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Monthly Archives: December 2013

High-dose cytarabine improves outcome in patients with AML in EORTC-GIMEMA AML-12 Trial

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MRI method for measuring MS progression validated

New imaging research from Western University (London, Canada) has demonstrated that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approach called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) can be an important tool for diagnosing and tracking the progression of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases. QSM provides a quantitative way to measure myelin content and iron deposition in the brain -important factors in the physiology of MS.

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Monthly appointments with pharmacists improve medication adherence

Patients are more likely to take chronic medications when they meet monthly with pharmacists to coordinate medication schedules and treatments, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study.The study, published in the November/December issue of The Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA®), described how patient adherence and persistence with chronic medications can be improved by allowing patients to meet with a pharmacist to solve medication-related problems and synchronize prescriptions to be dispensed on a single day of the month.

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New compound BYM338 could reverse loss of muscle mass in cancer and other diseases

A new antibody could dramatically boost strength and muscle mass in patients with cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sporadic inclusion body myositis, and in elderly patients with sarcopenia according to research published ahead of print in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.”Age-related loss of muscle mass is a major contributing factor to falls, broken bones, and the loss of mobility,” says co-corresponding author David Glass of Novartis, Cambridge, MA, one of the compound’s developers, along with first author Estelle Trifilieff, also of Novartis.

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Fungal surface protein promotes host cell

Opportunistic infection of individuals on immunosuppressive therapy are a major problem for patient outcome, despite current prophylactic strategies. While the ability to prevent infection with well-characterized pathogens has improved, infection by less-known microbes have been on the rise. One such example is the increasing occurrence of mucormycosis, a life-threatening infection caused by Mucorales fungi. A defining characteristic of Mucorales is the ability to invade host cells via interaction with glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) on the surface of endothelial cell.

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Learning requires constant reconfiguration of the connections between nerve cells

Two new studies now yield new insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie the learning process.Learning and memory are made possible by the incessant reorganization of nerve connections in the brain. Both processes are based on targeted modifications of the functional interfaces between nerve cells – the so-called synapses – which alter their form, molecular composition and functional properties. In effect, connections between cells that are frequently co-activated together are progressively altered so that they respond to subsequent signals more rapidly and more strongly.

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Insight into epilepsy provided by new research

Experiments using mice have led to new research results showing that the amount of microRNA-128 has a great impact on the musculoskeletal system. If the level of microRNA-128 is increased, it leads to lower neuron activity and can thereby help reduce uncontrolled movements in connection with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. MicroRNA-128 can similarly be decreased to boost the neuron activity.

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The body and copper

New research from Aarhus University provides deeper insight into causes of serious diseases involving copper metabolism. Mapping the mechanism that regulates the transport of copper across the cell membrane and out of the body’s cells actually provides a new understanding of conditions related to chronic imbalance in the body’s level of copper.Copper is a heavy metal that is essential for a number of the body’s vital functions, but harmful in excessive amounts. Human health therefore depends on the body’s ability to regulate the level of copper in the cells.

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Making the body use its own defences to attack pancreatic cancer

A possible new method for treating pancreatic cancer which enables the body’s immune system to attack and kill cancer cells has been developed by researchers.The method uses a drug which breaks down the protective barrier surrounding pancreatic cancer tumours, enabling cancer-attacking T cells to get through. The drug is used in combination with an antibody that blocks a second target, which improves the activity of these T cells.

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New generation visual browser of the epigenome

This is a software application that provides easily interpretable maps from which to analyse and understand the immense volume of epigenetic and genetic data available.The work is the fruit of collaboration between biostatisticians, biocomputational researchers and molecular biologist at IRB Barcelona. The capacity of ChroGPS is described in an article in Nucleic Acids Research.

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