News Archive

The master and his dog are both very nervous. On a Thursday morning in April, Randy Wildebrandt has brought Jazzy, a black, 14-year-old poodle, to the MU veterinary hospital for an examination of a cancerous tumor on her right hind leg. She will be injected with a radioactive liquid for a PET, or positron emission topography scan to determine whether her treatment is shrinking the tumor, then she'll spend a day in isolation while the radiation wears off. Jazzy is one of several dogs receiving experimental treatments through the comparative oncology program at MU. Veterinarians hope they can examine the dogs' responses to the treatments to learn new ways of fighting cancer in humans.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 15:22

If you prod a zebrafish embryo, it will normally twitch its tail and try to escape. By watching embryos that wouldn’t twitch properly, a team of scientists has discovered that a gene called STAC3is the cause of a rare inherited muscle disorder called Native American myopathy (NAM). The team also showed that STAC3 plays an important and previously unrecognized role in muscle contractions.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 16:00

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health, and their colleagues, have discovered that a gene called BACH2 may play a central role in the development of diverse allergic and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and type-1 diabetes. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks normal cells and tissues in the body that are generally recognized as “self” and do not normally trigger immune responses. Autoimmunity can occur in infectious diseases and cancer.

Monday, June 3, 2013 - 13:32

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania have developed a new gene therapy to thwart a potential influenza pandemic. Specifically, investigators in the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, directed by James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, demonstrated that a single dose of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) expressing a broadly neutralizing flu antibody into the nasal passages of mice and ferrets gives them complete protection and substantial reductions in flu replication when exposed to lethal strains of H5N1 and H1N1 flu virus. These strains were isolated from samples associated from historic human pandemics – one from the infamous 1918 flu pandemic and another from 2009.

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 14:25

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania have developed a new gene therapy to thwart a potential influenza pandemic. Specifically, investigators in the Gene Therapy Program, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, directed by James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, demonstrated that a single dose of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) expressing a broadly neutralizing flu antibody into the nasal passages of mice and ferrets gives them complete protection and substantial reductions in flu replication when exposed to lethal strains of H5N1 and H1N1 flu virus. These strains were isolated from samples associated from historic human pandemics – one from the infamous 1918 flu pandemic and another from 2009.

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 14:25

An international team led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reports that a single injection of human neural stem cells produced neuronal regeneration and improvement of function and mobility in rats impaired by an acute spinal cord injury (SCI).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 15:44

A tiny Australian songbird may hold the answer to discovering the biological source of stuttering, which affects 3 million Americans and is notoriously difficult to treat. A team of Michigan State University scientists will investigate the brain and behavior of the zebra finch in the first in-depth study of whether stuttering stems from a lack of rhythm.

Friday, May 24, 2013 - 15:18

Chris Thomson, a second year veterinary student at University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been awarded the 2013 AMP/Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach.  Chris’ program will focus on student-to-student outreach at veterinary schools and conferences across America.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 14:07

Two Colorado State University professors have developed a nanostructured surface coating for bone that is expected to help improve the lifetime of bone implants. The research, if proven, could someday help someone replace injured or diseased bone segments without losing the affected limb.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 16:24

Salamanders’ immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have found.

In research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University found that when immune cells known as macrophages were systemically removed, salamanders lost their ability to regenerate a limb and instead formed scar tissue.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 15:21

While the effects of acute stroke have been widely studied, brain damage during the subacute phase of stroke has been a neglected area of research. Now, a new study by the University of South Florida reports that within a week of a stroke caused by a blood clot in one side of the brain, the opposite side of the brain shows signs of microvascular injury.

Monday, May 20, 2013 - 15:23

Australian scientists are hoping dogs with dementia will help them devise a treatment for people suffering from the condition.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 16:22

When the brain's primary "learning center" is damaged, complex new neural circuits arise to compensate for the lost function, say life scientists from UCLA and Australia who have pinpointed the regions of the brain involved in creating those alternate pathways — often far from the damaged site.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 15:50

Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) have successfully reprogrammed human skin cells to become embryonic stem cells capable of transforming into any other cell type in the body. It is believed that stem cell therapies hold the promise of replacing cells damaged through injury or illness. Diseases or conditions that might be treated through stem cell therapy include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease and spinal cord injuries.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 13:30

Into brains of newborn mice, researchers implanted human “progenitor cells.” These mature into a type of brain cell called astrocytes. They grew into human astrocytes, crowding out mouse astrocytes. The mouse brains became chimeras of human and mouse, with the workhorse mouse brain cells – neurons – nurtured by billions of human astrocytes. Human astrocytes certainly inspired the mice. Genetically engineered "astrocytes" have improved rodents' memories and learning capabilities.

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 15:07

Epilepsy that does not respond to drugs can be halted in adult mice by transplanting a specific type of cell into the brain, UC San Francisco researchers have discovered, raising hope that a similar treatment might work in severe forms of human epilepsy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 15:20

UCLA life scientists have identified a gene previously implicated in Parkinson's disease that can delay the onset of aging and extend the healthy life span of fruit flies. The research, they say, could have important implications for aging and disease in humans.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 16:33

UCSF scientists controlled seizures in epileptic mice with a one-time transplantation of medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) cells, which inhibit signaling in overactive nerve circuits, into the hippocampus, a brain region associated with seizures, as well as with learning and memory. Other researchers had previously used different cell types in rodent cell transplantation experiments and failed to stop seizures.

Monday, May 6, 2013 - 16:02

Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch, who helped transform the study of genetics by creating the first transgenic mouse in 1974, is again revolutionizing how genetically altered animal models are created and perhaps even redefining what species may serve as models.

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 14:54

Scientists have identified a gene that keeps our nerve fibers from clogging up. Researchers in Ken Miller’s laboratory at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) found that the unc-16 gene of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans encodes a gatekeeper that restricts flow of cellular organelles from the cell body to the axon, a long, narrow extension that neurons use for signaling. Organelles clogging the axon could interfere with neuronal signaling or cause the axon to degenerate, leading to neurodegenerative disorders. This research, published in the May 2013 Genetics Society of America’s journal GENETICS, adds an unexpected twist to our understanding of trafficking within neurons.

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 09:53