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Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genome

Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are ancient workhorse molecules and part of the cellular process that creates the proteins, critical building blocks of life that keep a cell running smoothly. A new discovery suggests that the number of human genomic loci that might be coding for tRNAs is nearly double what is currently known. Most of the newly identified loci resemble the sequences of mitochondrial tRNAs suggesting unexpected new links between the human nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, links that are not currently understood Continue reading

Potential link between breast cancer genes, salivary gland cancer

Potential link between breast cancer genes, salivary gland cancer

The risk of developing cancer in a salivary gland might be higher in people with mutations in either of two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, according to a new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC — James) Continue reading

Dynamic motion of HIV as it readies an attack: Seen in real time, for the first time

Dynamic motion of HIV as it readies an attack: Seen in real time, for the first time

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed technologies that allow investigators, for the first time, to watch what they call the “dance” of HIV proteins on the virus’ surface, which may contribute to how it infects human immune cells. Their discovery is described in the Oct. 8 issue of Science , and is also a part of a study published the same day in Nature Continue reading

Universal Ebola drug target identified by researchers

Universal Ebola drug target identified by researchers

University of Utah biochemists have reported a new drug discovery tool against the Ebola virus. According to a study published in this week’s online edition of Protein Science , they have produced a molecule, known as a peptide mimic, that displays a functionally critical region of the virus that is universally conserved in all known species of Ebola. This new tool can be used as a drug target in the discovery of anti-Ebola agents that are effective against all known strains and likely future strains Continue reading

Survival molecule helps cancer cells hide from the immune system

Survival molecule helps cancer cells hide from the immune system

A molecule that helps cancer cells evade programmed self-destruction, an internal source of death, might also help malignant cells hide from the immune system, an external source of death. A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J Continue reading

New at-risk group identified for gastrointestinal stromal tumors

New at-risk group identified for gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have, for the first time, clearly defined the epidemiology of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), which occur primarily in the lining of the stomach and small intestine. One key finding: Patients of Asian descent, who have not previously been identified as an at-risk population, are 1.5 times more likely than other patient groups to be diagnosed with this type of tumor. Results of the study were published this week in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention , a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Continue reading

Myasthenia gravis: Efficacy of potential therapy for autoimmune disorder of muscle weakness

Myasthenia gravis: Efficacy of potential therapy for autoimmune disorder of muscle weakness

Nearly 60,000 Americans suffer from myasthenia gravis (MG), a non-inherited autoimmune form of muscle weakness. The disease has no cure, and the primary treatments are nonspecific immunosuppressants and inhibitors of the enzyme cholinesterase. Now, a pair of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a fast-acting “vaccine” that can reverse the course of the disease in rats, and, they hope, in humans Continue reading

A diet for the cell: Keeping DNA fit with fewer calories

A diet for the cell: Keeping DNA fit with fewer calories

Cells are generally able to repair spontaneous damage that arises in their genetic material. Unfortunately, the DNA repair process is not perfect and sometimes, damaged DNA gets passed on to newly made cells Continue reading

Stroke-fighting drug offers potential treatment for traumatic brain injury

Stroke-fighting drug offers potential treatment for traumatic brain injury

The only drug currently approved for treatment of stroke’s crippling effects shows promise, when administered as a nasal spray, to help heal similar damage in less severe forms of traumatic brain injury. In the first examination of its kind, researchers Ye Xiong, Ph.D, Zhongwu Liu, Ph.D., and Michael Chopp, Ph.D., Scientific Director of the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute, found in animal studies that the brain’s limited ability to repair itself after trauma can be enhanced when treated with the drug tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator. Continue reading

Probiotics protect children, pregnant women against heavy metal poisoning

Probiotics protect children, pregnant women against heavy metal poisoning

Yogurt containing probiotic bacteria successfully protected children and pregnant women against heavy metal exposure in a recent study. Working with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Canadian and Tanzanian researchers created and distributed a special yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria and observed the outcomes against a control group Continue reading