An ancient virus may be the reason human stem cells can transform

The embryonic stem cells responsible for producing every other type of cell in the human body gained their power from an ancient virus that copied itself into our DNA millions of years ago, according to new research. National Geographic reports that the discoverycould lead to more effective stem-cell treatments for diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, among other ailments.

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Use Tobacco To Thwart West Nile Virus And Other Infectious Diseases

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and targets the central nervous system. It can be fatal disease and there is currently no cure or drug treatment. It has spread across the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

An international research group has developed a cost-effective therapeutic against West Nile virus and other pathogens. The therapeutics, known as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and their derivatives, were shown to neutralize and protect mice against a lethal dose challenge of West Nile virus – even as late as 4 days after the initial infection. 


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Drug-Diagnostic Development Stymied by Payer Concerns

The shift to personalized medicine, which supports medical treatment tailored to individual patient characteristics, has been hindered by uncertainty over the value, accuracy and clinical utility of companion diagnostic tests. Even for the handful of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration with labeling that links prescribing to specific biomarker measures, health plan operators, providers and payers frequently question the need to cover the added testing, according to analysis by Joshua Cohen of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (CSDD). Cohn noted at a recent CBI conference on “Precision Medicine and Companion Diagnostics” that only a few therapies have been approved by FDA with co-developed tests to inform prescribing; several more drugs gain links to specific diagnostics post-approval.


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New generation of antibiotics may lie with small peptides

As drug-resistant bacteria – or “superbugs” – get stronger and we run out of current antibiotics to kill them, the pressure to find new types of effective drugs increases. Now, a team in Germany suggests small peptides – which can attack bacteria in several different ways – have the potential to form a new generation of antibiotics


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The human nose can detect one trillion different odours, far more than we previously thought.

The human nose can detect one trillion different odours, far more than we previously thought, say US scientists.

Until now, the long-held belief was that we can sniff out about 10,000 smells.

New estimates published in Science suggest the human nose outperforms the eye and the ear in terms of the number of stimuli it can distinguish between. 

New approach makes cancer cells explode

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that a substance called Vacquinol-1 makes cells from glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumour, literally explode. When mice were given the substance, which can be given in tablet form, tumour growth was reversed and survival was prolonged. The findings are published in the journal Cell.


Read more at Science Daily

New Sweetener From The Tequila Plant May Aid Diabetes, Weight Loss

Could a new sugar substitute actually lower blood sugar and help you lose weight? That’s the tantalizing – but distant – promise of new research presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) this week.

Agavins, derived from the agave plant that’s used to make tequila, were found in mouse studies to trigger insulin production and lower blood sugar, as well as help obese mice lose weight.

Read full story on Forbes