Posts Tagged ‘Northwestern University’
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered new ways of utilizing the properties of naturally occurring polyphenols found in green tea, red wine and dark chocolate. Dissolving polyphenol powders in water with a small amount of salt instantly produces transparent coatings that kill bacteria on contact, have antioxidant qualities and are non-toxic. The sticky nature of polyphenols and the low cost of materials could open the door to a wide range of uses for these coatings.
Apparently the coatings can stick to virtually any surface, even Teflon, and are only 20 to 100 nanometers thick, potentially making them ideal for use in a whole range products…
Polyphenols are naturally occurring molecules found in many plants that also give some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. They are antioxidants that can reverse problems caused by oxidative stress to artery walls and their anti-inflammatory properties are said to help relieve chronic pain in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Furthering their research, Professor Phillip Messersmith and his team experimented with dipping various objects into saline solutions of tannic acid or pyrogallol, with similar results but at a much lower cost and with even faster results. They went on to test “medically relevant polymers, engineering polymers, metals, inorganic substrates and ceramics,” with the same success. They were also able to modify the coatings enabling additional functions without affecting the original properties. In one experiment they succeeded in adding an anti-fouling element to the coating which would make it ideal for applying to pacemakers to prevent the buildup of cells on its surface.
“The coatings innately have properties that are very beneficial to saving lives and keeping people healthy,” says Tadas S. Sileika, a graduate student in Messersmith’s lab and first author of the paper detailing the research. “Without any further modification, they can help prolong the life of a medical device, reduce inflammation in a patient and prevent bacterial infections.”
Bravo! That last step from anecdotal success at treating ailments and disease with natural compounds has always been difficult. Not the least of which is that tales of success often are magnified in memory and retelling.
Another new area of research truly worth following.
A researcher from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has invented a novel way to halt and even reverse rheumatoid arthritis. He developed an imitation of a suicide molecule that floats undetected into overactive immune cells responsible for the disease.
Whimsically referred to as Casper the Ghost, the stealthy molecule causes the immune cells to self-destruct.
The approach, tested on mice, doesn’t carry the health risks of current treatments.
“This new therapy stopped the disease cold in 75 percent of the mice,” reported Harris Perlman, the lead author and an associate professor of medicine at Feinberg. “The best part was we didn’t see any toxicity. This has a lot of potential for creating an entirely new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis…”
Perlman discovered that immune cells in rheumatoid arthritis are low in a critical molecule called Bim, whose job is to order the cells to self-destruct. To correct that shortage, Perlman developed an imitation of the molecule, called BH3 mimetic. When Harris injected his drug into mice with rheumatoid arthritis, it floated ghostlike into their macrophages and bam!, the misbehaving immune cells self destructed.
In his research, Harris showed the molecule could prevent the development of rheumatoid arthritis as well as trigger a remission of existing disease. After the drug was injected in animals with the disease, joint swelling was reduced and bone destruction decreased…
Perlman said the next step is to develop nanotechnology for a more precise method of delivering the drug. His research was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
A significant breakthrough for very many people. There are countries where rheumatoid arthritis is one of the ranking incapacitating ailments.
Never miss a tee time, though
School has barely begun, but many U.S. hospitals have already received their report card in colon cancer. They flunked.
A new study finds the majority of hospitals don’t check enough lymph nodes after a patient’s colon cancer surgery to determine if the disease has spread.
Checking more lymph nodes is linked to improved survival of colon cancer because it allows doctors to accurately diagnose the stage of disease and prescribe the most effective treatment…
“It’s disappointing that despite so much emphasis on this particular issue, so many hospitals still aren’t checking enough lymph nodes to ensure they diagnose the accurate stage of cancer,” said Karl Bilimoria, M.D., lead author and a surgery resident at the Feinberg School. “Knowing the accurate stage of your disease affects your survival and treatment. That’s critical.”
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Phew! Pretty scary.
I’m not surprised at casual ineptness in American hospitals. You would hope that surgeons dealing with cancer might be up to standard, though.