A chemical decathlon

  • Fish oil fights weight loss due to chemotherapy – A new analysis has found that supplementing the diet with fish oil may prevent muscle and weight loss that commonly occurs in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that fish oil may help combat cancer-related malnutrition.
  • Free radicals may be good for you – Fear of free radicals may be exaggerated, according to scientists from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. A new study, published in the Journal of Physiology, shows that free radicals act as signal substances that cause the heart to beat with the correct force.
  • Stretched Rubber Offers Simpler Method For Assembling Nanowires – Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a cheap and easy method for assembling nanowires, controlling their alignment and density. The researchers hope the findings will foster additional research into a range of device applications using nanowires, from nanoelectronics to nanosensors, especially on unconventional substrates such as rubber, plastic and paper.
  • Fingerprints of a gold cluster revealed – Nanometer-scale gold particles are currently intensively investigated for possible applications in catalysis, sensing, photonics, biolabeling, drug carriers and molecular electronics. The particles are prepared in a solution from gold salts and their reactive gold cores can be stabilized with various organic ligands.
  • Drug to fight tumors also fights the flu and possibly other viruses – There's new hope for flu-free winters in the years to come thanks to a new discovery by researchers who found that a drug called DMXAA, originally developed as anti-tumor agent, enhances the ability of flu vaccines to ward off this deadly virus. This discovery was published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
  • Compound Useful for Studying Birth Defects May Also Have Anti-Tumor Properties – In an interesting bit of scientific serendipity, researchers at North Carolina State University have found that a chemical compound useful for studying the origins of intestinal birth defects may also inhibit the growth and spread of cancerous tumors.
  • New peptide could be effective treatment for triple negative breast cancer – A new leptin receptor antagonist peptide developed by researchers at Temple University has demonstrated efficacy against triple negative breast cancer.
  • Researchers develop curious snapshot of powerful retinal pigment and its partners – In a Journal of Biological Chemistry "Paper of the Week," a Berlin-based research team reports that it has uncovered surprising new details about a key protein-protein interaction in the retina that contributes to the exquisite sensitivity of vision. Additionally, they say, the proteins involved represent the best-studied model of how other senses and countless other physiological functions are controlled.
  • Catalyst cleans up C-C bond formation – Researchers in the US have developed an iridium catalyst that promotes carbon-carbon bond formation between methanol and allenes. The process enables direct conversion of methanol to higher alcohols, with no byproducts.
  • Protein nanotubes trap viruses – Japanese researchers have used nanotubes made from human blood proteins to trap hepatitis B virus (HBV). They say their work lays the foundations for a new chemistry of protein-based nanotubes with biomedical applications.

Robert Slinn selects ten from the latest chemistry news for Reactive Reports.