Palm Beach Research https://palmbeachresearch.com Dedicated Research Center since 1994... Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:08:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Casual Drinking Does to Your Body Over Time https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/07/what-casual-drinking-does-to-your-body-over-time/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/07/what-casual-drinking-does-to-your-body-over-time/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:48:31 +0000 https://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=3049 The effects of having a few drinks can differ person to person, but often people may not realize just how risky their drinking patterns are, or what that alcohol is doing to them under the hood.

There are two definitions for “safe” drinking. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines say moderate alcohol consumption is OK, which means [...]]]> The effects of having a few drinks can differ person to person, but often people may not realize just how risky their drinking patterns are, or what that alcohol is doing to them under the hood.

There are two definitions for “safe” drinking. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines say moderate alcohol consumption is OK, which means having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has its own recommendation it calls “low risk” drinking, which sets limits for what levels of drinking will put you at a low risk for developing an alcohol abuse issue later on. This comes out to no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week for women, and no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week for men.

According to Dr. George Koob, director of the NIAAA, the current body of evidence doesn’t show whether there are significant differences between someone who drinks at this level versus someone who never drinks. In some cases, there’s strong evidence to suggest that moderate wine consumption could actually benefit the heart. Though Koob says some studies have been controversial and it’s not determined what it is about wine or other parts of a person’s lifestyle that could be at play. There are also individual patterns and sensitivities that people should take into consideration at this level. Some people can handle the amount better than others.

If you genuinely stay within the healthy drinking limits, you’re likely at a low risk for alcohol-related health problems down the line.

The concept of binge drinking is often associated with college students and drinking to get “drunk.” But evidence suggests that people beyond college age also maintain those heavy drinking behaviors. The NIH defines it as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women within two hours. Some of the risks associated with binge drinking are well known. It increases the risk for sexual assault, violence and self harm. But the physical effects of such behaviors on the body are often less discussed. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there’s strong evidence to suggest that regular binge drinking can damage the frontal cortex and areas of the brain involved in executive functions and decision making. Alcohol slows down the pace of the neurotransmitters in your brain that are critical for proper body responses and even moods.

“Abstaining from alcohol over several months to a year may allow structural brain changes to partially correct,” the NIH says. “Abstinence also can help reverse negative effects on thinking skills, including problem­ solving, memory, and attention.”

Long term drinking can also hurt your heart muscles making them unable to contract properly. It can also harm liver, pancreas and immune system function. Heavy drinking can prevent the protective white blood cells in your body to attack bacterial invaders like they’re supposed to. Drinking too much alcohol can also increase your risk for certain cancers like mouth and breast. Regular heavy drinking also increases the risk for some alcohol dependence. “It creeps up on people,” says Koob.Social Drinking

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Acne And You https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/07/acne-and-you/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/07/acne-and-you/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:47:03 +0000 https://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=3041 Affecting more than 85% of people in their adolescent to early adult years, acne is one of the most common and chronic skin diseases around.

So, how does one even get acne? There have been many studies attempting to find the exact cause of acne. Acne was thought to have 2 different categories of non-inflammatory and inflammatory, but it has been recently found out that all acne is inflammatory. Thanks to extensive research into acne over the past decade and a half, we have found that the innate immune system does not react well to the bacterium propionibacterium acnes which causes it to attack the bacteria with the immune system. The sebaceous gland cells that make up our innate immune system are our first line of defense against infectious agents getting under our skin. As the bacterium P. acnes begins to accumulate into one of our many oil glands, inflammasomes begin to secrete and attempt to get rid of the bacteria, which is the central cause for all those nasty acne bumps you see.

Can Grapes Treat Acne?

Grapes are known by all for their high antioxidant content called resveratol, which give grapes their deep, colorful hues. Resveratol is known to protect the brain, aid in weight loss, and even ward off aging. Thanks to medical research it has also been found that grapes are also a great source of treatment for acne. Resveratol by itself, produced a healthier glow in skin and did not cause redness or irritation. Combined with benzoyl peroxide, resveratol was shown to not only treat acne but get rid of it completely with no side effects. Alone it is uncertain if resveratol does any significant treatment, but it helps prevent any damage that might be caused by benzoyl peroxide.

Vitamin B12: Friend or Foe

Vitamin B12 is commonly found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products and has a key role in your body’s brain function and nervous system. Although this vitamin does occur naturally in animal products it is actually synthesized through bacteria. New studies have shown that the vitamin B12 actually aggravates and causes acne flare ups. Studies have shown that the vitamin alters metabolic activity in the bacterium P. acnes causing it to secrete inflammasome agents called porphyrin. They also discovered that the extra vitamin B12 was used to quench the P. acnes own production of the vitamin, which allows it to concentrate on boosting the levels of porphyrin in your glands which cause those inflamed red pimples.

7 Foods That Trigger Acne

Due to the various factors that cause acne, there is no single cause of breakouts usually. If topical treatments or home remedies are not working for you, it may be time to change your diet. Dairy has a lot of hormones and bacteria that do nothing but aggravate P. acnes, so your best bet is to switch to almond milk or another alternative to dairy products. Sugars are pro-inflammatory and tend to cause breakouts, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up all things sweet. It is recommended that you eat fruit instead of fruit juice, and if you need a sweetener stevia, raw honey, or maple syrup are great alternatives. Breakouts around the mouth or jawline are usually caused by soy products, this is because of the natural plant estrogens found in soybeans. Soy derivatives are found in most substitute meats and energy bars, so make sure to read labels. Coffee, although great for getting your day started, terrible for acne. Cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone acts like an androgen, simultaneously simulating sebaceous glands while also invoking intense inflammation. Unfortunately, switching to decaf will not do anything, since caffeine is not the trigger. Wheat causes inflammation so avoiding bread is a must, since bread is usually made with four triggers; sugar, soybean oil, dairy, and wheat. Stubborn inflammation around the cheeks and jawline might be the cause of coconut oil. Peanuts also contain an androgen and should be traded with other acne-safe nut alternatives such as almonds or cashews, which don’t affect androgen levels. It is recommended that you stick to fresh natural foods instead of processed ones to best avoid any food that might trigger acne.

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Sleeping medication use may increase risk for car accidents https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/06/sleeping-medication-use-may-increase-risk-for-car-accidents/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/06/sleeping-medication-use-may-increase-risk-for-car-accidents/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:16:55 +0000 https://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=3034 NBC Nightly News (6/11, story 9, 2:10, Holt, 7.86M) reported on “a big wake-up call for the millions of Americans who take certain kinds of sleeping” medications. Correspondent Ann Thompson explained, “A new study…finds three sedatives nearly double the risk of vehicle accidents among new users.” In addition, “the study…finds the risk of accidents increases [...]]]> NBC Nightly News (6/11, story 9, 2:10, Holt, 7.86M) reported on “a big wake-up call for the millions of Americans who take certain kinds of sleeping” medications. Correspondent Ann Thompson explained, “A new study…finds three sedatives nearly double the risk of vehicle accidents among new users.” In addition, “the study…finds the risk of accidents increases over time and can last up to a year after you start taking the drugs.”

The NBC News (6/12, Fox) website reports that for the study, investigators “collected data on…zolpidem, sold under the brand name Ambien; trazodone, sometimes sold under the brand name Oleptro; and temazepam, brand name Restoril.” The researchers found “that people who took any one of” these “three popular sleeping aids had anywhere between a 25 percent and three times higher risk of being involved in an accident while driving.” The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Health Day (6/12) reports that physicians, “pharmacists and patients should discuss this potential risk when selecting a sleep medication, the researchers said.”

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Skin Cancer Update 2015 https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/06/skin-cancer-update-2015/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/06/skin-cancer-update-2015/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:19:22 +0000 https://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=3025 The rate of skin cancer has doubled over the last 30 years, according to new federal data.

Melanoma, specifically—which is the deadliest kind of skin cancer—is on the rise, and according to the latest research, the yearly cost of treating it is estimated to triple to a total of $1.6 billion in the year 2030.

[...]]]>
The rate of skin cancer has doubled over the last 30 years, according to new federal data.

Melanoma, specifically—which is the deadliest kind of skin cancer—is on the rise, and according to the latest research, the yearly cost of treating it is estimated to triple to a total of $1.6 billion in the year 2030.

One way to prevent skin cancer is to cover up, and sunscreen is typically a go-to to protect skin in the summer heat. However, recent data has suggested that while sunscreens add protection, they aren’t necessarily up to snuff and often brands make coverage claims they can’t really deliver. There’s also the fact that many Americans still don’t wear it daily (and many still use indoor tanning beds).

A recent report from the Environmental Working Group showed that many sunscreens offer poor coverage or have ingredients that the organization views as worrisome. Some brands market their SPF 70 or SPF 100+ even though they don’t really have much more protection than SPF 50.

New, better sunscreen ingredients could help. Recently, legislation was passed to make the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to more quickly respond to pending applications for new ingredients to add to sunscreens. Many of these ingredients have already been available in sunscreens abroad for years. The law is supposed to make the agency act more promptly, and hopefully result in sunscreens with better protection for Americans.

The FDA also said years ago that it would crack down on sunscreen regulation, by putting a cap on SPF at a max of SPF 50, establish standards for testing the effectiveness, and enforce better labeling.

So what’s the best way to stay protected? Keep wearing sunscreen (data suggests Americans could do a better job), but abide by other measures too. Health experts recommend covering exposed skin with clothing, avoiding time in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, and remembering to reapply sunscreen—a teaspoon per body part—at least every two hours.

http://time.com/3907272/skin-cancer-rates-melanoma/?xid=newsletter-brief

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Fluoride UPDATE https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/04/fluoride-update/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/04/fluoride-update/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:55:07 +0000 http://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=2981 HHS recommends less fluoride in drinking water.
NBC Nightly News (4/28, story 7, 0:30, Holt) reported, “Federal health officials are lowering the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water for the first time in more than 50 years.”
The CBS Evening News (4/27, story 13, 0:30, Pelley) reported that on Monday, the Federal [...]]]>
HHS recommends less fluoride in drinking water.
NBC Nightly News (4/28, story 7, 0:30, Holt) reported, “Federal health officials are lowering the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water for the first time in more than 50 years.”
The CBS Evening News (4/27, story 13, 0:30, Pelley) reported that on Monday, the Federal government “said that less fluoride should be added to the drinking water.” Currently, 75 “percent of Americans have fluoridated water. The Department of Health and Human Services said that fluoride is already in toothpaste and mouth wash and too much fluoride can discolor children’s teeth.”
The Washington Post (4/28, Bernstein) “To Your Health” blog reports that HHS now recommends that “drinking water contain .7 milligrams of fluoride per liter,” representing a change in the previous recommendation of “a range of .7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter” set in 1962.
The AP (4/28, Stobbe) points out that “adding fluoride was – and has remained – controversial,” with opponents of fluoride contending that “health effects aren’t completely understood and that adding it amounts to an unwanted medication.”

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Bananas for Bananas https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/04/bananas-for-bananas/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/04/bananas-for-bananas/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 20:12:05 +0000 http://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=2978 Why they are good for you?
While this tropical fruit is an American favorite, bananas are actually classified as an herb. Seriously!
The correct name of lots of bananas is a “hand”.
Bananas are an excellent source of cardioprotective potassium, are an effective prebiotic, enhance the body’s ability to absorb calcium, and increase dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – all brain chemicals that counter depression!

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“Health” Foods You Should Never Eat https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/04/health-foods-you-should-never-eat/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/04/health-foods-you-should-never-eat/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:24:57 +0000 http://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=2966

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10-Health-Foods-You-Should-Never-Eat-Summary1

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Marijuana 101 https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/03/marijuana-101/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/03/marijuana-101/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 15:02:49 +0000 http://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=2952 Marijuana is a drug made from the dry, shredded parts of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. It is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, in pipes, or in water pipes called bongs. It is also smoked in blunts, which are hollowed-out cigars filled with a mixture of tobacco and marijuana.

Marijuana contains a potent [...]]]> What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a drug made from the dry, shredded parts of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. It is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, in pipes, or in water pipes called bongs. It is also smoked in blunts, which are hollowed-out cigars filled with a mixture of tobacco and marijuana.

Marijuana contains a potent chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. It’s very similar to chemicals that the brain naturally produces, and disrupts the function of these chemicals in the brain.

Marijuana today is more potent than marijuana of past decades. For a long time THC levels averaged 2.3 percent. Today, average THC levels are higher than 8 percent and can go up to 35 percent in medical marijuana.

Can Marijuana Be Medicine?

The FDA has not approved the medicinal use of marijuana because there is not enough evidence showing that the benefits of its use outweigh the risks. Also, medicine requires consistent doses, while each marijuana plant can have very different levels of THC and other compounds. The FDA has approved some THC-based drugs, which are prescribed to treat pain and nausea.

Marijuana has also only been shown to be useful for a limited number of conditions or symptoms, compared with the wide variety for which its use is promoted. In addition, it may not even be as effective as other drugs approved by FDA for treatment of the same symptoms.

Research has mostly assessed the health effects of marijuana use among healthy individuals. Individuals interested in using marijuana medicinally may be at higher risk for health effects from it due to the very conditions for which they seek treatment. This is because many chronic or serious conditions, such as cancer or AIDS, are associated
with a greater risk of other diseases or health problems.

Tobacco vs. Marijuana

Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals. There are 33 cancer-causing chemicals contained in marijuana. Marijuana smoke also deposits tar into the lungs. In fact, when equal amounts of marijuana and tobacco are smoked, marijuana deposits four times as much tar into the lungs. This is because marijuana joints are un-filtered and often more deeply inhaled than cigarettes.

Marijuana and the Lungs

Marijuana smoke is also an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by people who smoke tobacco. These include coughing and phlegm production on most days, wheezing, bronchitis, and greater risk of lung infection, although most of these may go away after stopping smoking marijuana. Frequent marijuana smokers also have more healthcare visits both overall and for respiratory conditions compared to nonsmokers.

While research has not shown a clear increase in risk for lung cancer among marijuana smokers, results have been mixed for heavy, long term use.

Smoking marijuana may be associated with the formation of large air sacs in the lung, called bullae, which can lead to shortness of breath and, if they rupture, death. Similarly, there are reports of sudden lung collapse or air pockets forming between the lungs among marijuana smokers.

Other Health Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana has many effects on the brain. It impairs short-term memory and motor coordination; slows reaction time; alters mood, judgment and decision-making; and in some people can cause severe anxiety or loss of touch with reality. Because of these effects, marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident.

Marijuana also affects the heart. The heart rate is raised 20-100 percent shortly after smoking, an effect which can last up to 3 hours and put users at an increased risk of heart attack.

Marijuana use can affect the general quality of the user’s life as well. Heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health,relationship problems and less academic and career success compared to their peers.

Youth and Marijuana

Marijuana use is particularly harmful to youth since the part of the brain that craves pleasure matures earlier than the area that controls our ability to understand risks and consequences. A national study by Monitoring the Future showed that in 2013 1.1% of 8th graders, 4.0% of 10th graders, and 6.5% of 12th graders reported using marijuana daily.

Marijuana is highly accessible, especially to older teenagers. In 2013, 39.1% of 8th graders, 69.7% of 10th graders, and 81.4% of 12th graders reported marijuana as being fairly easy or very easy to get. Studies show that as availability increases, perception of harm decreases.

The perception that there is no great risk in smoking marijuana is decreasing among youth. In 2013, 61.0% of 8th graders, 46.5% of 10th graders and 39.5% of 12th graders said there was a great risk in smoking marijuana regularly. These numbers had been steadily declining over the last five to eight years.

Is it Addictive?

Marijuana is often thought to not be addictive. However, about 9% of those who try marijuana will become addicted. Youth are more likely than adults to become addicted to marijuana. About 2.7 million people in the U.S. meet clinical criteria for marijuana dependence.

THC stimulates brain cells to release the chemical dopamine, which creates a euphoric feeling and can lead to a physical addiction. Similar to tobacco withdrawal, people trying to quit marijuana report irritability, sleeping difficulties, craving, and anxiety.

Download the American Lung Association’s Marijuana Pamphlet, “Questions about Marijuana?” HERE

References:

Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2013). Monitoring the Future national results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2012. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Retreived from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2012.pdf

Matthias, P., Tashkin, D. P., Marques-Magallanes, J. A., Wilkins, J. N., & Simmons, M. S. (1997). Effects of Varying Marijuana Potency on Deposition of Tar and Δ< sup> 9-THC in the Lung During Smoking. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 58(4), 1145-1150. Retreived from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305797003286

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (July 2012). DrugFacts: Is Marijuana Medicine? Retrieved February 18, 2013, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (December 2012). DrugFacts: Marijuana. Retrieved February 18, 2013, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (October 2002). Marijuana abuse (10-3859). Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana-abuse

Thurstone, C. Understand the Big Deal: How Marijuana Harms Youth. Retrieved February 18, 2013, from http://www.cde.state.co.us/sites/default/files/documents/dropoutprevention/resources/how_marijuana_harms_youth_factsheet.pdf

Tomar, Rajpal C.; Beaumont and Hsieh (August 2009) (PDF), Evidence on the carcinogenicity of marijuana smoke, Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency, retrieved 24 January 2013 from http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/hazard_ident/pdf_zip/FinalMJsmokeHID.pdf

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This protein can block HIV https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/02/this-protein-can-block-hiv/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/02/this-protein-can-block-hiv/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:39:02 +0000 http://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=2949 A novel drug candidate against HIV has been created by a joint team led by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, FL. The scientists consider it to be so potent and effective that it could form the basis of a vaccine alternative.

“Our compound is the broadest and most potent entry inhibitor described [...]]]> A novel drug candidate against HIV has been created by a joint team led by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, FL. The scientists consider it to be so potent and effective that it could form the basis of a vaccine alternative.

“Our compound is the broadest and most potent entry inhibitor described so far,” says Michael Farzan, a Scripps Research Institute professor who led the effort.

“Unlike antibodies, which fail to neutralize a large fraction of HIV-1 strains,” continues Farzan, “our protein has been effective against all strains tested, raising the possibility it could offer an effective HIV vaccine alternative.”

Farzan claims that the project is the culmination of more than a decade’s work on the biochemistry of how HIV enters cells.

The results of the study, which are published in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the new drug candidate blocked every strain of HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus), including the variants that are most difficult to block.

The new drug was also found to protect against doses of the virus higher than those that normally occur in human transmission for at least 8 months after injection.

When a cell is infected by HIV, it inserts its own single-stranded RNA into the host cell. This insert of genetic code allows the virus to transform the cell into a “manufacturing site” for HIV.

However, the Scripps researchers had previously investigated a co-receptor – CCR5 – that could be used to prevent infection by manipulating related proteins. CCR5 is the first “anchor point” on the surface of a cell that HIV binds to before it can penetrate the cell.

“When we did our original work on CCR5, people thought it was interesting, but no one saw the therapeutic potential,” says Farzan. “That potential is starting to be realized.”

Using the CCR5 work as a point of departure, the scientists designed a protein that mimics the receptor and simultaneously binds to two sites on the surface of the virus, which prevents it from entering a host cell.

Study first author Matthew Gardner explains how the protein prevents the virus from penetrating cells:

“When antibodies try to mimic the receptor, they touch a lot of other parts of the viral envelope that HIV can change with ease. We’ve developed a direct mimic of the receptors without providing many avenues that the virus can use to escape, so we catch every virus thus far.”

A delivery mechanism for the drug candidate was designed using an engineered adeno-associated virus. This is a small, relatively harmless virus that does not cause disease. The adeno-associated virus turns cells into manufacturing sites that churn out enough of the new protective protein to potentially last for decades.

The data published by the team shows that the new drug candidate binds more strongly to the HIV-1 envelope than the best neutralizing antibodies currently known to work against the virus. Although it will be years before the protein can be tested in humans, it has been successful against SIV in a macaque model.

Recently, we looked at news that a recombinant strain of HIV exhibiting unprecedented aggression has been identified in Cuba.

Scientists researching this new HIV strain found that, after binding to CCR5, the virus moves to the next co-receptor – CXCR4 – much more quickly than other HIV strains. The move of the virus to CXCR4 is typically associated with onset of AIDS symptoms.

While this transition from CCR5 to CXCR4 is normally very difficult, the recombinant HIV variant was found to contain a protease that makes this transition easier to occur and also enables the virus to replicate in greater numbers than usual.

Written by David McNamee

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What “Unboiling” An Egg Can Mean For Cancer Drug Development https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/02/what-unboiling-an-egg-can-mean-for-cancer-drug-development/ https://palmbeachresearch.com/2015/02/what-unboiling-an-egg-can-mean-for-cancer-drug-development/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:24:34 +0000 http://palmbeachresearch.com/?p=2937 In a strange and exciting twist, researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Flinders University announced this week they have discovered a new way to “unboil” a hen’s egg — a task that could have huge ramifications for the biotech industry as it races to get cancer meds to patients faster, CNET reported.

[...]]]>
In a strange and exciting twist, researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Flinders University announced this week they have discovered a new way to “unboil” a hen’s egg — a task that could have huge ramifications for the biotech industry as it races to get cancer meds to patients faster, CNET reported.

“Unboiling” an egg is far from a new concept. It was originally discovered by Hervé This, a famous French chemist known for some of the wacky discoveries he’s made while experimenting with food. When an egg is boiled, heat causes the protein’s amino acid strings to join together and envelop water molecules, causing the egg to harden. In order to unboil the egg, these proteins need to be detached from one another, which can be done by adding sodium borohydride or, if you’re performing the experiment at home, vitamin C. Within three hours, the eggs will once again be liquid.

While it’s certainly an interesting bit of science, there hasn’t been any practical use for this little experiment beyond inspiring awe. But this new research from UCI and Flinders has uncovered a way of unboiling and restoring lysozyme, a specific protein in egg whites — a process that holds promise for a cheaper cancer drug manufacturing process.

According to Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry, the team used a specific device that “pulls apart tangled proteins and allow[s] them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”

Proteins often “misfold” and become unusable, CNET reported in their article. However, Weiss’ work recycles or creates usable proteins in minutes, compared to the four days it takes for dialysis (the current approach to restore denatured proteins).

Adding urea to the albumen causes the solid egg whites to liquefy, however, because the proteins are still tangled up, they remain unusable. Researchers at Flinders University learned that spinning the egg whites in a high-speed vortex fluid device will cause the amino acids to return to their originally untangled state.

It’s still a neat scientific concept to read and tweet about. But this time, it has practical applications for pharma. This new technique — currently called the urea technique — could be a much cheaper method of manufacturing cancer antibodies, currently carried out using costly hamster ovaries. This could also mean that cancer drugs will be more affordable for patients when they enter the market, which, considering all the hype over high drug prices today, could be welcome news for companies and patients alike.

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor at BioProcessOnline.com

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