Using genetic tools in mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say they have identified a pair of proteins that precisely control when sound-detecting cells, known as hair cells, are born in the mammalian inner ear. The proteins, described in a report published June 12 in eLife, may hold a key to future therapies to restore hearing in people with irreversible deafness. Read more.
As Lyme disease increases, researchers have taken a significant step toward finding new ways to prevent its transmission. The experts, who include a pioneer in Lyme disease discovery, have sequenced the genome of the animal carrying the bacteria that causes the illness. The advance provides a launching pad for fresh approaches to stopping Lyme disease from infecting people. Read more.
The Cancer Moonshot initiative, launched under the Obama administration, was audacious by design: Supercharge cancer research to encourage innovation, with the mission “to end to cancer as we know it.”
Cancer researchers avoid using the word “cure.” From studying cancer at the molecular level, they know that tumors are complex—even personalized. There’s no simple cancer and no single cure. So, no single destination for a “moonshot.” Read more.
Written by Victoria Forster
The health of the gut microbiome has been linked with numerous diseases from depression to multiple sclerosis and even cancer and response to cancer drugs including immunotherapies. Earlier this year, an ambitious $25 million project was launched to determine the role of the microbiome in colorectal cancer, but perhaps more surprisingly, a new study in mice has linked the health of the gut microbiome to the spread of breast cancer. Read more.
Written by Enrique Rivero
Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly though curable disease. Each year about 10 million people develop active cases, and 1.6 million people die. In addition, about 1.7 billion people around the world are infected with TB bacteria, which can lie dormant for weeks to years, then become active and cause disease in up to 10 percent of those who are infected.
Today, people who contract tuberculosis typically take a course of drugs for six to eight months. However, the length of treatment means some patients don’t stick with the therapy or may develop adverse effects from drug toxicity. Some may develop resistance to the drugs, requiring changes in the drug regimen that can lengthen the treatment to as long as two years. Even worse, there is a high fatality rate among those with drug-resistant TB. Read more.
Medicine has great hopes for personalised cancer immunotherapy. The idea is to have a vaccine prompt the immune system to fight a tumour. Scientists at ETH Zurich have developed a method that allows them to determine which molecules are suited to patient-specific immunisation. Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease is known for inflicting devastating declines in memory and cognitive function. Researchers are on the hunt for treatments are taking a number of approaches to slowing or preventing the neurodegenerative disease, including immune therapy, lifestyle changes, and targeting sticky buildups of proteins called amyloid beta. Read more.