Body

A pre-cancerous condition linked to chronic acid reflux often gets overlooked. Can the medical community do a better job intervening? Researchers from the Hutchinson-MRC Research Centre in Cambridge think so.

The road from disease research to disease cure isn't usually a smooth one. One role which bridges the laboratory and the clinic is that of the "clinician-scientist" – a doctor who understands disease both in the patient and in the Petri dish. Yet an editorial published in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), http://dmm.biologists.org, contends that clinician-scientists in the UK and elsewhere are not prospering, but rather are "under threat in a hostile environment".

Researchers have shown that they can effectively tackle HIV-1 with small bits of gene-silencing RNA by delivering them directly to infected T cells, the major targets of the virus. While earlier studies had shown such a strategy could fight against many viruses including HIV-1, the new study in mice with human blood cells, so-called humanized mice, is the first to demonstrate an effective approach to systemic delivery in a living animal.

A study reported in the August 8th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, reveals the complete mitochondrial genome of a 38,000-year-old Neandertal. The findings open a window into the Neandertals' past and helps answer lingering questions about our relationship to them.

" For the first time, we've built a sequence from ancient DNA that is essentially without error," said Richard Green of Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

BOSTON, Mass. (Aug. 7, 2008) — Hopes languished last September when a promising candidate HIV vaccine failed to work. Despite this setback, many researchers still believe immunization is possible, and a new study suggests they're correct—at least at the cellular level.

Working in mice infected with HIV, a team used a method called RNA interference to knock down three genes in T cells, protecting them from the virus. This method seemed to prevent HIV from jumping between cells in the mice.

Genes that inhibit the spontaneous development of cancer are called tumor suppressor genes. One of the major tumor suppressors is p53, a protein that acts in the cell nucleus to control the expression of other genes whose products can inhibit cell proliferation (increase in cell number) and cell growth (increase in cell size). Abnormal cell proliferation and growth are characteristics of cancer. Scientists previously knew which p53 target genes inhibit cell proliferation, but those required for inhibition of cell growth were unknown.

LA JOLLA, CA — As the summer approaches most of us rejoice, reach for the sunscreen and head outdoors. But an ever-growing number of people reach for tissue instead as pollen leaves eyes watering, noses running and spirits dwindling. Hay fever is just one of a host of hypersensitivity allergic diseases that cause suffering worldwide and others, such as severe reactions to bee stings or eating peanuts, can be more serious and even fatal.

Boston, Mass, Aug. 7, 2008 – Harvard Stem Cell Institute researcher George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, also associate director of the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston, and HSCI colleagues Konrad Hochedlinger and Chad Cowan have produced a robust new collection of disease-specific stem cell lines, all of which were developed using the new induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technique. The paper is being published in the August 6 on-line edition of the journal Cell.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (August 7, 2008) – Embryonic stem cells are always facing a choice—either to self-renew or begin morphing into another type of cell altogether.

It's a tricky choice, governed by complex gene regulatory circuitry driven by a handful of key regulators known as "master transcription factors," proteins that switch gene expression on or off.

Cambridge, UK, 07 August 2008 - "Big things come in small packages," the saying goes, and it couldn't be more true when discussing the mouse. This little creature has become a crucial part of human history through its contributions in understanding human genetics and disease. In a review published in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), http://dmm.biologists.org, genetics researchers from Yale University School of Medicine and Fudan University School of Life Sciences discuss the history and future of mice as a model organism.

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 7, 2008 — Despite some improvements to lower "bad" cholesterol levels, people with cardiovascular diseases still need to do a better job controlling overall blood lipid levels, according to a UC Irvine Heart Disease Prevention Program study.

U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) researcher Victoria R. Polonis, Ph.D., and colleagues released findings on a study of cross-clade neutralization patterns among HIV-1 strains from six major clades in the 5 Jun 2008 issue of Virology.

A medical test developed to detect an overload of iron in humans has recently been adapted to screen for the condition in some distant relatives: diminutive monkeys from South America, according to veterinarians at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

New research in the latest issue of the Society of Chemical Industry's (SCI) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows there is no evidence to support the argument that organic food is better than food grown with the use of pesticides and chemicals

Many people pay more than a third more for organic food in the belief that it has more nutritional content than food grown with pesticides and chemicals.

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Imagine an edible optical sensor that could be placed in produce bags to detect harmful levels of bacteria and consumed right along with the veggies. Or an implantable device that would monitor glucose in your blood for a year, then dissolve.