Synthetic Molecules Trick Body Into Improved Immune Response to HIV, Cancer

When it comes to eluding detection, HIV and cancer cells are at the top of the class. As such, the few treatments currently available to sufferers of HIV or prostate cancer are generally expensive, often hard to manufacture, and come packaged with a smattering of unpleasant side effects. But Yale researchers have now developed synthetic molecules that help the body recognize HIV and prostate cancer cells as threats, tricking the body into initiating an immune response that it normally would not.

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FAA Review May Scuttle Hobbyist Inventor's Ingenious Method For Shipping Drugs

An Ohio inventor's cargo box has drawn interest from major shipping companies, but now faces years of FAA review

A new refrigerated cargo box for moving pharmaceutical products has attracted the likes of delivery giant UPS, but its inventor may go out of business first because of a lengthy review process by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Lucky Pet Dogs Receive Experimental Cancer Treatments Before Their Humans

Animal rights activists, take note: when it comes to experimental cancer treatments, American pet dogs are now in line in front of humans, participating in trials that in several cases have destroyed cancers completely.

Dogs experience cancer in ways similar to humans, making them preferable research subjects to lab rats and mice, whose experimental settings are too regimented to reflect a human reaction to cancers. Those human-like reactions have granted dying dogs access to treatments ahead of dying humans in some cases, allaying some ethical fears while stirring up others.

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Cocaine Vaccine Nullifies the Effect, Helps Abusers Quit

Researchers have shown for the first time today that a vaccine can help reduce drug abuse. There's currently no FDA-approved treatment to get people off of cocaine (or crack), so this could really help out the 2.5 million Americans dependent on cocaine.

Thirty-eight percent of drug abusers who were given the vaccine produced anti-cocaine antibodies. Over the course of seven weeks, these subjects were 45 percent likely to have a cocaine-free pee test, as opposed to 35 percent for those who got placebo vaccine instead.

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Chemical Additive to Antibiotics Could Make Them Newly Effective Against Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem, not to mention an economic drain, for doctors and pharmaceutical makers trying to fight bacterial infections. Many antibiotics in our arsenal are becoming practically useless, as bacteria breed resistance to them. But researchers at Texas Tech University and Baylor University have developed a chemical additive that could make old drugs useful again.

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Merck and Elsevier Create "Peer-Reviewed" Advertorial

Time to cancel that subscription to the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine

It seems as though pharmaceutical giant Merck (best known for the deadly painkiller Vioxx), has teamed up with science publishing titan Elsevier (who, not long ago, got caught producing a rather questionable math journal) to put out a fake peer-reviewed medical journal.

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PharmaSat to Test Drugs in Space

Ever wonder whether antibiotics work in orbit? NASA has

It's miserable enough to be under the weather in the comfort of your home, but imagine coming down with a bad cold when you're stuck inside a small crew module 200,000 miles from Earth. You're coughing on your fellow astronauts and that space food you ate half an hour ago is now floating around your zero-gravity spacecraft.

Luckily, mission control packed some antibiotics into your survival pack... but will they work in space?

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A Synthetic Solution for a Legal 4:20

Synthetic marijuana brand Spice may still technically be legal in the United States, but it’s quickly getting banned around the world

Legal-ish alternatives to marijuana exist, you just need to know where to look…er, smell. Apparently that’s what someone learned when they put the herbal incense brand “Spice” in their pipe and smoked it. The results were, like, totally rad, dude. It turns out Spice contains the synthetic substance JWH-018, which is incredibly similar to the main active component of marijuana. Although sold legally in many countries, governments around the world are lining up to put the kibosh on the Spice party.

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Hunting The Elusive Fat Pill

Obesity is booming, yet there are only two medications approved for long-term weight loss. Why is it so hard to make a diet pill that works? For one thing, evolution hates diets

As magic little pills go, the weight-loss drug rimonabant was destined to be huge. It was supposed to put a dent in the obesity epidemic and help people quit smoking and improve their cholesterol along the way. Pharmaceutical execs expected it to usher in a new class of drugs bigger than cholesterol-controlling statins, like Lipitor, Pfizer’s $1-billion-a-month blockbuster.

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A Drug Company Wishes on a Lot of Eyelashes

Beauty is evidently in the eye of the beheld

Also in today's links: human-cow hybrid embryos, morphing gel displays and more.

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Not Quite Superman, But Maybe Superdrugs

GE to develop "Biotic Man" to enable faster development of drugs

Weeks before President-Elect Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense was finalized, the U.S. Department of Defense was blazing full speed ahead. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (a division of the D.O.D.) recently awarded a contract to GE Global Research, the technology development branch of the mammoth General Electric Company, for a two-year, $1.1 million project to develop a Biotic Man.

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This Pill Will Change Your Life

A drug to cure cancer. Another to halt aging. In the not-so-distant future, these six drugs—already in the works—will change how we live, and even how we die

Along with flying cars and underwater bubble cities, pills curing every ill are a staple of science fiction. But while aero-autobahns and submerged metropolises have not moved any closer to reality, medical science has advanced to the point where pills once considering miraculous may soon be a reality. Popular Science has a rundown of the top future pills that may one day change your life. Launch it here.

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How Ritalin Works

After years of prescribing them, scientists finally learn the mechanics behind psychostimulants

Ritalin: Scientists are finally beginning to understand the mechanics of psychostimulants such as Ritalin.  Sponge
You’d think that a drug prescribed to 10 million Americans would be well understood. But until now, scientists haven’t firmly grasped why Ritalin helps the scatterbrained. In a University of Wisconsin-Madison study published recently in Biological Psychiatry, researchers found that the stimulant works by optimizing brain signals in the prefrontal cortex.

The researchers fed rats different doses of Ritalin and then studied their neural activity, which was measured by electrodes implanted in their brains.

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The Drug Resurrector

One pharmacologist’s mission to recycle blockbuster drugs into treatments for neglected diseases

With Big Pharma spending upward of $1 billion to bring a single drug to pharmacy shelves, its little wonder that unprofitable afflictions like malaria and African sleeping sickness go largely ignored. Curtis Chong witnessed this neglect firsthand in 2001 as a third-year medical student working in an emergency room in Mozambique. Day and night, malaria patients lined up for treatment, but Chongs medication stockpile was often too low or too antiquated to treat drug-resistant strains of the disease, and people were dying.

Six years later, the 31-year-old pharmacologist is spearheading an innovative way to bring better drugs, and more of them, to the developing world.

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