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Disease

Immune cells, tagged with green fluorescent protein, are surrounded by nanoparticles (red)...

Vaccines work by exposing the body to an infectious agent in order to prime the immune system to respond quickly when it encounters the pathogen again. Some vaccines, such as the diphtheria vaccine, consist of a synthetic version of a protein or other molecule normally made by the pathogen, while others, such as the polio and smallpox vaccines, use a dead or disabled form of the virus. However, such an approach cannot be used with HIV because it's difficult to render the virus harmless. MIT engineers have now developed a new type of nanoparticle that could safely and effectively deliver vaccines for infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria, and could even help scientists develop vaccines against cancer.  Read More

Satellite image using what is known as the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) to show plant c...

Directly tracking disease-carrying mice from space would seem to be a tall order – and even without knowing the full capabilities of military satellites, I suspect the ability to do so is still a couple of years off yet. But researchers at the University of Utah have come up with an indirect way of tracking rodents by using satellite images to monitor surges in vegetation that boost mouse populations. Such a method could help forecast outbreaks of rodent-borne illnesses worldwide by allowing the creation of risk maps that show when and where outbreaks are likely to occur.  Read More

Dr. Dawn Wesson, with the traps that attract egg-carrying female mosquitoes (Image: Tulane...

After malaria, dengue fever is the most serious mosquito-borne disease in the world. In an effort to curb its spread, researchers from New Orleans’ Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine have developed mosquito traps that attract and kill egg-bearing females. Using a US$4.6 million grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the scientists plan to distribute 10,000 of the traps in Peru’s Iquitos region, an area known for dengue fever.  Read More

In a world first, scientists from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have creat...

In a world first, scientists from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have created functioning fetal intestinal tissue from pluripotent stem cells. It is now hoped that such lab-grown tissue could be used to research treatments for gastro-intestinal diseases, or for transplantation.  Read More

The UC Davis device, which is pierced through a patient's throat, allowing them to swallow...

You may never have heard of oropharyngeal dysphagia, but it’s a fairly common and quite serious condition that can lead to aspiration, dehydration, pneumonia, malnutrition, depression and death. The term is used to describe difficulty in swallowing, which can be the result of strokes, head and neck cancer, head injuries, old age, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Around 16.5 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from it, with invasive surgical techniques that may or may not work being one of the main treatments. Now, however, surgeons from the University of California, Davis, have pioneered a new approach – a simple device that is pierced through the patient’s throat, then moved with their hand when they want to swallow.  Read More

Scientists have for the first time created "super twisted" light which can be used for more effective disease and virus identification. The process involves polarizing a light beam to create a kind of light corkscrew, then reflecting it off a gold surface to twist the vortex even tighter. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two conditions now being examined using this new technique.  Read More

Human virus cloning first, new vaccines could result

The cloning of human viruses may sound like the stuff of biological warfare, but breakthroughs in the area are helping in the development of antivirals and vaccines for life-threatening diseases. Now Welsh scientists have made the first complete copy of the virus Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) – a common infectious disease that is responsible for congenital malformations and potentially deadly to transplant patients or HIV/AIDS carriers.  Read More

Professor Kevin Belfield and his team from the University of Florida developed a 'game-cha...

Cancer is an insidious disease, paying no heed to when, where or whom it might strike. But scientists continue to wage a war against it, hoping to claim the ultimate prize – a cure. Latest research from chemists at the University of Florida suggests a new technique using near infrared light could help scientists to view and photograph lysosomes – sac-like structures within cells – that are linked to cancer and other diseases.  Read More

A human liver (Image: Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College)

Researching liver disorders is extremely difficult because liver cells (hepatocytes) cannot be grown in the laboratory. However, researchers at the University of Cambridge have now managed to create diseased liver cells from a small sample of human skin. The research shows that stem cells can be used to model a diverse range of inherited disorders and paves the way for new liver disease research and possible cell-based therapy.  Read More

The skin of certain frogs, including this foothill yellow-legged frog, contain secretions ...

While kissing a frog might not transform him into a handsome prince, his skin might one day save your life. Scientists in Abu Dhabi have discovered a method for using the natural substances found in frog skins to create a powerful new group of antibiotics with potential to fight against drug-resistant infections.  Read More

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