Ann Conkle
Feb 17, 2012

Medical Nova Weekly: Top five trends for 2/13-2-/17

Patients’ own cardiac stem cells regrow heart muscle

Many heart attacks leave behind scar tissue, which inhibits cardiac functions for a patient’s entire life. But, that could be a thing of the past. On Monday, The Lancet published the results of a study in which a patient’s own cardiac stem cells were harvested, multiplied in a lab, and then injected back into the patient’s heart. Among 17 patients with damaged muscle who received the treatment, there was an average of 50 percent reduction in the size of their scars after one year, with minimal complications.

Wirelessly-controlled, implanted microchip delivers drugs

Don’t like needles? You may be in luck. This week, the MIT researchers reported that they have successfully used such a chip to administer daily doses of an osteoporosis drug normally given by injection. The results represent the first successful test of such a device and could help usher in a new era of telemedicine -- delivering health care over a distance.

WHO delays controversial avian flu research moratorium and publication

Last month, a global debate broke out when two research teams, one in the Netherlands and the other based in the United States, created genetically modified strains of the avian flu H5N1, which are more easily transmittable between humans than the naturally occurring virus. This week, a small group of expects met at WHO-convened meeting to discuss the issue. They extended the temporary moratorium on research with new laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses and delayed publication of the current study, but recognized that research on H5N1 must continue in order to protect public health.

Exciting Alzheimer's disease updates
Alzheimer’s disease has had a strong presence in the news lately, between the Obama administration announcing a funding boost, the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association releasing new guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, and a known cancer treatment drug demonstrating efficacy in reversing Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice


HIV treatment breakthrough

An international research team discovered the mechanism by which a protein protects some immune cells from HIV. This critical finding could lead to more effective treatments for HIV, as well as give insight into how other pathogens attack the body.