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Switched before birth: Study shows protein creates tumor-fighting cells

Revealing a biological combat strategy worthy of a five-star general, researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital, University of Chicago and Cornell University have shown how a cell surface receptor–a specialized protein which communicates signals between a cell and the outside world–can mobilize immune cells to attack, rather than protect, malignant tumors. The researchers report their findings [...]

Genetic changes to basic developmental processes evolve more frequently than thought

Newly-evolved genes can rapidly assume control over important functions during development, fly study reveals A wild-type Chironomus larva with normal head (left) and abdomen (right) development is shown. Credit: Urs Schmidt-Ott/University of Chicago __SOURCEFROM__ The study, “A cysteine-clamp gene drives embryo polarity in the midge Chironomus,” was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the [...]

In late post-surgical colon ‘leaks,’ finger points to microbes

Post-surgical leaks that develop after a segment of the colon has been removed and stitched back together often are caused not by negligence or technical error but by bacteria in the bowel that elude antibiotics, according to new evidence about this devastating complication of gastrointestinal surgery. Such leaks, which can develop days or weeks after [...]

Shape-shifting molecule tricks viruses into mutating themselves to death

A newly developed spectroscopy method is helping to clarify the poorly understood molecular process by which an anti-HIV drug induces lethal mutations in the virus’s genetic material. The findings from the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could bolster efforts to develop the next generation of anti-viral treatments. Viruses can mutate rapidly [...]

Ancient herbal therapy can prevent — and reverse — cardiac hypertrophy in mice

A natural compound derived from the bark of the magnolia tree, can protect the heart from hypertrophy, a thickening of cardiac muscle often caused by chronic high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure, researchers report in the online journal Nature Communications. Honokiol, by increasing SIRT3 levels, effectively blocked both the induction and progression [...]