Tag: Pharmacology

Engineers repurpose wasp venom as an antibiotic drug

The venom of insects such as wasps and bees is full of compounds that can kill bacteria. Unfortunately, many of these compounds are also toxic for humans, making it impossible to use them as antibiotic drugs. After performing a systematic study of the antimicrobial properties of a toxin normally found in a South American wasp,

Molecular mechanisms of ancient herbal remedies: Components of leaf extract prove highly effective at preventing life-threatening seizures

Researchers in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine have discovered the molecular basis for a therapeutic action of an ancient herbal medicine used across Africa to treat various illnesses, including epilepsy. The herbal medicine, a leaf extract from the shrub Mallotus oppositifolius, was previously found to

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

Taking out the (life-threatening) garbage: Bacteria eject trash to survive: ‘Minicell’ pods, used in drug delivery, discard damaged proteins to prolong life

Scientists have known for decades that certain bacteria produce small spherical versions of themselves. Although they lack basic materials to reproduce or function like normal cells, recent interest in such “minicells” has spiked due to their proficiency as nano-sized delivery tools for drugs and vaccines to targeted cells and tissues. Yet the natural role of

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

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients: Placebo benefits can be predicted by brain anatomy and psychological traits

Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology. And the pills will reduce their pain as effectively as any powerful drug on the market, according to new research. Northwestern Medicine scientists have shown they can reliably predict which chronic pain patients will respond to a

Superbugs jumping frequently between humans and animals

The MRSA staphylococcus is an example of a pathogen, the likes of which are often called superbugs. These are resistant to most antibiotics and can cause serious infections. “In the case of MRSA, these bacteria have also spread in hospitals almost world-wide,” says Jukka Corander, professor at the University of Helsinki, who was a member

Chest pain drug falls short in preventing first episode of ventricular arrhythmia or death: But, drug found to reduce recurrent ventricular tachycardia in major multi-center trial

A clinical trial of more than 1,000 patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) found that the drug ranolazine (commonly used to treat chest pain; brand name Ranexa®) was safe but didn’t significantly decrease the likelihood of the first occurrence of ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation or death in this high-risk population. The study was published recently

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

Neanderthal mother, Denisovan father! Hybrid fossil: Newly-sequenced genome sheds light on interactions between ancient hominins

Together with their sister group the Neanderthals, Denisovans are the closest extinct relatives of currently living humans. “We knew from previous studies that Neanderthals and Denisovans must have occasionally had children together,” says Viviane Slon, researcher at the MPI-EVA and one of three first authors of the study. “But I never thought we would be

Next generation ALS drug silences inherited form of the disease in animal models: Preclinical study suggests drug may be ready for early stage clinical trials

NIH-funded researchers delayed signs of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in rodents by injecting them with a second-generation drug designed to silence the gene, superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest the newer version of the drug may be effective at treating an inherited form of the disease caused

Technology to enable precision antibiotics: Chemically enhanced phage display proves capable of recognizing specific strains of bacterial pathogens

Scientists are searching for ways to develop antibiotics that can accurately target infectious bacteria. Increased specificity could help to combat antibiotic resistance and also spare “good” bacteria from being attacked by broad-spectrum antibiotics. Efforts to develop targeted antibiotics have been constrained by the difficulty of quick diagnosis and the development of targeted killing mechanisms. A