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Japanese drug kills flu within 24 hours

Tokyo, Japan — An experimental new compound by Japanese pharmaceutical firm Shionogi was shown in tests to kill the flu virus within 24 hours of administration. 


The prototype drug is being fast-tracked by Japan’s drug regulator for use as early as this March.  Shionogi also said they will apply for U.S. approval this summer.


“The data that we’ve seen looks very promising,” said Martin Howell Friede, who leads the World Health Organization (WHO)’s advisory on vaccines, including for influenza.  “This could be a breakthrough in the way that we treat influenza.”



Test modified for fast, accurate Parkinson’s detection

Washington, D.C. — Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) took a brain test under development and modified it to quickly and accurately detect Parkinson’s disease, too.


The test, called the Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC), was originally designed to detect rare prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob, which slowly destroy the brain. 


With a modification, though, RT-QuIC was shown in tests to accurately diagnose Parkinson’s.  Standard Parkinson’s tests currently take up to 13 days for results; the new test takes less than two.



“Broken Heart Syndrome” real: researcher

Seattle, WA — University of Washington (UW) and UW Medicine cardiologist Dr. Zachary Goldberger says there really is such a thing as a broken heart—certainly no news to poets or to the wise ancients, but news to modern medicine.


According to Dr. Goldberger, the intense emotional pain known forever as “a broken heart” causes symptoms similar to heart attacks, including chest pain and loss of breath.  The difference is that “broken heart syndrome” is caused by emotional or physical stress, not heart disease.


Dr. Goldberger says the typical “Broken Heart Syndrome” patients are women ages 60-70 undergoing loss of a loved one or economic hardship.



Deep brain stimulation to be tested for addiction

Kansas City, KS — Deep brain stimulation (DBS) technology has been around for a while.  The treatment involves implanting electrodes deep in the brain to regulate activity of targeted neurons.  It’s used nowadays primarily to treat tremors related to Parkinson’s disease.


But in an addiction-treatment first, DBS will tested in an upcoming clinical trial at Rushmore Diagnostics to see if it helps people opioid addiction overcome their problem.  Results will be released in September 2018.



Cancer “switch” targeting shows early potential

San Diego, CA — New cancer research by California-based Wellspring Biosciences has found a way to stop a key cancer “on/off switch” from turning on in mice. 


The research, published recently in the journal Cell, revolves around the RAS family of genes. 


In cancers driven by RAS mutations, a certain protein “switch” that normally tells cells to grow or not stays “turned on”—empowering cancer cells to keep growing.  Scientists have been trying for years to figure out how to “turn off” mutated RAS proteins.  The federal National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s RAS Initiative has been working on this problem since 2013.


Researchers showed that, in live mice carrying human cancer cells with the mutated RAS proteins, their new compound blocked the proteins from getting stuck in the “on” position.


Of the over 1.7 million Americans expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2018, nearly one-third will have tumors with at least one RAS mutation.  Ninety-five percent of pancreatic cancers and 45 percent of colon cancers involve a RAS mutation—making this new research significant.



Mouse-effective new antibiotics found in soil

New York, NY — To solve modern health’s biggest problems, you sometimes have to just get back to roots.  Or at least back down to dirt.


That’s exactly what New York City’s very own Rockefeller University recently did—isolating a new class of antibiotics called malacidins out of over 1,000 U.S. national soil samples.


In lab tests, the malacidins proved capable of killing disease-causing bacteria in mice, including the dangerous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infections.