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Stem Cell Models for Alzheimer’s Disease Enable Drug Discovery and Development

Feb 3, 2016 1:00:37 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in Drug Discovery, Stem Cells

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Scientists evaluate new treatments of Alzheimer’s disease on neurons derived from iPSCs from patients.

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, and has affected approximately 48 million people worldwide. Despite decades of research, we have yet to come up with a successful treatment. One major challenge in drug development for neurological diseases is access to a clinically relevant disease model. As stated in a recent WSJ article, results from animal testing often do not predict well what will happen in humans [1].  As a result, many promising drug candidates have been removed from further development because of safety concerns or lack of efficacy.

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Telomerase Inhibition Could Be a Promising Approach for Disorders of Platelets

Nov 4, 2015 1:00:45 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in Cancer, Drug Discovery, Platelets, Basic Research

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Recent findings of a phase II clinical trial of imetelstat, a telomerase inhibitor, demonstrate that it could be a promising treatment approach for patients with essential thrombocythemia, which raises platelets to dangerous levels.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of disorders caused by an overproduction of a particular blood cell type. For example, essential thrombocythemia (ET) causes an abnormal increase in the number of platelets produced in the blood and bone marrow. Although most patients have a normal life expectancy, ET may develop into acute myeloid leukemia. Currently available drugs help manage symptoms and offer protection from heart attack or strokes, but more treatment options are necessary for those patients who are not responsive or who experienced adverse side effects.

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Wasp Venom Peptide Targets Cancer Cell Membranes -- Selectively

Nov 2, 2015 1:00:04 PM / by Maria posted in Drug Discovery, natural products, Basic Research

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Research with an insect peptide challenges the popular belief that cancer cell membranes don't make good drug targets.

Cell membranes could use a little more respect. No one doubts that the inner machinery of cells is fascinating in its complexity, but membranes themselves are often viewed as rather boring containers that are pretty much the same no matter where you look. But membranes are actually highly complex structures consisting of hundreds of different lipids and proteins, often varying in composition among cell types. Still, even many cell biologists have perhaps not realized the implications this diversity could have for drug discovery.

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Could Aspirin Boost the Effectiveness of Cancer Immunotherapy?

Oct 28, 2015 1:00:56 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in Cancer, Drug Discovery, Basic Research, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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New research shows that giving aspirin to cancer patients along with immunotherapy could dramatically boost the effectiveness of the treatment.

Since its market release more than a century ago, aspirin has become one of the most widely used medications to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. Numerous studies have indicated that taking it daily reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. In addition, some studies have concluded that taking aspirin on a regular basis may lower cancer risk. Recently, new research has suggested that aspirin could potentially increase the power of cancer immunotherapy treatments. How are the two linked?

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Toward a Functional Cure for HIV, with Help from Drug Discovery Under the Sea

Sep 23, 2015 1:00:32 PM / by Maria posted in Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease, Basic Research

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Thanks to a marine sponge, a novel way of combating HIV latency may have been found.

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