Researchers have discovered that a molecule best known for its anti-microbial properties also has the ability to activate key cells in the immune response. This newly discovered function suggests the molecule, a peptide called ?-defensin 2, may be useful in the development of more effective cancer vaccines.
Brain images from hundreds of people with schizophrenia at 10 research sites nationwide will be shared in a first-of-its-kind research project funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The project will create an extensive database of brain information that it is hoped will expand understanding of disabling brain illnesses such as schizophrenia and speed the development of new treatments.
Survival after a heart failure diagnosis has greatly improved over the past 50 years, according to a study from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study found that the risk of dying after being diagnosed with heart failure had dropped by about a third in men and women during that period. About 4.8 million Americans have heart failure, with about 550,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Heart failure contributes to about 287,000 deaths a year.
An international research consortium has launched an approximately $100 million public-private effort to create the next generation map of the human genome. Called the International HapMap Project, the new venture is aimed at speeding the discovery of genes related to common illnesses such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Patients with lower back pain that can’t be traced to a specific physical cause may have abnormal pain-processing pathways in their brains, according to a new study led by Michigan researchers. The effect, which as yet has no explanation, is similar to an altered pain perception effect in fibromyalgia patients recently reported by the same research team.
A completely new type of therapy, using a unique class of synthetic compounds, may someday protect both men and women from the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis. Researchers reported in the October 25 issue of Science that early studies of one of these compounds called estren successfully preserved and even restored bone mass in an animal model without the side effects associated with sex hormone therapies.
Federal researchers say they’ve developed several drug candidates that show promise in protecting the brain against damage from stroke, with the potential to fight chronic neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease as well.. The drugs, called p53 inhibitors, attack a key protein involved in nerve cell death and represent a new strategy for preserving brain function following sudden injury or chronic disease.
Researchers have detailed the functioning of an enzyme that is a central component of a signaling pathway important for about 30 percent of cancers. The findings about how the enzyme, called farnesyl transferase (FTase), works could help improve the FTase-inhibiting drugs that pharmaceutical companies are now testing to fight a broad spectrum of cancers.