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Research identifies potential role of ‘junk DNA’ sequence in aging, cancer

We don’t often think about ourselves this way, but our bodies are made up of trillions of living cells. We age as our cells age, which happens when those cells eventually stop replicating and dividing. Scientists have long known that our genes influence how our cells age and how long we live, but how that works exactly remains unclear. Findings from a new study led by researchers at Washington State University have solved a small piece of that puzzle, bringing scientists one step closer to solving the mystery of aging. » More ...

Target protein identified for improving heart attack treatment

SPOKANE, Wash. – A new study led by researchers at Washington State University has identified a protein that could be the key to improving treatment outcomes after a heart attack.

Published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the research suggests that protein kinase A (PKA) plays a role in heart muscle cell necrosis, a major type of cell death that commonly occurs after reperfusion therapy, the treatment used to unblock arteries and restore blood flow after a heart attack.

“Our study has … » More …

Inflammation-fighting protein could improve treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

New research led by scientists at Washington State University has found that a protein known as GBP5 appears to play a key role in suppressing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, a potentially debilitating disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own joint tissues. Published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, the discovery could someday lead to new treatments to slow or halt the progress of the disease, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. The researchers said it may also have applications in other inflammatory diseases. » More ...

How summer on the lake may impact your liver

As the weather warms, daydreams of summer set in; the sounds of birds chirping, the smell of freshly mown grass, the feel of a cool swim on a warm day. But as the flowers begin to bloom so do algae unleashing a green scum across bodies of water and toxins that can affect the health of anyone exposed to too much.

Microcystin-LR is the most common and the most potent toxin produced by freshwater blue-green algae. It was first identified as a potent liver toxin in the 1980s and has since been linked to liver damage and cancer. Today, levels of the toxin are monitored … » More …

Use of goldenseal may compromise glucose control in diabetics on metformin

By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Health Sciences Spokane Office of Research
Originally published in the WSU Insider February 8, 2021

SPOKANE, Wash. – Diabetic patients taking the natural product goldenseal while taking the prescription drug metformin may be unwittingly sabotaging their efforts to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. This concern arose from a recent study published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Metformin—the world’s most-prescribed oral glucose-lowering medication—was included in a cocktail of selected drugs given to participants in a clinical study led by scientists at Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The study sought to determine the impact of … » More …

Finding health care solutions for medically underserved rural areas

In the United States there are 14 million people living in medically underserved areas where access to health care continues to be a chronic problem with no clear solutions. Many residents who live in rural areas don’t have access to doctors, nurses, or pharmacists, and getting medical attention often translates to a several hours drive to the nearest city. College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) Associate Professors of Pharmacotherapy Kimberly McKeirnan and Megan Undeberg are finding ways to bridge this health care gap.

“There is such a disparity of care for the rural sector,” said Undeberg, who also grew up on a farm … » More …

Medicine-carriers made from human cells can cure lung infections

By Sara Zaske, WSU News

SPOKANE, Wash. – Scientists used human white blood cell membranes to carry two drugs, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, directly to infected lungs in mice.

The nano-sized drug delivery method developed at Washington State University successfully treated both the bacterial growth and inflammation in the mice’s lungs. The study, recently published in Communications Biology, shows a potential new strategy for treating infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

“If a doctor simply gives two drugs to a patient, they don’t go directly to the lungs. They circulate in the whole body, so potentially there’s a lot of toxicity,” said Zhenjia Wang, … » More …

WSU awarded distinguished NIH grant to study natural product-drug interactions

The botanical dietary supplement that you’re taking may be natural, but is it safe? It was 2006 when Dr. Mary Paine, a professor at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, first published her clinical research study on the interaction between grapefruit juice and felodipine, a medication used to treat high blood pressure. Her work builds on the foundation laid by Dr. David Bailey from the University of Western Ontario, who discovered the “grapefruit juice effect” approximately 30 years ago. Through years of research, multiple investigators, including Dr. Paine and her post-doc mentor Dr. Paul Watkins, both while at the University of North Carolina … » More …