Sunday, December 31, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Technique quickly identifies bacteria for food safety, health care and homeland security:

Researchers at Purdue University have used a new technique to rapidly detect and precisely identify bacteria, including dangerous E. coli, without time-consuming treatments usually required.

Molecular anatomy of influenza virus detailed:

Scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have succeeded in imaging, in unprecedented detail, the virus that causes influenza.

Sex differences and rheumatoid arthritis:

A humanized mouse model may be valuable for not only studying sex differences in RA, but also for understanding why women are particularly vulnerable to autoimmunity and for developing future therapeutic strategies.

Researchers identify new drug targets for cancer:

Solving a 100-year-old genetic puzzle, researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine have determined that the same genetic mechanism that drives tumor growth can also act as a tumor suppressor. Their findings could lead to new drug targets for cancer therapies.

Mayo Clinic collaboration mining of ancient herbal text leads to potential new anti-bacterial drug:

A unique Mayo Clinic collaboration has revived the healing wisdom of Pacific Island cultures by testing a therapeutic plant extract described in a 17th century Dutch herbal text for its anti-bacterial properties.

Joining forces:

The "resistance movement" founded by bacteria to combat antibiotics may be losing ground. By combining key properties of two different types of weapons used by the innate defense systems of organisms, a team of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science has managed to design a more powerful weapon, hoping that this will provide a basis for novel and more effective antibiotics.

A transplant in time:

In hemophilia, a mutated gene prevents the production of a blood-clotting protein. Treatments for hemophilia and other genetic diseases may consist of risky blood transfusions or expensive enzyme replacement therapy. But what if the body could be induced to begin producing these proteins by transplanting healthy tissue with the abilities that are lacking? The Weizmann Institute's Immunology Department showed how such a transplant might be made feasible.

The mathematics of cloaking:

The theorists who first created the mathematics that describe the behavior of the recently announced "invisibility cloak" have revealed a new analysis that may extend the current cloak's powers, enabling it to hide even actively radiating objects like a flashlight or cell phone.

MIT creates 3-D scaffold for growing stem cells:

Stem cells grew, multiplied and differentiated into brain cells on a new three-dimensional scaffold of tiny protein fragments designed to be more like a living body than any other cell culture system.



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