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Image: smiling man in a suit; Copyright: L. Brian Stauffer

New informatics tool makes the most of genomic data

16/07/2018

The rise of genomics, the shift from considering genes singly to collectively, is adding a new dimension to medical care; biomedical researchers hope to use the information contained in human genomes to make better predictions about individual health, including responses to therapeutic drugs.
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Image: woman working at a computer; Copyright: LA Cicero

Artificial intelligence helps predict drug combinations' side effects

13/07/2018

Last month alone, 23 percent of Americans took two or more prescription drugs, according to one CDC estimate, and 39 percent over age 65 take five or more, a number that's increased three-fold in the last several decades. And if that isn't surprising enough, try this one: in many cases, doctors have no idea what side effects might arise from adding another drug to a patient's personal pharmacy.
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Image: blurred doctor in the background uses keyboard in the foreground and writes something on a clipboard; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Ronalds Stikans

Model automates molecule design to speed drug development

09/07/2018

Designing new molecules for pharmaceuticals is primarily a manual, time-consuming process that's prone to error. But MIT researchers have now taken a step toward fully automating the design process, which could drastically speed things up - and produce better results.
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Image: two hands holding a blood sugar measuring device; Copyright: panthermedia.net/WavebreakmediaMicro

Diabetes added to high risks for people with severe mental illness

22/06/2018

People with severe mental illness are more than twice as likely to have Type 2 diabetes, with even higher risks among patients who are African American or Hispanic, according to a new study led by UCSF.
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Image: proteins in the nuclear pore complex; Copyright: California Institute of Technology

How 'gatekeepers' to a cell's nucleus let genetic instructions pass through

22/06/2018

New structural details emerge about one of the body's biggest protein assemblages, the nuclear pore complex.
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Image: a woman standing on a scale saying

Study offers new hope for the fight against genetically determined obesity

20/06/2018

Around two to six per cent of all people with obesity develop obesity already in early childhood; it's in their genetic cards. Obesity-causal mutations in one of their "appetite genes" gives them a strong genetic predisposition for developing obesity, also called monogenic obesity. Their experience of hunger is overruling and their feeling of satiety limited.
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Image: illustration of an eye ball affected by diabetic retinopathy; Copyright: panthermedia.net/megija

New pharmacological treatment against diabetic eye diseases is tested

15/06/2018

The so called "diabetic retinopathy" and the "diabetic macular edema" are two of the most frequent ocular diseases in patients with diabetes, and both feature pathologic changes of blood vessel functions in the retina. Experimental data and measurements in patients suggest that these changes in blood vessel functions may originate from a lack of vasoinhibin hormones in the retina.
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Image: collagen from a healthy engineered lung tissue; Copyright: Ruogang Zhao

Lung-on-a-chip simulates pulmonary fibrosis

08/06/2018

Developing new medicines to treat pulmonary fibrosis, one of the most common and serious forms of lung disease, is not easy. One reason: it's difficult to mimic how the disease damages and scars lung tissue over time, often forcing scientists to employ a hodgepodge of time-consuming and costly techniques to assess the effectiveness of potential treatments.
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Image: 3D structure of the enzymatic active part of SdeA toxin; Copyright: Nature/Kalayil et al

Complementing conventional antibiotics

05/06/2018

Antimicrobial resistance is a major medical problem worldwide, impacting both human health and economic well-being. A new strategy for fighting bacteria has now been reported in the latest online issue of Nature by a research group headed by Prof. Dikic at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The scientists revealed the molecular action mechanism of a Legionella toxin and developed a first inhibitor.
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Image: chemical structure of furanosteroids-Structures of wortmannin and viridin; Copyright: The University of Tokyo

Identification of biosynthetic pathway for the steroids with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibition activity

25/05/2018

A group of researchers from Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of Tokyo and Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Natural Products at Jinan University, identified the biosynthetic gene cluster for the furanosteroid demethoxyviridin, and deciphered its biosynthetic pathway.
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Image: man holding his stomach; Copyright: panthermedia.net/ByLove

The cure is in the capsule: carbon monoxide to treat chronic inflammation

22/05/2018

This unusual ally can be extremely valuable in the fight against inflammation in the body: CO (carbon monoxide). As a therapeutic gas, it also promises relief for inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases. Having said that, it is difficult to transport the active ingredient to the exact desired location.
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Image: information on prescribing patterns within peer distribution; Copyright: Kirsty Challen, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, UK

Providing clinicians feedback on their opioid prescribing data alters future prescribing

11/05/2018

Asking emergency department (ED) providers to self-identify their opioid prescribing practices and then providing them with timely, clinically relevant, individualized, and actionable feedback on their actual opioid prescribing data, significantly decreases future opioid prescribing among providers who underestimate their baseline prescribing.
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Image: binding of nNOS to the protein NOS1AP; Copyright: University of Turku

New approach for treating neuropathic pain

08/05/2018

Neuropathic pain is the chronic, pathological pain that continues even when the cause of pain is removed. Causes include damage to nerve cells and medicines used to treat cancer. A collaboration between research groups from USA and Finland has discovered a novel therapeutic that appears to interrupt the signaling cascades in the body required for multiple forms of neuropathic pain.
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Image: chemical diagram representing the new compound JVW-1034; Copyright: James Sahn/University of Texas at Austin

Anti-alcoholism drug shows promise

07/05/2018

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink. If eventually brought to market, it could help the more than 15 million Americans, and many more around the world who suffer from alcoholism stay sober.
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Image: two men in the laboratory, one sitting at a microscope or similar, another standing behind him; Copyright: RUB, Kramer

Cancer drug observed at work

23/04/2018

Using a Raman microscope, researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have studied at which targets the cancer drug Neratinib binds in cells and how its chemical structure changes. Compared with other techniques, this method offers a considerable advantage, as it is not necessary to apply a label to the drug that would indicate its distribution indirectly; rather, the drug itself can be monitored.
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Image: photo of photosensitizer conjugate; Copyright: Lobachevsky University

New highly selective antitumor photodynamic therapy agents synthesized

20/04/2018

This project is a result of collaboration of the Organic Chemistry Department and the Biophysics Department at the Lobachevsky University with the Research Institute of Macroheterocyclic Compounds.
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Image: a container with the nutrient medium for cancer cells; Copyright: Dr. Markus Wehland

Cells in space – extraterrestrial approaches in cancer research

22/02/2018

Here on Earth, all experiments are bound by gravitation. Yet, freed from gravity's grip, tumor cells, for example, behave in an entirely different way. As part of the "Thyroid Cancer Cells in Space" project by the University of Magdeburg, smartphone-sized containers carrying poorly differentiated thyroid cancer cells are sent into space.
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Image: blood is taken from a finger and analysed by a blood testing device; Copyright:hes_so_valais_wallis

Without any delay: drug dose adjustment at the point of care

01/08/2017

Many therapeutic drugs are very powerful, but they are also very toxic at the same time. Thus, they have to be measured regularly, again and again, so that an adjustment of the individual drug dosage can be made. Until now, the "normal" way was to take the blood sample, send it to a central laboratory and get the results after some days. A new point-of-care test can measure it in 15 minutes.
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Image: A smiling old man is sitting next to a group of younger people; Copyright: panthermedia.net/SimpleFoto

Diseases of aging: lifestyle and prevention also pay off

01/12/2016

A German proverb says, "Old age is like a hospital that accepts all diseases," and medicine confirms that older people are not only considerably more susceptible to infectious diseases than they were in middle age, but that body and mind are also less resilient and recover slower or not at all from adverse effects or injuries.
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Photo: Pregnancy test

Disaster medicine or disastrous medicine?

04/01/2016

Most Europeans think it was a long time ago, but the residents of West Africa clearly feel the consequences of the Ebola epidemic that broke out in December 2013 and still continues today. So far, approximately 11,300 people have died as a result of the outbreak; more than 28,000 contracted the disease.
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Graphic: stent in a blood vessel

Mechanical thrombectomy: stroke treatment 2.0

01/12/2015

Each year, approximately 250,000 Germans suffer a stroke. This makes stroke the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The circulatory disorder that occurs in the brain is normally treated using systemic thrombolysis, a procedure that bears various risks. Unlike mechanical thrombectomy, which offers clear advantages by comparison.
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Prostate cancer: Agent with theranostic potential

03/08/2015

Endoradiotherapy can be very unpleasant for cancer patients, since it does not only harm tumor cells, but also healthy ones. Sometimes, patients even need to stop therapy because of the side effects. Physicians and researchers are thus continuously searching for ways to transport radiopharmaceuticals directly and exclusively to their target.
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Radiopharmaceuticals: Individualized diagnostics and therapy

03/08/2015

Malignant tumors can be fought with X-rays – usually with radiation therapy from outside the body. Nuclear medicine physicians can also accomplish this inside the body with radioactive materials, called radiopharmaceuticals. They also offer big benefits for clinical diagnostics as long as a specific target can be assigned to them.
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Wanted: rapid test to prevent deep vein thrombosis

01/07/2015

Deep vein thrombosis is not just a risk factor for frequent flyers but also for wearers of cardiovascular implants and newly operated patients. Blood thinners prevent these dangerous blood clots from forming, but they need to be carefully adjusted and do not work the same way in every patient. A detailed analysis of platelets (thrombocytes) could prevent complications in the future.
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Cancer Immunotherapy: Individual mutations as new target structures

01/06/2015

A tumor is as unique as the person who is affected by it. For a long time, it was assumed this would make treatment more difficult since cancer drugs are not able to be one hundred percent effective in targeting the affected cells. In this interview with MEDICA.de, Professor Ugur Sahin explains why it is precisely these individual mutations that make him hopeful for a new type of therapy.
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Euthanasia – A Human Right?

01/12/2014

Several weeks ago on November 1, 2014, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who suffered from terminal brain cancer, took drugs to end her life surrounded by her family. This was preceded by months of despair and anguish, but also by love and a lust for life as the young woman describes in several videos she recorded to fight for the right to die with dignity.
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