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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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Could a common blood pressure drug completely reverse diabetes?
Medical News Today
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., raising risks for heart attack, blindness, kidney disease and limb amputation. But researchers who have shown that a common blood pressure drug totally reverses diabetes in mice are about to begin a new clinical trial to see if it can do the same for humans. If the trial is successful, it could herald the first "cure" for an incurable disease that affects 12.3 percent of Americans over the age of 20.
New therapeutic targets, screening test identified to treat memory disorders
The Medical News
In a pair of related studies, scientists have identified a number of new therapeutic targets for memory disorders and have developed a new screening test to uncover compounds that may one day work against those disorders. The two studies could lead new approaches to some of the most problematic diseases facing a rapidly aging world population.
Altered milk protein can deliver AIDS drug to infants
A novel method of altering a protein in milk to bind with an antiretroviral drug promises to greatly improve treatment for infants and young children suffering from HIV/AIDS, according to a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. That's critical because an estimated 3.4 million children are living with HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organization reports, and nine out of 10 of them live in resource-limited countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where effective antiretroviral treatments still are not widely accessible or available.
Vaccine spray may not work against swine flu in kids
The Washington Post
The nasal spray version of the flu vaccine apparently did not protect young children against swine flu last winter and might not work again this year, according to health officials. Preliminary results from three studies found that AstraZeneca's FluMist had little or no effect in children against swine flu. That was the most common bug making people sick last winter.
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Screening for liver toxicity with iPS cells
Asian Scientist Magazine
Using liver-like cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, researchers are now able to predict an individual's sensitivity to drugs. This research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Many promising drugs have been pulled off the market due to their adverse effects on the liver. Although liver cell lines have been used to screen new pharmacological agents, they do not fully capture the genetic diversity of human populations.
A promising strategy against HIV
Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers at Massachusetts General and Boston Children's hospitals for the first time have used a relatively new gene-editing technique to create what could prove to be an effective technique for blocking HIV from invading and destroying patients' immune systems. This is the first published report of a group using CRISPR Cas technology to efficiently and precisely edit clinically relevant genes out of cells collected directly from people.
Tiny scallop-like robotic swimmers could deliver drugs to treat diseases
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have developed a tiny robot small enough to travel through the bloodstream — and it doesn't require an engine or batteries. In their paper published in Nature Communications, the researchers describe their new robot and how it might one day be used to treat a variety of human ailments.
Nobel Prize winners map path forward for Alzheimer's research
By Denise A. Valenti
The Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2014 was awarded to John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser. The award calls attention to their study of the brain cells that are damaged in Alzheimer's disease, and it recognizes the discovery of brain cells that form a positioning mechanism in our brain. These cells are located in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, the same regions devastated early in the course of Alzheimer's disease.
New drug for common liver disease improves health
National Institutes of Health
An experimental drug aimed at treating a common liver disease showed promising results and potential problems in a multicenter clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. The FLINT study found that people with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis who took obeticholic acid had improved liver health during that period, including decreased inflammation and fat in the liver and decreased body weight versus people receiving a placebo.
Researchers discover virus that lessens mental capacity
American scientists have located a virus that attacks human DNA, which may cause those infected to be less intelligent, impairing brain activity, learning and memory. Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska have identified traces of an algal virus, known as ATCV-1, in throat swabs drawn from healthy volunteers which appeared to lessen their mental capacity.
Compound reduced blood pressure in female offspring of hypertensive rats
The explosive organic compound pentaerythritol tetranitrate might one day allow pregnant women to protect their daughters from developing high blood pressure before they're born, according to an animal study published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension. Researchers assessed the effect of PETN on pregnant rats with high blood pressure and their offspring.
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