Research: Remembering the Brain
A nerve cell protective substance called PTC3 has been identified by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
The substance slows nerve cell death in the rat hippocampus and results in aging rats' retaining memory of a maze better than placebo treated rats. The research migh hold prospects for treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease (Pieper, AA et al, CELL 2010, 142:39-51). P7C3, a substance tested with a group of more than 1,000 substances was the most effective in protecting against brain cell death.
Of course, such research is still years away from application - but it raises hopes for progress.
Decreasing the Craving?
Cocaine addiction may involve a substance that regulates gene expression. This substance is called micro RNA212 (miR-212); when levels are low, more addictive behavior results, when elevated, it protected rats against addiction to cocaine. A new direction in research of addiction therapies is opened by the finding of this substance. (Nature 2010, 466197-202, Hollandis, JA)
New Understanding of How the HIV is Transported Into Cells
Researchers have isolated two substances that play a role in the capture and transfer of HIV viruses into T cells. This processed, called "transinformation" allows HIV particles into cells, where they do their work.
Drugs that activate these two substances inhibit "transinformation" and may be found to limit HIV infection and transmission. The research opens windows for further research for medications to be used in the treatment of HIF infection.
It is from such understandings that the mechanisms of diseases and their treatment becomes possible.
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