The Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 3, 2000

July 3, 2000
VOL. 29, NO. 30

Urban Health Institute gets the go-ahead
Mice's weight loss is researcher's gain
Urban experts get crash course in city's revitalization efforts
APL launches spin-off company to commercialize software
'Animal, Vegetable and Mineral': natural history manuscripts at Peabody Library
Researchers develop DNA vaccine to protect against measles
In Brief
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Weekly Notices
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Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Reeling in neuromuscular advances
Myasthenia gravis is almost sublime in its simplicity, at least in the context of autoimmune disorders.
   Those with the disease produce antibodies which, acting as a nerve impulse's worst nightmare, attack acetylcholine receptors at neuromuscular junctions. Since these receptors are in essence the conduit for the nerve impulse, myasthenia gravis, left untreated, causes double vision, weakness and fatigue in muscles and joints, and, in severe cases, sufferers may be unable to swallow, move their arms and legs or breathe on their own.
   Fortunately for those afflicted with myasthenia, today it is a very treatable disorder because it is considered the most thoroughly understood of all autoimmune diseases. Ask 20 medical students about the disease on an exam, and you're likely to get 20 correct responses.
   Both myasthenia patients and med students have Daniel Drachman to thank. Full story...

Biology professor's cancer research focus of unique start-up
A Singapore businessman plans to make a multimillion-dollar investment in a groundbreaking new start-up company that will further develop basic cancer treatment research conducted at Johns Hopkins.
   During a visit to the Homewood campus on June 27, Ang Tiong Loi signed a letter of intent to invest in a new company dedicated to developing a group of naturally occurring compounds isolated from creosote bushes that have shown some early signs of promise as cancer treatments.
   Ru Chih Huang, a biology professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and John Gnabre, a postdoctoral fellow, first identified the compounds as potential anti-viral medications. Huang; Jonathan Heller, a graduate student of Huang; and other members of Huang's laboratory have since found evidence, currently in preparation for publication, that the compounds might be useful as cancer treatments. Full story...

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