Archive by category | Odds and ends

More than a Spoonful

Back in December 2006, readers got their first dose of the Spoonful of Medicine blog. Over the last eight years, there’s been a lot of news to dispense—from our reporting in April about experimental Ebola drugs (when much of the world was ignoring the rising outbreak in West Africa) to our look at the ongoing problem of drug shortages and the movement to pressure companies to make cheaper therapies available. We’ve highlighted many of the biggest breakthroughs in biomedical research, and also detailed a few of the ones that went under the radar. Take, for example, our reporting on insights into the tapeworm genome last year, or a study indicating that a diabetes drug could potentially work to treat emphysema. In every instance we went beyond simply reporting the results and tried to give our readers a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underpinning new findings, as well as a level-headed take on what the real implications were for any future medical applications.  Read more

We’re seeking an assistant news editor

Nature Medicine (that’s us!) seeks an assistant news editor to report and edit must-read stories about the fast-changing field of drug development. We are looking for a person with a passion for understanding and communicating biomedical research, who is eager to break new ground with insightful investigative journalism in this area. The responsibilities of the position include writing and editing news content, as well as helping to manage the journal’s robust online presence.  Read more

Intern at Nature Medicine

Have a passion for reporting on biomedical news? We’re currently accepting applications for our science writing internship. The intern will be closely involved in the editorial process and write news articles and briefs. This is not a paper-pushing internship! The person selected for the position will be reporting stories and working on editorial content, including the blog (http://blogs.nature.com/spoonful/).  Read more

Surprising epigenetic switch for ‘natural killer’ cells eyed for cancer therapy

Surprising epigenetic switch for ‘natural killer’ cells eyed for cancer therapy

Natural killer cells are the instant assassins of the immune system with the ability to destroy foreign invaders and cancer cells at first sight. Although scientists have been studying how to harness the lethal abilities of these cells for more than three decades, little has been known about how these ‘NK’ cells develop from unspecialized immune cells. Now, researchers have discovered an enzyme that uses an epigenetic pathway—a process that modifies the way a cell’s DNA is read without actually changing the genetic blueprint itself—to boost the growth and function of NK cells.  Read more

Experimental leishmaniasis vaccine could overcome challenge of multiple species

Experimental leishmaniasis vaccine could overcome challenge of multiple species

Most of the 12 million people currently infected with leishmaniasis worldwide are also afflicted with poverty. The ‘black fever’ is caused by a single-cell parasite that gets passed from one person to another by the bite of a tiny sand fly and produces disfiguring skin lesions, severe mouth and throat ulcers, or swollen internal organs. In 2005, the ministers of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal committed to a ten-year plan to eliminate infections of Leishmania in their region. Two years later, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a resolution to take control of the disease.  Read more