Anti-microbial peptide may improve cancer vaccines

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.

Gov’t to establish national schizophrenia brain image database

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.

Risk of dying after heart failure down by one-third

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.

Treatment preserves bone mass in mice; may help osteoporosis

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.

New strategy may protect brain against stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

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.