Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

Nerve agents are toxic chemicals that disrupt signals in the nervous system. They can be absorbed easily through skin contact or by breathing. Exposure to nerve agents interferes with nerve cell signaling and prevents muscles from relaxing, quickly leading to muscle paralysis and eventually death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. Treatment is possible but must be administered within minutes of exposure. No long-term vaccine or … Continue reading Nano-antidote provides long-term protection against nerve agents

The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

HIV-Infected T Cell

PrEP: Preventing HIV Infection Before It Starts

We have come a long way in treating HIV over the past two decades. By following a strict drug regimen, an HIV positive patient can stave off the onset of AIDS for many years. These drugs are expensive, however, and they come with side-effects. Furthermore, noncompliance with the drug regimen can have serious and long-lasting impacts on the patient’s health. Preventing HIV infection is both … Continue reading PrEP: Preventing HIV Infection Before It Starts

The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

It’s that time of year – Nobel Prize season! This year, the Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded to three scientists: one half to Frances Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes,” and the other half to George Smith and Sir Gregory Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.” What exactly are these award-winning technologies and how have they impacted society? ‘Directed evolution of … Continue reading The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

Your Personality May Determine How You Respond to Placebo Pills

The placebo effect is a puzzling phenomenon. Placebos (sugar pills or saline solutions secretly substituted for actual drugs) are commonly used in clinical trials to set a baseline against which to measure the effects of a drug. However, people in the placebo group will often show improvements alongside the treatment group. The fact that an inactive substance, such as a sugar pill, can lead to … Continue reading Your Personality May Determine How You Respond to Placebo Pills

Nanomaterials as cancer treatment: overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment, using drugs to destroy cancer cells. However, cancer cells can develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs by developing “efflux pumps”, pumps in the cell membrane that work to actively expel the chemotherapy drugs from the tumor cells. Shana Kelley and her team in University of Toronto developed nanomaterials that can deliver drugs into cancer cells and suppress their drug resistance. … Continue reading Nanomaterials as cancer treatment: overcoming drug resistance in chemotherapy

World’s first clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with stem cells

Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan started a clinical trial this month to treat Parkinson’s disease with reprogrammed stem cells. This follows the successful restoration of brain cell function in monkeys using these stem cells reported last year. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of a specific type of neuron in the brain, called dopaminergic neurons, which make the essential neurotransmitter dopamine. The reduced … Continue reading World’s first clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with stem cells

A Future Cure for the Common Cold?

Early-stage research has identified a compound that stops pesky colds in their tracks – useful as a potential cold cure. Although adults are bothered by an average of 2-3 colds per year, colds can “cause serious complications in people with conditions like asthma and [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] (COPD),” lead researcher Edward Tate, Chemical Biology Professor at the Imperial College London, told ScienceDaily. “A drug … Continue reading A Future Cure for the Common Cold?

Promising results for a treatment for blindness

Progressive blindness has been reversed in two patients with age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in people over 50. AMD damages the central portion of the retina, called the macula, which decreases vision over time, and can lead to blind spot formation. Phase 1 clinical trial results highlighting the effectiveness of a stem cell-based therapy were published … Continue reading Promising results for a treatment for blindness

Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human

For as long as humans have conceived of making hybrid organisms, an ethical debate has been waged over whether or not we should. The pros and cons are vast and poignant. Each new scientific advancement towards making hybrids stokes the fire of controversy. This year, researchers presented work at a conference detailing the most recent hybrid: a sheep-human chimera. To create these chimeras, scientists used … Continue reading Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human