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New technology reduces the profitability for new drugs

By | April 11, 2001

The recent American College of Cardiology meeting provided a striking example of how the new technology of combinatorial chemistry is changing the face of the drugs market.

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Second-generation microarrays

By | April 11, 2001

Current microarray analysis uses 'chips' containing either 25-residue oligonucleotides synthesized by photolithography or cDNAs placed by robotic spotting. In the April Nature Biotechnology, Hughes et al. describe a microarray technique that exploits an ink-jet printing method and standard phosphoramidite chemistry (Nature Biotechnology 2001, 19:342-347). The ink-jet synthesizer can deliver 25,000 phosphoramidite-containing microdroplets to a 25 x 75 mm glass slide. Hughes et al. examined a larg

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Viral discovery gives new hope for schizophrenia sufferers

By | April 11, 2001

Retroviral genes inserted into the human genome may contribute to some cases of schizophrenia.

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Eotaxin role in gastrointestinal inflammation

By | April 10, 2001

Eosinophils have been implicated in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal inflammation but the signalling processes involved in the accumulation of eosinophils have not been fully established. In the April Nature Immunology Simon Hogan and colleagues from the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, US and the Australian National University, Canberra describe the pathological consequences of eosinophilic inflammation and the involvement of eotaxin in the accumulation of eosinophils in the

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Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy dissected

By | April 10, 2001

Inherited defects in the mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation pathway can lead to lipotoxic cardiomyopathy and sudden death in children and young adults. The exact chain of pathologic events remains unknown, but in the 1 April Journal of Clinical Investigation Hsiu-Chiang Chiu and colleagues from Washington University School of Medicine describe the development of a murine model of metabolic cardiomyopathy. The study also suggests that lipotoxic cardiomyopathy is based on a mismatch between myocar

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Long-lived flies

By | April 10, 2001

Mutations that increase the life span of Caenorhabditis elegans encode components of the insulin/IGF signalling pathway. In the April 6 Science, two papers describe mutations that link insulin signaling with longevity in Drosophila melanogaster. Clancy et al. report that homozygous null mutations in chico, encoding an insulin receptor substrate protein, increased the female fly life span by up to 48% (Science 2001, 292:104-106). They were able to demonstrate that the effects of chico on longevit

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Genetic predisposition for osteoporosis

By | April 9, 2001

COL1A1 Sp1 polymorphism predisposes osteoporosis by mechanisms involving changes in bone mass and bone quality.

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Modulation by matrix

By | April 9, 2001

Interactions of cells with the extracellular matrix (ECM), via the integrin receptors, modulate cell proliferation, survival and differentiation. In the April 10 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Yarwood and Woodgett describe how the make up of the ECM can affect the cellular response to growth-factor stimulation (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:4472-4477). They used cDNA microarrays to analyse over 1,718 human genes and measure changes in gene expression when cells were plated on

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Urine mRNA can predict kidney transplant rejection

By | April 9, 2001

Levels of mRNA for perforin and granzyme B are high in urinary cells from patients with acute transplant rejection.

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Calcium dependent gene regulation

By | April 6, 2001

Calcium plays an essential role in lymphocyte activation and maturation but the exact effect on gene expression is not known. In April Nature Immunology Stefan Feske and colleagues from Harvard Medical School present evidence that Ca2+-dependent signalling pathways mediate both gene induction and gene repression in activated T cells.In the absence of specific inhibitors, they looked at cell lines from two severe-combined immunodeficiency (SCID) patients that are characterised by a strong defect

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