New rapid Tuberculosis test In 100 Mins

Posted by Admin on December 9th, 2010

8 DECEMBER 2010 | LONDON | GENEVA – Today, WHO endorsed a new and novel rapid test for tuberculosis (TB), especially relevant in countries most affected by the disease. The test could revolutionize TB care and control by providing an accurate diagnosis for many patients in about 100 minutes, compared to current tests that can take up to three months to have results.

A major milestone

“This new test represents a major milestone for global TB diagnosis and care. It also represents new hope for the millions of people who are at the highest risk of TB and drug-resistant disease.” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Stop TB Department. “We have the scientific evidence, we have defined the policy, and now we aim to support implementation for impact in countries.”

WHO’s endorsement of the rapid test, which is a fully automated NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test) follows 18 months of rigorous assessment of its field effectiveness in the early diagnosis of TB, as well as multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and TB complicated by HIV infection, which are more difficult to diagnose.

Increase in diagnosis

Evidence to date indicates that implementation of this test could result in a three-fold increase in the diagnosis of patients with drug-resistant TB and a doubling in the number of HIV-associated TB cases diagnosed in areas with high rates of TB and HIV.

Many countries still rely principally on sputum smear microscopy, a diagnostic method that was developed over a century ago. But this new ‘while you wait’ test incorporates modern DNA technology that can be used outside of conventional laboratories. It also benefits from being fully automated and therefore easy and safe to use.

WHO is now calling for the fully automated NAAT to be rolled out under clearly defined conditions and as part of national plans for TB and MDR-TB care and control. Policy and operational guidance are also being issued based on findings from a series of expert reviews and a global consultation held last week in Geneva. The consultation was attended by more than a hundred representatives from national programmes, development aid agencies and international partners.

Affordable assessment

Affordability has been a key concern in the assessment process. Co-developer FIND (the Foundation for Innovative and New Diagnostics) is announcing today it has negotiated with the manufacturer, Cepheid, a 75% reduction in the price for countries most affected by TB, compared to the current market price. Preferential pricing will be granted to 116 low- and middle- income countries where TB is endemic, with additional reduction in price once there is significant volume of demand.

“There has been a strong commitment to remove any obstacles, including financial barriers, that could prevent the successful roll-out of this new technology,” said Dr Giorgio Roscigno, FIND’s Chief Executive Officer. “For the first time in TB control, we are enabling access to state-of-the-art technology simultaneously in low, middle and high income countries. The technology also allows testing of other diseases, which should further increase efficiency.”

WHO is also releasing recommendations and guidance for countries to incorporate this test in their programs. This includes testing protocols (or algorithms) to optimize the use and benefits of the new technology in those persons where it is needed most.

Though there have been major improvements in TB care and control, tuberculosis killed an estimated 1.7 million people in 2009 and 9.4 million people developed active TB last year.


Genetic Link to Heart Failure

Posted by Admin on December 21st, 2009

The research is reported in theJournal of Clinical Investigation.

The team, led by Gerald Dorn, used an approach they have recently developed that allows ultra-high-throughput targeted DNA sequencing to identify genetic variation in four genes with biological relevance to heart failure. They identified in a large group of Caucasian individuals with heart failure, 129 separate genetic variants in the four genes, including 23 that seemed to be novel.

Further analysis of 1117 Caucasian individuals with heart failure and 625 nonaffected Caucasians indicated that a block of 12 genetic variants in the HSPB7 gene was associated with heart failure. Confirmation of this association was provided by analysis of an independent group of individuals.

The authors hope to use the same approach to identify further genetic variants associated with heart failure, a disease that is influenced by multiple genetic factors.

Source :

Three Americans Share Nobel Prize for Medicine

Posted by Admin on October 10th, 2009

From left, Jack Szostak, Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn.

NEW YORK (AP) — Three Americans won the Nobel prize in medicine on Monday for discovering how chromosomes protect themselves as cells divide, work that has inspired experimental cancer therapies and may offer insights into aging.

The research by Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak revealed the workings of chromosome features called telomeres, which play an important role in the aging of cells.

It’s the first time two women have shared in a single Nobel science prize. Over the years, a total of 10 women have won the prize in medicine.

Blackburn, 60, who holds U.S. and Australian citizenship, is a professor of biology and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Greider, 48, is a professor in the department of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

London-born Szostak, 56, is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and a researcher with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Their work, done in the 1970s and 1980s, showed how features at the tips of chromosomes — telomeres (TEE-loh-meers) — can keep them from getting progressively shorter as cells divide. It’s been compared to the way plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces keep the laces from fraying.

Blackburn and Greider discovered an enzyme, telomerase (teh-LAH-meh-race), that maintains the lengths of the telomeres. Later research has shown that telomerase is switched on in almost all cancers.

Telomerase is active before birth, when cells are dividing rapidly. By age 4 or 5 it’s basically shut off in almost all cells. That means the telomeres degrade over time, leading those cells to age and eventually stop dividing. But scientists have shown that adding telomerase to human cells can extend their lifespan indefinitely.

Such research spurred speculation that telomerase might turn out to be a fountain of youth. But experts say that aging is more complicated than just changes in telomeres. Scientists are still studying what impact telomeres might have; perhaps they will reveal ways to ward off some aspects of aging, researchers say.

Still other work showed that telomerase helps cancer cells sustain their uncontrolled growth. Scientists are trying to exploit that to produce new therapies, noted Jerry Shay of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The farthest along is a vaccine-like approach, which trains the immune system to home in on telomerase as a way to identify and attack cancerous cells. Other approaches attempt to use it as a signal that activates a cell-killing virus, or to devise a drug to block the enzyme’s effect, he said.

Shay said he believes some kind of telomerase-based cancer treatment will become available within four years.

Monday’s prize ”is totally well-deserved,” Shay said. ”These people were clearly the forerunners of what is now becoming a much stronger field that has lots of interesting questions, (and that is) likely to have a major importance in medicine in the future.”

The prize includes $1.4 million, split among the three winners.

Szostak, meeting with reporters, joked that he might use the money to send his two elementary school-age children to college. ”They might like that,” he quipped.

As for his work on telomeres, Szostak decided ”it was time to move on” to another field. His current research is focused on the origins of life.

At a news conference in San Francisco, Blackburn joked that she had gone through the five stages of happiness after the phone rang in the middle of the night. ”I went through, `Where’s the phone?’ to disbelief to dazed to, ‘I think it’s sinking in now,” to, `I’m just so happy.”’

Greider, in Baltimore, said she was telephoned just before 5 a.m. with the news that she had won.

”It’s really very thrilling, it’s something you can’t expect,” she told The Associated Press by telephone.

Later, she said the award was ”really a tribute to curiosity-driven basic science.”

Nobel judges say women are underrepresented in Nobel statistics because the award-winning research often dates back several decades to a time when science was dominated by men. Still, critics say the judges aren’t looking hard enough for deserving women candidates.

The Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, literature and the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced later this week, while the economics award will be presented on Oct. 12.


Associated Press Writers Rodrique Ngowi in Boston, Sarah Brumfield and Alex Dominguez in Baltimore, Mary Hudetz in Phoenix, and Malin Rising in Stockholm contributed to this report.

Broken ‘switch’ link to leukaemia

Posted by Admin on September 30th, 2009

A broken genetic “switch” has been discovered that can trigger leukaemia.

Scientists believe the discovery – lifting the lid on a previously unknown messaging mechanism in cells – could lead to new treatments.

Leukaemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and the immune system’s white blood cells, which do not develop properly and begin to divide uncontrollably.

Like the HIV Aids virus, the disease leaves the body less able to fight off infections. It also disrupts the manufacture of red blood cells, leading to anaemia.

Leukaemia affects more than 7,000 people in the UK each year and causes 4,350 deaths.

Scientists are still unclear about what causes the cancer. The disease has been linked to smoking, exposure to radiation, and infection by a virus that attacks white blood cells. People with Down’s syndrome also have a higher risk of developing leukaemia.

The new research implicates a gene called JAK2 that acts as a master switch, turning different genes on or off.

Previously JAK2 was only thought to function on the inner surface of cells. But investigators at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute at Cambridge University found that it also acts at the heart of the cell, in the nucleus.

There, an enzyme made by JAK2, controls the activity of other genes by altering proteins called histones that pack and protect DNA.

When JAK2 develops a fault its messages can become garbled, leading to chaos in the workings of the cell and triggering cancer.

A Connection Between Sleep and Alzheimer’s?

Posted by Admin on September 25th, 2009

is Alzheimer\’s disease?

By Greg Miller
ScienceNOW Daily News
24 September 2009

You shouldn’t stay up all night worrying about it, but a new study has found a connection between a lack of sleep and a biomolecule thought to be important in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

In both humans and mice, levels of a peptide called amyloid-? rise during waking hours and decline during sleep, researchers have found. They also report that sleep-deprived mice are more prone to developing deposits of amyloid-?, called plaques, like those found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Although far from proven, the finding suggests that sleep disorders could be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. On a brighter note, it also hints at new avenues of treatment.

Many lines of evidence suggest that the naturally occurring amyloid-? builds up in the brain over many years in people who develop Alzheimer’s disease, beginning long before people show signs of memory loss. But very little is known about what factors might influence levels of the peptide in the brain, says David Holtzman, a neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri.

To investigate, Holtzman and colleagues conducted a series of experiments with mice in which they inserted a tiny tube into the brain to collect samples of the fluid circulating in the space between cells. Sampling from the hippocampus, a crucial memory region that is one of the first to be ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers found that amyloid-? levels peaked when the animals were awake and fell off during sleep. They found a similar pattern in 10 healthy people who consented to spinal taps to allow researchers to sample their cerebrospinal fluid.

The researchers also probed the effects of chronic sleep deprivation on mice that are genetically prone to developing amyloid plaques. To keep the mice awake, the researchers placed each on a small platform surrounded by water, which gave them no room to lie down and doze off. Mice who remained awake for 20 hours a day for 3 weeks developed more amyloid plaques than their well-rested peers, the researchers found. On the other hand, a drug that blocks receptors for orexin, a hormone that promotes wakefulness, reduced plaque formation in the same strain of mice, the team reports online today in Science.

The findings suggest that people who are chronically sleep deprived may have higher levels of amyloid-? that make them more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, Holtzman says. He says the team has been talking with researchers who do clinical sleep studies about combing their databases for any signs that people with a history of sleep disorders are more prone to Alzheimer’s. “No one has ever studied that,” he says. The team also wants to investigate using drugs that interfere with orexin to thwart Alzheimer’s disease.

“I find it really cool that sleep is a modulator of amyloid-? production,” says Sam Sisodia, a molecular neurobiologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois. That fits with other evidence that amyloid-? rises and falls with levels of synaptic activity, Sisodia says. But any breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer’s are a long way off, he cautions. “It’s another insight, another glimmer of hope.”

Scientists In King Saud University Discover The Relationship Between Obesity And Diabetics And The Incidence Of Breast Cancer Among Women

Posted by Admin on September 25th, 2009

In A New Global medical Achievement Reported by Reuters, a Scientific Team from King Saud University, led by Dr. Omar Al-Attas and Dr. Nasser Al Daghri from the Vital Indicators Research Center of the Department of Biological Chemistry, were able to find the relationship between obesity and diabetics type II, and the incidence of breast cancer among women in pre-menopause stage.

Ms. Megan Rusher – a journalist from Reuters Global News Agency- carried out news coverage on this issue because of its scientific and medical importance. The Reporter pointed out that this study is the first of its kind that studied the relationship between obesity and diabetics type II and pre-menopause stage and their impact on the breast cancer. She added in her report that there are several factors that increase the chances of breast cancer linked to imbalances in the levels of these indicators; the results of this study are of great importance to public health as it demonstrates an increase among the obese and diabetics patients around the world.

The Research Team from King Saud University, has conducted a study on 101 women with diabetes type II, with different weights depending on the mass of the body by measuring and monitoring the vital indicators of hormonal and proteinuria levels, which is called in scientific terms interleukin -6 TNF-alpha and Reactive Protein C and Leptin and TGF-alpha and Adipounctin in addition to insulin. Dr Omar Al Attass, the Head of the Team said that through this study, it has been proven scientifically and statistically that these indicators change by the continuous change of the diabetics without control of the diabetics, and also in overweight obesity or when there is excessive weight.

And as it is proven scientifically, these vital indicators change towards the increase in the concentration in women with normal health. This is linked with cancer and therefore, these indicators are dangerous signs of cancer.

Through these scientific facts, the Researchers in this study which was conducted at this Center in King Saud University, and through the women surveyed and through the laboratory and statistical examination, they discovered that there is positive diabetics and obesity of various types of weight, all have various levels and a high concentration of these indicators, which means that there is a risk of breast cancer in view of the relationship of the hormonal c proteinuria changes of these indicators and breast cancer.

Thus, the results of this scientific research recommend that diabetics and obesity treatment should continue and be controlled through a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise to control the growing imbalances in the concentration of vital indicators whether the hormonal or protein related to this study.

Given its importance and distinctive results of this study, it was published in the “Cardiovascular Diabetology journal” A journal known by its high scientific classification and global esteem where the study was read and seen by thousands of scholars and researchers around the world.

It should be noted that this global medical achievement comes in less than a month after the achievement made by another medical team from King Saud University, led by Dr. Adil Al-Muqrin and other scientists who discovered a new immune way to limit the proliferation of cancer cells in breast cancer, the rectum, and colon cases by targeting tumor antigens using molecular symmetry. These achievements were registered in the name of this country.

Welcome to the new website .

Posted by Admin on September 19th, 2009

Hello, I would like to welcome medical students at KSU and all medical students around the world to the new site of where you can download  medical lectures for most the courses provided by college of medicine at KSU . The new site will also try to track the most important events in the college .

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