Research Briefs 021107

Statins help cancer treatment
Statins could boost prostate cancer therapy, say US scientists. For the study, data on 900 men treated with high-dose radiation therapy for prostate cancer was studied. Men on statins had a 76 per cent chance of being cured of their cancer 10 years after diagnosis, compared with a 66 per cent chance for those not on statins. The findings were presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 49th annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Bird flu infects children 'quickest'
Children may be more susceptible than adults to avian influenza because the virus penetrates their lungs quicker, say researchers in Hong Kong. They visualised the receptors for influenza virus in biopsy samples taken from children and adults infected with H5N1. The Maackia amurensis agglutinin marker for avian viruses displayed widespread binding throughout the respiratory tract, but was particularly good at binding to children's cells in the lower respiratory tract. This could explain how bird flu infects more children than adults (Respiratory Research Online 2007).

Secret to lab-grown eye found
A crucial signal that switches on eye development has been identified by UK researchers in a discovery that could lead to a laboratory-grown eye. In experiments in frogs, introducing molecules called ectoenzymes into frog embryos had a dramatic effect on eye development in the resultant tadpoles. Researchers hypothesised that short bursts of adenosine triphosphate, caused by the ectoenzymes, triggered development of the eyes (Nature Online 2007).

Red wine 'cures' food poisoning
Drinking red wine could help to treat food poisoning, say US researchers. For the study, the researchers measured levels of ethanol, pH and the chemical resveratrol (found in grape skin) in a sample of wines. They found that Escherichia coli, salmonella and listeria were all susceptible to the chemical resveratrol. The red wines Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot were all effective at fighting bacteria. The findings were presented at the Institute of Food and Technologists' annual conference in Chicago, Illinois.

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