Progress towards a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe inherited muscular dystrophy that causes progressive muscle degeneration which eventually leads to loss of the ability to use muscles and death, and every year tens thousands of children are born afflicted with the disease. It is caused by mutations in the DMD gene that encodes dystrophin, a protein … Continue reading Progress towards a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Restoring science to its rightful place

Yesterday President Barack Obama took a decision that the scientific community has been eagerly awaiting ever since he was sworn in last January, when he issued an executive order ending the severe restrictions that President George W. Bush imposed on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research eight years ago.  This was however not … Continue reading Restoring science to its rightful place

A passive defence against the flu?

Influenza is a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, and periodically causes global pandemics that kill many millions.  There are three major types, A, B and C that can infect humans, although the A is responsible for the most cases and deaths. Within influenza A virus there are two major groups, … Continue reading A passive defence against the flu?

A new era for embryonic stem cells

As the new president takes office and the scientific community eagerly awaits the announcement of the reversal of the ban on federal funding of most research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESC's), there's news that the FDA has approved the first ever trial of a treatment based on hESC's for severe spinal cord injury. This … Continue reading A new era for embryonic stem cells

Fighting the scourges of humanity

The past week has seen some interesting news on efforts to combat three diseases that blight the lives of millions in the world today. The most exciting news was that in two studies (1,2) published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine the malaria vaccine RTS,S passed a major milestone in its development … Continue reading Fighting the scourges of humanity

Fighting hospital superbugs

In recent years the "hospital superbug" Clostridium difficile has gained notoriety as a major cause of illness and death among patients, and poses a particular danger to the elderly.   C.diff is found naturally in the intestines of a minority of the human population and usually poses no threat, but when the bacterial population of … Continue reading Fighting hospital superbugs