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Science Updates Archive 11

For today's breaking news please see Today's Health and Bioscience News. For more Science Updates please see our Science Updates Archives

Genetic Alzheimer's Clues - Two new findings may help unravel the mystery of how Alzheimer's disease develops, and could lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic developments. (12/30/97)

Ebola Vaccine Candidate- A promising new candidate vaccine against Ebola virus offers a new genetically engineered approach to immunization. (12/30/97)

Better Bacterial Bug Control? - Move over, Bacillus thurengensis, there's a new bacterial bug-killer in town called <>Photorhabdus luminescens, offering an alternative that is potent, safe and environmentally benign. (12/19/97)

- What were the Top 10 Science Stories of 1997? (12/18/97)

Lyme Genome - The complete genome of the Lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, has now been sequenced. This should provide new clues for answering the countless remaining questions about Lyme disease pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment. (12/11/97)

Cancer Locus The discovery of a single genetic locus associated with many human cancers should have major implications for the development of future cancer therapies. (12/7/97)

Pathfinder Update - While the Pathfinder mission contributed significant evidence in support of  previous life-supporting water on Mars, the evidence for fossil remains on the Martian meteor ALH84001 remains controversial. (12/6/97)

Dinosaur Roars - A dinosaur silent for 75 million years is now singing again, thanks to an unusual collaboration of nuclear scientists and paleontologists. (12/5/97)

DNA Vaccine Outlook - DNA vaccine technology is showing increasing promise in the treatment of human diseases, and should offer immunizations that are both safer and cheaper than conventional vaccines, according to a new consensus report released by the American Academy of Microbiology. (12/1/97)

First Monoclonal for Cancer - The approval by the FDA of the first antibody-based therapy for cancer represents good news for some patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), as well as a milestone in biotech drug development. (11/26/97)

Declining Sperm Counts - The 30 year decline in average sperm density reported in the U.S. and other Western countries appears to be even greater than previously indicated, suggests a major reanalysis of international data.

Fresh Fruit Faster  A novel compound accelerates the ripening of fruit while it on the tree, while also slowing softening after harvest, report University of Wisconsin researchers.(11/21/97)

Helping Fight HIV - The identification of a part of the human immune response capable of stopping the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in its tracks appears to offer an important new research avenue in the fight against AIDS.  (11/21/97)

Deafness Gene - The discovery of a gene associated with an inherited form of deafness could lead to a better understanding of both hearing and hearing loss. The research that revealed the gene stretches back to the time of the Spanish Conquistadors all the way up to the era of molecular biology.  (11/14/97)

HIV Hide and Seek - The good news is that combination drug therapy can reduce levels of HIV in the blood of AIDS patients to barely detectable levels for long periods of time. The bad news, it does not appear possible to remove all of the virus with current treatments, so patients remain contagious and can relapse if treatment stops. (11/14/97)

TNF and CHF - The discovery of the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)  in congestive heart failure could represent an important new treatment approach. (11/12/97)

Hollywood Producing Clones - The release of film "Gattaca" highlights some of  the complex issues surrounding the possibility of human cloning. (11/11/97)

Mapping without Sequencing - A new technique combining PCR , DNA chips, and computer programming may aid in the search for disease-causing genes, without the necessity of costly DNA sequencing. (11/10/97)

Gene Therapy for Hearts - Two different gene  therapy approaches are showing promise in the treatment of heart disease. (11/09/97)

Phosphate Fiasco - Without phosphate, plants cannot grow and bloom. Yet current reserves of phosphates used in fertilizers may be exhausted in the less than a hundred years. The isolation of the gene responsible for phosphate uptake in plants may lead to the development of plants better able to process the essential nutrient. (11/08/97)

Going to Extremities - Is the measure of a man related to his glove size? It seems there may be some genetic basis for the folk belief in the metric symmetry of digits and other extremities. (11/06/97)

Fruit Fly Meets Fluorescent Jellyfish - What do you get when you cross a fruit fly and a jellyfish? A pretty scary Halloween costume, undoubtedly. Researchers who have inserted glowing jellyfish genes into fruit flies are also discovering key information about growth and development. (10/31/97)

Gene Therapy for Immune Disorder - Positive results with an experimental gene therapy for a rare immunologic disorder, chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), could also signal good news for the prospects of gene therapy in general, report researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). (10/29/97)

Just Say N.O. - A new understanding of the structure of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that regulates nitric oxide activity in the body, offers key information useful for developing drugs for everything from high blood pressure to cancer. (10/24/97)

Ginkgo Extracts Show Promise - An extract of the plant Ginkgo biloba, long used in Chinese medicine, appears to provide some benefit for some patients with Alzheimer's disease, reported clinical researchers at the American Medical Association's 16th Annual Science Reporters Conference. (10/22/97)

Nobel Prize to ATP Researchers
Where would we be without ATP? Three chemists whose work helped answer that question share this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (10/15/97)

Predicting Breast Cancer Risk - A new study of women around the world may help physicians better estimate the probability of mutations in the BRCA gene which could predispose to breast and/or ovarian cancer.(10/14/97)

Email from an Eagle - Where eagles soar, satellites do not fear to follow. Early efforts at tracking immature bald eagles after they leave home are already providing valuable information to researchers. (10/12/97)

Life on Jovian Moons? - Having previously discovered water on the Jovian moon Europa, the Galileo spacecraft now reports the presence of organic molecules on two other moons, Ganymede and Callisto. (10/10/97)

Prize to Prusiner, Prion Prof - Stanley Prusiner, whose suggestion of a new infectious particle called the prion was originally greeted with skepticism, has received the ultimate vindication, the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. (10/6/97)

Doubts on DNA Dogma - A key element of the Watson-Crick Model, that hydrogen bonding is critical for bonding complementary DNA base pairs, now appears to be in doubt. (10/4/97)

Fighting Tumors with Tumors - An innovative approach to cancer therapy involving the use of proteins purified from tumor cells may provide more targeted treatment for cancer patients.(10/3/97)

Foliage Debate - As Autumn comes, so too do discussions of the hows and whys of the changing colors of the leaves. One area open to debate is which factors influence the relative brilliance of the foliage from one year to the next. (10/3/97)

Better Biotech through Bugs - Liquefied lepidotera larvae may prove to be a very productive source of recombinant proteins, thanks to a new biotechnology technique. (9/30/97)

Genetically Engineered Thyroid Test - A genetically engineered form of human thyroid-stimulating hormone offers an effective and safer alternative to the conventional test now used, report researchers at Johns Hopkins University. (9/30/97)

Amazing Mussel Protein - Researchers have isolated the protein producing the uniquely strong collagen that allows mussels to stick so aggressively to everything from rocks to oil-rigs. The finding could lead to new bionic materials, along with new techniques for removing the pesky mollusks from manmade surfaces. (9/19/97)

Computer Modeling the Forest... and the Trees - A powerful new computer modeling system is allowing researchers to better understand the dynamics of forest ecosystems based on the behavior of individual trees. The research is the first peer-reviewed article written exclusively as a publication for the World Wide Web. (9/19/97)

Broccoli Sprouts Protective Properties - Broccoli sprouts appear to have significant chemoprotective effects against cancer, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. A new study found remarkably high levels of sulforaphane, a compound known to stimulate the body's natural cancer-fighting resources and reduce the risk of developing cancer. (9/15/97)

Green Tea's Potent Antioxidants - New antioxidants found in green tea may prove useful in protecting cells from the ravages of cancer and heart disease. (9/12/97)

Paw Paw's Promising Proteins - Proteins found in the bark of the Paw Paw tree appear to possess potent anti-cancer properties, particularly against cancers resistant to existing therapies. (9/12/97)

Dystonia Gene - A fifteen year search has yielded a long sought gene for a movement disorder called torsion dystonia. The discovery will allow early diagnosis of this crippling disease and could also contribute to understanding of a wide variety of movement disorders. (9/6/97)

Trojan Horse vs. HIV - Borrowing a page from the classics, AIDS researchers have devised a viral trojan horse that appears to target HIV-infected cells while leaving the rest of the immune system alone. (9/5/97)

E. coli Genome - The completion of a genome map of the E.coli bacteria is an important milestone in fields of medical and biological research, report researchers. (9/4/97)

Mendel Clone
One of the genes first studied by Gregor Mendel in his famous experiments with pea plants has now been cloned by plant biologists. (9/4/97)

Hearty Diet - There is an old Chinese saying that the first medical text was a cook book. New evidence of the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet, along with new understanding of how these benefits occur on the molecular level, appear to support this appetizing claim. (8/28/97)

Antibiotics for Heart Disease - Take an antibiotic for heart disease? This seemingly absurd suggestion is gaining support following a remarkable finding linking infection with the Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria and coronary heart disease. (8/28/97)

p73, Cousin of p53 - The discovery of a long-lost cousin to the p53 tumor suppressor gene, called p73, could be an important new piece in the cancer puzzle. (8/22/97)

CF Gene Linked to Non-CF Infections - A mutated form of the gene that causes cystic fibrosis also appears to be linked with chronic lung and sinus infections. (8/22/97)

Golden DNA Test - A new probe combining nanoparticles of gold and DNA oligonucleotides could provide a new generation of tests for genetic and pathogenic diseases. (8/22/97)

Worms, Longevity and Diabetes - A gene responsible for the longevity of the geneticists favorite worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, could also help explain the molecular mechanisms of aging in humans and might lead to new therapies for diabetes. (8/16/97)

Telomerase Activator Gene - The discovery of the gene that directs the activity of telomerase could be an important discovery for researchers developing new treatments for cancer. (8/16/97)

Greening of the American Dog - The growing popularity of backyard composting has produced an unexpected consequence- green dogs. (8/15/97)

Evolutionary Arms Race - Molecular biological back-tracking is begnning to provide clues to the appearance of a possible worm-like common ancestor of all current animal life. (8/14/97)

Eve's Footprints? - The discovery in South Africa of the oldest known footprints of a modern human ancestor provides exciting new clues about the "genetic Eve", mother of the human race. (8/14/97)

Herd the News? - Cows appears to be the latest inductees in the clone club, according to an unconfirmed report from a bovine reproductive services company. (8/7/97)

Gut-wrenching Stomach Bug Sequenced - The decoding of the complete genome sequence of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria could lead to improved treatments of gastric ulcers and even a prophylactic vaccine capable of preventing the common stomach disorder. (8/7/97)

Resistance is Futile (Maybe) - Almost since their creation, antibiotic drug therapies have been plagued by the ability of infectious organisms to mutate into new drug-resistant forms. Now for the first time, scientists have learned to prevent expression of the versatile genes that induce drug resistance, a finding that could help avert the specter of treatment resistant superbugs. (8/5/97)

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