Malaria parasite protein identified as potential new target for drug treatment

Scientists have discovered how a protein within the malaria parasite is essential to its survival as it develops inside a mosquito. They believe their findings identify this protein as a potential new target for drug treatments to prevent malaria being passed to humans.

The researchers found that when this protein – a transporter responsible for controlling the level of calcium inside cells – is absent during the parasite’s sexual reproduction stages inside a mosquito, the parasite dies before developing fully. They discovered that the calcium transporter protein is responsible for protecting the parasite from potentially lethal levels of calcium during these stages.

Nanomal smartphone-like malaria detection device to be field tested one year earlier than scheduled

A pioneering mobile device using cutting-edge nanotechnology to rapidly detect malaria infection and drug resistance will be ready for field testing this year, one year ahead of schedule.

The €5.2million (£4million) Nanomal project was launched last year to provide an affordable hand-held diagnostic device to detect malaria infection and parasites’ drug resistance in 15 minutes. It will allow healthcare workers in remote rural areas to deliver effective drug treatments to counter resistance more quickly, potentially saving lives.

Legal high Benzo Fury may be dangerous due to stimulant and hallucinogenic effects

The ‘legal high’ known as Benzo Fury may have stimulant as well as hallucinogenic effects according to new research presented at the British Neuroscience Association Festival of Neuroscience today (Tuesday 9 April 2013).

In a poster presentation at the meeting, Dr Jolanta Opacka-Juffry and Dr Colin Davidson reported that one of the main ingredients of Benzo Fury (also known as 5-APB) acts on brain tissue like both a stimulant and a hallucinogen – a combination of properties that is often found in illegal drugs and which can make them dangerous to users. The researchers believe this information should be disseminated to let potential users know the possible dangers of the drug.

Researchers identify mutation that causes short-sightedness and hearing loss

Researchers have identified a new disorder caused by a genetic mutation that leads to short sightedness and deafness. They say the new link between the two sensory problems could lead to better understanding of the disease mechanism of each.

The researchers – led by St George’s, University of London and the Miller School of Medicine in Miami – discovered that a mutation in the gene SLITRK6 causes a syndrome symptomised by myopia (short sightedness) and deafness.

St George’s University Challenge team in final bid for semis

The St George’s University Challenge team will be back on the show next Monday (1 April) to make their last bid for a place in the semi-final round of the competition in their third of three quarter-final matches.

This follows last week’s defeat in their second quarter-final match against New College, Oxford. After leading from the start, the final buzzer sounded when the St George’s team was trailing 110-160.