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More hope for genetic fix for HIV

By | June 16, 2010

Genetically modifying the stem cells of HIV patients may one day prove to be an effective, one-time therapy against the hard-to-kill virus, according to the results of a proof-of-principle trial published this week in Science Translational Medicine. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: Wikimedia commons, NIAIDIn contrast to the widely used highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which patients must continue for their entire lives to control the virus, such a genetic treatment has the potent


Good news for rare disease?

By | June 15, 2010

The mother of young twins with a rare genetic disease is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to administer linkurl:a non-prescription compound; directly into the brains of her girls based on recent findings showing the compound dramatically improves cats with the disease. It may seem unusual for a parent to fill out such an application to the FDA, but Chris Hempel, who has two 6-year old children suffering from Niemann-Pick


How a shark's nose knows

By | June 10, 2010

New insight into how sharks sniff out prey may help explain the evolution of widely spaced nostrils, such as those of hammerheads. According to a linkurl:study; published in the latest issue of Current Biology, sharks navigate through odor trails by sensing time delays in the arrival of odor signals from one nostril to another. Presumably, sharks with more widely spaced nostrils can sense more subtle changes in the direction


New gut ecosystem model?

By | June 10, 2010

A new class of organisms may be cutting in on the classic, co-evolutionary, immune system-boosting tango between mammals and the beneficial bacteria that inhabit their guts: parasitic worms.Trichuris muris eggs with Escherichia coliImage courtesy of Kelly Hayes, University ofManchester Researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom report this week in Science that they have found that parasitic worms of the genus __Trichuris__ -- inhabitants of many a mammal's large intestine


Support for UC-Nature ban

By | June 10, 2010

University of California scientists are speaking out in favor of UC's threat to boycott Nature Publishing Group over a proposed 400 percent hike in licensing fees. "Nature is making a very unfortunate move here," said linkurl:Alex Bell,; a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. "Multiple-fold increases are unjustified. I think it's bordering on exploitation." In a letter mass e-mailed to faculty earlier thi


Two receptors explain MS?

By | June 6, 2010

Rare, dual-receptor T-cells may be at the root of multiple sclerosis, according to an article published online today (June 6th) in __Nature Immunology,__ providing a possible explanation for other autoimmune diseases. Spinal MRI showing multiple sclerosisImage: National Institutes of Health"It has been thought for a while that these dual receptor T-cells are involved in autoimmunity," said Nitin Karandikar from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who was not involved in the st


Bringing research to high schools

By | June 4, 2010

Last April, approximately 25 high school biology teachers from around the country arrived in Woods Hole, Massachusetts for a 3-day mini-course on insect biology. In classrooms overlooking the Vineyard Sound, the teachers worked in groups to label and identify bugs and process their DNA. The goal: learn how to bring this kind of college-level research into their classrooms.Teachers at a 3-day mini-course in Woods Hole "We are trying to get students to do hands-on, problem-based, student-led in


More midnight college classes

By | June 3, 2010

College students have never been known to go to bed early, and an increasing number of schools are now offering classes at midnight.St. Michael's College at nightImage: Wikimedia commons, MarcusObal "We have a 24-hour town here, this is when our students work," said Sally Johnson, dean of the School of Math and Science at the linkurl:College of Southern Nevada.; The 2-year college with 12 campuses in southern Nevada, including a main campus in Las Vegas, chose to offer midn


Odd mutation pattern in flu

By | June 3, 2010

The seasonal flu's newfound and widespread drug resistance was made possible by an odd series of mutations -- at least two "permissive" mutations that evolved before the mutation for resistance even occurred, according to a study published this week in Science. A graphical depiction of the neuraminidase (NA) moleculewith the resistance mutation (H274Y) shown in pink.The two compensatory mutations (V234M and R222Q)at the sites shown in orange may help the proteinfolding in a way that rescues vi


Video: See first blood flow

By | June 3, 2010

What does it take for blood to start flowing for the first time in an embryo? That's the question that Atsuko Sehara-Fujisawa at Kyoto University and colleagues set out to answer by catching zebrafish blood vessels on film as they matured. The researchers saw that the blood cell precursors entered blood vessels and stayed there immobile, possibly tethered to the inner wall by adhesion molecules called PSGL1. It's not until an enzyme called ADAM8, a metalloprotease, is expressed by the blood cel


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