News of Note—Designing a universal flu vaccine; detecting pancreatic cancer in blood

NIH scientists are testing new approaches to preventing the flu.

Making strides towards a universal flu vaccine

Scientists from the Vaccine Research Center at the NIH have discovered that by targeting the “stem” domain of the flu virus—rather than the highly variable “head” domain, as current vaccines do—they can induce a broad immune response against multiple strains of the virus. They believe the discovery, published in the journal Science Immunology, could inform efforts to develop a universal vaccine. (Science Immunology)

Detecting pancreatic cancer early

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and the Mayo Clinic have identified two biomarkers in blood that can be used to detect the presence of pancreatic cancer. They believe their discovery could be turned into a blood test for the early detection and diagnosis of the disease in people deemed to be at high risk based on family history. (University of Pennsylvania)

New insight into HIV could yield fresh drug targets

NIH researchers have figured out that when HIV binds to the surface of a cell, it activates a protein called TMEM 16F, which allows it to infect the cells. They showed they could block this process chemically, thereby preventing the virus from invading the cell. This could lead to new drug targets in HIV, they believe. (NIH)