April 28, 2015

1:00 AM | Artificially Composed Virus Fragment Could Be Key To A Chikungunya Vaccine
The mosquito transmitted Chikungunya virus, which causes Chikungunya fever, is spreading continuously. No vaccine is so far available. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have experimentally recombined segments of the virus surface protein E2, thus creating artificial proteins. The domain generated that way - "sAB+" - was able to confer a protective effect against Chikungunya virus to the animal. An immunization by means of this small protein fragment could thus provide a suitable approach […]

April 27, 2015

6:09 PM | Risk triangle: immune gene, insecticide, Parkinson’s
Genetic variation and exposure to pesticides both appear to affect risk for Parkinson’s disease. A new study has found a connection between these two risk factors, in a way that highlights a role for immune responses in progression of the disease. The results are published in the inaugural issue of NPJ Parkinson’s Disease. The findings implicate […] The post Risk triangle: immune gene, insecticide, Parkinson’s appeared first on Lab Land.
5:52 AM | A bacterium’s sense of self explained
Foreigner or native-born? Your immune system discriminates between them, as do those of bacteria. Yes indeed, bacteria do have immune systems – pretty complex ones at that. And like any useful immune system, the bacterial ones must have a good technique for distinguishing “foreign” from “self.” You may even have heard of the bacterial immune…

April 26, 2015

6:00 PM | Household Pets Can Transmit Infections To People
Household pets can transmit infection to people, especially those with weak immune systems, young children, pregnant women and seniors, according to a new study. Health care providers and pet owners should be aware of this risk to prevent illness in vulnerable people. Surveys suggest that the general public and people at high risk for pet-associated disease are not aware of the risks associated with high-risk pet practices or recommendations to reduce them; for example, 77% of households that […]

April 25, 2015

11:48 PM | Cuba Has Had A Lung Cancer Vaccine for 20 Years. Now It’s Heading to the US
During the early 1990s, the Cuban government’s Molecular Immunology Center began testing a groundbreaking lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax. Besides treating the symptoms of the disease, the vaccine also helps prevents recurrence of the cancer. With Cuba and the United States normalizing relations in December, CimaVax could be available in the U.S. in the not so distant future. Kelvin Lee is the chief of immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New […]

April 23, 2015

7:06 PM | Why A Small Drop In Whooping Cough Vaccines Leads To A Case Upsurge
In 2012 the US saw a resurgence of pertussis (whooping cough) cases. the highest since 1955. Like in engineering, the reason a small increase in anti-science beliefs can lead to a big change in the number of cases comes down to degrees of freedom and the math of more
4:00 PM | Mosquito Bites Have A Genetic Component, Finds Twins Study
The likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes could be linked to our genes, according to a recent study. Previous papers have suggested that human attractiveness to insects is based on differences in body odor or diet but there has been no clear and consistent dietary explanation. read more
1:00 PM | Why Do We Have Allergies?
For me, it was hornets.One summer afternoon when I was 12, I ran into an overgrown field near a friend’s house and kicked a hornet nest the size of a football. An angry squadron of insects clamped onto my leg; their stings felt like scorching needles. I swatted the hornets away and ran for help, but within minutes I realized something else was happening. A constellation of pink stars had appeared around the stings. The hives swelled, and new ones began appearing farther up my legs. I was […]

April 22, 2015

10:09 PM | PhyloSusceptibility Model: Spread Of Pathogens Between Species Is Predictable - And Now Online
A study of disease dynamics in a California grassland has shed light on fundamental principles underlying the spread of pathogens among species, according to researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz who measured the amount of disease on the leaves of plants in a meadow on campus. They found that the amount of disease on each species depended on how common it was, as well as on the abundance of its close relatives. The results were a tight link between the structure of a plant […]
8:27 PM | Researchers find genetic link between overactive and underactive immune systems
In the largest genetic study to date of a challenging immunodeficiency disorder, scientists have identified a gene that may be a “missing link” between overactive and underactive immune activity. The gene candidate also plays a key role in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and even allergies. The researchers analyzed common variable […]

Li J, Jørgensen SF, Maggadottir SM, Bakay M, Warnatz K, Glessner J, Pandey R, Salzer U, Schmidt RE, Perez E & Resnick E (2015). Association of CLEC16A with human common variable immunodeficiency disorder and role in murine B cells., Nature communications, 6 6804. PMID:

1:47 AM | Beating the bloodsuckers?
Last night I ran around my room fighting a fairly bloody battle - shoes may have been thrown. This was not a bizarre reaction to stress; my room was colonised by bloodthirsty ectoparasites intent on eating me alive. But how exactly do mosquitoes track us down - and what makes humans their meal of choice? […]

April 21, 2015

7:50 PM | Multiple vaccinations weakens the immune system – a myth
The Skeptical Raptor, stalking pseudoscience in the internet jungle. Updated 21 April 2015 If you explore the dark and myth filled back alleys of the antivaccination movement, you will find a wide variety of myths that try to convince people that vaccinating children is dangerous. I’ve covered and refuted many of the myths, although the vaccine deniers tend to rely on zombie myths that … Continue reading Multiple vaccinations weakens the immune system – a myth →Continue […]
6:01 PM | Type 1 diabetes: On the way to an insulin vaccine
Pseudoscience claims about vaccines are seemingly hitting a fever pitch. Despite that, a new vaccine may be on the horizon for children at risk for diabetes, and that is a good thing. Researchers have found that children at risk for type 1 diabetes, who were given daily doses of oral insulin, developed a protective immune response […]

Ezio Bonifacio, PhD, Anette G. Ziegler, MD, Georgeanna Klingensmith, MD, Edith Schober, MD, Polly J. Bingley, MD, Marietta Rottenkolber, Anke Theil, PhD, Anne Eugster, PhD, Ramona Puff, PhD, Claudia Peplow & Dipl Eoc Troph (2015). Effects of High-Dose Oral Insulin on Immune Responses in Children at High Risk for Type 1 Diabetes The Pre-POINT Randomized Clinical Trial, Journal of American Medical Association , Other:

Jay S. Skyler, MD (2015). Toward Primary Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes, Journal of American Medical Association , Other:

2:17 PM | Yogurt Does Not Improve Health
Western dietary guidelines support the consumption of dairy but how much of the specific ratios is cultural versus evidence-based has always been a debate.One thing that has never been debate is if there is anything special about yogurt. Though it has become increasingly popular due to marketing claims about "probiotics" there is no evidence any of it is true, nor is it helping with any of the physical and mental parameters analyzed in a new study of 4,445 Spanish mor

April 18, 2015

11:00 PM | Stomach Ulcers In Cattle
Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna investigated whether stomach ulcers in cattle are related to the presence of certain bacteria. For their study, they analyzed bacteria present in healthy and ulcerated cattle stomachs and found very few differences in microbial diversity. Bacteria therefore appear to play a minor role in the development of ulcers. The microbial diversity present in the stomachs of cattle has now been more
3:26 PM | e-Cig usage needs our attention
pharmtastic: An interesting study published earlier this month in PLOS ONE, whose major goal was to develop a murine [mouse] model to study the effects of e-cigarette smoke, found that repeated exposure to e-cig smoke resulted in inhibition of pro-inflammatory processes (leading to decreased concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines) thereby making them more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. The authors attribute these effects to the high levels of free radicals (although […]

April 17, 2015

1:30 PM | How Salmonella Survives Macrophage's Acid Attack
Macrophages destroy bacteria by engulfing them in intracellular compartments, which they then acidify to kill or neutralize the bacteria. Some pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella enterica, have evolved to exist and even grow within these acidified compartments. Yet, how Salmonella responds to the acidic environment and how that environment affects the virulence of this pathogen are unclear. New research reveals that Salmonella fights acid with acid, by lowering the pH of its own interior […]

April 16, 2015

9:53 PM | LEM - Newly Discovered Protein Boosts Immunity To Cancer
A newly discovered protein plays a central role in promoting immunity to viruses and cancer, according to experiments in mice and human cells. The hitherto unknown protein, which the researchers named lymphocyte expansion molecule, or LEM, modulates the proliferation of human T cells as well as in mice, by promoting the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells, which kill cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. The discovery was unexpected because the new protein had no known function […]

April 15, 2015

7:58 PM | Macrophages As T-Cell Immune Response Primers
A new study demonstrates that macrophages can effectively substitute for so-called dendritic cells as primers of T-cell-dependent immune responses. They instead stimulate a broader-based response.The immune response, the process by which the adaptive immune system reacts to, and eliminates foreign substances and cells, depends on a complex interplay between several different cell types. So-called dendritic cells, which recognize and internalize invasive pathogens, play a crucial role in this […]
1:23 PM | Signaling Pathway Of Rare Form Of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Discovered
A systematic review of the genomes of patients with ALK-negative anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a particularly aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, shows that many cases of the disease are driven by alterations in the JAK/STAT3 cell signaling pathway. The study also demonstrates, in mice implanted with human-derived ALCL tumors, that the disease can be inhibited by compounds that target this pathway, raising hopes that more effective treatments might soon be developed. read

April 14, 2015

3:35 PM | As HIV investigators continue the campaign to control and...
As HIV investigators continue the campaign to control and conceivably eradicate HIV worldwide, certain strategies reflecting myths or misconceptions about this infectious disease have been embraced, while other concepts with merit have been left relatively unexplored. The issues include: a focus on individuals who have warded off the disease and even infection the primary emphasis on adaptive immunity and not also innate immunity; the specific antiviral role of CD8+ cells; the […]

April 11, 2015

1:00 PM | Human Norovirus Might Infect Dogs, Can They Infect Us Back?
Human norovirus can cause an immune response in dogs so it leads to obvious concern over whether or not dogs can transmit it to other people.Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, is extremely contagious among humans. It infects 19-21 million Americans annually - more than six percent of the US population - according to the CDC. Those infections may result in as many as 71,000 hospitalizations, and 800 more

April 10, 2015

8:40 PM | Natural Papain Enzyme In Cosmetics Can Act As Allergen
Papain, found naturally in papaya and ioften referred to as a “plant-based pepsin”, is an important industrial protein-degrading enzyme for the food and cosmetic industries. The cosmetic industry uses papain in exfoliating treatments to remove dead surface skin and there even are enzyme-based shampoos for house pets to clean the fur and make it easier to brush. But lots of natural things can trigger allergic reactions. read more
1:30 PM | Two more retractions bring lab break-in biochemist up to eleven
Karel Bezouška, the Czech biochemist who was caught on hidden camera breaking into a lab fridge to fake results, has turned it up to eleven with two new retractions. Both retractions appeared in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, one in October 2014 and one in January 2015.  His story began two decades ago in 1994, when he published […]The post Two more retractions bring lab break-in biochemist up to eleven appeared first on Retraction Watch.

April 09, 2015

10:30 PM | New Clues To Origin Of Hirschsprung's Disease
Genetic studies in humans, zebrafish and mice have revealed that two different types of genetic variations team up to cause a rare condition called Hirschsprung's disease, flaws in early nerve development that lead to poor colon function which must often be surgically corrected. About one in every 5,000 babies is born with Hirschsprung's disease, which causes bowel obstruction and can be fatal if not treated. The disease arises early in development when nerves that should control the colon fail […]
9:09 PM | SgMaV-1: New Switchgrass Crop Virus Discovered In North America
A new paper provides evidence of a new mastrevirus, tentatively named switchgrass mosaic-associated virus 1 (SgMaV-1). Other members of the mastrevirus genus, a group of DNA viruses, are known to be responsible for decimating yields in staple food crops (including corn, wheat and sugarcane) throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. It has never been reported in North America. The switchgrass exhibited mosaic symptoms--splotchy, discolored leaves--characteristic of a viral infection, yet […]
12:30 PM | Golden Staph: The Deadly Hospital Bug Few People Know About
Take this quick medical pop quiz: which of the following conditions would you prefer to have during your next stay in hospital? A. Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) bloodstream infection; or B. a heart attack?I am guessing most non-medical readers voted for the Staph option and, if my experience is anything to go by, the majority of medical readers will have also made a microbial choice. read more

April 08, 2015

10:25 PM | First human HIV-antibody trials, results are promising
While there is no cure for HIV, a select few known as HIV controllers can literally live with it. Over the years work has been done trying to figure out what makes these individuals so special and it has helped researchers in the fight against HIV. While we are still searching for a vaccine, researchers have now […]

Caskey, M., Klein, F., Lorenzi, J., Seaman, M., West, A., Buckley, N., Kremer, G., Nogueira, L., Braunschweig, M., Scheid, J. & Horwitz, J. (2015). Viraemia suppressed in HIV-1-infected humans by broadly neutralizing antibody 3BNC117, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature14411


April 06, 2015

7:27 PM | Researchers find protein that triggers lupus-associated immune system activation
Researchers have identified an inflammatory molecule that appears to play an essential role in the autoimmune disorder systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known simply as lupus. In their report the team describes finding that a protein that regulates certain cells in the innate immune system – the body’s first line of defense against infection – activates a molecular pathway […]

Ramirez-Ortiz et al. (2015). TREML4 amplifies TLR7, Nature Immunology , Other:


April 05, 2015

6:38 AM | Antibodies From Camels May Protect Humans From MERS
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which emerged in humans last year in the Saudi Arabian peninsula, causes severe respiratory disease, with a mortality rate of 35 percent. No specific therapy is currently available.  Passive immunization, a procedure where you inject a former patient's antibodies into a new patient to fight the disease, has been used in the past, including last year in a small number of cases of Ebola, but in the case of MERS, few former patients are available to […]
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