The raging lung inflammation that can contribute to death from the flu can be stopped in its tracks by a drug derived from a naturally occurring human protein, a new animal study suggests.
In mouse studies, all untreated animals given a lethal dose of influenza died within days. All but one of the infected mice treated with the experimental therapy not only survived, but remained energetic and kept weight on — despite having high levels of the flu virus in their lungs.
The experimental treatment is a heavy dose of MG53, part of a family of proteins that plays an essential role in cell membrane repair. Already identified as a potential therapy for conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to persistent skin wounds, MG53 was found in this study to prevent death from a lethal flu infection by blocking excessive inflammation — without having any effect on the virus itself.
Neurobiologists at Heidelberg University have discovered how a special receptor at neuronal junctions that normally activates a protective genetic programme can lead to nerve cell death when located outside synapses. Their fundamental findings on neurodegenerative processes simultaneously led the researchers at the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences (IZN) to a completely new principle for therapeutic agents. In their experiments on mouse models, they discovered a new class of highly effective inhibitors for protecting nerve cells. As Prof. Dr Hilmar Bading points out, this novel class of drugs opens up — for the first time — perspectives to combat currently untreatable diseases of the nervous system. The results of this research were published in Science.
The research by Prof. Bading and his team is focused on the so-called NMDA receptor. This receptor is an ion channel protein that is activated by a biochemical messenger: the neurotransmitter glutamate. It allows calcium to
VENICE, Italy (Reuters) – A long-delayed flood barrier system successfully protected Venice from a high tide for the first time on Saturday, bringing big relief to the lagoon city after years of repeated inundations.