ICBS Discovery
Mar. 19, 2015

Bioengineers put human hearts on a chip to aid drug screening
University of California, Berkeley
When UC Berkeley bioengineers say they are holding their hearts in the palms of their hands, they are not talking about emotional vulnerability. Instead, the research team is presenting a network of pulsating cardiac muscle cells housed in an inch-long silicone device that effectively models human heart tissue, and they have demonstrated the viability of this system as a drug-screening tool by testing it with cardiovascular medications. More

Fully automated single molecule measurements probe living cells
A new approach for studying the behavior of proteins in living cells has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of biologists and physicists. The approach allows scientists for the first time to follow the protein networks that drive a biological process in real time, according to a new study published in Nature Biotechnology. More

Scientists confirm key targets of new anti-cancer drug candidates
Ribosomes, ancient molecular machines that produce proteins in cells, are required for cell growth in all organisms, accomplishing strikingly complex tasks with apparent ease. But defects in the assembly process and its regulation can lead to serious biological problems, including cancer. Now, in a study published in the March 16 issue of The Journal of Cell Biology, scientists have confirmed the ribosome assembly process as a potentially fertile new target for anti-cancer drugs by detailing the essential function of a key component in the assembly process. More

Researchers change human leukemia cells into harmless immune cells
Medical Xpress
Researchers have discovered that when a certain aggressive leukemia is causing havoc in the body, the solution may be to force the cancer cells to grow up and behave. After a chance observation in the lab, the researchers found a method that can cause dangerous leukemia cells to mature into harmless immune cells known as macrophages. More

New views of enzyme structures offer insights into cholesterol
With the aid of X-ray crystallography, researchers at the University of Michigan have revealed the structures of two closely related enzymes that play essential roles in the body's ability to metabolize excess lipids, including cholesterol. The findings are an important step toward understanding and being able to therapeutically target disorders and drug side effects that cause lipids, including cholesterol, to build up in the body — leading to heart and kidney failure and other problems.More

Sweet nanoparticles target stroke
R&D Magazine
Materials resulting from chemical bonding of glucosamine with fullerenes might help to reduce cell damage and inflammation occurring after stroke. A team from the Max Planck Institute in Germany has tested this on mice, opening the door to potential new drugs for the cerebrovascular accident. More

New colon cancer culprit found by vet researchers
Science Daily
Colon cancer is a heavily studied disease — and for good reason. It is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its numbers are on the rise, from 500,00 deaths in 1990 to 700,000 in 2010. This growth comes despite scientists' ever-increasing knowledge of the genetic mutations that initiate and drive this disease. Now, a team of researchers has found evidence of a new culprit in the disease, a protein called MSI2.More

Tests of cholesterol drugs offer hope of reducing heart attacks, strokes
The New York Times
A new class of experimental cholesterol drugs might sharply reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers report, citing what they described as preliminary evidence. The drugs are already known to sharply reduce so-called bad cholesterol, sometimes to levels lower than those achieved by statins like Lipitor, the mainstay lipid-lowering medicines.More

Study reveals how genetic changes lead to familial Alzheimer's disease
National Institutes of Health
In a new study published in Neuron, scientists replaced the normal mouse presenilin-1 gene with Alzheimer's-causing forms of the human gene to discover how these genetic changes may lead to the disorder. Their surprising results may transform the way scientists design drugs that target these mutations to treat familial Alzheimer's.More