Research Roundup

For the complete stories on this research, click on the title of each summary.

Scientists synthesize unique family of anti-cancer compounds

Yale scientists have streamlined the process for synthesizing a family of compounds with the potential to kill cancer and other diseased cells, and have found that they represent a unique category of anti-cancer agents. Led by assistant chemistry professor Seth Herzon, the team developed a new, simplified method for synthesizing kinamycin compounds — naturally produced by bacteria and known for their potent toxicity — in the lab, where they are already showing promising results in tests against ovarian cancer cells.

Scientists shed colorful light on novel proteins

A Yale School of Medicine neuroscientist investigating how viruses can be used to attack brain cancers has developed a new method to generate novel, color-coded proteins that can be used by researchers investigating cures for a host of diseases. Anthony N. van den Pol, professor of neurosurgery, and molecular biologist John N. Davis describe the new technique in the February issue of the Journal of Virology. The two researchers show how to use a mutation-prone virus engineered to express fluorescent proteins in order to generate new proteins of interest to scientists. This virus not only generates mutated genes that code for these proteins but also can express them within cells so scientists can study their function.

Certain syringes more likely to spread hepatitis C virus among drug users

A Yale School of Medicine study reveals that the high prevalence of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) among injection drug users may be partly due to the resilience of the virus in certain types of syringes, particularly those with detachable needles. Dr. Elijah Paintsil, assistant professor of pediatrics and pharmacology, is the lead author of the study, believed to be the first to establish the survival of HCV in contaminated syringes. HCV infection from people sharing contaminated syringes is one of the most common consequences of injection drug use. Left untreated, the infection can cause severe liver disease and even death.

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