Tedi Setton

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Posts by Tedi Setton

Normal and Sickled Red Blood Cells

Malaria Mystery: SOLVED

Normal and Sickled Red Blood Cells

While scientists have long known that carriers for Sickle Cell Trait are more resistant to Malaria infection, the mechanism by which protection is conferred has not been well understood—until now.  Scientists at Heidelberg University used an electron microscope to observe what happens when the parasite that causes Malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum, infects red blood cells containing both healthy and mutant hemoglobin.

Scientists noticed that in red blood cells with healthy hemoglobin, the parasite hijacks the actin cytoskeleton to transport its own “adhesin” protein to the cell membrane.  The adhesin, also called Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 More >


Back in February, I blogged about a patient who received a bone marrow transplant, from an HIV-immune donor, that cured both his leukemia and AIDS.  I mentioned that while bone marrow transplants were impractical as a primary treatment for AIDS, I suggested that perhaps gene therapy tactics could be employed to achieve the same effect.  For the first time, scientists at Sangamo BioSciences have shown that this may actually be possible.

HIV infects white blood cells by latching onto two protein receptors, CD4 and CCR5.  Scientists noticed that people with a defect in the CCR5 gene (a 32-bp deletion) are incapable of More >

Biological Warfare

Scientists at the Universities of Nottingham and Maastricht have engineered a strain of bacteria that may be able to fight cancer!

Clostridium sporogenes are anaerobic soil dwellers which cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.   Researchers have genetically modified these bacteria so that they produce an enzyme that activates a cancer drug.  It turns out that the centers of solid cancer tumors contain very little oxygen.  Researchers hope to inject cancer patients’ tumors with the engineered Clostridium spores, which would not survive in the rest of the oxygen-rich body.   After a tumor is infected with the Clostridium, a patient would also be More >


Fine Food or Freak Fish?

Science experiments are not usually meant to be eaten; even water and gum are strictly banned from laboratories.  But as scientists continue to perfect techniques for genetic manipulation, the products of their experiments are increasingly making appearances in super markets and on dinner tables.

While the genetic modification of plants for human consumption is common in the United States (think corn and soybeans), genetically modified (GM) animals have yet to be approved.  But now, a Massachusetts-based company, AquaBounty, is petitioning the FDA to sell genetically modified Atlantic Salmon to consumers.

Thanks to some genetic mix and match, the salmon, dubbed AquAdvantage, reach More >