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Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals

By - December 9, 2014 3 Pictures
A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light. Read More
— Medical

Vaccine self-assembles into 3D structure to better fight cancer and deadly infections

By - December 9, 2014 2 Pictures
Scientists have had some success activating the body's immune system to take the fight to cancer and other diseases, a process known as immunotherapy. Now, a new method developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University could advance this form of treatment even further. The technique involves the injection of biomaterials that assemble into 3D scaffolds inside the body to accommodate huge amounts of immune cells, a process that could trigger an attack on deadly infections ranging from HIV to cancer to Ebola. Read More
— Medical

Compound kills off malaria by making infected cells appear as aging red blood cells

By - December 7, 2014 2 Pictures
Though recent research has given hope to the anti-malaria cause, the deadly disease still claims more than half a million lives each year. A study led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis suggests that a certain compound results in the body's immune system treating malaria-infected cells the same way it does aging red blood cells, leading to the parasite becoming undetectable in mice within 48 hours. Read More
— Medical

Future asthma treatment may target trigger allergens

By - December 5, 2014
Asthma attacks are terrifying. They feel almost like the world is closing in around you as you wheeze and cough and gasp for breath. And they often strike suddenly, without warning, when an innocuous event stirs up dust or pollen around you. That terror of unexpected attack that we asthmatics feel every day may largely disappear if a novel new research project pans out. Scientists at the Universities of Cambridge, London, and Manchester have gone after the trigger allergens and developed an inhalable powder from a compound that binds to a major dust mite allergen. This powder could lead to a shift in focus for asthma treatment from relief to inhibition. Read More
— Medical

Resveratrol in red wine could help cut alcohol-related cancer risk

By - December 4, 2014
With the festive season upon us, many people will indulge in more alcohol than usual. The health risks of binge drinking (and embarrassing Christmas party behavior) aside, alcohol consumption is also a major risk factor for some cancers, including head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer. However, in a spot of good news, a recent study from the University of Colorado suggests that the chemical resveratrol found in grape skins and in red wine can help block the cancer-causing effects of alcohol. Read More
— Medical

Nanotube film could replace defective retinas

By - December 4, 2014 2 Pictures
A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible nanotube-semiconductor nanocrystal film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application. Read More
— Medical

Electronic implants treat staph infections, and then dissolve

By - December 2, 2014
Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose. Read More
— Medical

New drug promises to reverse the progression of Multiple Sclerosis

By - December 1, 2014 2 Pictures
Researchers are zeroing in on what looks like an effective treatment for the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Teams from UC Riverside and New York's Rockefeller University have both used the same compound, indazole chloride, to successfully reverse the progression of MS in mice. The drug appears to be able to stimulate the regeneration of the myelin sheath – the nerve pathway coating that is progressively destroyed as MS attacks the nervous system. Read More
— Medical

Scientists identify promising off-switch for chronic pain

By - November 30, 2014
The more successful ways of reducing chronic pain such as that arising from bone cancer and chemotherapy rely on blocking certain brain pathways, but these aren't without their of side effects. Scientists at St Louis University have discovered that the pathway A3AR could be the key to mitigating pain without some of the unwanted baggage, potentially pointing to new methods of therapeutic treatment. Read More
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