ASCLS eNewsBytes
Nov. 25, 2014

Gene therapy found effective in hemophilia B
Ten patients with severe hemophilia B have remained cured of the inherited bleeding disorder for as long as three years thanks to gene therapy, according to a new report on the technique in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study updates an earlier one from 2011, in which six volunteers were successfully treated with various doses of the treatment that uses a virus to insert genetic material into the liver. The four additional patients received the highest dose.More

The cellular origin of fibrosis: Team identifies rare stem cells that give rise to chronic tissue scarring
Harvard University via Medical Xpress
Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital have found the cellular origin of the tissue scarring caused by organ damage associated with diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and other conditions. The buildup of scar tissue is known as fibrosis. Fibrosis has a number of consequences, including inflammation and reduced blood and oxygen delivery to the organ. In the long term, the scar tissue can lead to organ failure and eventually death. It is estimated that fibrosis contributes to 45 percent of all deaths in the developed world.More

Researchers develop new acoustic sensor for chemical and biological detection
Argonne National Laboratory News Office via Lab Manager
The device, known as a surface acoustic wave sensor, detects frequency changes in waves that propagate through its crystalline structure. This makes it ideal for detecting the presence of chemicals or biomarkers present in a liquid or gas. For example, it can detect cancer proteins attached to a receptor on the sensor surface. More

Genetic replication study could lead to new cancer treatments
Medical News Today
The process of how genetic material is replicated is one that is poorly understood, but new research by a team at Florida State University could lead to a new level of understanding in this area, with implications for the treatment of patients with diseases whereby the process of genetic replication is dysfunctional. Led by David Gilbert and postdoctoral researcher Ben Pope, the team have examined in depth how DNA and associated genetic material is organized and replicated within the nucleus of a cell.More

Scientists create the 1st complete picture of a key flu virus machine
European Molecular Biology Laboratory via Infection Control Today
Scientists looking to understand — and potentially thwart — the influenza virus have now gone from a similar window-based view to the full factory tour, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus' key machines. The structure, obtained by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, France, allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole. Published in two papers in Nature, the work could prove instrumental in designing new drugs to treat serious flu infections and combat flu pandemics.More

Breakthrough in managing yellow fever disease
Yellow fever is a disease that can result in symptoms ranging from fever to severe liver damage. Found in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, each year the disease results in 200,000 new cases and kills 30,000 people. About 900 million people are at risk of contracting the disease.More

US proposes greater public access to data from clinical trials
HealthDay News
Two U.S. government agencies have proposed new rules that will make it easier for everyone to know whether a clinical trial was successful or not. The proposed changes would expand the number of trials that are required to publish summaries of their results to — a publicly accessible database, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.More

Are we on the verge of a new Ebola like virus outbreak?
Medical News Today
A study published in the journal Nature Communications provides the first scientific evidence that another family of deadly viruses may have "jumped" from fruit bats to humans in Africa, prompting experts to caution that earlier surveillance is needed to prevent another epidemic. The family of viruses in question is known as henipaviruses, which cause rare infections — sometimes harmless, sometimes deadly. Some strains have mortality rates close to 90 percent, which is similar to those for Ebola.More

Study: HIV/AIDS drugs could be repurposed to treat AMD
University of Kentucky via ScienceDaily
Drugs that have been used for the past 30 years to treat HIV/AIDS, could be repurposed to treat the dry form of age-related macular degeneration, a new study suggests. Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive condition that is untreatable in up to 90 percent of patients and is a leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide. The two forms of age-related macular degeneration, wet and dry, are classified based on the presence or absence of blood vessels that have invaded the retina.More

Study: Light may skew laboratory tests on nanoparticles' health effects
R&D Magazine via National Institute of Standards and Technology
Truth shines a light into dark places. But sometimes to find that truth in the first place, it's better to stay in the dark. That's what recent findings at the National Institute of Standards and Technology show about methods for testing the safety of nanoparticles. It turns out that previous tests indicating that some nanoparticles can damage our DNA may have been skewed by inadvertent light exposure in the laboratory.More