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  • Feature

    How an obscure sexually transmitted parasite tangos with the immune system

    Frances Mercer runs a fight club.

    In one corner, the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes a widespread sexually transmitted infection that many people have never heard of. In the other corner are neutrophils, the immune system cells best equipped to take down the aggressor.

    Watching the two battle it out, Mercer, an immunoparasitologist at California State Polytechnic...

    04/23/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    Some people may have genes that hamper a drug’s HIV protection

    ORLANDO, Fla. — Some people’s genes may stop an antiretroviral drug from protecting them against HIV, a genetics study suggests.

    The drug, called tenofovir, is used for preventing as well as treating an HIV infection. But success in prevention has been mixed, with studies reporting between 78 to 92 percent success rates. It wasn’t clear why the drug didn’t protect everyone.

    Now,...

    04/15/2019 - 06:00 Genetics, Biomedicine
  • Reviews & Previews

    In ‘The Perfect Predator,’ viruses vanquish a deadly superbug

    The Perfect PredatorSteffanie Strathdee and Thomas PattersonHachette Books, $28

    Epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, Thomas Patterson, went to Egypt in 2015 expecting to come home with some photos and souvenirs. Instead, Patterson was hit with his own version of the 10 plagues. 

    At first, doctors in Egypt thought Patterson had pancreatitis. But his health...

    04/01/2019 - 09:00 Health, Microbiology, Biomedicine
  • News

    Blood vessels built from a patient’s cells could help people on dialysis

    Bioengineered blood vessels are one step closer to being available for patients.

    In clinical trials, these vessels were installed in the arms of dialysis patients and successfully integrated into their circulatory systems, researchers report online March 27 in Science Translational Medicine. The new blood vessels, which eventually host the patient’s own cells after implantation, are...

    03/27/2019 - 14:01 Clinical Trials, Biomedicine, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Treating cystic fibrosis patients before birth could safeguard organs

    A drug that treats a rare form of cystic fibrosis may have even better results if given before birth, a study in ferrets suggests.

    The drug, known by the generic name ivacaftor, can restore the function of a faulty version of the CFTR protein, called CFTRG551D. The normal CFTR protein controls the flow of charged atoms in cells that make mucus, sweat, saliva, tears and digestive enzymes...

    03/27/2019 - 14:00 Biomedicine
  • 50 years ago, doctors lamented a dearth of organ donors

    Number of donors drops —

    Both laymen and surgeons have become faint-hearted about heart transplants.… The rejection and infection problems remain unsolved, and although Dr. [Denton A.] Cooley has performed the greatest number of transplants in the world, he has had to stop operating for lack of donors. — Science News, March 15, 1969

    Update

    Candidates for heart or other organ...

    03/12/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Cells, Technology
  • Feature

    Nanosponges sop up toxins and help repair tissues

    To take his fledgling lab to new heights, Liangfang Zhang hatched a plan that he considered brilliant in its simplicity. It involved procedures that many of his peers found a little out there. But if he could make his idea work, it would clear a major hurdle to safely ferry therapies through the body on nanoparticles one-thousandth the width of a human hair.

    Yet back in 2010, the young...

    03/07/2019 - 07:00 Biomedicine, Technology
  • Editor's Note

    Brain discoveries open doors to new treatments

    For centuries, scientists have strived to figure out the workings of the human brain, but that blob of matter tucked inside a bony shell long resisted efforts to divine its secrets.

    Techniques invented in the early 1900s, including angiography and electroencephalography, made it possible to examine some characteristics of the brain without invading the skull. But it wasn’t until the...

    02/10/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Brain-zapping implants that fight depression are inching closer to reality

    Like seismic sensors planted in quiet ground, hundreds of tiny electrodes rested in the outer layer of the 44-year-old woman’s brain. These sensors, each slightly larger than a sesame seed, had been implanted under her skull to listen for the first rumblings of epileptic seizures.

    The electrodes gave researchers unprecedented access to the patient’s brain. With the woman’s permission,...

    02/10/2019 - 06:00 Mental Health, Clinical Trials, Biomedicine