Tag: Biology

Potential assay artefacts in anti-malarial screening documented

Malaria remains an economic and health burden to the developing world. As plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, is acquiring rapid resistance against currently used drugs, identification of new classes of anti-malarials remains an urgent need. Potential anti-malarials include small molecules, peptides, antibodies or plant extracts with likely medicinal properties. These agents are often prepared

Cancer hijacks the microbiome to glut itself on glucose

Cancer needs energy to drive its out-of-control growth. It gets energy in the form of glucose, in fact consuming so much glucose that one method for imaging cancer simply looks for areas of extreme glucose consumption — where there is consumption, there is cancer. But how does cancer get this glucose? A University of Colorado

Breakthrough in designing a better Salmonella vaccine

UC Davis researchers announce in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week a breakthrough in understanding which cells afford optimal protection against Salmonella infection — a critical step in developing a more effective and safe vaccine against a bacterium that annually kills an estimated one million people worldwide. Professor Stephen McSorley, interim

Cancer drug and antidepressants provide clues for treating 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

New technique reveals how Zika virus interacts inside our cells: Discovery could enable development of new anti-viral therapies

Scientists have developed a new technique that can determine how viruses interact with a host’s own RNA. As well as providing insight into how viruses direct the host cell to create new virus particles, this technique, published today in Nature Methods, could allow researchers to design artificial molecules capable of blocking the virus replication process

Cancer biology graduate student travels ‘ROCKy’ road toward a cure for post-radiation dry mouth

The United States is in the midst of a head-and-neck cancer epidemic. Although survival rates are relatively high—after treatment with chemotherapy and radiation—survivors can suffer permanent loss of salivary function, potentially leading to decades of health problems and difficulties eating. It is unknown why the salivary gland sometimes cannot heal after radiation damage, but Wen

Mapping out cancer’s movements

Cancer researchers struggle to identify tumor cells that are interspersed within nonmalignant tissues because tumor cells exploit the tissue environment and monopolize available resources to continue growing. Researchers attribute cancer cell’s ability to use cell signaling and metabolic pathways that override normal cell growth restrictions to complicated chemical exchanges between tissue and tumor cells. A

Massive effort yields image-based cell sorting technology

Invented over 50 years ago, flow cytometry-based cell sorting has become a widely used tool in biology labs for physically isolating cells based on their global surface marker expression profiles. But on August 27 in the journal Cell, an international, multi-institutional team of researchers unveil the next evolution in this critical process, “Image-Activated Cell Sorting,”

Keeping cancer out of breath blocks drug resistance

A new combination of existing drugs shows promise that it could reduce the size of cancerous tumors much more effectively than current treatments. As cancer patients know all too well, many highly effective anti-cancer drugs don’t stay effective long. Most tumors will become drug resistant over time as their cells rapidly mutate. Chemists from The

How enzyme detects ultraviolet light damage

Damage to DNA is a constant threat to cellular life, and so it is constantly monitored and detected by a family of enzymes called RNA polymerases, resulting in subsequent repair to maintain genome integrity. In a paper published this week in the journal PNAS, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with

A human enzyme can biodegrade graphene

Myeloperoxidase — an enzyme naturally found in our lungs — can biodegrade pristine graphene, according to the latest discovery of Graphene Flagship partners in CNRS, University of Strasbourg (France), Karolinska Institute (Sweden) and University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). Among other projects, the Graphene Flagship designs based like flexible biomedical electronic devices that will interfaced with

Neonatal pig hearts can heal from heart attack: This remarkable ability has clinical implications for humans

While pigs still cannot fly, researchers have discovered that the hearts of newborn piglets do have one remarkable ability. They can almost completely heal themselves after experimental heart attacks. This regenerative capacity is short-lived — disappearing by day three after birth, say teams of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at several

New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design: Scripps Research study illuminates humoral immune response to experimental vaccines

A team at Scripps Research has come up with a faster way to analyze the outcome of experimental vaccines against HIV and other pathogens. Their new system lets scientists quickly assess the full spectrum of antibodies produced in an individual in response to a pathogen or vaccine and determine if these antibodies are likely to

Turmeric-derived eye drops could treat glaucoma: study

A derivative of turmeric could be used in eye drops to treat the early stages of glaucoma, finds a new study led by UCL and Imperial College London researchers. In the new Scientific Reports paper, the researchers report a new method to deliver curcumin, extracted from the yellow spice turmeric, directly to the back of

New retinal ganglion cell subtypes emerge from single-cell RNA sequencing

Single-cell sequencing technologies are filling in fine details in the catalog of life. Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UConn Health) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) have identified 40 subtypes of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) along with the genetic markers and transcription factors that differentiate them. Thanks to recent advances in droplet-based single-cell

Sunk cost fallacy in mice, rats and humans

The behavior of people who remain committed to a choice, even when it is clear that an alternate choice would be a better option, has been a perplexing phenomenon to psychologists and economists. For example, people will continue to wait in the slow line at a grocery store, stick out an unhealthy relationship, or refuse

Nicotine alters neurotransmission in habit-forming brain region: Nicotine reduces dorsal striatal output, which may underlie urge to smoke and make it difficult to break the habit

A study of rat brain slices published in JNeurosci demonstrates how nicotine interacts with cells that regulate the output of a brain region involved in habit formation. The research could inform efforts to help people quit smoking and avoid relapse. The addictive qualities of nicotine have been attributed to the brain’s reward system. However, recent