Stem Cell Therapy Patch for Macular Degeneration Sees the Light of Day

New research in the field of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be giving stem cell therapy a chance to move into the next level through a clinical trial that may be the first of its kind. The work, published in a paper titled, “Clinical-grade stem cell–derived retinal pigment epithelium patch rescues retinal degeneration in rodents and pigs” was published in Science Translational Medicine on January 16. Using a novel patient-specific…

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Truncal mutations study suggests new direction in origins of cancer

Cancers most commonly arise because of a series of two to five mutations in different genes that combine to cause a tumor. Evidence from a growing number of experiments focused on truncal mutations–the first mutations in a given sequence–suggests a new direction in understanding the origins of cancer. In a paper published today in Cancer Cell, authors Arnold J. Levine of the Institute for Advanced Study and Nancy A. Jenkins…

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Intoxication Metabolite Found in Flies Plied with Alcohol

Buzzed flies reveal an indirect path to intoxication. [Scripps Research] At the molecular level, the pathway to drunkenness isn’t a straight line. It swerves toward an intermediate step, one that was overlooked in earlier studies of alcohol anesthesia. According to a new study of alcohol anesthesia from the Scripps Research Institute, ethanol intake causes a “buzzed” sensation when a membrane-bound enzyme produces lipid-alcohol metabolites that bind to and regulate downstream…

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Kidney Disease Gene Test Advances Personalized Medicine

Researchers at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons have found that genes cause about 1 in 10 cases of chronic kidney disease in adults. They say that identifying the responsible gene has a direct impact on treatment for most of these patients. “Our study shows that genetic testing can be used to personalize the diagnosis and management of kidney disease, and that nephrologists should consider incorporating it…

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New test shown to be 100% effective at detecting cervical cancer

Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London have developed a new cervical cancer test that proved to be 100% effective at detecting the cancer in a trial of 15,744 participants. Komsan Loonproom | Shutterstock The study demonstrated that the epigenetics-based test outperformed both the Pap smear and the human papilloma virus (HPV) test, as well as being more cost effective. As reported in the International Journal of Cancer, lead…

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Marijuana causes alters genetic makeup of sperm

A new study has revealed that cannabis or marijuana can alter the DNA or genetic make-up of the sperms and this can have long term consequences in the baby born of that sperm. The study results were published in the latest issue of the journal Epigenetics. Marijuana. Image Credit: ShutterstockProfessional / Shutterstock Researchers at the Duke University used laboratory rats. They divided the rats into two groups. One of the…

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Drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses found in lab study

No drugs are currently available to treat Ebola, Dengue, or Zika viruses, which infect millions of people every year and result in severe illness, birth defects, and even death. New research from the Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco may finally change that. Scientists identified key ways the three viruses hijack the body’s cells, and they found at least one potential drug that can disrupt this process in human cells….

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To repair DNA damage, plants need good contractors

When a building is damaged, a general contractor often oversees various subcontractors  framers, electricians, plumbers and drywall hangers — to ensure repairs are done in the correct order and on time. Similarly, when DNA is damaged, a molecular general contractor oversees a network of genetic subcontractors to ensure that the diverse cellular tasks needed to protect and repair the genome are carried out correctly and on time. Scientists have known…

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Breakthrough technology offers new hope to people with glaucoma, retinitis and macular degeneration

In January 2009, the life of engineer Michel Meunier, a professor at Polytechnique Montréal, changed dramatically. Like others, he had observed that the extremely short pulse of a femtosecond laser (0.000000000000001 second) could make nanometer-sized holes appear in silicon when it was covered by gold nanoparticles. But this researcher, recognized internationally for his skills in laser and nanotechnology, decided to go a step further with what was then just a…

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RNAi therapy shown to alleviate preeclampsia in animal model

A study led by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has used a small interfering RNA (siRNA) to reduce preeclampsia symptoms in an animal model. This approach could provide a new way of treating preeclampsia in humans. Hakat | Shutterstock At around 20 weeks of pregnancy, women with preeclampsia develop high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine (proteinuria). If the condition is severe, blood platelet counts…

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