The Meningitis Dream Team

Contributed by: Yanlin Zi and Kayleigh Clermont

Introduction

Meningitis is a serious disease that leads to the inflammation of spinal cord and brain membrane. There are several different causes for meningitis. If meningitis is a sport league, then bacterial meningitis is the all-star team in this league. Bacterial meningitis has multiple players, each holding a different position. In this blog, we will examine the two star players on this team: pneumococcal bacteria and meningococcal bacteria. Each member is normally a harmless inhabitant on the surface of the human body until something goes terribly wrong. Somehow, the bacteria devises a way to enter into the body and proceeds to infect the host with life-threatening results. Continue reading “The Meningitis Dream Team”

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Fecal Transplants’ Effects on the Gut Microbiome

Contributed by: Chelsey Skeete, Sophia Noble, and Emily Ursini

Treatment History

While attempting to help a patient, the idea of fecal transplant as a solution to her gastrointestinal issues came to a doctor. A woman developed a gut disorder and during her treatment in a hospital, she contracted a ​Clostridium difficile ​infection which caused recurring diarrhea. She attempted to treat it with different probiotics for 6 months, but

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Figure 1:​ Stained gram-positive and spore forming ​Clostridium difficile
(​source​)

saw no improvements. She then went to see Lawrence Brandt, the Chief of Gastroenterology ​Albert Einstein College’s Montefiore Medical Center. Brandt thought that if he could re-introduce the essential bacteria into her colon that she lost while hospitalized. The microbes from someone with a healthy colon would supplant the ​C. difficile​ bacteria that had taken control of her colon. After obtaining the donor specimen from her husband, the patient brought it to Brandt before the procedure. He then mixed it with saline solution and, using a colonoscope, put 200 mL of the solution at 10 cm
intervals along the colon. Within a few hours of the procedure, the patient said she was already feeling better. Since then, more procedures have been done and have continued to yield positive results. There has been hesitancy from some professionals in performing fecal transplants because if donor samples aren’t properly sterilized, this could lead to increases in the transmission of other diseases such as hepatitis or AIDS (3). Continue reading “Fecal Transplants’ Effects on the Gut Microbiome”

Virotherapy: A New Era in Cancer Treatment

Contributed by: Rafat Quazi, Elizabeth Spyrou, and Michaela Sorrell

Virotherapy1

As the second leading cause of death globally, cancer poses a significant threat to our society and has left researchers continuously searching for promising treatment options. As early as the beginning of the 20th century, viruses have been considered as tools for targeting cancer cells, although intensive research on the topic did not begin until recently. At this time only one oncolytic virus has been approved for use in the US, but recent increases in the understanding of virology, as well as significant advancements in the field of genetic engineering have drawn more interest and promise to this potentially therapeutic approach.

Continue reading “Virotherapy: A New Era in Cancer Treatment”