Researchers have discovered an important similarity in the causes of cell degeneration and death in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, type II diabetes and CJD, suggesting that a single therapy could combat these different ailments.
Researchers have discovered an important similarity in the causes of cell degeneration and death in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, type II diabetes and CJD, suggesting that a single therapy could combat these different ailments. University of California at Irvine molecular biologists Charles Glabe and Rakez Kayed found that small toxic molecules believed to trigger cell damage in these diseases have a similar structure. The study, which appears in the April 18, 2003 issue of Science, implies that these molecules, called toxic soluble oligomers, share parallel functions, which makes them suitable targets for new drugs or vaccines that could halt progression of many degenerative diseases.
The benefit of some cancer vaccines may be boosted by treating patients with an antibody that blocks a key protein on immune system T cells, according to a small, preliminary study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The study tested the effect of a single injection of the antibody MDX-CTLA4 in nine patients who had previously been treated with cancer vaccines for either metastatic melanoma or metastatic ovarian cancer. The result, in every patient who had received a particular kind of vaccine, was widespread death of cancer cells and an increase in the number of immune system cells within the tumors ? evidence of a potent immune system attack.
Scientists in California have provided the first detailed look at how human antibodies, proteins critical for the body’s defense against invading pathogens, may actually drive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to mutate and escape detection by the immune system. The findings, reported online March 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may be key in efforts to develop an effective AIDS vaccine.
In the future, consumers may be adding a powerful “spice” to their food that could save lives. Researchers in Canada are developing a natural antibody cocktail that can help prevent the most common foodborne germs, including E. coli and Salmonella, which cause thousands to become sick or die each year in this country. Derived from freeze-dried egg yolk, the substance is nicknamed a spice because it can be sprinkled or sprayed onto meats, fruits and vegetables to complement existing sanitation protocols. The so-called spice does not alter the taste of food.<