Study highlights potential biomarker for early Alzheimer's

A new study presented at the Radiological Society of North America highlighted changes in brain connections that could be spotted in an MRI and may offer an imaging biomarker for early Alzheimer's.

Cell research at Brigham & Women's points to a new drug target for fibrosis

Studying the development of organ myofibroblasts in animals, a group of investigators at Brigham & Women's Hospital says that they've identified progenitor cells that may lie at the root of fibrosis--offering a new target for drug developers for a common and very serious scarring condition.

Binge drinking 'cure' in rats sparks a debate over animal study

The best way to avoid the ill effects of binge drinking is to stop binging on alcohol. But a scientific team in the U.K. has been garnering headlines with their claim that they found a compound that can allow the binging without the resulting loss of brain cells that can by triggered by inflammation. And they're claiming that the same research could apply to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, triggering a debate over just what kind of conclusions should be drawn from animal studies.

8-year study highlights role of a key protein in cardiomyopathy

An international team of investigators that includes a contingent from King's College London has unveiled how a key protein that regulates muscles deteriorates, triggering currently untreatable cases of cardiomyopathy. And their work could help illuminate a new approach to developing drugs for the condition.

New structural biology software tackles viruses and bacteria

The Scripps Research Institute has come up with some new 3-D modeling software that can more easily spotlight a set of midsized biological structures--like a virus or bacteria.

Harvard, MIT teams identify a 'pre-malignant' phase for blood cancers

Two different groups of investigators say they've found a way to identify a large group of patients that are characterized by a very high risk of developing blood cancers--and their discovery could pave the way to a new treatment approach in oncology.

Salk method highlights protein-protein interactions in cancer

Scientists at Salk say they have identified a new method to detect "fleeting" protein-protein interactions, a key focus in oncology R&D.

Rodent studies point to a new target for ovarian cancer R&D

Building on earlier work involving the angiogenesis inhibitor thrombospondin-1, or TSP-1, investigators say they've been able to demonstrate in animal studies that a segment of that protein acts to inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells. And the use of that therapeutic approach allowed for more effective use of small doses of chemotherapy in treating the deadly disease.

UC Irvine investigators spotlight a new class of 'chemosensitizers'

Scientists with the UC Irvine School of Medicine and the Italian Institute of Technology have spotlighted what they call the "very first class" of acid ceramidase inhibitors that could eventually go on to help amp up the effectiveness of chemotherapies.

Nanotech team mounts a search-and-destroy mission against cancer cells

An investigative team at the University of Cincinnati which specializes in nanotechnology says they've tested a new approach to destroying cancer cells--injecting the specific target cells with iron oxide nanoparticles and then using light-induced heat to burn them up.

U.K.'s MRC outlicenses Parkinson's discovery program to China's Yabao

The U.K. medical research institute MRC Technology--the tech transfer arm of the government's big Medical Research Council--has struck a deal to collaborate with China's Yabao Pharmaceutical on new Parkinson's drugs for the Asian market. In the deal, Yabao will dedicate part of its research effort to an unidentified kinase target for neurodegeneration.

Autoimmune experts discover a new pathway for multiple sclerosis R&D

Blocking the cascade of events that trigger autoimmune disease is a key focus in multiple sclerosis research. And a multidisciplinary team of investigators in Singapore says they have figured out one piece of the puzzle that could offer a new discovery pathway for the disease.

Microbiome research project IDs 'good' bacteria that combat obesity

Scientists have been exploring the role of the microbiome--that vast population of bacteria that inhabits the human body, which outnumber cells by 10 to 1--in promoting or debilitating our health. And now researchers say they have identified one family of bacteria, the Christensenellaceae, that appears to play a big role in keeping us lean.

Scripps project identifies new targets to fight addiction

A Scripps effort aimed at better understanding the brain chemistry involved in addiction has uncovered neurons that play a dual role in two key brain systems involved in producing a drug high as well as stress from withdrawal.

Cardiovascular investigator pinpoints a new drug target in heart disease

A protein known as the ryanodine receptor is responsible for providing a steady supply of calcium needed to keep the human heart pumping efficiently. And a researcher at the University of Cardiff says he's identified a genetic defect that disrupts the heart's normal rhythm and eventually leads to lethal heart failure.

Structural modeling at Scripps points to better Ebola drug cocktails

One of the drug cocktails now in preclinical development for Ebola, ZMapp, has been used for a small group of emergency cases. And now two Scripps investigators have come up with a 3-D model to show where its three antibodies stick to the virus, pointing to new and better therapies as well as informing work on other such cocktail therapies.

Knocking out a pair of genes may help prevent a relapse of leukemia

Working around the notion that cancer-causing mutations on receptors found in bone marrow stem cells could explain why some patients grow resistant to currently used leukemia drugs, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine say they've been successful in testing a new approach to fighting the disease.

Brown fat fingers a new target for metabolic disorders, including diabetes

Brown fat is once again providing clues in how to treat metabolic disorders like diabetes. A group of investigators at the University of Michigan followed up on earlier studies that have examined the role of brown fat in burning calories. Their work led them to NRG4, a hormone secreted by brown fat that may play a role as a messenger with the liver in regulating the conversion of sugar into fat, according to the university.

Genetic trigger to rare type of epilepsy found at Scripps

Investigators at Scripps Translational Science Institute say they have identified the genetic trigger for a rare and potentially lethal form of epilepsy.

Small human study will test a new approach to fighting diabetes

After years of lab work and animal studies, investigators at the University of Alabama in Birmingham will use a grant from the JDRF to determine if the blood pressure medicine verapamil can safeguard the pancreatic beta cells needed to produce insulin, pointing to a new approach in treating Type 1 diabetes.