Clinical Research

Natural killer cells (NK cells) are part of our innate immune system. As they first line of defense, researchers agree that the body needs as many active NK cells as possible.

But, as is often the case, there can be too much of a good thing and researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) have shown how.


A research project at Kansas State University has potential to treat human deafness and loss of balance.

More than 28 million people in the United States suffer some form of hearing loss and mutation of the SLC26A4 gene, normally found in the cochlea and vestibular organs of the inner ear as well as in the endolymphatic sac, a non-sensory part of the inner ear, is implicated as one of the most common forms of hereditary hearing loss in children worldwide.

When the mutant mice lack SLC26A4 expression, their inner ears swell during embryonic development. This leads to failure of the cochlea and the vestibular organs, resulting in deafness and loss of balance.


A new biomaterial that facilitates generating bone tissue - artificial bones, in their words - from umbilical cord stem cells has gotten a patent for researchers in Granada, Spain.

The material is an activated carbon cloth support for cells that differentiate, giving rise to a product that can promote bone growth. They received a patent though the method has not yet been applied using in vivo models but it could help manufacture medicines for the repair of bone or osteochondrial, tumour or traumatic lesions and to replace lost cartilage in limbs.

Now that they have obtained artificial bones in the laboratory, they are going to implant this biomaterial in experimental animal models to see if it can regenerate bone in them.


At some point it would be ideal for animal-to-human transplants of insulin-producing cells for people with type 1 diabetes, such as from pigs, but first there must be baby steps.

Or in this case, mouse steps.

Scientists have successfully transplanted islets, the cells that produce insulin, from a rat to a mouse. Using their new method of xenotransplantation, the islets survived without immunosuppressive drugs.


An international team that developed a new gene therapy approach to treatment of Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a fatal inherited form of immunodeficiency has reported results.

Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome is a disorder that weakens the body's immune system. It is caused by a mutation in a gene that encodes the protein WASP. The most often used therapy is a bone marrow or stem cell transplant from a matching donor, often a sibling or relative. It can be curative for some patients, mostly those who have a strongly matching donor.


Veloxis Pharmaceuticals announced that LCP-Tacro successfully demonstrated non-inferiority compared to tacrolimus (Prograf®; Astellas Pharma) in its Phase III clinical trial, Study 3002.

The Phase III randomized, double-blind and double-dummy study in 543 de novo kidney transplant recipients, with Prograf as the comparator, met its primary efficacy and primary safety endpoints.

The study was conducted under a Special Protocol Agreement with the FDA and the results are considered pivotal for the planned U.S. regulatory filing expected to occur in the second half of 2013.
Resverlogix Corp. has announced that its Phase 2b ASSURE clinical trial evaluating RVX-208 in high-risk cardiovascular patients with low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) did not meet its primary endpoint of a -0.6% change in percent atheroma volume as determined by intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). The RVX-208 treated group had -0.4% plaque regression (p= 0.08).

Long-term cigarette smoking impacts morbidity and mortality, no question about that, but there may be a good reason to stop smoking in the weeks before surgery even if you don't intend to quit overall. 

In a review article, researchers from the University of California San Francisco and Yale University examined neurosurgical literature to characterize the impact of active smoking on neurosurgical outcomes. They found strong evidence for the association between smoking and perioperative complications throughout the surgical literature. 


When a liver from a deceased adult or adolescent donor is split into two separate portions for transplantation, with the smaller portion going to a young child and the larger to an adult, the child will benefit as much if they had received a whole organ from a donor close to their size, according to a paper in Liver Transplantation.      


As men get older they are more likely to suffer from andropausal syndrome (AS), also known as 'menopause' and by other complicated terms 'androgen deficiency in the aging male' or' late-onset hypogonadism'.

Men with andropausal syndrome have decreased levels of anabolic hormones, including testosterone, and it has been suggested that these hormone deficiencies are what cause the clinical symptoms.