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Simulations Provided Early Alert To Deadly Potential Of Ebola

The Ebola epidemic could claim hundreds of thousands of lives and infect more than 1.4 million people by the end of January, according to a statistical forecast released this week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VTU_logoThe CDC forecast supports the drastically higher projections released earlier by a group of scientists, including epidemiologists with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, who modeled the Ebola spread as part of a National Institutes of Health-sponsored project called Midas, short for Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study.

Supersensitive Nanodevice Can Detect Extremely Early Cancers

Extremely early detection of cancers and other diseases is on the horizon with a supersensitive nanodevice being developed at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in collaboration with The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) in Greensboro, NC.

The device is ready for packaging into a lunchbox-size unit that ultimately may use a cellphone app to provide test results.

“We are submitting grant applications with our collaborator Dr. Jianjun Wei, an associate professor at the JSNN, to the National Institutes of Health to fund our future integration work,” says Dr. Yongbin Lin, a research scientist at UAH’s Nano and Micro Devices Center who has been working on the nanodevice at the core of the diagnostic unit for about five years. “In the future, we will do an integration of the system with everything inside a box. 

Chemists Recruit Anthrax To Deliver Cancer Drugs

Bacillus anthracis bacteria have very efficient machinery for injecting toxic proteins into cells, leading to the potentially deadly infection known as anthrax. A team of MIT researchers has now hijacked that delivery system for a different purpose: administering cancer drugs.

“Anthrax toxin is a professional at delivering large enzymes into cells,” says Bradley Pentelute, the Pfizer-Laubauch Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemistry at MIT. “We wondered if we could render anthrax toxin nontoxic, and use it as a platform to deliver antibody drugs into cells.”

In a paper appearing in the journal ChemBioChem, Pentelute and colleagues showed that they could use this disarmed version of the anthrax toxin to deliver two proteins known as antibody mimics, which can kill cancer cells by disrupting specific proteins inside the cells. This is the first demonstration of effective delivery of antibody mimics into cells, which could allow researchers to develop new drugs for cancer and many other diseases, says Pentelute, the senior author of the paper.

FAU Professor Beats All Odds Surviving Two Bouts Of Pancreatic Cancer

In what his physicians have called a “miraculous recovery,” Steven Lewis, PhD, a visiting professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, has beaten all odds surviving two bouts of pancreatic cancer. Lewis was first diagnosed with the disease in 2007, and again almost three years later when the cancer metastasized to his liver. He has persevered major surgeries, radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

With the highest mortality rate of all major cancers, pancreatic cancer patients have less than a 5% survival rate within five years of diagnosis, and 74% of patients die within the first year of diagnosis. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US with an estimated 46,420 Americans diagnosed each year. 

“I Am A Marathon Runner”

‘Cancer’ is a depleting word to anyone who is experiencing or has experienced those six-letters. It is a life-changing word that can often define a person for worse or better. To 12-year-old Juan Moreno, he chose the latter. This word has defined him as resilient, determined, accomplished and an amazing kid who is defying all odds.

Juanito, as most friends and family call him, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the age of six. ALL is a type of cancer that affects the blood, bone marrow and immune system.

“I took him into the local clinic, because he looked pale and his stomach was hurting,” said Gloria Moreno, Juanito’s mother. “It was there when I knew something was not right. My motherly instincts said I needed to take Juanito to a hospital. Not knowing where to take him, I jumped on the metro and gratefully found Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.”

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