people with a key mutated gene fall ill while others stay healthy?
Researchers tested more than 5,200 people to tease apart when mutations really are harmful or are just bystanders. The work could help in screening families prone to heart failure but also has broader implications as more people undergo genetic tests that can turn up unnecessarily worrying results.MyWay AP News
For the first time, and to the astonishment of many of their colleagues, researchers created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, they resolved a longstanding problem of how to study Alzheimer’s and search for drugs to treat it; the best they had until now were mice that developed an imperfect form of the disease.New York Times
The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.
But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.
In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented.BBC News
Based on early studies in animals and humans, researchers report Wednesday that there may be reason to think that mental illnesses such as depression could be treated with gene therapy.
Severe depression afflicts at least one in 15 adults nationwide. The Science Translational Medicine journal study in mice and human brain cells finds a deficit of a protein called "p11" may play a role in depression and that fixing the genes that produce those proteins could affect the course of depression.
"Psychological disorders, such as depression, are increasingly viewed as brain disorders," says study author Michael Kaplitt of the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. "If true, we may be able to help some patients by bringing levels of this protein back to normal."USA Today
Genetic markers that could help highlight who is at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease have been identified by US scientists.
The research in Neuron identifies mutations that affect the build-up of certain proteins in the brain.
High levels of these tau proteins increase the chance of having the disease.
UK experts said the study could help understand the changes that occur in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.BBC Health
by TwoFrogs 09:48PM Thursday Jan 24 2013
In a leap forward in understanding the basic science of one of the most lethal cancers, two groups of researchers have found mutations in most melanomas that are unlike any they have seen before in cancer. The changes are in regions that control genes, not in the genes themselves. The mutations are exactly the type caused by exposure to ultraviolet light, indicating they might be among the first DNA changes in a cell’s path to melanoma. New York Times
A gene that helps the body convert that big plate of holiday cookies you just polished off into fat could provide a new target for potential treatments for fatty liver disease, diabetes and obesity.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are unlocking the molecular mechanisms of how our body converts dietary carbohydrates into fat, and as part of that research, they found that a gene with the catchy name BAF60c contributes to fatty liver, or steatosis.
In the study, to be published online Dec. 6 in the journal Molecular Cell, the researchers found that mice that have had the BAF60c gene disabled did not convert carbohydrates to fat, despite eating a high-carb diet.
by TwoFrogs 03:39PM Saturday Jul 24 2010
Herpesviruses are master manipulators. Once inside the body, they can turn healthy cells into virus factories within a few short hours. story continues..
In cancer, the protein known as TGF-beta is both a blessing and a curse. Among cells just beginning to turn malignant, it acts as a tumor suppressor, inhibiting their growth. story continues..
Tinkering with nature’s blueprints is all the rage today. From biochemists building drug-producing bacteria, to energy researchers developing biofuel crops, scientists are hard at work manipulating genes to better suit human aims. story continues..
by TwoFrogs 12:11PM Thursday Apr 15 2010
Cancer is a case of betrayal. A cell that once cooperated with other tissues turns traitor, stealing nutrients to propagate itself. story continues..
by TwoFrogs 10:54PM Thursday Sep 10 2009
Response after One Dose of a Monovalent Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Vaccine — Preliminary Report story continues..
Background A novel influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus is responsible for the first influenza pandemic in 41 years. A safe and effective vaccine is urgently needed.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The discovery of immune system particles that attack the AIDS virus may finally open a way to make a vaccine that could protect people against the deadly and incurable infection, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.
They used new technology to troll through the blood of 1,800 people infected with the AIDS virus and identified two immune system compounds called antibodies that could neutralize the virus.
And they found a new part of the virus that the antibodies attack, offering a new way to design a vaccine, they reported in the journal Science.
It is the first gene clue to the condition in 16 years and has prompted scientists to rethink their theories on how the disease develops.
The genes were pinpointed in a study of 16,000 DNA samples and are known to be implicated in inflammation and cholesterol breakdown.
It is hoped the Nature Genetics study will open the way for new treatments.
by TwoFrogs 02:26PM Wednesday Sep 02 2009
Scientists have been trying to get an accurate estimate of the mutation rate for over 70 years. story continues..
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However, next generation sequencing technology has enabled the scientists to produce a far more direct and reliable estimate.
Flu pandemic alert raised to phase 6 story continues..
11 June 2009 -- On the basis of available evidence and expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. The Director-General of WHO has therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6.
LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers said on Sunday they had found a safer way to transform ordinary skin cells into powerful stem cells in a move that could eventually remove the need to use human embryos.
It is the first time that scientists have turned skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells -- which look and act like embryonic stem cells -- without having to use viruses in the process.
The new method also allows for genes that are inserted to trigger cell reprogramming to be removed afterwards.
by TwoFrogs 12:34PM Wednesday Feb 25 2009
DNA is known as the code of life—and justly so. It contains the assembly information for organisms ranging from bacteria to blue whales. story continues..