Health News: Creepy Creatures Fight Disease, Infection and More

Sometimes the most innovative medical treatments come from the grossest of creatures.

By Regina Nuzzo from Reader's Digest Magazine | May 2013
  • Loading
    Stephanie Dalton Cowan

    Moths: An Allergy-Free Flu Vaccine

    Flu vaccines are typically produced by growing influenza virus inside chicken eggs, which means people with egg allergies may develop a serious reaction. A newly FDA-approved vaccine, Flublok, avoids this risk by replicating the virus in cells derived from the fall armyworm moth. The method has been used for other vaccines but not for flu until now. What’s more, it allows for much quicker vaccine production, which will make more doses available sooner if there’s ever a flu pandemic. The new vaccine will be ready for the upcoming flu season.

    Source: Manon Cox, PhD, president and CEO, Protein Sciences Corp., Meriden, Connecticut

    Stephanie Dalton Cowan

    Frogs: Fight Infections

    Scientists are hoping to develop new drugs from the skin of the Russian brown frog after discovering that it secretes antimicrobial goo. Since many frogs live in dank, wet places teeming with germs, their skin must serve as armor against these microscopic threats, scientists theorized. When Moscow State University researchers extracted the goo from living frogs, they found 76 new chemicals with antibacterial and antifungal properties—some as powerful as prescription antibiotics. Researchers plan to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to synthetically produce these substances.

    Source: Albert T. Lebedev, PhD, Department of Organic Chemistry, Moscow State University


    Stephanie Dalton Cowan

    Scorpions: Crush Cancer

    Scorpion venom may serve a surprisingly beneficial purpose: helping brain surgeons excise malignant tissue easily and accurately. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and the University of Washington combined an extract of scorpion venom that naturally (and safely) targets only cancer cells with a molecule that glows under a special light. During surgery for brain tumors, doctors could inject the substance, spot glowing cancerous tissue, and remove every last millimeter of it, leaving only healthy tissue behind. Early studies suggest that the chemical could also illuminate prostate, breast, colon, and some skin cancers. Researchers have used the technique to treat cancer in animals; human trials are planned for the end of this year.

    Source: Jim Olson, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington

    Stephanie Dalton Cowan

    Mussels: Manage Toothaches

    Some tooth pain develops when the hard outer enamel wears away and exposes the softer underlying dentin, which is sensitive to stimuli such as hot and cold. Pain-fighting toothpastes and chewing gums contain minerals that can augment enamel but don’t adhere long enough to permanently rebuild it. For a solution, Chinese scientists turned to mussels, which secrete an adhesive to attach to underwater rocks, and they created a substance with similar sticky properties. When scientists coated worn-out teeth with the mussel-like adhesive and then soaked them in a bath of minerals, the teeth rebuilt a protective layer that simulates enamel. The discovery could lead to better products for sensitive teeth.

    Source: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces; Chun Hung Chu, PhD, University of Hong Kong; and Quan-Li Li, Anhui Medical University, China

    POPULAR RIGHT NOW

    Your Comments

    • Joe Duane

      We offer fresh cut bank instrument for lease/sale, such as BG, SBLC, MTN, Bank Bonds, Bank Draft, T strips and other. Leased Instruments can be obtained at minimal expense to the borrower compared to other banking options and we also discount/monetize BG’s.
      This offer is open to both individuals and corporate bodies.
      If in need of our services, contact me for detail information.
      Thank you,

      Mr.Joe Duane
      email:// jduane076@gmail.com
      Joeduane@consultant.com