ASCLS eNewsBytes
April 12, 2011

New muscle programming method uses DNA to turn blood into beating heart cells
Popular Science
A new DNA-based cell-transformation method could be a simpler, safer way to convert cells into beating heart cells, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. It involves no viruses and is a foolproof method to create cardiac cells that beat, they say. Cardiac muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, are what makes the heart beat. Scientists have been making cardiomyocytes from other cells for some time, usually by making induced pluripotent stem cells from some other cell, like skin cells or blood cells. The cells are reprogrammed into iPS cells by injecting virus particles that have been manipulated to carry genetic information. More

Dengue fever assay gets FDA marketing nod
Medscape Medical News
An antibody test for dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever has received marketing approval, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced. The DENV Detect IgM capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is the first test approved to aid in the diagnosis of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral infection that is most commonly seen in the United States among travelers returning from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. The disease is endemic in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and U.S. territorial islands in the Pacific.More

Quadruple HCV therapy effective for nonresponders
The Clinical Advisor
Two direct-acting antivirals against hepatitis C virus (HCV) currently in development improved virologic responses among patients with HCV when administered alone or in combination with pegylated interferon-alpha-2a (pegIFN-alpha-2a) and ribavirin, phase-2 trial results indicate. More

Breast milk cells may someday predict cancer
USA Today
Examining cells from a woman's breast milk may help evaluate future breast health, new research suggests. "It looks as if we can use the cells from breast milk to assess breast cancer risk," said Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, an associate professor of veterinary and animal sciences at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. For the study, she collected breast milk from 271 women in the United States. More

Herpes virus might contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk
Medscape Medical News
The interaction of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) with amyloid precursor protein (APP) may alter the normal transport and distribution of APP in cells, potentially contributing to the risk for Alzheimer's disease in HSV-1–seropositive individuals, a new study suggests.More

Editing-molecule mutation causes fatal primordial dwarfism
Fetuses with defects in a molecular machine that edits information cells use to make proteins can develop a rare form of dwarfism, according to a new study led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The defect, triggered by a tiny gene mutation, causes microcephalic osteodysplastic primoridal dwarfism type 1, a rare developmental disorder that greatly slows growth in the uterus and causes severe brain and organ abnormalities, deformities of the arms and legs, and death in infancy or early childhood.More

Second salmonella-associated death reported in Rhode Island
A second man has died amid a salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens of people and may be linked to a Rhode Island bakery, health officials said. The patient, who recently died, was in his 90s and had tested positive for salmonella, according to Annemarie Beardsworth, public information officer for the state's health department. It was not clear if he died from salmonella or from "underlying medical conditions," she said. More

Scientists find superbugs in Delhi drinking water
A gene that makes bugs highly resistant to almost all known antibiotics has been found in bacteria in water supplies in New Delhi used by local people for drinking, washing and cooking, scientists said. The NDM 1 gene, which creates what some experts describe as "super superbugs," has spread to germs that cause cholera and dysentery, and is circulating freely in other bacteria in the Indian city capital of 14 million people, the researchers said.More