Oct 7, 2010


ew NIAID Program with Universal Utility


by Jason Bardi
Signaling Network [for chemosensing] generated by mathematical modeling software that carries out spatially resolved simulations of the behavior of a given network when it is stimulated or perturbed. [See additional figures below.]

About  five years ago, NIAID scientist Ronald Germain wrote an article for Science magazine with an unlikely title—"The Art of the Probable."(1) He argued in favor of a new, broader way of looking at the immune system—more through the eyes of an engineer or a mathematician than those of a biologist.
 five years ago, NIAID scientist Ronald Germain wrote an article for Science magazine with an unlikely title—"The Art of the Probable."(1) He argued in favor of a new, broader way of looking at the immune system—more through the eyes of an engineer or a mathematician than those of a biologist.
Advocating such an approach was perhaps unusual for a classically trained immunologist like Germain, who is deputy chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunology and chief of the Lymphocyte Biology Section.
But perhaps it was his not being a physical scientist that allowed Germain to appreciate what mathematics might bring to his field—especially then, he recalls. In 2001, the draft of the complete human genome had just been published, and biology was awash with genomic and related data. The field of immunology was going through a golden era of discovery, and many of the molecular and cellular players of the immune system were known. But the connections between the parts that had been catalogued—and deep insights into how this machinery produced immune phenomena—remained elusive. Germain observes today, "We are still far from really understanding the operation of the immune system, by which I mean being able to predict and finely manipulate its behavior."
A broader understanding of immune physiology, he says, might come from embracing a more comprehensive and quantitative approach—an approach broadly encompassed by the otherwise overused term "systems biology." This is a way of studying biology that involves obtaining detailed information on enough components of a system (or even the entire system for simple organisms) to allow quantitative modeling of complex in vivo molecular and cellular events, such as pathogen-induced disease or immune system responses in mice or humans.
To that end, Germain will be leading a new intramural program that will combine systems level analysis with mathematical modeling to better understand host defenses and immune pathology—the Program in Systems Immunology and Infectious Disease Modeling (PSIIM).
Systems Biology Basics
Systems biology is a way of asking how large systems of molecules, cells, and tissues interact with each other. In the past few years, numerous studies have revealed the presence, actions, and interactions of many of the genes, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other molecules in healthy and diseased tissues.
Leer más http://www.nih.gov/catalyst/2006/06.09.01/page1.html

México a la vanguardia en el Síndrome de Post Polio

Oct 4, 2010

Osteoarthritis Pain Relief/Patrones Genéticos Predicen

(Ivanhoe Newswire) --

 The most common type of osteoarthritis pain, knee pain, may become less severe, or even eliminated all together with a new type of drug for musculoskeletal pain, a new trial suggests.
The drug, tanezumab, has been placed on hold however, because 16 out of thousands of patients began to experience more severe arthritis after taking the medication. "The bottom line is this is a very effective drug for relieving pain; unfortunately, it appears some people go on to have their osteoarthritis progress more quickly," Thomas Schnitzer, M.D., a rheumatologist and professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern Medicine, was quoted as saying.
Tanezumab is the first drug that has been discovered to treat this type of pain in over 100 years. "It's very exciting to have a new approach to manage pain for osteoarthritis,
" Dr. Schnitzer said.
"The effects of tanezumab were remarkable," Nancy Lane, M.D., professor of internal medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine, added. "People on the drug went from having very limited activity to practically being on the dance floor. No medication available today has such dramatic results."
The explanation for those 16 patients who are suffering bad side effects? Dr. Schnitzer and Dr. Lane suggest the worsening of their conditions may be because tanezumab increased the patient's activity. As a result, more stress on their diseased joints was the result.
Tanezumab blocks Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is a molecule needed for the normal development of the human nervous system. NGF is responsible for triggering pain.

"The FDA may decide it's too dangerous overall or, rather, that there may be a specific patient population in which it should not be used or who need to be warned about possible serious side effects," Dr. Schnitzer concluded.
SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, September 26, 2010.
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Patrones Genéticos Predice Progresión de la Osteoartritís

Investigadores de la Universidad de North Carolina en Chapel Hill y la empresa Interleukin Genetics han identificado patrones genéticos que predicen la progresión de la osteoartritis. Los resultados del estudio, que se ha hecho público en el Congreso Mundial de Osteoartritis en Bruselas (Bélgica), podrían abrir la vía a nuevos fármacos para el trastorno.
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El estudio, que evaluaba los factores genéticos en el empeoramiento de la osteoartritis, muestra que los pacientes con osteoartritis de rodilla que heredaron un patrón específico de variaciones genéticas en el gen IL-1Ra eran casi dos veces más propensos a la progresión a la forma grave de la enfermedad en comparación con el resto de pacientes. El estudio siguió a 1.154 pacientes durante 11 años.
Según explica Joanne Jordan, responsable del estudio, "la fuerte asociación mostrada en el estudio entre la osteoartritis progresivo y las variaciones genéticas en IL-1Ra, así como las investigaciones previas publicadas, podrían sugerir que esta información genética podría evaluarse como una herramienta para identificar pacientes de alto riesgo para su participación en ensayos clínicos para el desarrollo de un fármaco muy necesario".
En el estudio participaron 1.154 individuos del Proyecto de Osteoartritis del Condado de Johnston que fueron controlados por un periodo de entre 4 y 11 años para estudiar el inicio o progresión de la osteoartritis. Los sujetos que comenzaron el estudio fueron analizados en busca de marcadores genéticos que predecían aquellos individuos que permanecían estables y los que progresaron a la forma grave de la enfermedad.
La interleuquina-1 (IL-1) es uno de los componentes clave implicados en la destrucción de cartílagos y hueso y sobre patrones genéticos específicos en los inhibidores que se producen de forma natural y que predicen IL-1 y la progresión de la osteoartritis. El estudio demostraba que existían tres patrones genéticos específicos en la población de osteoartritis que predicen de forma destacable los diferentes riesgos de la progresión de la osteoartritis una vez que se ha diagnosticadohttp://medicinewsinfo.blogspot.com/2010/09/patrones-geneticos-predicen-la.html

México a la vanguardia en el Síndrome de Post Polio

Oct 3, 2010

Jeweler Steve Hall is a survivor of childhood polio

Jeweler Steve Hall is a survivor of childhood polio.
Jeweler Steve Hall is a survivor of childhood polio.
The demarcation between polio sufferer and polio survivor for Steve Hall was as simple as a line drawn by his mother with a wet bar of soap.
Hall spent the first 2½ years of his life in Hendrick Medical Center after contracting two types of polio at birth, plus pneumonia.
He remembers well the day that he finally came home. Months later, with bulky braces covering his legs, his mother, Helen Hall, kick-started his recovery into high gear.
“She took those leather and steel things with the high-top brown shoes off, and she said, ‘This is the last time you’re going to wear these,’” said Hall, 57. “She drew lines on the floor with a wet bar of soap and taught me to walk. I still remember my first steps.”
Shortly after he began walking the soapy tightrope to recovery, he was able to walk unassisted.
Hall shared his story Friday with the Rotary Club of Abilene to help raise awareness for the World Polio Day Dinner set Tuesday at Abilene Christian University’s Hunter Welcome Center. The dinner is part of Rotary International’s drive to eradicate polio worldwide by raising $200 million to match $355 million in challenge grants received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As of Aug. 31, Rotarians have raised about $145 million toward that cause.
Polio has largely been eliminated in all but four countries — Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan — but total eradication is the goal that Hall endorses.
These days, just getting Hall to sit still is a challenge.
Hall has worked in the jewelry business in Abilene for 32 years, including the past 17 years as owner of Steve Hall Jewelers on Cypress Street. He spends hours in his studio, especially during the holiday season. He even helped start the Potosi Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as fire chief for 11 years.
It’s a work ethic that has been with him since his youth when he spent time loading hay and sweating through other chores with his four brothers.
“He’s determined,” said Rebecca Hall, Steve’s wife of 37 years. “I can tell that, sometimes, it does affect him and makes him seem tired or weaker but only in a physical sense. Emotionally and in everything else, he’s such a strong fighter.”
Water therapy was another vital part of Hall’s recovery, although it wasn’t easy to do since all public swimming pools in Abilene had closed. “They thought (swimming in public pools) might be one of the main causes of spreading polio,” Hall said. “If you asked my grandmother, though, she would have told you a different story: My grandmother thought it was bananas. But that’s not the reason I don’t like them.”
Hall later became one of the first patients at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center. The assistance he received there made him want to become a physical therapist. He was an athletic trainer at Wylie High School and went to the then-Cisco Junior College to study sports medicine.
That’s when he felt the pull toward making jewelry. He always had enjoyed carving wood but realized that by carving wax into molds, he could create beautiful pieces of jewelry. After a few years at the local Timex Watch factory, he worked in jewelry repair and gold design before opening Steve Hall Jewelers in 1993.
“My parents were told that I probably wouldn’t get out of a wheelchair or I would be using crutches or braces my entire life,” Hall said. “I was fortunate. ... And I want to return the favor to all of those people — the doctors, the nurses, the physical therapists — that helped me get to where I am today.”
Hall then recounted a story his mother told him 10 years ago about a dream she’d had. She dreamed that she had died, and she found herself in a large white room with a single chair in the middle of it. Hanging on the arm of the chair was a hand-woven basket containing highly polished stones of all sizes and types. She took the basket in her hand and sat down. A figure appeared in the doorway and called her name.
“She said, ‘I stood up and got the basket and put it under my arm and started toward the figure,’” Hall said. “The figure said, ‘What do you have there?’ She said, ‘Well, these are my accomplishments. These are my good deeds. These are the things that I’m proudest of in my life.’ He said to her, ‘Those you leave behind.’”
Helen Hall died in 2009, but the dream still resonates with her son.
“I just feel like, at this time in my life, I need to add more stones to my basket,” Steve Hall said.

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