ASCLS eNewsBytes
Aug. 19, 2014

New insights into the survival and transmission strategy of malaria parasites
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute via Infection Control Today
HP1 proteins are found in most eukaryotic organisms and are important regulators of gene silencing. In short, HP1 induces heritable condensation of chromosomal regions. As a result, genes located within these regions are not expressed. Importantly, since this conformation is reversible, HP1-controlled genes can become activated without requiring changes in the underlying DNA sequence.More

New small molecules target mutation in ALS and a form of dementia
Medical News Today
For the first time, researchers have successfully constructed a strategy targeting a specific genetic mutation that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and a type of dementia. And the exciting news is that their findings show it may be possible to treat a large number of patients who have these two diseases.More

A gene linked to disease found to play a critical role in normal memory development
HealthCanal
It has been more than 20 years since scientists discovered that mutations in the gene huntingtin cause the devastating progressive neurological condition Huntington's disease, which involves involuntary movements, emotional disturbance and cognitive impairment. Surprisingly little, however, has been known about the gene's role in normal brain activity.More

Full recovery possible for 2 US Ebola patients
HealthDay News
The two American aid workers being treated for Ebola virus face a long, hard road to full recovery, but shouldn't endure long-term illness or disability because of their brush with the deadly pathogen, says one of the United States' most experienced Ebola experts. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol likely will spend weeks, if not months, regaining their strength and body weight following the ravages of Ebola, said Dr. Joseph McCormick, regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville, Texas.More

Animal-free reprogramming of adult cells improves safety
Agency for Science, Technology and Research via Phys.org
Human stem cells produced through genetic reprogramming are beset by safety concerns because current techniques alter the DNA of the stem cells and use material from animals to grow them. Now, researchers have developed an efficient approach that produces safe, patient-specific human stem cells. More

Sloppy practices by CDC scientist cited in laboratory mishap
USA Today
Sloppy laboratory practices by an experienced but overworked scientist rushing to get to a noon meeting is likely how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cross-contaminated a specimen of a benign bird flu virus with a dangerous strain that can kill people, according to an internal agency investigation. The CDC investigation found a wide range of serious lapses and revealed additional flu research that was jeopardized because of the contaminated samples.More

New research offers hope for HIV vaccine development
Boston University Medical Center via Medical Xpress
In a scientific discovery that has significant implications for HIV vaccine development, collaborators at the Boston University School of Medicine and Duke University School of Medicine have uncovered novel properties of special HIV antibodies. The paper, published in Cell Host and Microbe, describes how some HIV antibodies experience an unusual type of mutation, a phenomenon that allows them to neutralize many different strains of HIV.More

New ways to treat solid tumors using protein
Monash University via ScienceDaily
An antibody against the protein EphA3, found in the microenvironment of solid cancers, has anti-tumor effects, an international team of scientists has shown. As EphA3 is present in normal organs only during embryonic development but is expressed in blood cancers and in solid tumors, this antibody-based approach may be a suitable candidate treatment for solid tumors.More

New insights into the survival and transmission strategy of malaria parasites
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute via Infection Control Today
HP1 proteins are found in most eukaryotic organisms and are important regulators of gene silencing. In short, HP1 induces heritable condensation of chromosomal regions. As a result, genes located within these regions are not expressed. Importantly, since this conformation is reversible, HP1-controlled genes can become activated without requiring changes in the underlying DNA sequence.More

CDC raises Ebola outbreak response to highest alert status
HealthDay News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the level of its response to the West African Ebola outbreak to its highest alert status. The move allows the agency to expand its role in fighting the growing public health crisis, which gained new urgency as cases of the deadly infection began to be reported in populous Nigeria.More

'Normal' bacteria vital for keeping intestinal lining intact
HealthCanal
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that bacteria that aid in digestion help keep the intestinal lining intact. The findings, reported online in the journal Immunity, could yield new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and a wide range of other disorders.More

Notch signaling and new blood: Tracing the beginnings of hematopoietic stem cells
University of California, San Diego via Science 2.0
Hematopoietic stem cells are adult stem cells isolated from blood or bone marrow that can renew themselves and differentiate into a variety of specialized cells. They give rise to all other blood cell types, but their development has long remained a mystery. In a new paper, researchers elaborate upon a crucial signaling pathway and the role of key proteins, which may help clear the way to generate hematopoietic stem cells from human pluripotent precursors, similar to advances with other kinds of tissue stem cells. More

Researchers produce 1st map of human proteome, generating promise for developing novel medical laboratory tests and new therapeutics
DARK Daily
Given the growing importance of proteins in medical laboratory testing, pathologists will want to know about a major milestone recently achieved in this field. Researchers have announced that drafts of the complete human proteome have been released to the public. More