Compound kills off malaria by making infected cells appear as aging red blood cells
By Nick Lavars December 7, 2014
A compound known as (+)-SJ733 has shown promise in tackling the spread of malaria (Photo: Shutterstock)
Though recent research has given hope to the anti-malaria cause, the deadly disease still claims more than half a million lives each year. A study led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis suggests that a certain compound results in the body's immune system treating malaria-infected cells the same way it does aging red blood cells, leading to the parasite becoming undetectable in mice within 48 hours.
The researchers discovered that by targeting a specific protein in the malaria parasite known as ATP4, they could affect change in the infected red blood cells. The reason for this is ATP4 has the important function of regulating the parasite's sodium balance.
Using a compound called (+)-SJ733, which has been established as an anti-malarial drug candidate in previous research, the scientists were able to inhibit the activity of ATP4. This caused infected cells to shrink, become more rigid and change in shape, all characteristics of aging red blood cells.
These symptoms led the body's immune system to identify the cells for destruction, while leaving the healthy cells untouched. In mice, the (+)-SJ733 compound killed off 80 percent of malaria parasites within 24 hours, while after 48 hours it was undetectable.
"These results indicate that SJ733 and other compounds that act in a similar fashion are highly attractive additions to the global malaria eradication campaign, which would mean so much for the world's children, who are central to the mission of St. Jude," says R. Kiplin Guy, Ph.D. and chair of the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics.
The team's work also incorporated the study of another set of antimalarial compounds called spiroindolones. The drugs include NITD246, a compound that has been tested for anti-malaria properties in clinical trials and also focuses on impacting activity of the ATP4 protein. The researchers observed that these drugs had the same effect as (+)-SJ733 on the infected red blood cells.
The findings of the study also indicate that compounds such as these could hinder the development of drug-resistant malaria strains, a factor the researchers say has damaged previous efforts to tackle malaria.
Plans are now in place to test (+)-SJ733 in human trials.
The team's findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Source: St Jude Children's Research Hospital
Bondic takes a "light" approach to sticking things together
By Ben Coxworth December 5, 2014
Bondic comes with its own UV LED
Perhaps you've had one or more of the following experiences when trying to stick items together using super glue: the glue sets before the objects can be properly aligned, it won't set fast enough, or it hardens inside the bottle once it's been opened. Well, Bondic is claimed to have none of those problems. It's described as a "liquid plastic welder" that sets within four seconds, but only once it's been exposed to an included UV light.
First of all, adhesives that are cured using ultraviolet light have indeed been around for some time. They typically require users to supply their own UV light, however, and thus are usually limited to industrial or even medical applications.
By contrast, Bondic comes with its own UV LED that sits on the end of a reusable cartridge filled with the liquid plastic.
The liquid is applied via a needle-type applicator, to items made out of materials including plastic, metal, fiberglass or wood. It can then be worked with until users have got everything set up the way they wish. They then just shine the light on the liquid for four seconds, which is reportedly all that's required to cause it to harden.
Users shine the UV light on the liquid plastic for four seconds, which is reportedly all t...
Along with simply joining things together, this technique also allows successive layers of the plastic to be laid down one on top of another, in order to fill gaps. Once a gap is filled, the hardened plastic can be sanded, polished or painted as needed.
A kit containing one applicator, light, and 4-gram tube of the liquid plastic can be purchased for US$22.
Bondic can be seen in use, in the video
Source: Bondic  via Werd
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