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First detailed picture of cancer-related cell enzyme in action on chromosome unit

First detailed picture of cancer-related cell enzyme in action on chromosome unit

A landmark study to be published in the October 30, 2014 print edition of the journal Nature provides new insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 breast cancer protein. Continue reading

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

A team led by the Lawrence Livermore scientists has created a new kind of ion channel consisting of short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live cell membranes to form tiny pores that transport water, protons, small ions and DNA. These carbon nanotube “porins” have significant implications for future health care and bioengineering applications. Continue reading

Scientists generate first human stomach tissue in lab with stem cells

Scientists generate first human stomach tissue in lab with stem cells

Scientists used pluripotent stem cells to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory — creating an unprecedented tool for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes. Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center report Oct. 29 in Nature they used human pluripotent stem cells — which can become any cell type in the body — to grow a miniature version of the stomach Continue reading

In autoimmune diseases affecting millions, researchers pinpoint genetic risks, cellular culprits

In autoimmune diseases affecting millions, researchers pinpoint genetic risks, cellular culprits

Scores of autoimmune diseases afflicting one in 12 Americans — ranging from type 1 diabetes, to multiple sclerosis (MS), to rheumatoid arthritis, to asthma — mysteriously cause the immune system to harm tissues within our own bodies. Now, a new study pinpoints the complex genetic origins for many of these diseases, a discovery that may lead to better diagnosis and ultimately to improved treatments Continue reading

Fewer women than men receive hemodialysis treatment

Fewer women than men receive hemodialysis treatment

Fewer women than men are treated with dialysis for end-stage kidney disease, according to a new comprehensive analysis of sex-specific differences in treatment published this week in PLOS Medicine . The results of the study, conducted by Manfred Hecking with Friedrich Port and colleagues from Arbor Research Collaborative for Health in Ann Arbor, Michigan, suggest that these findings call for further detailed study for the reasons underlying the sex-specific differences in end-stage renal disease treatment. Chronic kidney disease often progresses to end-stage renal disease, which is treated by regular hemodialysis (a process in which blood is purified by passing it through a filtration machine) or by kidney transplantation. Continue reading

Identifying the biological clock that governs female fertility

Identifying the biological clock that governs female fertility

Some women can have successful pregnancies at the age of 50, whereas other are unable to get pregnant when they are 30. Researchers are not yet able to fully explain such differences. One factor is that the onset of menopause is influenced by the point at which the uterus runs out of eggs to release. Continue reading

Traumatic brain injury associated with increased dementia risk in older adults

Traumatic brain injury associated with increased dementia risk in older adults

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) appears to be associated with an increased risk of dementia in adults 55 years and older, according to a study published online by JAMA Neurology . Controversy exists about whether there is a link between a single TBI and the risk of developing dementia because of conflicting study results Continue reading

First atlas of body clock gene expression informs timing of drug delivery

First atlas of body clock gene expression informs timing of drug delivery

A new effort mapping 24-hr patterns of expression for thousands of genes in 12 different mouse organs — five years in the making — provides important clues about how the role of timing may influence the way drugs work in the body. A study detailing this veritable “atlas” of gene oscillations, never before described in mammals, is published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Continue reading

Clues to genetics of congenital heart defects emerge from Down syndrome study

Clues to genetics of congenital heart defects emerge from Down syndrome study

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in humans, involving a third copy of all or part of chromosome 21. In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome have a high risk of congenital heart defects. However, not all people with Down syndrome have them — about half have structurally normal hearts Continue reading

New hope for drug discovery in African sleeping sickness

New hope for drug discovery in African sleeping sickness

In early drug dis­covery, you need a starting point, says North­eastern Uni­ver­sity asso­ciate pro­fessor of chem­istry and chem­ical biology Michael Pollastri. In a new research paper pub­lished in the journal PLOS-​​Neglected Trop­ical Dis­eases , Pol­lastri and his col­leagues present hun­dreds of such starting points for poten­tially treating Human African try­panoso­mi­asis, or sleeping sick­ness, a deadly dis­ease that affects thou­sands of people annually. Pol­lastri, who runs Northeastern’s Lab­o­ra­tory for Neglected Dis­ease Drug Dis­covery, and co-​​collaborators at the Spanish National Research Council for Sci­en­tific Research worked with global health­care com­pany Glax­o­SmithK­line to screen and test more than 42,000 chem­ical com­pounds against the par­a­sites that cause sleeping sick­ness Continue reading