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ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: September 30, 2009

Note to Journalists and Other Viewers

Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Public Affairs Weekly PressPac with news from ACS’ 34 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News.

This information is intended for your personal use in news gathering and reporting and should not be distributed to others. Anyone using advance ACS Office of Public Affairs Weekly PressPac information for stocks or securities dealing may be guilty of insider trading under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Please cite the individual journal, or the American Chemical Society, as the source of this information.

News Items in this Edition

Step forward for nanotechnology: Controlled movement of molecules

Scientists in the United Kingdom are reporting an advance toward overcoming one of the key challenges in nanotechnology: Getting molecules to move quickly in a desired direction without help from outside forces. Their achievement has broad implications, the scientists say, raising the possibility of coaxing cells to move and grow in specific directions to treat diseases. It also could speed development of some long-awaited nanotech innovations. They include self-healing structures that naturally repair tears in their surface and devices that deliver medication to diseased while sparing healthy tissue. The study is scheduled for the October issue of ACS Nano, a monthly journal.

Mark Geoghegan and colleagues note long-standing efforts to produce directed, controlled movement of individual molecules in the nano world,

where objects are about 1/50,000ththe width of a human hair. The main solutions so far have involved use of expensive, complex machines to move the molecules and they have been only partially successful, the scientists say.

The scientists used a special surface with hydrophobic (water repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) sections. The region between the two sections produced a so-called “energy gradient” which can move tiny objects much like a conveyor belt. In lab studies, the scientists showed that plastic nanoparticles (polymer molecules) moved quickly and in a specific direction on this surface. “This could have implications in many technologies such as coaxing cells to move and grow in given directions, which could have major implications for the treatment of paralysis,” the scientists said.


ACS Nano

Scientists in Australia are reporting development and testing in laboratory animals of a potential new material for diagnosing malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Their study is scheduled for the September 10 issue of the ACS’ Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Ivan Greguric and colleagues working within the Cooperative Research Consortium for Biomedical Imaging Develop, an Australian Government funded research group, note that about 130,000 new cases of malignant melanoma occur each year worldwide. Patients do best with early diagnosis and prompt treatment. The positron emission tomography (PET) scans sometimes used for diagnosis sometimes miss small cancers, delaying diagnosis and treatment.

The scientists’ search for better ways of diagnosis led them to a new group of radioactive imaging agents, called fluoronicotinamides, which they tested in laboratory mice that had melanoma. The most promising substance revealed melanoma cells with greater accuracy than imaging agents now in use, the scientists note. As a result, this substance could become a “superior” PET imaging agent for improving the diagnosis and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment of melanoma, they say. Clinical trials with this new agent are now scheduled for 2010.


A potential new imaging agent for early diagnosis of most serious skin cancer

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Melanoma on a patient’s
skin.
(High-resolution version)

Scientists are reporting discovery of a much sought after crack in the armor of a common microbe that infects the stomachs of one-sixth of the world’s population, causing stomach ulcers and other diseases. They identified a group of substances that block a key chemical pathway that the bacteria need for survival. Their study, which could lead to new, more effective antibiotics to fight these hard-to-treat microbes, is scheduled for the October 16 issue of ACS Chemical Biology, a monthly journal.

Javier Sancho and colleagues note in the new study that Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria infect the stomach lining and can cause gastritis and ulcers. Treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics can cure H. pylori infections. However, an estimated one billion people remain infected worldwide because of the cost of existing antibiotics and the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of the bacteria, the researchers say.

The scientists knew from past research that blocking flavodoxin, a key protein that H. pylori needs for survival, could be the key to developing narrow-spectrum antibiotics that specifically target H. pylori. Sancho’s team screened 10,000 chemicals for their ability to block flavodoxin and identified four that showed promise. They then showed that three of the four substances killed H. pylori in cell cultures and did not have any apparent toxic effects in lab animals. “These new inhibitors constitute promising candidates to develop new specific antibiotics against H. pylori,” the study states.


Journal of Medicinal
Chemistry

Scientists in China have discovered that a natural plant hormone, applied to crops, can help plants eliminate residues of certain pesticides. The study is in the current issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Jing Quan Yu and colleagues note that pesticides are essential for sustaining food production for the world’s growing population.

Farmers worldwide use about 2.5 million tons of pesticides each year. Scientists have been seeking new ways of minimizing pesticide residues that remain in food crops after harvest — with little success. Previous research suggested that plant hormones called brassinosteroids (BRs) might be an answer to the problem.

The scientists treated cucumber plants with one type of BR then treated the plants with various pesticides, including chloropyrifos (CPF), a broad-spectrum commercial insecticide. BR significantly reduced their toxicity and residues in the plants, they say. BRs may be “promising, environmentally friendly, natural substances suitable for wide application to reduce the risks of human and environmental exposure to pesticides,” the scientists note. The substances do not appear to be harmful to people or other animals, they add.


Taking sharper aim at stomach ulcer bacteria

Drug companies are sprinting ahead in a race against the clock to deliver millions of doses of vaccine for the H1N1 influenza virus before cooler weather ushers in the 2009-2010 flu season. A two-part cover story in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine, focuses on that topic and efforts to develop antiviral drugs for flu infections.

C&EN senior correspondent Ann Thayer cites World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the world’s population — 2.2 billion people — will be exposed to the H1N1 virus. Although antiviral drugs can help limit the spread of H1N1, a vaccine offers the best means to prevent infection, the article notes.

Although the H1N1 virus just emerged in April, vaccine developers have made an effective vaccine. However, WHO says that only a fraction of the potential supply will be ready for distribution before flu season starts — in October in the Northern Hemisphere. The article describes how at least nine countries have pledged to donate vaccines to help fight the pandemic in developing countries and two vaccine manufacturers have earmarked a portion of their production for developing countries. That generosity will help protect populations that otherwise would not have access to vaccines, the article notes.


ACS Chemical Biology

  • Press releases, briefings, and more from ACS’ 238th National Meeting
    http://www.eurekalert.org/acsmeet.php

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/acslive
  • National Chemistry Week Oct. 18-24, 2009
    Activities will be held in communities around the United States Oct. 18-24 to celebrate National Chemistry Week, the American Chemical Society’s annual showcase of chemistry’s central role in our lives. This year’s theme is “Chemistry—It’s Elemental!” It focuses on chemical elements, which make-up everything on Earth and beyond, from people and plants to stars and other celestial objects a million billion years across the universe. During the week, thousands of students will learn about these building blocks of everything. For more information, including the location of local NCW events, please visit http://www.chemistryweek.org
  • Must-reads from C&EN: Scientists produce key crops with tolerance to drought
    Major food, feed and fiber crops –– such as rice, corn and cotton –– are getting by on much less water thanks to research advances in breeding and basic science that have given them more tolerance to drought. Unlike common crops, these genetically engineered varies remain healthy even when water is in short supply. This drought-fighting success comes at an especially crucial time as global climate brings the possibility of more intense droughts as well as excess rainfall around the world. For a copy of this story: Click here.
  • Writing on Green Chemistry?
    Here is a treasure trove of important scientific research articles published in 2008.
    http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/op900082k

  • ACS pressroom blog
    The American Chemical Society’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) has created a new pressroom blog to highlight prominent research from ACS’ 34 journals.
  • Bytesize Science blog
    Educators and kids, put on your thinking caps: The American Chemical Society has a new blog for Bytesize Science, a science podcast for kids of all ages.
  • ACS satellite pressroom: Daily news blasts on Twitter
    The American Chemical Society’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) new satellite press room has quickly become one of the most popular science news sites on Twitter. To receive press room updates, create a free account at https://twitter.com/signup. Then visit http://twitter.com/ACSpressroom and click the ‘join’ button beneath the press room logo.
  • ACS Press Releases
    Press releases
    on a variety of chemistry-related topics.
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Web site on everyday chemicals
    Whether you want to learn more about caffeine, benzoyl peroxide (acne treatment), sodium chloride (table salt), or some other familiar chemical, CAS Common Chemistry can help. The new Web site provides non-chemists and others with useful information about everyday chemicals by searching either a chemical name or a corresponding CAS Registry Number. The site includes about 7,800 chemicals of general interest as well as all 118 elements from the periodic table, providing alternative names, molecular structures, a Wikipedia link, and other information.
  • Science Connections from CAS
    CAS - Science Connections
    is a series of articles that showcases the value of CAS databases in light of important general-interest science and technology news. Topics range from fruit flies to Nobel Prize winners, the CAS - Science Connections series points to the CAS databases for a more complete understanding of the latest news.

Getting plants to rid themselves of pesticide residues

  • Bytesize Science, a podcast for young listeners
    Bytesize Science is a science podcast for kids of all ages that entertains and educates, with new high-definition video podcasts and some episodes available in Spanish. Subscribe to Bytesize Science in iTunes using iTunes No iTunes? No problem. Listen to latest episodes of Bytesize Science in your web browser.
  • Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions
    This special series of ACS podcasts on some of the 21st Century’s most daunting challenges, and how and how chemists and other scientists are finding solutions. Subscribe at iTunes or listen and access other resources at the ACS web site www.acs.org/GlobalChallenges.
  • Science Elements: Science Elements is a podcast of PressPac contents that makes cutting-edge scientific discoveries from ACS journals available to a broader public audience. Subscribe to Science Elements using iTunes. Listen to the latest episodes of Science Elements in your web browser.
  • SciFinder® Podcasts
    Interested in healthful plant phytochemicals, nanotechnology, or green chemistry? Check out the SciFinder series of podcasts, which explore a vast array of current interest topics and new discoveries in the 21st century. The SciFinder podcasts are available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese.

More ACS News


PressPac information is intended for your personal use in news gathering and reporting and should not be distributed to others. Anyone using advance PressPac information for stocks or securities dealing may be guilty of insider trading under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 154,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Article:
Flu Vaccine Race against the Clock
Part 1
| Part 2