Immunology

Cases of the highly contagious drug-resistant bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae  (CRE), have increased fivefold in community hospitals in the Southeastern United States, according to a new study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.


Cachexia is a profound wasting of fat and muscle occurring in about half of all cancer patients, raising their risk of death.

Many strategies have been tried to reverse the condition, which may cause such frailty that patients can't endure potentially life-saving treatments, but none have had great success.

Researchers recently demonstrated that, in mice bearing lung tumors, their symptoms of cachexia improved or were prevented when given an antibody that blocked the effects of a protein, PTHrP, secreted by the tumor cells. PTHrP stands for parathyroid hormone-related protein, and is known to be released from many types of cancer cells.


If you grew up on a farm, you may have gotten sick lots of times due to exposure to any number of microorgansms. You might not remember getting sick more then, but a new study finds you are less likely to have chronic maladies as an adult.

New research conducted at Aarhus University finds that people who have grown up on a farm with livestock are only half as likely as urban counterparts to develop the most common inflammatory bowel diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.   


Re-introducing a type of polio vaccine, the injected polio vaccine (IPV), that fell out of favor in the 1960s could hasten eradication of the disease, according to new research.

The injected polio vaccine is rarely used today, it lost in competition against the oral polio vaccine (OPV), but it could provide better and longer lasting protection against infection if used in combination with the more commonly used live OPV, write researchers from Imperial College London and the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, today in The Lancet.


The child known as the "Mississippi baby", an infant cured of HIV in a case study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall, now has detectable levels of HIV after more than two years without taking antiretroviral therapy and without evidence of virus, according to the pediatric HIV specialist and researchers involved in the case.  


Researchers have discovered the link between antibiotics and bacterial biofilm formation leading to chronic lung, sinus and ear infections. Bacterial biofilms can actually thrive, rather than decrease, when given low doses of antibiotics.

 Biofilms are highly structured communities of microorganisms that attach to one another and to surfaces. The microorganisms group together and form a slimy, polysaccharide cover. This layer is highly protective for the organisms within it, and when new bacteria are produced they stay within the slimy layer. With the introduction of antibiotic-produced glycogen, the biofilms have an almost endless food source that can be used once antibiotic exposure has ended.


Molecular microbiologists have discovered that mice lacking a specific component of the immune system are completely resistant to sepsis, a potentially fatal complication of infection.

The immune system is the body's first line of defense against infection. The system, however, can also injure the body if it is not turned off after the infection is destroyed, or if it is turned on when there is no infection at all. Scientists do not yet fully understand how the immune response is turned on and off and continue to study it in hopes of harnessing its power to cure disease.

In this study, scientists have found that a component of the system, HOIL-1L, is necessary for formation of the NLRP3-ASC inflammasome signaling complex.


Ask an older person what it is like to be under the constant threat of infectious disease. They love vaccines and they love antibiotics because everyone once knew someone who was crippled or died due to an inability to prevent or cure serious illnesses.

But it won't be wealthy progressive elites who send us back to a "Dark Ages of medicine" with their anti-vaccine fad, warned UK Prime Minister David Cameron last week, it is more likely be the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics.

Since 1945, when penicillin became a widespread treatment, humanity has had a relatively easy time of things. But in the modern biological arms race, microbes are developing resistance to existing antibiotics faster than our regulatory system can approve new ones.

Some viruses can hide in our bodies for decades. How do they escape notice and destruction? They have 'fake' human proteins that trick our immune cells into thinking they belong. 


The H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as 'swine flu', has remained a hot topic in science and culture. The science and medical community, including former FDA deputy commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, criticized the Obama admiinistration for not allowing multi-dose vials of vaccines because they contained thimerosal, which had been one of the reasons during the 2008 campaign season that Senator Obama hinted he believed vaccines caused autism. The anti-immigration contingent blamed international air travel.