March 7, 2014 |
University of Pennsylvania researchers have snipped out a single gene in patients' immune cells to make them partly resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The study, in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, bolsters hope for controlling HIV without daily antiviral drugs - a so-called functional cure. But even more important, as the first paper to report the modification of an exact spot in human DNA, it marks the arrival of the age of gene editing.
March 5, 2014 |
Wind turbines have been lauded as carbon-free energy sources, and denounced as whirring monsters that kill birds, bats, and scenic views. The twain have yet to meet. But what if wind energy could do more than just crank out electricity? What if it could blow away Mother Nature with a massive offshore array of turbines powerful enough to blunt the force of hurricanes? Researchers from the University of Delaware and Stanford University have concluded it is possible. Their computer model showed that a large wind farm off the East Coast could have have reduced the wind speed of Hurricane Sandy about 80 m.p.h., and lessened the storm surge - the flooding that ruined so many homes and businesses - up to 21 percent.
March 2, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Last fall, the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center briefed the legislative cancer caucus on the center's groundbreaking research on a variety of potentially deadly forms of the disease. In one case detailed by Chi Dang, doctors with Penn and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia used a novel cell-engineering treatment on a young leukemia patient as part of a clinical trial involving acute forms of leukemia. That was two years ago. The little girl remains cancer-free.
February 28, 2014 |
Personalized medicine is all the rage in cancer treatment, as doctors increasingly tailor medicines to specific mutations in patients' tumors. Now, the approach is making its way into addiction treatment. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania found that heavy drinkers significantly reduced their drinking when they took the anticonvulsant drug topiramate - but only if they had a specific genetic profile. Henry R. Kranzler, director of Penn's Center for Studies of Addiction and the study's lead author, said researchers also have found that genes affect response to two other drugs being tested in alcoholics: naltrexone and ondansetron, an antinausea drug.
February 19, 2014 |
Slavica Matacic, 80, of Haverford, a pioneering researcher and professor of biology at Haverford College who worked to widen the study of sciences among women and minorities, died of pneumonia Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Bryn Mawr Hospital. When Dr. Matacic arrived at Haverford in 1964, the faculty was predominantly male. Over the next three and a half decades, until retiring in 1999, she worked to promote the success of women, minorities, and students who were the first in their families to attend college.
February 5, 2014 |
Greek and Roman historians were fond of depicting northern Europeans as beer-swilling barbarians, incapable of appreciating the fruits of sun-splashed Mediterranean vineyards. Writing in the late first century B.C., Dionysius of Halicarnassus sniffed that northerners were known to drink a "foul-smelling liquor made from barley rotted in water. " Time to give the barbarians some credit, says University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Patrick E. McGovern. Chemical analysis of residues from ancient drinking vessels and strainers, found in what are now Denmark and Sweden, reveal traces of elaborate hybrid beverages made from berries, birch resin, honey, and herbs, McGovern said.
February 4, 2014 |
Seniors often look to a reverse mortgage for extra cash. But if you have savings, a family with whom you could live, or low-income assistance, a reverse mortgage should be your very last option. Why? A reverse mortgage, also referred to as a "home equity conversion mortgage" (HECM), allows homeowners 62 years and older to convert their house into cash. But most don't realize a reverse mortgage may not be appropriate for their financial situation. Seniors are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take financial counseling classes if they want a reverse mortgage, says Mike Sullivan, chief education officer for Take Charge America.
February 4, 2014 |
Timothy Perper, 74, of Bella Vista, a writer and independent researcher on human courtship, died of cardiac arrest Tuesday, Jan. 21, at his home. As a biology professor at Rutgers University in the 1970s, Dr. Perper became fascinated by how couples meet and then decide whether they are attracted to each other. He obtained a grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation to study conversations in bars. His 1985 book, Sex Signals: The Biology of Love , was described in the New York Times as "lively and provocative.
January 29, 2014 |
Reuven Reich is in town to cure cancer. More specifically, the Dame Susan Garth Professor of Cancer Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is looking for collaborators and funding to develop drugs to attack ovarian and breast cancer and melanoma, particularly in children. "They are very common cancers in children," Reich said Monday, "and very serious. " The researcher is among 24 Israeli scientists and medical researchers here for a three-day seminar arranged by Drexel University, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Hebrew University.
January 28, 2014 |
WEST BERLIN, N.J. - Qari Nazar Gul was an elusive target. The top-level Taliban commander rarely left Pakistan for operations in Afghanistan. He dispatched couriers and ordered attacks from afar. Gul knew there was an eye in the sky and did not want to take a chance. In 2010, the eye belonged to Capt. Steve Iaquinto Jr., a targeting officer in charge of four aerial drones that searched for Taliban fighters in four provinces north of Kabul. The New Jersey Army National Guard officer collected intelligence on enemy activities, then planned combat ground operations that resulted in a half-dozen kills and more than 30 arrests, including that of Gul's nephew.