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ACS in the News - January 14, 2010

ACS in the News - January 14, 2010

'ACS in the News' publishes daily articles from newspapers, blogs and magazines about the American Chemical Society and its 38 peer-reviewed journals. Full-text links to the articles below can also be found in the attached document.

Science Daily (Rockville, Md.: 3.2 million monthly unique users)
“New Biomarkers for Predicting the Spread of Colon Cancer”
January 13, 2010

Scientists in China are reporting discovery of two proteins present in the blood, of people with colon cancer that may serve as the potential biomarkers for accurately predicting whether the disease will spread. Their study is in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication. In an effort to identify useful biomarkers for tracking the spread of colon cancer, the scientists compared proteins produced by primary, or original, tumor cells to those of metastasized cells came from a single individual with colon cancer. They identified two proteins that occurred at significantly higher levels in the metastatic cells than in the primary cancer cells.

Thaindian News (Bangkok, Thailand: 2.4 million monthly unique users)
“New method for a cheaper version of anti-flu drug Tamiflu developed”
January 14, 2010

Paving way for a less expensive version of Tamiflu, scientists have developed an alternative method for producing the active ingredient in the drug that fights the dreadful H1N1 and other forms of influenza.The new process could expand availability of the drug by reducing its cost, which now retails for as about 8 dollars per dose. Anqi Chen, Christina Chai and colleagues claimed that the global pandemic of H1N1 has resulted in millions of infected cases worldwide and nearly 10,000 deaths to date. Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir phosphate, remains the most widely used antiviral drug for the prevention and treatment of H1N1 infections as well as bird flu and seasonal influenzas. The study has been published in ACS’ Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal.

R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J.: monthly circulation 80,000)
“Unlocking the mystery of the duck-billed platypus' venom”
January 13, 2010

Abandon any notion that the duck-billed platypus is a soft and cuddly creature -- maybe like Perry the Platypus in the Phineas and Ferb cartoon. The males can deliver a mega-sting that causes immediate, excruciating pain, like hundreds of hornet stings, leaving victims incapacitated for weeks. Now scientists are reporting an advance toward deciphering the chemical composition of the venom, with the first identification of a dozen protein building blocks. Their study is in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication. To unlock its secrets, the scientists collected samples of platypus venom and used high-tech analytical instruments to separate and characterize its components. They identified 11 new peptides, or protein subunits, in the venom. Studies using nerve cells suggest that one of these substances, called Heptapeptide 1, is the main agent responsible for triggering pain. The substance appears to work by interacting with certain receptors in the nerve cells, they suggest.

Cosmos Magazine (Sydney, Australia: bi-monthly circulation 25,000)
“Ancient Egyptian make-up was antimicrobial”
January 14, 2010

Elaborate eye make-up worn by Ancient Egyptians not only made for a dramatic look, but also protected against disease, says a new study. Starting 4,000 years ago, Egyptians manufactured the make-up with lead and lead salts in mixtures that sometimes took a month to concoct, said lead author Philippe Walter, of the National Centre for Scientific Research and the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. "The eyes of Egyptians wearing the black eye make-up were [ready] to immediately resist a sudden bacterial contamination with extreme efficiency through the spontaneous action of their own immune cells," says the study, detailed this week in the journal Analytical Chemistry. (Evergreen, Va.: 1.2 million monthly unique users)
“From the ancient Amazonian Indians: A modern weapon against global warming”
January 13, 2010

Scientists are reporting that "biochar" -- a material that the Amazonian Indians used to enhance soil fertility centuries ago — has potential in the modern world to help slow global climate change. Mass production of biochar could capture and sock away carbon that otherwise would wind up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. Their report appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology. The study involved a "life-cycle analysis" of biochar production, a comprehensive cradle-to-grave look at its potential in fighting global climate change and all the possible consequences of using the material. It concludes that several biochar production systems have the potential for being an economically viable way of sequestering carbon — permanently storing it — while producing renewable energy and enhancing soil fertility.

Denver Post (Denver, Colo.: daily circulation 255,452)
“People on the move”
January 14, 2010

The American Chemical Society will honor Donald Macalady, emeritus professor of chemistry and geo chemistry at the Colorado School of Mines, for his research and professional achievements during the society's 239th national meeting in San Francisco in March.

Nanowerk (Honolulu, Hawaii: 70,700 monthly unique users)
“Nanoprobes hit targets in tumors, could lessen chemo side effects”
January 13, 2010

A variety of nanoparticles have shown to be effective in delivering cancer drugs more directly to tumor cells, mitigating the damage to nearby healthy cells. Now, researchers from Purdue University have demonstrated that these nanoparticles are getting their drug payloads to the correct intracellular compartments. Joseph Irudayaraj, Ph.D., and graduate student Jiji Chen have found that gold nanorods coated with the breast cancer drug Herceptin are reaching the endosomes of cells, mimicking the delivery of the drug on its own. Endosomes perform a sorting function to deliver drugs and other substances to the appropriate locations. "We have demonstrated the ability to track these nanoparticles in different cellular compartments of live cells and show where they collect quantitatively," said Dr. Irudayaraj, whose results were published in the journal ACS Nano.

… From the Blogs

NatGeo News Watch (Washington D.C.: 98,100 monthly unique users)
“Ancient Egyptian makeup more than meets the eye”
January 13, 2010

The "magical" eye makeup used by the ancient Egyptians, which actually contained toxic substances, could have helped fight eye infection, say French researchers working on mummies in the Louvre. Originally scientists dismissed that the makeup could have medicinal qualities because the makeup was lead-based, which means it was probably toxic rather than helpful.  However, after testing the substances on human skin cells, the researchers found the substances in the makeup helped the cells produce nitric oxide, which helps jump-start the immune system. Their findings will be presented in the January 15, 2010 issue of an American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry.

Stomach Cancer Online
“New Hope to Prevent Breast Cancer: What Every Woman Needs to Know”
January 13, 2010

In March 2005 a major nutritional breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer was announced by U.S. scientists. This new information is absolutely critical for every woman looking for a more natural way to reduce breast cancer risk. Researchers at Cornell University found that extracts from ordinary apples effectively "inhibited breast cancer growth" in laboratory animals. The study concluded that "consumption of apples may be an effective strategy for Cancer screening." The study, "Apples Prevent breast tumors in rats," was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.