ASCLS eNewsBytes
Jun. 25, 2013

HPV vaccine is credited in fall of teenagers' infection rate
The New York Times
The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and a principal cause of cervical cancer — has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, a striking measure of success for a vaccine against the virus that was introduced only in 2006, federal health officials said recently. The sharp decline in the infection rate comes at a time of deepening worry among doctors and public health officials about the limited use of the HPV vaccine in the United States.More

H7N9 flu: Worse than pandemic, better than H5N1
MedPage Today
The novel H7N9 avian flu appears to be less severe than the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu but more severe than the 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu, researchers reported. The first estimate of the severity profile of the novel flu suggests that it kills 36 percent of those who are admitted to a hospital, according to Chinese researchers led by Yu Wang, PhD, of the Chinese equivalent of the CDC in Beijing.More

New drug may be best treatment for leukemia yet
It's called ibrutinib, and it's a potential breakthrough in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia that could leave patients with fewer side effects than chemotherapy. In research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists report that the experimental drug, which differs from broadly acting chemotherapy agents by specifically targeting certain cancer-causing processes, significantly prolongs the life of patients.More

Saudi MERS outbreak shows SARS-like features
The Canadian Press via CBC
A long-awaited report on a large and possibly still ongoing outbreak of MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia reveals the virus spreads easily within hospitals, at one point passing in a person-to-person chain that encompassed at least five generations of spread. The study, co-written by Toronto SARS expert Dr. Allison McGeer, also hints there may have been a superspreader in this outbreak, with one person infecting at least seven others.More

Silver, the secret ingredient for fighting bacterial infections
Counsel & Heal
In a new study, researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University revisited the use of silver in combatting bacteria that have grown resistant to the current antibiotic treatments today. The researchers used a silver compound and were able to boost antibiotics strength in killing off bacteria.More

Estrogen receptor drugs may halt ebola infection
Medscape Medical News
Two currently approved drugs could serve as the basis for a treatment for Zaire ebolavirus infection, according to a murine study published in Science Translational Medicine. Screening a library of more than 2000 drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, researchers discovered that the estrogen receptor antagonists clomiphene and toremifene showed high EBOV antiviral activity.More

Cutting off the fuel supply: A new approach to the treatment of pancreatic cancer
By Dorothy L. Tengler
Pancreatic cancer kills about 38,000 Americans each year and is considered the leading cause of cancer death. After diagnosis with metastatic disease, patients have a life expectancy of three to six months. It is no wonder that researchers are hard at work searching for new treatment possibilities for such a lethal disease. In a recent landmark study, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have begun to understand the mystery about how pancreatic tumor cells feed themselves. This new understanding could lead to future drug targets.More

As lyme-disease infection rate grows, so does battle over treatment
The New Yorker
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established highly specific criteria for the diagnosis of Lyme disease: an acknowledged tick bite, the appearance of a bull's-eye rash, and, for those who don’t live in a region where Lyme is common, laboratory evidence of infection. Most people who fit the profile respond well to antibiotics, even months or years after the initial infection. Many Lyme specialists, however, believe that short-term antibiotic therapy may suppress symptoms but rarely cures the disease. More

Norovirus outbreak at Yellowstone highlights camping health hazards
ABC News
VideoBrief Those heading on a camping trip this summer might want to be just as wary of crossing paths with the wrong bacteria as they would a hungry bear. After 200 park employees and visitors reported bouts of gastrointestinal illness at Yellowstone National Park and nearby Grand Teton National Park recently, national park officials have warned visitors to be vigilant about hygiene. More

Blood test for oral cancers caused by HPV may be on horizon
CBS News
Recent reports suggest HPV-driven cancers of the throat, tonsils and base of the throat — called oropharyngeal cancer — are on the rise, and doctors point out people who are now getting diagnosed with the cancer likely had gotten HPV more than a decade earlier. Now, government researchers have found what they are calling a promising biomarker, or cellular signal of a disease or condition, that may predict who will develop this cancer more than 10 years before diagnosis. More

Fighting infectious disease the modern way with robots
Loyola University Health System via ScienceDaily
Hospitals are synonymous with cleanliness and now Loyola University Health System is the first academic medical center in Illinois to take disinfection to futuristic levels. Nicknamed "Ralph" by the housekeeping staff at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and "little Joe" at Loyola University Medical Center, 3-foot upright cylindrical robots provide the finishing touches to room sanitation.More

HPV vaccine is credited in fall of teenagers' infection rate
The New York Times
The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, a striking measure of success for a vaccine against the virus that was introduced only in 2006, federal health officials said recently. More

Could urine test replace the mammogram?
Yinfa Ma, Ph.D., Curators' Teaching Professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and Technology, has developed a new screening method that uses a urinalysis to diagnose breast cancer — and determine its severity — even before it can be detected with a mammogram. More

Once-a-day pill prevents HIV in drug users
NBC News
A once-a-day pill can protect people who inject drugs such as heroin from the AIDS virus, lowering their risk by nearly 50 percent, researchers reported. The findings show that even people at the highest risk of being infected with the virus can protect themselves — and thus protect others. More

Scientists date prehistoric bacterial invasions still present in today's cells
University of California Berkeley
Long before Earth became lush, when life consisted of single-celled organisms afloat in a planet-wide sea, bacteria invaded the ancient ancestors of plants and animals and took up permanent residence. One bacterium eventually became the mitochondria that today power all plant and animal cells; another became the chloroplast that turns sunlight into energy in green plants. A new analysis by two University of California Berkeley graduate students more precisely pinpoints when these life-changing invasions occurred, placing the origin of photosynthesis in plants hundreds of millions of years earlier than once thought.More

The future of cell reprogramming: Some experts weigh in
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from a recent stem cell conference in Boston is the variety of approaches scientists now have at their disposal to study disease and tissue development, and to test drugs. It's all through reprogramming, turning one type of the human body's cells ... into any other cell type.More

3-D map of human brain gives unprecedented detail
The New York Times
Researchers in Germany and Canada have produced a new map of the human brain — not the sort that shows every brain cell and its every connection or the kind that shows broad patterns of activity in brain regions, but a work of classic anatomy, done with high technology, that shows a three-dimensional reconstruction of a human brain in unprecedented detail. The new map, called BigBrain, is 50 times as detailed as previous efforts and will be available to researchers everywhere, said Katrin Amunts of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich, Germany, the lead author of a report on the project in the current issue of Science.More