Ahead of this week’s Morningside Center conference on repurposing drugs, we wanted to highlight a recent paper in NPJ Precision Oncology by dermatologist Jack Arbiser. It may represent a new chapter in the story of the beta-blocker propranolol.
Several years ago, doctors in France accidentally discovered that propranolol is effective against hemangiomas: bright red birthmarks made of extra blood vessels, which appear in infancy. Hemangiomas often don’t need treatment and regress naturally, but some can lead Read more
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon for the discovery that differentiated cells in the body can be reprogrammed. This finding led to the development of â€œinduced pluripotent stem cells.â€
These cells were once skin or blood cells. Through a process of artificial reprogramming in the lab, scientists wipe these cellsâ€™ slates clean and return them to a state very similar to that of embryonic stem cells.Â But not exactly the same.
It has become clear that iPS cells can retain some memories of their previous state. This can make it easier to change an iPS cell that used to be a blood cell (for example) back into a blood cell, compared to turning it into another type of cell. The finding raised questions about iPS cellsâ€™ stability and whether http://www.troakley.com/ iPS cell generation â€“ still a relatively new technique â€“ would need some revamping for eventual clinical use.
Chromosomal hotspots where iPS cells differ from ES cells
It turns out that iPS cells and embryonic stem cells have differing patterns of methylation, a modification of DNA that can alter how genes behave even if the underlying DNA sequence remains the same. Some of these differences are the same in all iPS cells and some are unique for each batch of reprogrammed cells.
One of the most extensive and elegant approaches, in our opinion, was science journalist Virginia Hughes‘ post “Re-Awakenings,” originally written for the group blog Last Word on Nothing. (Hughes is now part of National Geographic’s Phenomena quartet of bloggers.) Yesterday “Re-Awakenings” won some recognition, receiving the “Post of the Year” award from ScienceSeeker, a community square for science blogging.
In addition, the most recent issue of Emory Medicine has a feature on Anna’s story, and neurologist David Rye, who leads the Emory team who treated Anna, has his own take in the June issue of Discover magazine.
Move over, A, G, C and T. The alphabet of epigenetic DNA modifications keeps getting longer.
A year ago, we described research on previously unseen information in the genetic code using this metaphor:
Imagine reading an entire book, but then realizing that your glasses did not allow you to distinguish â€œgâ€ from â€œq.â€ What details did you miss?
Geneticists faced a similar problem with the recent discovery of a â€œsixth nucleotideâ€ in the DNA alphabet. Two modifications of cytosine, one of the four bases http://www.raybani.com/ that make up DNA, look almost the same but mean different things. But scientists lacked a way of reading DNA, letter by letter, and detecting precisely where these modifications are found in particular tissues or cell types.
Now, a teamâ€¦ has developed and tested a technique to accomplish this task.
In recent years public health authorities have raised concern that many strains of Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium that is the most common cause of sexually transmitted infections around the world, can be missed by conventional genetic tests. A mutation in part of its genomc can make Chlamydia undetectable by the most commonly used tests.
The Chlamydia tests are performed in a microfluidic cassette platform and data is returned about an hour after sample collection. In comparison, standard tests take a day or longer.
Most infections are asymptomatic but left untreated, Chlamydia infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and ectopic pregnancy. It is also a Ray Ban online leading cause of blindness in developing countries.
“We used tools that were developed initially to answer basic scientific questions,” Read says. “We compared multiple genomes of C. trachomatis to find targets that would work across a broad selection of bacterial strains.”
When someoneâ€™s sense of touch becomes more acute through training, the brain itself changes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers have devised ways to see which areas of the brain become more active.
Surprisingly, the changes in activity appear in parts of the Cheap Oakleys brain thought to be responsible for decision-making, rather than the â€œsomatosensoryâ€ regions involved in processing touch signals from the fingers.
Participants were asked to discriminate between three-dot patterns, while the horizontal offset became less and less.
Sighted college undergraduates were trained to discriminate between patterns of raised dots with their fingers. After several sessions, the threshold of differences study participants could detect became much smaller. They could detect differences of less than 0.2 millimeters, when they had started out only being able to detect 1 millimeter changes.
â€œIt is a task that resembles reading braille, and it tests for the same kind of fine level discrimination needed to read braille,â€ says Krish Sathian, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, rehabilitation medicine, and psychology at Emory University.
Todd B. Sherer, PhD, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsonâ€™s Research (MJFF), described how the Fox Foundation is trying to build bridges between the worlds of basic and clinical research to speed development of new drugs for the treatment of Parkinsonâ€™s disease, and offered a ray ban outlet perspective on how independent research funders can help move drug candidates from the lab to the clinic and closer to market.
Sherer, a former postdoctoral fellow at Emory, also has the same first and last name (but not middle initial!) as OTTâ€™s director. Sherer â€“ the one who works for the Fox Foundation â€“ joined that non-profit charityâ€™s staff in 2004. While at Emory, he worked on models for Parkinsonâ€™s based on exposure to the pesticide rotenone, alongside Ranjita Betarbet, Gary Miller and J. Timothy Greenamyre, who himself moved on to the University of Pittsburgh in 2005.
The stress of public speaking is enough to drive damage-repairing progenitor cells out of the bone marrow into the blood, a study of patients with heart disease has found.
Public speaking raises the blood pressure — it also drives progenitor cells out of the bone marrow
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are found in the bone marrow, and thought to repair damaged blood vessels once mobilized into the blood by injury or stress. Previous research has shown that strenuous exercise can lead to a dramatic increase in blood EPC levels, but the effects of psychological stress on EPCs had not been examined before.
The new findings were presented Saturday, March 9 at the American College of Cardiology conference in San Francisco. The presenter was cardiovascular research fellow Ronnie Ramadan, MD. Senior authors are Arshed Quyyumi, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Emory Cardiovascular Research Institute, and Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health.
In some patients with coronary artery disease, mental stress may precipitate ischemia– a deficiency in blood flow to the heart â€“ a risk factor for adverse events and death independent of other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, cholesterol and diabetes.
A coal-tar dye first produced in the 19th century, gentian violet is available over the counter as an antifungal agent.
Dermatologist Jack Arbiser has been a champion of the inexpensive drug gentian violet for skin diseases. He recently teamed up with collaborators in Brazil to find that gentian violet is active against leishmaniasis, a disfiguring skin disease found in many tropical and subtropical countries.
Caused by protozoan parasites and transmitted by sand flies, leishmaniasisâ€™ most common form produces skin sores but can also affect the nose and mouth and even vital organs. The World Health Organization has identified Kabul, Afghanistan as a world hot spot for leishmaniasis.
In the journal PLOS One, Ana Paula Fernandes and colleagues at the Federal University of Minas Gerais showed that gentian violet and related compounds are active against Leishmania species in animal models.
Conventionallly, therapy for leishmaniasis has involved antimony compounds, but resistance is growing. More recently, clinicians have used the drugs miltefosine and amphotericin against leishmaniasis, but severe side effects have been reported.
â€œBecause it has a http://www.troakley.com/ proven safety record, gentian violet might be a useful treatment that can be used in developing countries as well as by US troops serving in Afghanistan,â€ Arbiser says.
Arbiser also recently published a case report on the use of gentian violet, in combination with the immune modulator imiquimod, to treat melanoma.
Emory influenza researchers Richard Compans, Anice Lowen and John Steel are co-signers of a statement announcing the end of a self-imposed moratorium on H5N1 avian flu research.
Last year, an international group of researchers called for the moratorium after public concern over studies of H5N1 transmissibility in ferrets, a model for spread of infection between humans. The group of researchers has now recommended ending the moratorium, citing safeguards and safety review procedures put in place by the National Institutes of Health and authorities in other countries. From the letter published today in Science and Nature:
In January 2012, influenza virus researchers from around the world announced a voluntary pause of 60 days on any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses leading to the generation of viruses that are more transmissible in mammals. We declared a pause to this important research to provide time to explain the public-health benefits cheap oakley of this work, to describe the measures in place to minimize possible risks, and to enable organizations and governments around the world to review their policies (for example on biosafety, biosecurity, oversight, and communication) regarding these experiments.
…Thus, acknowledging that the aims of the voluntary moratorium have been met in some countries and are close to being met in others, we declare an end to the voluntary moratorium on avian flu transmission studies.
Compans is professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine and scientific director of Emory’s Influenza Pathogenesis and Immunology Research Center. Lowen and Steel are assistant professors of microbiology and immunology at Emory and IPIRC investigators.
Oxytocin, a peptide hormone first studied for its roles in childbirth and lactation, has been a hot topic recently, partly because of excitement around the idea of using it to treat autism spectrum disorders. (There has even been a bit of a backlash.)Â Larry Young is quoted extensively in Greg Miller’sbalanced take on oxytocin in Science:
“In my view, the best benefit from stimulating the oxytocin system is going to be to combine it with a controlled behavioral therapy,” Emory’s Young says. He believes that oxytocin’s main effect is to make people more sensitive to social cues. In a therapist’s office, children could be assured of receiving positive, reinforcing social cues while under the hormone’s sway. Not so if they cheap oakley sunglasses simply take the hormone and went about their day. “Say you give it to a kid and then he goes to school and gets bullied. That’s not going to have a positive impact, and it may even make things worse,” Young says.
A better handle on the basic biology of intranasal oxytocin, such as how it enters the brain and which receptors it hits, might enable researchers to develop more effective drugs, Young adds. “If we want to move beyond this initial investigatory era and get more sophisticated and potent effects, we need to understand the mechanisms.”