Epigenetics: New tool for precision medicine

Epigenetics: New tool for precision medicine

(Vienna, 23 June 2016) Four new papers, co-published by an international consortium of biomedical researchers, mark the feasibility of epigenetic analysis for clinical diagnostics and precision medicine. Epigenetic analysis addresses key limitations of genetic testing, helping to ensure that patients are accurately diagnosed and treated with the right drug at the right time.

Gene sequences reveal global variations in malaria parasites

Gene sequences reveal global variations in malaria parasites

Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) parasites, which cause a debilitating form of malaria, are yielding their secrets to an international team of researchers funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. In the largest such effort to date, the team determined complete genomes of nearly 200 P. vivax strains that recently infected people in eight countries. Comparative analysis showed the parasites clustered into four genetically distinct populations that provide insights into the movement of P.

New pathway to treat heart failure

New pathway to treat heart failure

(PHILADELPHIA) -- About 5.7 million Americans have heart failure, half of whom will die from the disease within 5 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two processes help drive the disease: a weakened heart muscle that is less able to pump, and the death of heart cells that irreparably damage the heart. Beta-blockers, commonly used to treat heart disease, work by blocking the beta-adrenergic receptors in the heart, saving heart cells from cell death.

TSRI scientists find new cancer drug target in dual-function protein

TSRI scientists find new cancer drug target in dual-function protein

LA JOLLA, CA - June 27, 2016 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a protein that launches cancer growth and appears to contribute to higher mortality in breast cancer patients.

The new findings, published June 27, 2016 in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, suggest that future therapies might target this protein, called GlyRS, to halt cancer growth.

"We have potentially found an important target for anti-cancer treatment," said TSRI Professor Xiang-Lei Yang, who led the study.

Antibodies to dengue may alter course of Zika virus infection

Scientists at Emory Vaccine Center, in collaboration with investigators from Thailand, have found that people infected with dengue virus develop antibodies that cross-react with Zika virus.

Some of these antibodies have the potential to neutralize Zika virus - possibly providing immune protection. At the same time, in laboratory experiments, antibodies against dengue could enhance Zika virus infection of human cells.

The results are scheduled for publication on Monday, June 27 in PNAS.

Researchers uncover global, evolving, and historic make-up of malaria species

A team of scientists has uncovered the global, evolving, and historic make-up of Plasmodium vivax, one of the five species of malaria that infect humans. The research, which links the spread of the parasite back to colonial seafaring, among other phenomena, underscores the challenges health experts face in controlling the parasite.

Consumption of omega-3s linked to lower risk of fatal heart disease

BOSTON (Embargoed until 11 AM EDT, June 27, 2016)--Blood levels of seafood and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids are moderately associated with a lower risk of dying from heart attacks, according to a new epidemiological study, published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, led by Liana C. Del Gobbo, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the division of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

Study examines health, risks for gay, bisexual adults

New national data suggest lesbian, gay and bisexual adults were more likely to report impaired physical and mental health and heavy drinking and smoking, which may be the result of stressors they experience because of discrimination, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

For the first time, the 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), one of the nation's leading health surveys, included a question on sexual orientation.

Low socioeconomic status associated with risk of death in patients with diabetes

Access and use of health care resources in Sweden is equitable and affordable and the management of those resources is well developed.

Still, low socioeconomic status was associated with an increased risk of death for patients with type 2 diabetes from all causes, cardiovascular disease and diabetes-related mortality, as well as a less pronounced increased risk of cancer death, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers find a likely cause of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors

Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMTs) -- masses of immune cells-- are benign, but poorly understood. Current IMT treatments often have side effects and surgery is sometimes not an option due to the tumor's proximity to vital organs. A better understanding of how IMTs form could spur the development of more effective therapeutics. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have now found that a likely cause of IMT is deficiency in nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD), a system cells use to control which genes are activated.