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.
Nicotine addiction is a hard habit to break. But what if you could never get hooked in the first place? Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York report in the journal Science Translational Medicine that they have developed a potential vaccine for nicotine addiction. In mice, the vaccine inhibits the effects of nicotine before they reach the heart or brain, making it seem as though the nicotine never entered the bloodstream.
News from the field of HIV research has been pretty promising of late — this summer, we heard good news that antiretroviral treatment is superbly effective, at least when it's used correctly. And thanks to some video gamers, scientists' understanding of proteins involved in HIV keeps getting better. Now researchers have another tool in their arsenal: Stripping the virus itself of its ability to trick the human immune system.
HIV infection sends the immune system into overdrive and eventually exhausts it, which is what leads to AIDS. But removing cholesterol from HIV seems to cripple the virus' ability to over-activate part of the immune system, so it could potentially lead to a vaccine that lets the adaptive immune system attack and destroy the virus — just as it would if HIV was any other pathogen.
From the island nation known for the quality of its cigars comes some pretty big news today: Xinhua reports that Cuban medical authorities have released the first therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer. CimaVax-EGF is the result of a 25-year research project at Havana’s Center for Molecular Immunology, and it could make a life or death difference for those facing late-stage lung cancers, researchers there say.
A type of statistical analysis used to study high-energy physics and stock market fluctuations could yield a new angle of attack in the fight against the virus that causes AIDS. A surgical strike on specific, steadfast sectors of HIV could lead to new drugs or vaccines, according to a new study.
It’s a story of mice and men with huge implications: Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators from the UK have apparently cured mice with well-established prostate tumors with no visible side effects via a new kind of tumor vaccine. And if it works for men like it worked for mice, it could make prostate cancer a preventable condition and open the door to additional cancer vaccines.