Nanoparticle Influenza Immunogens Provide Broader Protection 💉🦠🔬
Researchers primarily from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and University of Washington designed a nanoparticle vaccine to elicit stem-directed neutralizing antibodies. They are aiming to develop a universal flu vaccine and hope that the nanoparticle immunogen can play a large role in its development.
Non-nutritive Sweeteners May Promote Antibiotic Resistance 🦠💊🧬
A team of researchers from The University of Queensland investigated if alternative sweeteners promoted plasmid-mediated conjugative transfer in both environmental and clinical settings.
MIT Researchers Identify Mutations Key to Antibiotic Resistance 🔬🧬💊
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) identified a class of mutations that aid bacteria in developing resistance. While antibiotic resistance is a natural process, at times, and necessary for the survival of some bacteria, the misuse and overuse of antibiotics creates more of a danger of a large variety of diseases.
Cone Snail Venom Shows Promise as Malaria Treatment 🐌💊🦠
A team of researchers from Florida Atlantic University published about the effectiveness of conotoxins as a treatment for malaria. From hundreds of species, the researchers were able to identify the venom from the Conus nux sea snail as having ideal conditions for blockade-therapy for malaria.
Epigenetic Therapy Boosts T-Cells to Kill Cancer Cells 🧬🧫🦠
Researchers from Princess Margaret Cancer Center developed a method to create “super soldiers” of white blood cells to boost the immune system's anti-tumor response. They hope that transforming T-cells can boost the body’s natural response mechanisms used to defend against cancer cells and benefit those who do not respond as expected to immunotherapy.
3D Structure of Eye-Lens Protein 👁 🧪🔬
Researchers from Goethe University found that chemical bonds within the eye-lens protein gamma-B crystallin hold the protein together and are therefore important for the function of the protein within the lens. If the dense packing of the protein cannot be maintained, for example due to hereditary changes in the crystallines, the result is lens opacities, known as cataracts, which are the most common cause of vision loss worldwide.
Using Sound to Induce Methylation Changes in Plants 🌱🧬🔊
A team of scientists at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, proved that sound can cause physiological changes through epigenetic modifications in plants. They exposed plants to the sound frequency observed when a natural pathogen of those plants, Ralstonia solanacearum, chews on their leaves, without letting the pathogen chew on that plant. As a control, they also set up a plant that was being chewed upon by R. solanacearum. They measured the methylation and acetylation (forms of epigenetic modifications), before and after the exposure to the sound frequency, and the pathogen itself, respectively.
New Antiviral Drug Identified for COVID-19 Treatment 💊💉🔬
A team of researchers from the University of Nottingham have identified a plant based antiviral drug, named thapsigargin, triggers a highly effective broad-spectrum host-centered antiviral innate immune response against COVID-19 and two other major types of respiratory viruses. Thapsigargin is a naturally occurring compound isolated from the umbelliferous plant Thapsia garganica.
Your Virtual Bioengineering Lab From Across The Globe 🌐🧫🧬
Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center, home to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, provides a myriad of biological animations and videos online. These bioinformatics videos allow for a whole new era of learning to emerge. Until the recent production of these videos, it has been extremely difficult to find a reliable and efficient step by step tutorial on biotechnology lab techniques. Whether you’re a new student eager to learn the ropes, or an experienced professor looking to review some processes, these educational resources can provide an abundant amount of accurate information.
Common Antidepressant Could Represent First Disease-Modifying Treatment for Osteoarthritis💊🦴🦵🏽
Research headed by scientists at Penn State College of Medicine has found that the antidepressant paroxetine can stop the progression of osteoarthritis, and regenerate damaged cartilage in the joints of mice.
A Recipe For Regenerating Bioengineered Hair🧫🧬💇♀️
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research in Japan have discovered a recipe for continuous cyclical regeneration of cultured hair follicles from hair follicle stem cells.
Monoclonal Antibodies Authorized for Treatment of COVID-19💉📄🦠
The U.S Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Eli Lilly and AbCellera's monoclonal antibody, etesevimab and bamlanivimab for the treatment of COVID-19. A monoclonal antibody is a protein made in-vitro that acts like antibodies in the human immune system. A monoclonal antibody is designed to bind to a single substance.
Gene-Based Blood Test Can Show Skin Cancer Treatment Process 💉🦠🧬
Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Perlmutter Cancer Center developed a gene-based blood test to detect levels of freely circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) within patients who are receiving a drug treatment for metastatic melanoma. Researchers also noted a BRAF gene mutation linked with the cancer allowed some individuals to live twice as long without any cancer growth.
Researchers Create Lab-Grown Brain Using CRISPR 🧫🧠🧬
Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland created small brain-like “organoids” with gene variants from human relatives, Neanderthals and Denisovans. The organoids were made by engineering human stem cells with genes that were common to Neanderthals and humans.
CRISPR Technology Targets the Human Genome’s Complex Code🧬🧫🔬
A new genome-editing tool has been created by scientists at Rice University using CRISPR technology that aims at the nucleus’s sustaining players that carry out DNA packaging and help gene expression. This opens frontiers to novel treatment approaches for cancer and other diseases.
Researchers Develop Method to ‘Flip’ Immune Response in IBD🔬🦠💊
IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease) is a term used to describe two conditions - crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. IBD can be debilitating and can lead to life threatening complications. Immune response to IBD is incorrect in response to some environmental triggers which causes the immune system to attack the tissues that line the gut causing inflammation of the gut.
Freeze-Dried Vaccines that can be Rehydrated on Demand 🧊💉🥶
As Covid-19 vaccines roll-out across the country, the logistics of vaccine distribution are proving to be extremely challenging. Despite months of development and trials, these vaccines can still be tripped at the finish line by refrigerators. Once removed from refrigeration, Covid-19 vaccine doses must be administered within a small window of time before they spoil. Now, biochemical engineers have designed a method to freeze-dry essential components of vaccine that can then be rehydrated with a drop of water and administered on-demand at their final destination in just one hour.
CRISPR Offers Powerful Antiviral Protection & Detection of RNA Viruses🧬🔬🦠
Scientists believed that CRISPR effectors could be repurposed to help in defending human cells against both DNA & RNA viruses. Previous studies have shown that CRISPR-Cas13 possesses the ability to efficiently target and to cleave the RNA in several model systems, including the human cells.
The Most Advanced Artificial Human Heart has been Approved for Sale in Europe 🦾🩸❤️
Called the Aeson, the 900-gram device is powered by batteries and relies on sensor and biological materials to detect exactly which functions must be performed at any given moment. The firm Carmat has been working on this artificial heart for decades in response to the rising rates of heart disease across the world, which claims around 26 million lives per year. This artificial heart raises the hope for those awaiting transplants.
Fecal Microbiota Transplants Improve Response to Immunotherapy Drugs💩🦠💊
A new study by a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, part of the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with investigators from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh suggests that adjusting the composition of microorganisms in the intestines (the gut microbiome) through the use of stool or fecal transplants may help patients with cancer that do not respond to immunotherapy drugs. These transplants may potentially help these patients respond to these immunotherapy drugs.
Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer, and the Potential Mechanism that May be Key to Cancer Resistance 🧬🧪🦠
A new study from the University at Buffalo and University of California, Berkeley shows that elephants possess extra copies of a wide variety of genes associated with tumor suppression. Elephants have lots and lots of extra copies of tumor suppressor genes, and they all might contribute to cancer resistance. Though many elephant relatives also harbor extra copies of tumor suppressor genes, the scientists found that elephant genomes possess some unique duplications that may contribute to tumor suppression through genes involved in DNA repair; resistance to oxidative stress; cellular growth, aging and death.
Bacteria Produces Tissue-Healing Toxins🦠🧫🔬
Researchers reported in the journal Cell Reports that the cells and tissue-damaging toxic cocktail from Staphylococcus aureus have positive effects as well. The bacterial toxin stimulates specific immune cells, which in turn produces specialized messenger substances that reduce inflammation and promote healing of tissue.
New Stem-Cell Therapy Technique Developed for Dogs 🔬🧬🐕
A research team from Japan's Osaka Prefecture University successfully designed a method for generation of canine iPSCs from canine blood samples. iPSCs are a type of stem cell which are produced from already differentiated mature cells by introducing a specific set of genes into them. These iPSCs have the potential to differentiate into various cell types and can proliferate very rapidly providing a reliable supply of stem cells which can be used for regenerative therapies against chronic conditions in dogs.
Beer – Humanity’s First Biotechnology Venture🍻🔬🦠
Researchers from Edith Cowan University are now using a precision technique called Mass Spectrometry to measure the proteins in beer. It has been found that the protein components in the grain called barley are responsible for most of the flavor, however proteins also interact with other small molecules to produce haze, which is generally undesirable in a lager. This technology can help to make sure food is safe and sustainable and tastes good.
MIT uses Natural Language Processing to Analyze Viral Mutations 💻🦠💉
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published a paper on using algorithms to predict viral mutations to better develop treatments or vaccines. They used natural language processing (NLP) to model viral escape using machine-learning and hopefully predict how a virus can mutate in the immune system before it actually does.
UFC Looks into Psychedelic Drugs as Potential Therapy for Fighters🥊🧠🍄
After recent research from Johns Hopkins University on psychedelic drugs and their therapeutic potential, the UFC is looking to get involved with the research to use psychedelic drugs as a therapy for fighters’ brain health.
Observing Viral Infection in Real-Time Using Microfluidic Devices🦠🧬🔬
Scientists have discovered a novel technique to observe viral infection in real-time – the method utilizes microfluidics – the submillimeter control of fluids within a specific, geometric framework. Chemical engineers from Michigan Technological University have been capable of controlling viruses in a microfluidic device utilizing electric fields – which is primarily tricked-out of the microscope slide. The study released in the journal Langmuir looks at variations in the cell membrane and offers scientists a more clear concept of how antivirals function in a cell to stop the viral spread.
Rapamycin Regimens Late in Life Appear to Extend Lifespan in Male Mice, but not Female 💊🐁🧬
Life expectancy differences between males and females point to variations in aging. How these aging related differences tie into responsiveness to compounds that combat aging remains a mystery. Researchers from the Jackson Laboratory found that late-life rapamycin dosage extended mouse lifespan in sex-specific manners.
Chemotherapeutic Drug Delivery using DNA-Based Nanogels 👨🔬🔬🧬
In a breakthrough, researchers reporting in ACS’ Nano Letters have designed DNA-Based Nanogels that can be used for selective drug delivery in cancerous cells. These nanogels break down only in cancerous cells releasing the chemotherapeutic drug. These nanogels work due to a repair enzyme called FEN1 that cuts certain parts of DNA. This enzyme is found in all cells however it is present in large amounts in cancerous cells. Special DNA structures were used to make these nanogels that FEN1 could recognize and cut. This technique was used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs doxorubicin and vinorelbine to breast cancer cells and it was found that human breast cancer cells died at a higher rate than healthy breast cells which indicates that this technique can be effectively used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs with high specificity with a reduced risk of side effects.
Origami with DNA for study of T-cells 🧫🧬🧪
Researchers at TU Wien used artificial membrane along with DNA origami technique to be able to study the interaction between the T-cells and the antigen-presenting cells in detail. There was some evidence that the spatial distance between antigens plays an important role in T-cell activation. The researchers built a rectangular DNA platform to which one can fix an antigen. By cleverly designing single strands that only fit together in certain sections, they connected several double helices with each other and thus created complicated structures. This DNA rectangle was placed on the artificial membrane and it moved there like a raft. This technique is called DNA origami.
How SARS-CoV-2 Damages Lung Cells Within Hours🧫🦠🧪
A team of researchers has developed one of the most extensive maps of the molecular activities triggered inside these cells at the beginning of the COVID-19 infection, as a result of months of multidisciplinary research studies examining several lung cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2.
“Cancer-on-a-Chip”: New Method for Testing Immunotherapy Drugs Useful in Treating Breast Cancer.🎗🧬🧫
Researchers from LA based Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation have successfully designed a method to recognize and test large number of potential immunotherapy drugs against live tumors.
Variants of Drug Metabolizing Gene Identified 💊🔬🧬
A CCMB (CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology) research team studied the diversity of the cytochrome-P450-2C9 (CYP269) gene among 1488 Indians across 36 population groups representing different linguistic groups, castes and tribes. The CYP269 gene encodes for the enzyme CYP269. The team also discovered 8 new variants of the gene making a total of 11 variants of the gene across South Asia. Additionally, they found that a few Indian populations have more than 20% people with a deleterious variant of the gene.
Engineered Cartilage Releases Anti-inflammatory Drug to Take Care of Joint Stress🦵🏽💊🧫
Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease for which there are no available drugs to modify it. The disease may ultimately result in the patient requiring a total joint replacement, when the diseased and degraded cartilage and surrounding joint tissues cause so much pain and loss of function that the condition becomes incapacitating. Like the touch sensor on a smartphone, cartilage cells sense when stress is being applied, and the inflammation associated with the excessive stress of arthritis causes cartilage to break down.
Promising New Drug Candidate Against COVID-19🔬👨🔬💊
A research team led by UCSF molecular biologists has identified a promising drug candidate against COVID-19, an anti-cancer drug which reportedly kills the novel coronavirus in lab studies and was shown to be 30 times more potent than Remdesivir which is one of the few antiviral drugs being used to treat COVID-19.
New Ultra-Sensitive Rapid Hepatitis B Test💉🔬🧬
Scientists have developed a new Hepatitis B test, which detects the ‘HBsAg’ or Hepatitis B virus surface antigen in the blood plasma. Both acute and chronic cases of Hepatitis B Viral diseases are diagnosed this way. Normally, there are 2 types of HBV tests – RDTs (Rapid Diagnostic Tests) and EIAs (Enzyme Immunoassays). While EIAs are extremely sensitive but expensive, RDTs are less sensitive and more affordable, resulting in laboratories with poor resources using the latter even for blood sample screening before transfusion. The RDTs are also easy to use, enabling untrained individuals to work with them. EIAs, on the other hand, demand skill.
TALEN Gains Traction In Gene Editing After Outperforming CRISPR 🧬🔬🧑🔬
Researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) tested the gene editing efficiency of TALEN and CRISPR on heterochromatin, allowing some researchers to argue that it can be a better technique for hard-to-edit regions of the genome.
Genetically Modified Mosquitoes – Key to Stopping Zika Virus🦟🦠🧬
Researchers at the University of Missouri genetically modified mosquitoes to be resistant to Zika virus. Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. In 2016, the World Health Organization called the Zika virus epidemic a 'public health emergency of international concern' due to the virus causing birth defects for pregnant women in addition to neurological problems.
Zebrafish Used to Study Spinal Deformities in Humans🔬🐟👨🔬
The embryonic tissue of a zebrafish is transparent, which enables researchers to see what is going on inside. Normally, zebrafish's spine patterns give the appearance of stripes. It's development is precisely controlled by segmentation genes. In this study, zebrafish embryos were used to study a gene mutation which is the cause behind scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs in humans just before puberty. Zebrafish and humans share about 70% of the same genes.
Seaweed-Based Bioplastics from Red Algae🦠🔬🧫
A breakthrough in the plastic industry has been made by NIOT (National Institute of Ocean Technology) by developing a bio-plastic film from macroalgae & PEG-3000. This innovation will potentially scale down the consumption of plastics that are non-biodegradable.
Cabenuva: The First Long-Acting HIV Treatment🧬🧪💉
The first long-acting drug combination for HIV, to be administered monthly after the successful approval from the United States regulators. Thursday’s authorization of the two-shot combination, referred to as Cabenuva, is anticipated to make it less complicated for individuals to follow proper medication as well as to give more privacy.
Researchers Develop a Thermoplastic Biomaterial for Medical Applications 🔬👨🔬💉
Researchers at the University of Birmingham and Duke University have successfully designed a polyester based biomaterial which enables them to control that rate at which it degrades along with its mechanical properties. Biological tissues are synthetic with varying elasticity which makes it considerably difficult to design biomaterials which have the right physical characteristics and can also degrade in the body as the chemistry used to develop a material's mechanical properties will also effect the rate of degradation.
New Oncolytic Virus-Based Treatment Effectively Treats Pancreatic Cancer💉🦠🔬
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Zhengzhou University have developed a powerful therapeutic platform that uses a modified Vaccinia virus (VV) for treating pancreatic cancer (PaCa). Pancreatic cancer is the seventh leading cause of cancer death worldwide, which also has the lowest survival rate of all the common cancers, with less than 7% of patients surviving for five years or more.
Plant Genome Editing Using a Newly Derived CRISPR-Cas9 Tool🧫🧬🔬
The first CRISPR-Cas9 tool that started the gene-editing trend was linked to targeting a certain short sequence of DNA referred to as a PAM sequence, which CRISPR normally uses to recognize where to make their molecular cuts in DNA. Nevertheless, the new SpRY variant can move past these conventional PAM sequences in ways which impossible earlier.
Prospect of a Nanotherapy Based Cure for Liver Fibrosis 💊🦠🧪
Liver cirrhosis, which starts as liver fibrosis (scarring) is a considerable cause of morbidity and death worldwide. Without any licensed antifibrotic therapies and availability of liver transplants being limited, it usually leads to death. However, due to recent developments in biotechnology and medicine, there has been an increasing prospect in the use of naturally occurring peptide hormone human-relaxin 2 (RLX) as a possible therapeutic agent. RLX is vasodilatory, promotes tissue remodeling and is anti-fibrotic across major organs.
T Cells to Fight Malignant Tumors Even After Their Exhaustion by Deleting a Specific Gene 🧬🔬💉
CD8+ T Cells often called as the Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes are very important for the tumor surveillance and immune defense responses. According to a new study led by UT Southwestern Researchers, CD8+ T cells can continue to fight malignant tumors by eliminating a single gene called Cbl-b, which is more upregulated in the exhausted cells. This can demonstrate a new way to fight cancer through body's immune system.
Researchers Design Synthetic Phages to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance🔬💉🧬🦠
Antibiotic resistance is one of the major concerns in the world of medicine and pharmacology. Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon where microbes develop mechanisms that protect them from the effects of an antimicrobial agent. In a time where antibiotic resistance is becoming a major problem, genetically engineered bacteriophages are emerging as a promising therapeutic approach to deal with this problem. This innovative use of phages to treat bacterial infections (phage therapy) was conceived almost a century back by Felix d'Herelle however it's real power emerged only recently due to the rise of multi-antibiotic resistant pathogens.
Effects of Growth Molecules Exuded by Oral Bacteria Assessed by Researchers 🔬🦷🦠
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have discovered a one sided relationship between a friendly bacteria, Veillonella parvula and an oral pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis.
MIT Researchers Develop Model To Predict Viral Mutations 🔬👨🔬💉🧬
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a technique to model viral escape using models that were originally developed to model language. Basically, the model will be used to determine which sections of the viral surface proteins including those of HIV, SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza are more likely to mutate in a way that would enable the virus to evade the human immune system and escape. Additionally, this model can be used to identify sections that have low possibility of mutation, thereby making them good targets for vaccines.
DNA sequencing in space; a promising technology for extraterrestrial life detection 🧬 🌌 🪐
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have confirmed the ability to sequence at Mars as well as near Europa and at lower g levels, demonstrating the functionality of updated chemistry and sequencing protocols under parabolic flight, thus revealing consistent performance across various g levels. The work strengthens the use case for nanopore sequencing in dynamic environments on Earth and in space, including as part of the search for nucleic-acid based life beyond Earth.
Androgen Therapy For Breast Cancer Shows Promise In Preliminary Study 🎀 🧫 💊
Researchers from Adelaide Medical School in Australia studied the effect of androgen-receptor activating drugs on tumor growth. Using mice with implanted tumors from breast cancer patients, the team concluded that androgen therapy could be a potential therapeutic to fight breast cancer.
Moderna Unveils Plans for Multiple Infectious Disease Vaccine Programs 💉🦠🌎
On January 11, Moderna announced three new infectious disease vaccine development programs. The company plans to add a vaccine for the flu, HIV, and Nipah virus into their pipeline within the coming year. Currently the company has 24 ongoing programs with 13 that have entered the clinic.
Paralyzed Mice Walk Again with Designer Cytokine 🧬 🐁 🧠
A research team at Ruhr-University Bochum succeeded in getting mice to walk again, after a complete cross-sectional injury using gene therapy. The nerve cells produced the curative protein themselves.
Use of miR-146a to Tackle Ventilator – Induced Lung Injuries in COVID Patients 🧬🩺
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) occurs in patients with pneumonia, sepsis or even COVID and is the main cause of pulmonary edema. Supportive care with mechanical ventilators (MV) is the standard care for ARDS patients but the pressure used to inflate the lungs is likely to cause further lung damage. It’s invasive in nature and doctors view it as a last resort.
Cancer Cells Hibernate to Survive Chemotherapy Drugs💉💊🧬
It is an unfortunate fact that, regardless of available treatments, cancer has the ability to reoccur after several years of diagnosis. This could be because some cancer cells tends to enter into a hibernation-like state called dormancy to survive when a threat like chemotherapy begins to attack them.
TU Delft’s Research Team Set up Artificial Chromosomes In Yeast 🧫🧬🔬
Researchers from TU Delft have created a synthetic chromosome in yeast. These artificial chromosomes can synchronize with the innate chromosomes of the yeast as well as provide a means to easily and safely incorporate new beneficial functions to the microbe.
InStrain: The New Genetic Analysis Program that Detects Differences between Familial Microbial Germ Lines🦠🧬🧪
Previous technologies, such a 16s RNA, have been used as a means to analyze the biodiversity of the microbiome. The detection of genotypic and phenotypic variation among microbial cells is vital when diagnosing and treating most diseases. InStrain is a new genetic analysis program that uses previously obtained metagenomic data to detect phenotypic differences between microbial cell germ lines.
Capsaicin, a Chemical Which Makes Peppers Spicy, May Play Vital Role in Optimizing Solar Panels 🌶☀️🔋
Researchers from East China Normal University in Shanghai treated solar panels with capsaicin, the compound in peppers that make them hot, to better convert solar energy.
Scientists Use CRISPR to Program Living Cells to Store Data 🧬🧫💽
Researchers from the Wang Lab in Columbia University Medical School developed a strategy to encode digital data into the genomes of living cells without in-vitro DNA synthesis. Data recording in vivo by electrical stimulation (DRIVES) aims to use electrical signals to essentially “copy and paste” code directly from a computer to living cells.
mRNA Vaccines Could Kill Covid Today, and Cancer Tomorrow 💉🧪🦠
The mRNA vaccines being developed to fight COVID-19 may be able to defeat cancer and other diseases. These vaccines instruct the body to make offending proteins, and in the case of COVID-19, ones that wrap around viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2. The immune system then homes in on these antigens, practicing for the day when the same proteins show up with the coronavirus attached. mRNA can tell our cells to make whatever protein we want, including the antigens of many other diseases besides COVID-19.
Cell-Cultured Meat Proven to Offer Enhanced Nutrition Compared to Conventional Meat 🧫🥩🥕
Tufts University researchers have genetically engineered cow muscle cells to produce plant nutrients not natively found in beef cells. The team coaxed bovine cells into producing beta carotene—a provitamin typically found in carrots and tomatoes. They demonstrated that cell-cultured meat might be able to surpass the nutritional profile of conventionally farmed meat.
A Multicolor Brain Atlas to Study Neural Networks🎆 🧠🔬
A novel coloring technique known as NeuroPAL (a Neuronal Polychromatic Atlas of Landmarks) has been engineered by scientists at Columbia University making it possible to identify every single neuron in the brain of a worm.
Cancer Patient Undergoes Legal Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy 🦠🍄🧠
The New Year’s Day session at a southeast Calgary home is the first federally sanctioned intervention with the still-illicit active ingredient, psilocybin. But for Tony White, who’s battling stage 4 bladder cancer, that dose of mushrooms represents an abrupt lightening of a physical and emotional burden.
Novel Blood Test can Detect Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease 💉🩸🧠
A research team from Ruhr-University Bochum developed a blood test that can predict the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in individuals that have not been diagnosed with the disease but still show signs of cognitive imparity.
Octopus-Inspired Artificial Muscle Can Change Color and Shape Depending on Light 🐙💪💡
Researchers from Rutgers University have created a 3D-printed smart gel that changes shape when exposed to light. The material was inspired by a class of mollusks, cephalopods (squids, octopi, or cuttlefish to name a few), that have chromatophores on their skin that allows them to change its color and pattern.
‘Invisible’ Stem Cells Evade Natural Killer Cells Using Immune ‘Off-Switch’ 🧫🧪🚫
Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco have discovered a new way to control the immune system’s ‘natural killer’ (NK) cells. The findings hold promise for novel cell therapies, tissue implants that can evade immune rejection, and could also be used to enhance the ability of cancer immunotherapies to detect and destroy tumors.
Rare Quadruple-Helix DNA Found in Living Human Cells 🧬🔬🧫
New probes have allowed scientists to see four-stranded DNA interacting with molecules inside living human cells, unraveling its role in cellular processes. DNA typically forms the classic double helix shape we are all familiar with, and while it can also form some more exotic shapes in test tubes, it is very rare to see in real living cells.
Stem Cells Prove Effective in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19 🧫💉🦠
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers led a unique and groundbreaking randomized controlled trial demonstrating umbilical-cord derived mesenchymal stem cell infusions safely reduce the risk of death and quicken the recovery time for the even the severest COVID-19 patients.
CRISPR-Based Genetic Screen Identifies KAT7 as a Gene that Drives Aging 🧬🔬👵🏼
Cellular senescence is known to promote aging, however, many of the mechanisms controlling this process remain poorly understood. Researchers conducted a genome-wide CRISPR-based screen to identify genes that could affect cellular senescence, where they identified the gene KAT7. Switching this gene off extended the lifespan in mice aging normally and in mice with diseases known to cause premature aging.
Producing Milk from Yeast that Looks and Tastes like Cow’s Milk 🥛🥖🐄
The Tel Aviv University researchers behind this development believe that in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to buy dairy products produced from yeast in the supermarket that are identical in taste and color to dairy products that we consume today.
CRISPR Cures Progeria in Mice, Inspiring Plans for One-Time Therapy to Treat the Disease 🧬🧫🦠
CRISPR gene editing has been used to more than double the lifespan of mice engineered to have the premature aging disease known as progeria. Researchers from the Broad Institute used base editing to alter a single misspelled pair of “letters” among 3 billion in the DNA of cells taken from children with progeria. If the results are confirmed in human trials, the method could prove to be a true genetic cure with a single injection, and not a drug children will have to take all their lives.
NMN May Serve as a Novel Therapeutic Approach Against Obesity 💊🔬📉
A new study from the University of Toyama in Japan demonstrated that enhanced synthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a molecule at the core of metabolism, is crucial for the development of mature fat cells, known as adipocytes, from precursors. Discovering compounds capable of regulating the size, number, and function of adipocytes and understanding their behaviors could greatly contribute to obesity prevention and treatment.
Immune Genes Protect Cells from Ebola Virus and SARS-CoV-2🦠🔬🧫
Using a genetic screen called transposon-mediated gene activation, researchers from the Benaroya Research Institute searched for natural antiviral mechanisms within cultured human bone cancer cells. Transposons, mobile genetic elements found throughout the genome, can be added to cells to knock out genes they randomly insert into. The team integrated a promoter sequence into the transposons so that they would turn other genes on, while also knocking some genes out. After adding these transposons to human cells, the team introduced a virus engineered to express Ebola glycoprotein, killing most of the cells. Then, they discovered two genes crucial to the cells’ survival: NPC1 and CIITA.
Potential Treatment for an Aggressive Form of Lung Cancer 💊🦠🧑🔬
At the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, researchers have discovered a new metabolic vulnerability in a highly aggressive form of non-small cell lung cancer. The findings could pave the way for new treatments for patients with mutations in the genes KRAS and LKB1. Tumors containing these mutations, known as KL tumors, have poor outcomes and often do not respond to immunotherapy.
Why Doesn’t the Gold Standard Treatment for Bipolar Disorder Work for the Majority of Patients? 💊🧠🔬
Lithium is considered to be the gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder (BD), but nearly 70% of people with BD do not respond to the treatment, leaving them at risk for debilitating, potentially life-threatening mood swings. Researchers at the Salk Institute have found that the culprit may lie in gene activity—or the lack of it. The study could result in a new drug for bipolar disorder as well as a biomarker for lithium non-responsiveness.
A Universal Port for the Brain 🔌🧠⚡️
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a dural smart port that will allow direct access to the brain using optical and electrical stimulation, as well as recording. The port will use artificial intelligence to selectively stimulate tissue regrowth and seizure intervention.
Brown Fat May Protect Against Numerous Chronic Diseases 🦠🧑🔬
Unlike white fat, which stores calories, brown fat burns energy and may hold the key to new obesity treatments and more. A new study from Rockefeller University offers strong evidence that those with detectable brown fat were less likely to suffer cardiac and metabolic conditions ranging from type 2 diabetes to coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Mitochondria Transfer Device Developed by UCLA Can Help Study Various Disorders 🧫🧬🔬
Researchers from University of California, Los Angeles developed MitoPunch, a device for transferring the mitochondria and its DNA into mammalian cells. Their approach can help understand genetic components of cells and possibly study the backgrounds of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and metabolic disorders.
Novel Drug Discovery Strategy Expands Knowledge of “Undruggable” Diseases🦠🧬💊
Researchers from the The University of Hong Kong in collaboration with Chongqing University and Second Military Medical University developed a novel method to discover drugs for certain diseases by targeting membrane proteins.
From Molecule to Medicine Via Machine Learning 🔬🧑🔬💉
It typically takes many years of experiments to develop a new vaccine, but at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), researchers are using their expertise to safely accelerate the design step of the COVID-19 drug discovery process.
Number of Personalized Medicines Doubled from 2016 to 2020 👨🏻⚕️💉📈
A recent report from the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) showed that the number of personalized medicines on the market more than doubled in the past 4 years in the United States. The drastic growth marks the largest 4-year increase ever recorded by the coalition.
Skinny Genes – Scientists Discover Gene that Protects Against Diet-Induced Obesity 🧬🔬🍕
We all know those people who can eat what they want without worrying about gaining weight. Thus far, the regulation of fat metabolism has mainly focused on finding genes linked to obesity. However, an international team of researchers have taken a unique approach to discovering genes linked to thinness, or the resistance to weight gain.
Mutant Coronavirus Strain Reaches the U.S. 🦠😷
On Tuesday, the first known U.S. case of the new coronavirus variant was confirmed to have infected a Colorado man in his 20’s with no history of recent travel and no close contact with anyone infected.
Genetic Engineering Without Unwanted Side Effects Helps Fight Parasites 🧬🧫🦠
Modified CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing scissors are allowing researchers to make alterations to the genetic material of single-cell organisms that are indistinguishable from natural mutations. This approach makes it possible to develop a harmless experimental live vaccine for the widespread parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii.
New Gene-Editing Technology Capable of Altering Several Thousand Genes at Once to Determine Their Impacts 🧬🔬✂️
The new technique, called CiBER-seq, can rapidly determine all the DNA sequences in the genome that regulate the expression of a specific gene. Based on CRISPR genome editing, the new technology developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley links targeted, genome-wide genetic changes with a deep-sequencing readout that quantitatively measures the expression phenotype induced by each edit.
Bioplastics Produced from Bacteria Could Help Address the Plastic Problem 🦠♻️🚮
Sewage sludge is a growing problem in the United States as we run out of solutions to deal with the copious amounts of landfill. Researchers from Texas A&M University proposed a method of using bacteria to produce bioplastics from the sludge.
New Protein Discovered in Salmonella 🧫🔬🥩
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that each year in the U.S., there are about 1.35 million cases of salmonellosis. Research revealed that only one protein is responsible for why salmonella is infectious to humans.
New AI-Powered Microscope Could Change Cancer Surgeries 🤖🔬🦠
Researchers from Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed a microscope that can quickly assess margins of tumors within minutes of their removal.
Anti-Diarrhea Drug Can Serve as a Cancer Treatment 💊🦠🧑🔬
Previous research identified an anti-diarrhea drug, loperamide, as a potential treatment for cancer cells because it was able to induce cell death in glioblastoma cell lines. Furthering their research, scientists from the Institute of Experimental Cancer Research in Pediatrics at Goethe University have identified the underlying mechanism for the drug’s effectiveness.
New Class of Antibiotics Active Against a Wide Range of Bacteria 🦠💊 🧫
Researchers from Wistar Institute uncovered a class of antibodies that can antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Unlike other types of antibodies, they newly discovered ones combine direct antibiotic killing of pan drug-resistant bacterial pathogens with a simultaneous rapid immune response.