Scientists have added a new species to the menagerie of animals that glow, after introducing jellyfish genes into cats that can now glow green.
Scientists report that they transferred genes from monkeys (and jellyfish) into cats in order to study feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), the cat equivalent of HIV. In cats and in people, immunodeficiency viruses deplete infection-fighting T-cells. Key proteins called restriction factors that would normally defend against the viruses are ineffective. The research appears in the September issue of Nature Methods.
To research potential treatments, physicians, virologists, veterinarians and gene therapy researchers from the Mayo Clinic and in Japan sought to mimic the way evolution would generate protective protein versions, according to a Mayo Clinic press release. They inserted monkey versions of a gene into the cat genome using gamete-targeted lentiviral transgenesis. This is done by inserting genes into feline eggs before sperm fertilization.
The monkey restriction factor, TRIMCyp, blocks FIV by attacking and disabling the virus as it tries to invade a cell. In the lab, the transgenic cat lymphocytes resisted FIV replication. The scientists said that they can now test the potential of various restriction factors for Read more »
Adverse drug events are a serious public health problem. Consider the following facts:
an estimated 82% of American adults take at least one medication and 29% take five or more;
700,000 emergency department visits and 120,000 hospitalizations are due to adverse drug events annually;
$3.5 billion is spent on extra medical costs of adverse drug events annually;
at least 40% of costs associated with adverse drug events occurring outside hospitals can be prevented.
How can genomics help? Pharmacogenomics is the study of genetic variation as a factor in drug response, affecting both safety and effectiveness. The intended applications of pharmacogenomics research include identifying responders and non-responders to medications, avoiding adverse events, optimizing drug dose and avoiding unnecessary healthcare costs. The Food and Drug Administration has added pharmacogenomic information to the labeling for more than 70 drugs. Labels may include information on genetic determinants of clinical response or risk for adverse events.
In spite of current enthusiasm about pharmacogenomics in the research community, Read more »
A new £5.7 million project being led by St. George’s-University of London is developing self-test devices that can plug directly into mobile phones and computers, immediately identifying sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The project is called eSTI — electronic self-testing instruments for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — and is being led by Dr. Tariq Sadiq, senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at St George’s-University of London. Most of the funding is coming from The Medical Research Council and the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.
The UK has seen a 36 percent rise in STIs from 2000 to 2009 — often blamed on the reluctance of the population to get diagnosed and the stigma of going to public health clinics — prompting the support of this project. Read more »
Mechai Viravaidya has been fighting poverty and disease in Southeast Asia through innovative promotions of safe sex practices. In this TED talk, he gives an amusing overview of how Thailand went from seven children per family to 1.5 in less than four decades and a 90 percent reduction in HIV infection rates from 1991 to 2003.
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
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