News: In the Ultimate Irony, Zika Virus May Cure Brain Cancer

A deadly type of brain tumor and Zika-related brain damage in developing fetuses are devastating brain conditions that, at first glance, may seem unrelated. However, thanks to new research, their paths seem to cross in a way that could benefit patients. A new study has shown that Zika kills brain cancer stem cells, the kind of cells most resistant to treatment in patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor diagnosed in about 12,000 people in the US each year.

News: Scientists Turn Bacteria into Mini Cyborg Solar Panels

Plants all around us capture sunlight every day and convert it to energy, making them a model of solar energy production. And while the energy they make may serve the needs of a plant, the process isn't efficient enough to generate power on a larger scale. So, scientists from the University of California found a way to treat bacteria with chemicals that turned them into photosynthesis machines, capable of generating products we can convert into food, fuels, and plastics.

News: Monthly Injection Has Potential to Replace Daily Handfuls of HIV Drugs

People infected with HIV take many different types of pills every day to decrease the amount of virus in their body, live a longer and healthier life, and to help prevent them from infecting others. That could all be in the past as new clinical trials testing the safety and effectiveness of a new type of treatment — injections given every four or eight weeks — look to be equally effective at keeping the virus at bay.

News: Researchers Look to Cows to Create Vaccine for HIV

A vaccine against HIV might prevent the disease that we can't seem to cure. Some HIV patients make antibodies that can take down the virus, much the way a vaccine might. But, scientists haven't been able to provoke that type of response in other people. However, in a process that might work in humans, a group of researchers has successfully generated antibodies in cows that neutralize multiple strains of HIV.

News: Starve E Coli of Copper to Cure Aggressive UTIs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) drive over eight million people to seek medical attention every year. Almost all — as many as 90% — of those infections are caused by Escherichia coli. Copper can kill bacteria, but E. coli has found a way to capture the copper, preventing its antibacterial action. Now, researchers have found that, in a cruel irony, the bacteria use the copper it grabs as a nutrient to feed its growth.

News: This Genetic Defect Could Be Why Typhoid Mary Never Got Typhoid Fever

Whether or not a microbe is successful at establishing an infection depends both on the microbe and the host. Scientists from Duke found that a single DNA change can allow Salmonella typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever, to invade cells. That single genetic variation increased the amount of cholesterol on cell membranes that Salmonella and other bacteria use as a docking station to attach to a cell to invade it. They also found that common cholesterol-lowering drugs protected zebrafi...

News: Probiotics Could Cut Sepsis in Infants for Just $1 a Day

Bacteria, viruses and other germs sometimes set off the immune system to overreact, producing a severe condition called sepsis. Sepsis is so dangerous that it is the leading cause of death of children across the world, killing a million kids every year, mostly in developing countries. Probiotic bacteria might be able to prevent sepsis and infections, but no large research studies have been done to find out whether that actually works. Until now.

News: A New Set of Cancer Drugs May Work Against Viruses, Too

How can a drug used to treat cancer be effective against viruses, too? The answer lies in the drug's shared target — specifically, cellular components that control the activity of genes. A new research study showed that one such type of drug, histone methyltransferase inhibitors used in cancer clinical trials, has activity against herpes simplex virus, too.

News: Unexpected Microbial Life in Glacial Clay Could Offer Antibiotic Solutions

For as long as 14,000 years, the First Nations people of the Heitsuk Nation have made their home along the Central Coast of the Canadian province of British Columbia. Among the territory's inlets, islands, rivers, and valleys lie a clay deposit on the north side of Kisameet Bay, near King Island. For as long as most can remember, the tribe has used the clay as medicine. Now science says microbes that live in that clay may have important antibacterial properties.

News: You Don't Need Antibiotics for Pink Eye

Crusty, itchy, red eyes? There is a decent chance you could have conjunctivitis, or pink eye, an infection of the thin lining around the eye and the eyelid, caused by bacteria, an allergen, virus, or even your contact lenses. Whatever the cause — you call up your doctor to get a prescription to clear it up, right? Not really.

News: Replacement Joints with Antibiotics on Board Mean Lower Chance of Infection & Fewer Surgeries

For about a million Americans each year, a joint replacement brings relief from pain and restored mobility. But, 5–10% of those people have to endure another surgery within seven years, and most of those are due to an infection in their new joint. If doctors could treat infections more effectively, patients could avoid a second surgery, more pain, and another rehabilitation.

News: How Calcium Sets Off a C Diff Infection

Unfortunately, the very places we go to receive health care put us at risk for becoming infected with superbugs, bacteria exposed to so many antibiotics that they have become immune to their effects. Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is one such bacteria. It causes inflammation of the colon and rampant diarrhea that can have life-threatening consequences. Part of its virulence lies in the tough spores formed by the bacteria. They are responsible for starting infections in the colon and for spre...

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