Thursday, October 12, 2017
Findings may shed light on how genes repair DNA damage caused by UV radiation.
In the first study of its kind, an international team of genomics researchers has identified new regions of the human genome that are associated with skin color variation in some African populations, opening new avenues for research on skin diseases and cancer in all populations. These findings may help researchers determine if humans with certain DNA sequences are more or less susceptible to DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation (UVR) or respond to cellular stress differently. National Institutes of Health researchers contributed to this effort, led by Sarah Tishkoff, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The findings were published October 12, 2017, in the journal Science.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
NIH reports final data from large clinical trial in West Africa.
Results from a large randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Liberia show that two candidate Ebola vaccines pose no major safety concerns and can elicit immune responses by one month after initial vaccination that last for at least one year. The findings, published in the October 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a study of 1,500 adults that began during the West Africa Ebola outbreak. The trial is being conducted by a U.S.-Liberia clinical research collaboration known as the Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL), established in 2014 in response to the request from the Liberian Minister of Health to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and involves scientists and clinicians from Liberia and the United States.
Caption: A volunteer receives an injection in the PREVAIL Ebola vaccine clinical trial in Liberia. Credit: PREVAIL
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Hormones linked to onset of menopause not associated with chances of conception.
Tests that estimate ovarian reserve, or the number of a woman’s remaining eggs, before menopause, do not appear to predict short-term chances of conception, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study of women with no history of infertility. The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Women are born with a set number of eggs that gradually declines through the reproductive years,” said Esther Eisenberg, M.D., of the Fertility and Infertility Branch of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. “This study suggests that testing for biomarkers of ovarian reserve does not predict the chances for conception in older women still of reproductive age.”
Friday, October 6, 2017
An international team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health is the first to discover a new way that cells fix an important and dangerous type of DNA damage known as a DNA-protein crosslink (DPC). The researchers found that a protein named ZATT can eliminate DPCs with the help of another protein, TDP2. Since DPCs form when individuals receive some types of cancer treatments, understanding how TDP2 and ZATT work together to repair the damage may improve the health outcomes of cancer patients. The findings were published in the journal Science.
Caption: Illustration of a TOP2 DNA-protein cross-link (magenta) bound to DNA
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Results provide first evidence of the body’s waste system in the human brain.
By scanning the brains of healthy volunteers, researchers at the National Institutes of Health saw the first, long-sought evidence that our brains may drain some waste out through lymphatic vessels, the body’s sewer system. The results further suggest the vessels could act as a pipeline between the brain and the immune system.
“We literally watched people’s brains drain fluid into these vessels,” said Daniel S. Reich, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the senior author of the study published online in eLife. “We hope that our results provide new insights to a variety of neurological disorders.”
Caption: A brain drainage system - Brain scans of healthy volunteers showed that our brains may drain waste through lymphatic vessels, the body’s sewer system.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The dataset of scans is from more than 30,000 patients, including many with advanced lung disease.
The NIH Clinical Center recently released over 100,000 anonymized chest x-ray images and their corresponding data to the scientific community. The release will allow researchers across the country and around the world to freely access the datasets and increase their ability to teach computers how to detect and diagnose disease. Ultimately, this artificial intelligence mechanism can lead to clinicians making better diagnostic decisions for patients.
NIH compiled the dataset of scans from more than 30,000 patients, including many with advanced lung disease. Patients at the NIH Clinical Center, the nation’s largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research, are partners in research and voluntarily enroll to participate in clinical trials. With patient privacy being paramount, the dataset was rigorously screened to remove all personally identifiable information before release.
Ronald M. Summers, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator of the Clinical Image Processing Service in the Imaging Biomarkers and Computer-Aided Diagnosis Laboratory of the NIH Clinical Center Radiology and Imaging Sciences Department is available for interviews.
Caption: A chest x-ray identifies a lung mass.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
NIH and Sanofi scientists prepare to test antibody in people.
A three-pronged antibody made in the laboratory protected monkeys from infection with two strains of SHIV, a monkey form of HIV, better than individual natural antibodies from which the engineered antibody is derived, researchers report in Science today.
The three-pronged antibody, created by investigators from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi, also stopped a greater number of HIV strains from infecting cells in the laboratory more potently than natural, single antibodies. This new broadly neutralizing antibody binds to three different critical sites on HIV.
Plans are under way to conduct early-phase clinical trials of the “trispecific” antibody in healthy people and in people living with HIV in the hope that it could eventually be used for long-acting HIV prevention and treatment. By binding to three different sites on the virus, the new antibody should be harder for HIV to dodge than natural, single antibodies.
Caption: Diagram of the “three-in-one” HIV antibody. The blue, purple and green segments each bind to a different critical site on the virus.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Workers who were likely exposed to dispersants while cleaning up the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill experienced a range of health symptoms including cough and wheeze, and skin and eye irritation, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study appeared online Sept. 15 in Environmental Health Perspectives and is the first research to examine dispersant-related health symptoms in humans.
Oil dispersants are a blend of chemical compounds used to break down oil slicks into smaller drops of oil, making them easily degraded by natural processes or diluted by large volumes of water. The study estimated the likelihood of exposure to dispersants, based on the types of jobs the workers did and where. Individuals who handled dispersants, worked near where dispersants were being applied, or had contact with dispersant equipment reported the symptoms they experienced during oil spill cleanup as part of the Gulf Long-term Follow-up (GuLF) STUDY.
Dale Sandler, Ph.D., the lead GuLF STUDY researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, said the findings only apply to workers involved in the cleanup effort and not the general public.
Caption: In May 2010, cleanup workers in Venice, Louisiana, pressure washed oil booms to remove oil, debris, and dispersants.
Monday, September 11, 2017
Dr. James Ostell, NCBI Director
National Library of Medicine (NLM) Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, R.N., Ph.D., has appointed James M. Ostell, Ph.D., as the director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of NLM at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ostell has been with NCBI since it was established by Congress in 1988, and has helped shape it into one of the most widely used biomedical resources in the world.
NCBI supports and maintains a series of biomedical databases, including PubMed, GenBank, BLAST, Entrez, RefSeq, dbSNP, PubMed Central and dbGaP. It also provides researchers with access to analysis and computing tools to better understand genes and their role in health and disease.
“We are fortunate to have Dr. Ostell as director of NCBI,” said Dr. Brennan. “He brings a wealth of insight and experience, as well as vision, creativity, and a deep commitment to public service. He holds the respect of the entire NCBI workforce, and has shepherded NCBI into a model organization that embraces discovery and excellence in technical development. His appointment will ensure the continued preeminence of NCBI and maintain its outstanding record of achievement.”
Prior to his appointment as NCBI Director, Dr. Ostell served as chief of the NCBI Information Engineering Branch. In that role, he was responsible for designing, developing, building and deploying production resources at NCBI.
In 2007, Dr. Ostell was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine). In 2011, he was named an NIH Distinguished Investigator, an honor reserved for NIH's most distinguished senior investigators at the highest level of career accomplishment.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Two scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will receive the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for their significant research leading to the development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The award is the country’s most prestigious biomedical research prize, and will be presented to John T. Schiller, Ph.D., of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR), and Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., also in CCR and acting director of NCI. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Lowy’s and Dr. Schiller’s collaborative work to understand and prevent HPV infection has led to the approval of three preventive HPV vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Caption: John T. Schiller, Ph.D. (left), and Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute will receive the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.