News Archive

Vanishing White Matter (VWM) disease is a devastating condition that destroys the brain's white matter. This white matter protects the axons of neurons, and leads to seizures and the progressive loss of motor function, eyesight, and speech. Also known as Childhood Ataxia with Central Nervous System Hypomyelination (CACH), the disease has no cure, and victims do not typically live longer than the early teens.

Marisol passed away from the disease in 2008, but her DNA pattern and specific genetic mutation were the basis for Prof. Elroy-Stein's breakthrough development of the first population of laboratory mice — called "Marisol's mice" — with a VWM disease mutation. With this invaluable biological tool in place, researchers have been able to make important progress into understanding how the disease functions.

Through these mice, the researchers were able to discover that VWM disease was in essence a developmental disorder — the mutation causes delayed development of the myelin that forms after birth, they reported in the journal Brain. The researchers' most recent findings, published in the journal PLoS One, add to this understanding.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 16:35

Historically, the "lab rats" scientists use to test new medicines and run studies have been, well, rats. But that may be changing. A growing number of laboratories have begun using zebrafish as their test subjects, and there is reason to believe that trend is growing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 17:42

A new study has found that tamoxifen, a well-known breast cancer drug, can counteract some pathologic features in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). At present, no treatment is known to produce long-term improvement of the symptoms in boys with DMD, a debilitating muscular disorder that is characterized by progressive muscle wasting, respiratory and cardiac impairments, paralysis, and premature death.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 15:25

In a study published in the January 18 issue of Cell, researchers from the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a new method to visualize aging and tumor growth in mice using a gene closely linked to these processes.

Friday, January 18, 2013 - 10:41

By manipulating the genes, or six specific proteins known to affect development in the zebrafish, Williams can see potential problems in human fetuses.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 17:04

The lowly -- but very tenacious -- mussel has helped researchers develop new medical adhesives for sealing surgical incisions and other wounds.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 16:28

Usually, results from a new study help scientists inch their way toward an answer whether they are battling a health problem or are on the verge of a technological breakthrough. Once in a while, those results give them a giant leap forward.  In a preliminary study in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), University of Missouri scientists showed exactly such a leap using gene therapy to treat muscular dystrophy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 16:49

Scientists at The University of Manchester have made a surprising finding after studying how tadpoles re-grow their tails which could have big implications for research into human healing and regeneration.

Monday, January 14, 2013 - 12:33

Apparent stem cell transplant success in mice may hold promise for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 16:54

Most people might see cockroaches as good-for-nothing pests, but this germ-ridden insect could be an indirect source of new antibiotics for humans. Cockroaches host the larvae of a parasitic type of wasp, which spend their formative days eating the bacteria-laden body of the cockroach from the inside out. Researchers have discovered the wasp larva secretes chemicals that sanitize the decidedly unsanitary guts of the cockroach. These germ-killing chemicals could eventually be developed for human uses.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 15:43

Scientists have used a drug injected into the inner ears of mice deafened by loud noise to induce the regeneration of sound-sensing hair cells and partially restore hearing in the animals, according to a paper published this week (January 9) in Neuron.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 12:07

Giant pandas may be the source of a new antibiotic, according to scientists at Nanjing Agricultural University in China.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 10:23

For several years, neurologists at UCLA have been building a case that a link exists between pesticides and Parkinson's disease. To date, paraquat, maneb and ziram — common chemicals sprayed in California's Central Valley and elsewhere — have been tied to increases in the disease, not only among farmworkers but in individuals who simply lived or worked near fields and likely inhaled drifting particles. Now, UCLA researchers have discovered a link - using zebrafish - between Parkinson's and another pesticide, benomyl, whose toxicological effects still linger some 10 years after the chemical was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Monday, January 7, 2013 - 16:48

A British woman has become one of the first to benefit from pioneering surgery that uses tissue taken from a cow’s heart to rebuild the liver.

The operation brings the possibility of whole donor organs being taken from animals – known as xenotransplantation – ever closer.

Monday, December 31, 2012 - 15:26

Just about everyone has thought about it at least once. What if there were a pill or a shot that could safely burn body fat without any effort?

Besides making some researchers and pharmaceutical companies very rich, it could potentially do a lot for the health of the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese.

A team at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center is one step closer to that reality, after its fat-burning shot eliminated 20 percent of belly fat in lab mice over an 80-day period in a recent study.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - 15:47

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have pinpointed a molecular mechanism needed to unleash the heart’s ability to regenerate, a critical step toward developing eventual therapies for damage suffered following a heart attack.

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 16:15

Before the advent of refrigeration, Russians had a neat trick for keeping their milk from spoiling. They'd drop a live frog in the milk bucket.

The Russians weren't sure how this amphibian dairy treatment worked, but they were convinced it did.

Since then, researchers have discovered that the goo some frogs secrete through their skin has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

One group of scientists led by a Russian chemist is trying to break down this frog goo at a molecular level. The researchers have found compounds they hope will lead to new medicines.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 15:29

Their reputations were attacked. Their homes were damaged. Their lives were threatened. But these UCLA scientists refused to back down in the face of assaults by anti-animal-research extremists.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 11:18

In guinea pigs, inserting a single gene can convert regular heart cells into pacemaker cells that regulate cardiac rhythm, hinting at the possibility of a biological alternative to artificial pacemakers for humans with failing hearts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 12:53

A new study by NYU School of Medicine researchers suggests that an existing HIV drug called maraviroc could be a potential therapy for Staphylococcus aureus, a notorious and deadly pathogen linked to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year. Their study is published online this week in Nature.

Monday, December 17, 2012 - 16:26