New TB vaccine found safe in Phase I trial

Tuberculosis VaccineWashington, April 8: A leading new tuberculosis vaccine, called MVA85A, has been found to be safe in its Phase I trial.

Lead researcher Dr. Helen McShane, reader in vaccinology and Wellcome senior fellow at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute in England, studied the effects of the vaccine specifically in people who had latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), which can cause full-blown disease when re-activated.

For the study, the researchers recruited 12 individuals with LTBI, who did not have other complicating factors like HIV or hepatitis.

Retina works like a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of receptive fields

Retina works like a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of receptive fieldsWashington, April 7: Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that the retina works like a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle of jagged windows called receptive fields, through which about 1.25 million neurons view the world.

The researchers have revealed that these receptive fields fit together like pieces of a puzzle, preventing "blind spots" and excessive overlap that could blur our perception of the world.

New method to reveal pancreatic stem cells unveiled

New method to reveal pancreatic stem cells unveiledWashington, April 7: Mario Capecchi, Nobel Laureate for Medicine in 2007, has announced the invention of a technique to reveal the stem cells camouflaged in the pancreas.

The achievement made in collaboration with Eugenio Sangiorgi, a researcher from the Catholic University of Rome, is important because, to date, scientists don''t have a method to distinguish a priori between a stem cell and any other cell in the same tissue.

“We can only infer that a cell really is a stem cell by observing its behaviour," says Sangiorgi.

Frogs provide clues about alcohol’s effects during pregnancy

Alcohol During PregnancyWashington, Apr 6: Scientists have successfully used the African frog Xenopus as a tool to identify important clues about the effects of maternal consumption of alcohol in early pregnancy.

As the Xenopus embryos are large, easy to work with and very responsive to environmental cues, they make for ideal instruments to understand early vertebrate development.

Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) cause malformations in babies, including facial defects, short stature, and mental and behavioural abnormalities.

Study says marijuana chemical has anti-cancer properties

Study says marijuana chemical has anti-cancer properties According to a study released on Thursday, Spanish researchers from the Complutense University in Madrid, together with scientists of other universities, found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the main chemical in the infamous narcotic agent, marijuana - likely helps the annihilation of brain cancer cells.

The research, which proposes to bring to improve the prospects of anti-cancer therapies, said that THC causes cancer cells to go through a process called autophagy - the breakdown that takes place when the cells fundamentally self-digest.

Detection of cervical cancer - DNA test better than ‘pap smear’ method

Haryana farmers welcome farm loan waiver  A decade-long research conducted by the Tata Memorial Hospital, and backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has reached a noteworthy conclusion with regard to detection of cervical cancer.

According to the study, genetic testing for human papilloma virus or HPV - by collecting DNA cells from the cervix - was a better method for detecting cervical cancer in comparison to the widely popular method called 'pap smear,' in which cells are collected from the surface of the cervix.