By Elbert ChuPosted 09.05.2012 at 2:38 pm 0 Comments
Scientists are constantly keeping an eye out for new diseases, trying to stanch them before they blow into a global pandemic--and while that's one way to fight the threat, there are other ways to prepare.
Predict: The best way to avoid a pandemic is to identify pathogens before they emerge. Scientists at PREDICT, a consortium of infectious-disease organizations funded by USAID, track and collect zoonotic pathogens in 20 hot-spot countries in order to create a database of the most dangerous. Researchers have discovered more than 100 new viruses in just three years of operation.
We've been waiting on the prospect of a bionic eye for a while now; being able to surgically give sight to the sightless would be a medical breakthrough, and we're right on the cusp. Exhibit A: In a world first, scientists have successfully implanted a prototype bionic eye that has helped a woman see shapes.
The first “genetically pure” bison produced from a cleansed and transplanted embryo was born in June, officials at the Bronx Zoo announced today. Now the zoo can expand its bison herd with only the purest samples of prairie cows.
Viruses are skillful mutants, changing their structures or outer proteins to evade the shifting natural defenses of their targets. (This is why you have to get a flu shot every year.) Now researchers in France report using one of the most proficient mutants, HIV, to fight another intractable disease: Cancer.
The Ebola virus—one of the world's deadliest diseases—has a kill rate of 90 percent. That's largely because the best current treatment must be applied within one hour of infection. Which is an almost impossibly brief window, considering symptoms may take anywhere from two to 21 days to appear in humans. But a new treatment has shown success in curing the disease when administered 24 hours or more after infection—at least when tested in monkeys.
For more than two years, Stanford University geneticist Michael Snyder donated his living body to science. He and fellow researchers examined his DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites, creating an incredibly detailed profile of his personal "omics." They watched in real time and at the molecular level as viruses attacked his cells, and they figured out, to their shock, that he was prone to developing type 2 diabetes.
For the first time, Parkinson’s researchers have made human brain cells derived from the skin cells of patients who carry a mutated gene related to Parkinson’s disease. This means researchers can now track exactly how this mutation, in a gene called parkin, causes the disease in about 10 percent of Parkinson’s patients.
A new real-time view of immune cells attacking the pancreas sheds light on how type 1 diabetes unfolds, as white blood cells seek out and destroy insulin-producing beta cells. Researchers believe it could help point the way to new intervention methods to halt the destruction before the onset of type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.
A new strain of the gonorrhea bacteria can resist all available antibiotics, doctors say. Gonorrhea is one of the world’s most common sexually transmitted diseases, so this could portend a major threat to public health.
This should actually not be surprising, because for some time now, just one class of drug has been able to successfully treat the infection.
A targeted snip through DNA’s double helix can take out a mutated gene that causes hemophilia, curing mice of the disease, a new study found. It’s the first study to use this form of genome editing in a living animal, and it could have implications for genetic treatment of other diseases, notably AIDS.
Scientists say the research is a major step forward for gene therapy, which has long promised to cure disease by editing genetic sequences.