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New strategies for treatment of infectious diseases
In the latest issue of the journal Science, Miguel Soares from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (Portugal) together with Ruslan Medzhitov from Yale University School of Medicine and David Schneider from Stanford University propose that a third strategy to fighting infection needs to be considered: tolerance to infection. The authors argue that identifying the mechanisms underlying this largely overlooked phenomenon may pave the way to new strategies to treat many human infectious diseases. (2012-02-23)

More grapes, less wrath: Hybrid antimicrobial protein protects grapevines from pathogen
Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California at Davis, and the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service have created specially engineered grapevines that produce a hybrid antimicrobial protein that can block Xf infection. Their research is published in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (2012-02-21)

Cell death unleashes full force of human antiviral system
A scientific team led by researchers at the University of Geneva and the Charité Berlin Medical University has made a completely unprecedented discovery showing how much our immune system is provoked into action when confronted by viral intruders. The possibility of exploiting this mechanism in vaccines holds promise for the development of new ways of preventing and treating infectious diseases and cancer. (2012-02-09)

Secrets of immune response illuminated in new study
In research appearing in this month's issue of the journal Nature Immunology, Roy Curtiss, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University investigates the coordination of a particular type of immune response, involving the release of of IFN-λ -- a cell-signaling protein molecule known as a cytokine. (2012-02-09)

Why bad immunity genes survive
Biologists have found new evidence of why mice, people and other vertebrate animals carry thousands of varieties of genes to make immune-system proteins named MHCs -- even though some of those genes make vertebrate animals susceptible to infections and to autoimmune diseases. (2012-02-08)

UBC researchers discover key to immune cell's 'internal guidance' system
UBC researchers have discovered the molecular pathway that enables receptors inside immune cells to find, and flag, fragments of pathogens trying to invade a host. The discovery of the role played by the molecule CD74 could help immunologists investigate treatments that offer better immune responses against cancers, viruses and bacteria, and lead to more efficient vaccines. (2012-02-05)

Bacterial plasmids -- the freeloading and the heavy-lifters -- balance the high price of disease
Studying self-replicating genetic units, called plasmids, found in one of the world's widest-ranging pathogenic soil bacteria -- the crown-gall-disease-causing microorganism Agrobacterium tumefaciens -- Indiana University biologists are showing how freeloading, mutant derivatives of these plasmids benefit while the virulent, disease-causing plasmids do the heavy-lifting of initiating infection in plant hosts. (2012-02-01)

New probiotic bacteria shows promise for use in shellfish aquaculture
The use of probiotic bacteria, isolated from naturally occurring bacterial communities, is gaining in popularity in the aquaculture industry as the preferred, environmentally friendly management alternative to the use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials for disease prevention. Known to the public for their use in yogurt and other foods to improve human digestion and health, probiotic bacteria isolated from other sources can also be used to improve survival, nutrition and disease prevention in larvae grown in shellfish hatcheries. (2012-01-30)

Stealthy leprosy pathogen evades critical vitamin D-dependent immune response
UCLA researchers discovered that the leprosy pathogen Mycobacterium leprae was able to evade immune activity that is dependent on vitamin D, a natural hormone that plays an essential role in the body's fight against infections. A better understanding of how these pathogens can escape the immune system may be helpful in designing more effective therapies. (2012-01-29)

Vaccines to boost immunity where it counts, not just near shot site
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have created synthetic nanoparticles that target lymph nodes and greatly boost vaccine responses, said lead author Ashley St. John, Ph.D. (2012-01-22)

New way to learn about -- and potentially block -- traits in harmful pathogens
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have developed a new way to identify the genes of harmful microbes, particularly those that have been difficult to study in the laboratory. (2012-01-09)

Study confirms new strategy in fight against infectious diseases
New research shows that infectious disease-fighting drugs could be designed to block a pathogen's entry into cells rather than to kill the bug itself. Historically, medications for infectious diseases have been designed to kill the offending pathogen. This new strategy is important, researchers say, because many parasites and bacteria can eventually mutate their way around drugs that target them, resulting in drug resistance. (2012-01-09)

Double trouble: Concomitant immune challenges result in CNS disease
A research team led by Glenn Rall at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA developed a novel mouse model to show that a fatal central nervous system disease can be caused by a pathogen that does not replicate in the CNS. The results of this new study are published Dec. 22 in the Open Access journal PLoS Pathogens. (2011-12-22)

Thermotherapy rids azaleas of deadly fungal disease
Cuttings of 12 azalea cultivars were submerged in 50 C water before propagation, then submerged in a subsequent experiment for 20, 40, 60, and 80 minutes. A third experiment evaluated leaf damage caused by hot water submersion or by leaf removal for the effect on root development and leaf count on rooted cuttings of two cultivars. All cultivars were tolerant of submersion long enough to eliminate binucleate Rhizoctonia species from stem and leaf tissue. (2011-12-13)

MU researchers identify key plant immune response in fight against bacteria
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found a key process in a plant's immune system response that may help future crops fight off dangerous diseases. (2011-12-08)

Researchers describe how critical protein activates plant immune system
Two papers published in the Dec. 9 issue of Science demonstrate how the protein EDS1 activates different components of the plant immune system. (2011-12-08)

Closing in on an ulcer- and cancer-causing bacterium
A research team led by scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is releasing study results this week showing how a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, that causes more than half of peptic ulcers worldwide and that has been implicated in stomach cancer has managed for eons to turn the acidic environment of the human gut into one in which it can thrive. (2011-12-07)

Researchers reveal SBP8a configurations
A new study has shown previously unseen details of an anthrax bacteriophage -- a virus that infects anthrax bacteria -- revealing for the first time how it infects its host, and providing an initial blueprint for how the phage might someday be modified into a tool for the detection and destruction of anthrax and other potential bioterror agents. (2011-12-06)

MRSA: From a nosocomial pathogen to an omnipresent source of infection
In German hospitals, each year 132,000 patients contract infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). For more than a decade, different countries have reported an increasing incidence of MRSA infections in the general population ( (2011-11-29)

New compound defeats drug-resistant bacteria
Chemists at Brown University have synthesized a new compound that makes drug-resistant bacteria susceptible again to antibiotics. The compound -- BU-005 -- blocks pumps that a bacterium employs to expel an antibacterial agent called chloramphenicol. The team used a new and highly efficient method for the synthesis of BU-005 and other C-capped dipetptides. Results appear in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. (2011-11-28)

Indevr launches breakthrough colorimetric detection for microarrays using core technology from CU
InDevR, a Boulder-based biotechnology company that develops advanced life science instrumentation and assays for analysis of viruses and other microorganisms, announced today the launch revolutionary new technology for microbiological analysis. ampliPHOX, a colorimetric detection system that incorporates core technology licensed from the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office, will enhance laboratories around the world by offering a cost effective and easy to use alternative to fluorescence detection. (2011-11-17)

Bacteria responsible for common infections may protect themselves by stealing immune molecules
Bacteria responsible for middle ear infections, pink eye and sinusitis protect themselves from further immune attack by transporting molecules meant to destroy them away from their inner membrane target, according to a study from Nationwide Children's Hospital. The study, published in the November issue of PLoS Pathogens, is the first to describe a transporter system that bacteria use to ensure their survival. (2011-11-17)

How parasites modify plants to attract insects
Pathogens can alter their hosts, for example malaria parasites can make humans more attractive to mosquitoes, but how they do it has remained a mystery. Scientists from the John Innes Centre on Norwich Research Park have identified for the first time a specific molecule from a parasite that manipulates plant development to the advantage of the insect host. (2011-11-07)

Michigan State University professor's invention analyzes plant diseases without leaving the field
Farmers and field scientists can now instantly identify diseases attacking crops and plants, thanks to a Michigan State University professor's new invention. Syed Hashsham, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has developed the Gene-Z device, which performs genetic analysis using a low-cost handheld device and is operated using smartphone technology. (2011-11-07)

Research team unravels tomato pathogen's tricks of the trade
Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato is the causative agent of bacterial speck disease of tomato, a disease that occurs worldwide and causes severe reduction in fruit yield and quality. The genome of several Pseudomonas syrinage pv. tomato isolates have been sequenced in order to track the bacterial pathogen's ability to overcome plant defenses and to develop methods to prevent further spread. (2011-11-03)

Acinetobacter baumannii found growing in nearly half of infected patient rooms
Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii was found in the environment of 48 percent of the rooms of patients colonized or infected with the pathogen, according to a new study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC -- the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. (2011-11-01)

Enzymes act like a switch, turning antibiotic resistance on and off in enterococci
Antibiotic-resistant enterococci are a serious problem for patients in the hospital, but little is known about how these bacteria are able to escape antibiotics. New discoveries about the ways in which enterococci turn their resistance to cephalosporin antibiotics on and off are described in a study that will be published Nov. 1 in the online journal mBio®. (2011-10-31)

An antibiotic effect minus resistance
Ching-Hong Yang, a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has developed a compound that shuts off the (2011-10-28)

Researchers reconstruct genome of the Black Death
An international team -- led by researchers at McMaster University and the University of Tubingen in Germany -- has sequenced the entire genome of the Black Death, one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. (2011-10-12)

Study could help improve gene therapy for heart disease, cancer
A Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study could lead to improved gene therapies for conditions such as heart disease and cancer as well as more effective vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases. (2011-10-12)

Scientists first to characterize barley plant-stem rust spore 'communication'
Washington State University scientists have established that a barley plant recognizes an invader and begins to marshal its defenses within five minutes of an attack. The discovery, along with the scientists' successful cloning of disease-fighting genes and the pathogen signal recognized by the plant, could help to revolutionize the battle against cereal crop enemies, such as stem rust. (2011-10-12)

Can antivirulence drugs stop infections without causing resistance?
Antivirulence drugs disarm pathogens rather than kill them, and although they could be effective in theory, antivirulence drugs have never been tested in humans. A new study to be published in the online journal mBio on Tuesday, Oct. 18 reveals these drugs have the potential to fight infection while avoiding the pitfalls of drug resistance. (2011-10-10)

LLNL/Loyola University win NIH grant to develop new anthrax vaccine
Nanolipoprotein technology is a potential breakthrough in vaccine development. Today, many vaccines are based on a single protein derived from a specific pathogen. The idea is that the body (2011-10-10)

Chlamydia utilizes Trojan horse tactics to infect cells
A novel mechanism has been identified in which Chlamydia trachomatis tricks host cells into taking up the bacteria. Researchers from University of California San Francisco, led by Joanne Engel, report their findings in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens on Oct. 6. (2011-10-06)

New insight into plant immune defenses
Researchers have identified an important cog in the molecular machinery of plant immunity -- a discovery that could help crop breeders produce disease-resistant varieties to help ensure future food security. There may also be implications for treating human immune-related disorders. (2011-10-02)

MVA-B Spanish HIV vaccine shows 90 percent immune response in humans
Phase I clinical trials developed by Spanish Superior Scientific Research Council (CSIC) together with Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid and Clínic Hospital in Barcelona, reveals MVA-B preventive vaccine's immune efficiency against Human's immunodeficiency virus (HIV). (2011-09-28)

New research effort into causes of chronic fatigue syndrome
Researchers of the Chronic Fatigue Initiative -- a new privately funded directive focused on chronic fatigue -- will investigate the role of pathogens in causing chronic fatigue syndrome. The scientists will examine samples from 200 patients and controls using state-of-the-art molecular techniques. (2011-09-27)

The American Society for Microbiology honors Jörn Coers
Jörn Coers, Ph.D., Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, is honored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) to receive a 2011 ICAAC Young Investigator Award for his work studying the molecular and genetic determinants that enable mammalian host cells to mount immune responses against intracellular pathogens. Sponsored by Merck, US Human Health Division, this award recognizes an early career scientist for research excellence in microbiology and infectious disease. (2011-09-13)

Legume ipmPIPE: A new option for generating, summarizing and disseminating real-time pest data
A new, open-access article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management describes the background, usage, and value of the Legume Integrated Pest Management Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (ipmPIPE). The goal of the Legume ipmPIPE is to identify causes of losses (yield, quality, economic) in legumes and assist producers in minimizing those losses by implementing integrated pest management of pathogens and insect pests. (2011-09-08)

Tree-killing pathogen traced back to California
California has emerged as the top suspect as the source of a pathogen responsible for a global pandemic of cypress canker disease. The genetic detective work by researchers at UC Berkeley and in Italy spotlights the hazards of planting trees and other vegetation in regions where they are not native. (2011-09-01)

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