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November 2014

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Focus on:
Mimicking ‘Good' Cholesterol to Fight Heart Disease and Stroke

To combat atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque buildup in the arteries can cause heart attacks and strokes, researchers are looking for new ways to target and remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol, from the body.

A team of researchers at TSRI have created a synthetic molecule that mimics “good” cholesterol and have shown it can reduce plaque buildup in the arteries of animal models. The molecule, taken orally, improved cholesterol in just two weeks and could lead to the development of new therapies to treat atherosclerosis.

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“This research clears a big step toward clinical implementation of new therapies,” says Professor M. Reza Ghadiri (center).

TSRI's collaborative approach to research is helping us treat and cure conditions like heart disease and antibiotic resistance that affect millions around the world each day. Please help us continue this groundbreaking work.

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“This is the prototype of analogues that, once introduced, will still be in clinical use a generation or maybe even two generations from now,” says Professor Dale L. Boger, shown here with Assistant Professor Akinori Okano.

milestones in medical science:
Modifying an Antibiotic to Vanquish Resistant Bacteria

More than two million people are infected by drug-resistant germs, as bacteria are quick to develop resistance and only two new antibiotics have been approved since 2009.

Now, however,
a team of TSRI scientists has devised a new antibiotic – based on the existing antibiotic vancomycin – that is powerfully effective against vancomycin-resistant strains of MRSA and other disease-causing bacteria. Plus, the new vancomycin analog appears to have not one, but two, distinct mechanisms of anti-microbial action, meaning bacteria probably cannot quickly evolve resistance against it.

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TSRI Assistant Professor Sathyanarayanan V. Puthanveettil

Other News:
A Gene Linked to Huntington's Disease is Critical in Memory Development

It has been more than 20 years since scientists discovered that mutations in the gene huntingtin cause the devastating progressive neurological condition Huntington's disease, which eventually results in the loss of the ability to walk, talk, and reason. However, surprisingly little has been known about the gene's role in normal brain activity.

Now,
a study from scientists at Scripps Florida and Columbia University shows how it plays a critical role in long-term memory.

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Six TSRI Graduate Students Named ARCS Scholars

Six TSRI graduate students have received Scholar Awards from the San Diego chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation, a national organization dedicated to advancing science in the United States through grants to the best and brightest U.S. citizens pursuing degrees in science, engineering, or medical research. The program is funded through corporate, foundation, and individual donors. Since 1997, the ARCS Foundation has awarded $847,500 to TSRI students.

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facts & figures

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and by 2020 it is projected to be the leading cause of death throughout the world.

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