Research report: Drug to battle flu in the works

When flu virus strikes, it causes injury by killing lung cells and also by triggering an immune response that – when excessive – can turn lethal. A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has shown that a drug that acts on a specific aspect of the immune system – rather than killing the virus itself – may lessen the severity of infection.

The drug impacts the cytokine response (small proteins or biological factors with specific effects on cell-cell interaction, communication, and cell behavior); the body’s signature immune reaction to flu infection. Problems arise when a “cytokine storm” occurs in which too many pathogen-fighting cells are called into action flooding and clogging the lung’s alveoli and preventing oxygen absorption.

In the study, a compound administered directly into the lungs of mice was shown to diminish cytokine release yet maintain an immune response sufficient to fight infection.

Oceans turning acid
Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD have joined marine scientists from 26 countries in calling for immediate action by policymakers to sharply reduce CO2 emissions so as to avoid widespread and severe damage to marine ecosystems from ocean acidification. Ocean acidification results from high levels of carbonic acid created when carbon dioxide gas dissolves in sea water.

Increased acidity hampers the ability of a wide variety of marine invertebrates to form calcium carbonate shells and skeletal structures at crucial points in their development.

Screening for breast cancer
One of the dilemmas in breast-conserving “lumpectomies” is whether or not all cancer is removed. To find out, pathologists examine excised tissue. But the process is slow, taking up to a week. If more cancer is detected in a sample’s outer margins then a second surgery is required.

Hoping to reduce costs and the emotional trauma of repeat surgery, researchers at UCSD and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center have developed a rapid, automated image screening processing in which computer software rapidly distinguishes cancer from normal cells from photos of tissue under a microscope.

In a study of normal breast tissue from 10 women and tumor samples from 24 women with cancer the computer-aided technique correctly identified invasive breast cancer cells in 83 percent of the tumor specimens, whereas a normal microscope-only exam identified 65 percent of the cancer specimens.

The new automated technique reduced analysis time to two hours, but is still too slow to be used in real time during breast surgery. It is hoped that with refinement the technique could produce results within minutes, while a patient is still in the operating room.

Related posts:

  1. Research Report: Team links protein to cartilage degeneration
  2. Research Report: Trial tests stem cell treatment for heart failure
  3. Research Report: Salk Institute receives grant for aging research
  4. Research Roundup: Vitamin D may help prevent skin infections
  5. Research Roundup: Basic research gets financial boost from major grants

Short URL:

Posted by marylajolla on Feb 19, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6





  • Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club to present second ‘Taste of Rancho Santa Fe’
    The Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club continues to live up to the motto, “Service Above Self,” and invites you to partner with the Rotary Club at the 2nd Annual Taste of Rancho Santa Fe on Oct. 12. Guests of the event, to be held from 4-7 p.m., will have an opportunity to stroll through the historic and iconic grounds of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe while sampling f […]
  • Melodrama to open at Village Church Community Theater in Rancho Santa Fe
    As part of the Rancho Days celebration in Rancho Santa Fe, “The Saga of Sagebrush Sal, A Comedy Western Melodrama” is set to open Oct. 5 at the Village Church Community Theater. In this old-fashioned comic melodrama, Sagebrush Sal decides to take over the busiest establishment in town, The Bloody Turnip Saloon, which is owned by Jake the Snake. The audience […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society acquires Covenant founder’s ledger
    The Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society has acquired the ledger of Barton Millard, which dates back to the 1920s, and will unveil it at Coffee On The Patio Saturday, Sept. 20, at 10:30 a.m. at La Flecha House. Millard was a founding member of the Rancho Santa Fe Association, co-wrote the initial CC&Bs, and served four terms as its president. Millard’s gra […]