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Welcome to the ICBS Discovery e-NewsBrief from the International Chemical Biology Society. This is a free, bi-weekly digest of headlines and news related to the chemical biology field. With a variety of stories selected from media outlets around the world, we hope you will find this publication informative. The e-NewsBrief will arrive in your email inbox every other Thursday.
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Breakthrough replicates human brain cells for use in Alzheimer's research
The New York Times
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.
Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to three men who revolutionized microscopy
The Washington Post
The 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry was recently awarded to Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia; Stefan W. Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany), and William E. Moerner of Stanford University for their work in overcoming the limitations of the traditional light microscope. Today, scientists can observe minute biological processes in real time — but that wasn't always so.
Study finds potential new target to treat asthma attacks brought on by colds
Researchers have identified a molecular mechanism that could explain why the common cold can bring on life-threatening asthma attacks. Published in Science Translational Medicine, the findings indicate this may be a potential target for new drugs that could be more effective than existing treatments.
Scientists sniff out unexpected role for stem cells in the brain
National Institutes of Health
For decades, scientists thought that neurons in the brain were born only during the early development period and could not be replenished. More recently, however, they discovered cells with the ability to divide and turn into new neurons in specific brain regions. The function of these neuroprogenitor cells remains an intense area of research. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report that newly formed brain cells in the mouse olfactory system — the area that processes smells — play a critical role in maintaining proper connections.
Researchers capture images of elusive protein HIV uses to infect cells
HIV is adept at eluding immune system responses because the protein it uses to infect cells is constantly changing. Now a team of researchers including scientists from Yale University have stripped the cloak from this master of disguise, providing a high-resolution image of this surface spike protein and monitoring how it constantly changes its shape, information that suggests new ways to attack the virus through drugs and vaccines.
Molecule promises to speed up discovery of universal anti-Ebola drugs
Medical News Today
A synthetic molecule that imitates an important section of the Ebola virus promises to speed up discovery of anti-Ebola agents capable of dealing with all current strains and any that emerge in future epidemics. The molecule — known as a peptide mimic — represents a critical region of the Ebola virus that does not change as it mutates. This means it can be used as a universal drug target for rapid screening of drugs effective against all strains of the virus.
Research team treats pulmonary hypertension through leaves of plants
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Florida have identified a drug that can be used to treat pulmonary hypertension, a disease for which few therapy options exist. The novelty is the way the medicine is delivered; it is grown in the leaves of plants from Penn's high-tech greenhouse, according to the study published online in the September issue of the journal Hypertension.
Oral drug reduces formation of precancerous polyps in the colon
An oral biologic medication has successfully treated chronic, precancerous inflammation in the intestine, according to results of an animal study. The study is featured on the cover of the current issue of Cancer Research. The journal's editors characterized the study's findings as "striking." Inflammatory cells in the colon, or polyps, are very common after the age of 50. The average 60-year-old has an estimated 25 percent chance of having polyps.
Researchers make giant leap forward in Type 1 diabetes treatment
Stem cell researchers have announced that they have made a giant leap forward in the quest to find a truly effective treatment for Type 1 diabetes. With human embryonic stem cells as a starting point, the scientists are for the first time able to produce, in the kind of massive quantities needed for cell transplantation and pharmaceutical purposes, human insulin-producing beta cells equivalent in most every way to normally functioning beta cells.
New bone marrow cancer drug begins trials
Press Association via Yahoo! News
A new drug to treat patients with bone marrow cancer without the toxic side effects is expected to go on trial next year, Imperial College London has said. Although designed to help patients with multiple myeloma, a rare form of bone marrow cancer, it will also be tested to see if it could be used on patients suffering other blood cancers, as well as ovarian and colon cancer.
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