Volume 12, Number 1 July 23, 2004

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VIDO helping in quick search for SARS vaccine

Promising new SARS vaccine candidates developed in part by the Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) have entered testing, just 14 months after the disease triggered a global health crisis, the U of S reported in May.

“These vaccine prototypes represent a year of dramatic, rapid progress toward solutions for SARS, which remains a major global human health threat,” says VIDO Director Lorne Babiuk. The vaccine project is a collaboration among VIDO, McMaster University, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and UBC.

Researchers get $1.3m to study osteoporosis

U of S researchers have received $1.3 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study whether exercise and a soy-based nutritional supplement can prevent osteoporosis, it was announced July 7.

The combination may also reduce cholesterol levels and menopausal symptoms.

“Exercise is often recommended to prevent bone loss, but most studies suggest that the effectiveness of exercise alone in preserving bone mineral density is small,” says U of S kinesiologist Philip Chilibeck, who heads the study. “This suggests that exercise should be combined with other osteoporosis treatments to increase bone mineral.”

81 research projects get $8.7 million

Over the next five years, 81 U of S research projects will get $8.7 million in operating grants and equipment from NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council).

The projects will address challenges as diverse as manipulating robots in space, increasing the efficiency of meat and milk production in ruminant animals such as cows and sheep, and reducing antibiotic use in the poultry industry.

A list of successful U of S projects with a brief description of each is available at: www.nserc.ca/programs/result/2004/rg/sask.htm.

Broccoli may boost body’s defences

Compounds in broccoli may supercharge the body’s ability to mop up free radicals and so protect against high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, according to research led by U of S health scientist Bernhard Juurlink, recently published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

“Nearly all the studies to date have focused on the protective effects of these substances against cancer,” said Juurlink, head of the U of S department of anatomy and cell biology. “This study is the first to show that broccoli sprouts rich in these compounds, through raising the antioxidant and thereby the anti-inflammatory capacities of cells, can correct major dysfunctions such as hypertension and stroke.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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