Biology & Medicine News and Discussions

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Yuli Ban
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Blood test [from Grail] that finds 50 types of cancer is accurate enough to be rolled out
A simple blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer before any clinical signs or symptoms of the disease emerge in a person is accurate enough to be rolled out as a screening test, according to scientists.

The test, which is also being piloted by NHS England in the autumn, is aimed at people at higher risk of the disease including patients aged 50 or older.

It is able to identify many types of the disease that are difficult to diagnose in the early stages such as head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophageal and some blood cancers.
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weatheriscool
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Pathogenic gut bacteria linked to weight loss from low-calorie diet
By Rich Haridy
June 23, 2021
https://newatlas.com/science/microbiome ... orie-diet/
A new study investigating how a low-calorie diet alters gut microbial populations is reporting unexpected results. The findings reveal a strange relationship between extreme caloric restriction and increased levels of a pathogenic bacteria linked to inflammatory bowel disease.

The research began by recruiting 80 overweight or obese subjects. Half the cohort were directed to maintain a stable weight for 16 weeks, while the other half completed a medically supervised weight-loss program including eight weeks of a very low calorie diet (800 kcal per day).

At the end of the study period the researchers took fecal samples from the participants and found those in the diet cohort showed substantial gut microbiome alterations, including generally reduced bacterial diversity. Reiner Jumpertz von Schwartzenberg, first author on the new study, says that alongside reducing the overall numbers of gut bacteria present, the dieting seemed to distinctly alter the behavior of the remaining microbes.
weatheriscool
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Genetically modified rice used for edible, easily stored cholera vaccine
By Rich Haridy
June 27, 2021
Japanese researchers have developed a new type of cholera vaccine by genetically modifying rice to carry a non-toxic cholera antigen. The vaccine needs no refrigeration with the rice simply ground into a powder, mixed with water and consumed.

The new vaccine first involved genetically engineering short-grain rice plants to produce cholera toxin subunit B (CTB). This part of the cholera toxin is often used for cholera vaccines as it is non-toxic but can induce potent immunity against the symptoms of a cholera infection.

The vaccine, called MucoRice-CTB, involves simply grinding up the engineered rice and mixing the powder into liquid. As rice stores its proteins in tiny membranes called protein bodies, the cholera antigens are naturally protected from digestive enzymes that would normally destroy other orally delivered vaccines.
https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/g ... a-vaccine/
weatheriscool
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Smartphone-connected device detects infections in less than an hour
By Ben Coxworth
June 25, 2021
https://newatlas.com/medical/smartphone ... nfections/
Presently, if a doctor suspects that a patient has a bacterial infection, that person has to provide a fluid sample that is sent off to a lab for analysis. A new device, however, could allow such samples to be analyzed on the spot, within minutes.

There are three main problems with the analysis of body fluid samples in labs.

For one thing, in the few days that it takes to get a result, any infection that is present could get worse. For another, it's possible that the doctor may put the patient on antibiotics right away, just in case they are infected – if it turns out that they aren't, then they will have taken the medication (and endured any side effects) needlessly. Additionally, in remote locations or developing nations, suitably equipped labs may be a long distance away.

It was with such limitations in mind that scientists at Canada's McMaster University created the prototype device. The tool actually consists of two parts – a two-channel electrical sensor chip, and a USB-stick-like main processing module that the chip is plugged into.
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Potential new CAR-T cell therapy for multiple myeloma
June 25, 2021

Researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center are studying a potential new chimeric antigen receptor-T cell therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) treatment for multiple myeloma. Their findings were published on Friday, June 24, in The Lancet.

"CAR-T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that involves harnessing the power of a person's own immune system by engineering their T cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells," says Yi Lin, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist and lead author of the study.

Dr. Lin says the Food and Drug Administration approved idecabtagene vicleucel, the first CAR-T cell treatment for multiple myeloma, in March. "Today, we are working toward another potential CAR-T cell treatment for multiple myeloma," says Dr. Lin.

Dr. Lin says the CARTITUDE-1 study is a registration-phase 1B/II clinical trial. The trial tested B cell maturation antigen targeting CAR-T cell therapy, ciltacabtagene autoleucel (cilta-cel), in patients with multiple myeloma who received at least three previous lines of therapy with standard drugs, including proteasome inhibitors, immunomodulatory drugs and CD38 antibodies.

"Cilta-cel is made from patient's own T cells that have been genetically engineered and administered as a single dose infusion," says Dr. Lin.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 173204.htm
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weatheriscool
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Smart wound dressings with built-in healing sensors
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-smart-wou ... nsors.html
by RMIT University
Researchers have developed smart wound dressings with built-in nanosensors that glow to alert patients when a wound is not healing properly.

The multifunctional, antimicrobial dressings feature fluorescent sensors that glow brightly under UV light if infection starts to set in and can be used to monitor healing progress.

The smart dressings, developed by a team of scientists and engineers at RMIT University harness the powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties of magnesium hydroxide.

They are cheaper to produce than silver-based dressings but equally as effective in fighting bacteria and fungi, with their antimicrobial power lasting up to a week.

Project leader Dr. Vi Khanh Truong said the development of cost-effective antimicrobial dressings with built-in healing sensors would be a significant advance in wound care.
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Yuli Ban
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Harvard Scientists Pinpoint ‘Ground Zero’ of Aging in Mouse Embryo Study
How do old cells in adult humans give rise to the youthful cells found in infants? New research suggests they reset to their lowest biological age in early embryonic development, with potential ramifications for longevity science.

For a long time, it was assumed that germline cells—those that form eggs and sperm and pass a parent’s genetic information on to their children—were essentially ageless. But how this could be was never clear and more recent research had shown that germline cells do accumulate the signs of aging.

This led to the conclusion that there must be some kind of rejuvenation event that allows the offspring’s cells to start with a clean slate. But when and how this occurs was a mystery.

Now a team from Harvard has shown that the age of mouse embryo cells resets about a week into development, representing the “ground zero” of aging. The finding not only provides insight into the fundamental dynamics of aging, but also suggests we might mimic the process in adult cells to rejuvenate aging tissues.
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weatheriscool
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FDA Approves Diabetes Drug For Weight Loss
Source: MSN/NBC4

(2 hrs ago). A revamped version of a popular diabetes drug that’s given at a higher dose to fight obesity is the first prescription medication for weight loss approved by the Food and Drug Administration in seven years.

Wegovy is a synthetic version of a gut hormone that curbs hunger. Patients inject the medication under their skin once a week. Dr. Domenica Rubino, director of the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research in Arlington, Virginia, took part in a study, enrolling and monitoring two dozen patients.

“It's mimicking a hormone we have but in a greater amount, so it actually tells the brain we're not as hungry,” Rubino said. The drug is intended for adults with obesity or a body mass index of 27 or higher who also have at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Like other weight loss drugs, it’s to be used with diet and exercise.

More than half of the participants in the trial lost 15-20 percent of their weight. “I've been involved in this field for about 20-plus years, and it was the first time that we saw such significant weight loss in some people,” Rubino said. “And the reason it actually matters is there are a lot of medical conditions that are associated with obesity that we need more weight loss...
Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrit ... ar-AALybSF
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Russian Daily Death Toll Reaches New High

https://apnews.com/article/russia-europ ... 240b3165ee
(This AP website actually has its own version of an around the world round up of Coronavirus news and statistics. Other countries covered include Indonesia, France, the U.S., Belgium, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Australia)

Extract:
(AP) MOSCOW — Russian authorities have reported 652 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday — the highest daily tally in the pandemic. The new record comes as Russia struggles to cope with a surge in infections and deaths and low vaccine uptake.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has been registering over 20,000 new coronavirus cases and around 600 deaths every day since last Thursday. On Tuesday, 20,616 new contagions were recorded.

Russian officials have blamed the surge, which started in early June, on Russians’ lax attitude toward taking necessary precautions, growing prevalence of more infectious variants and laggard vaccination rates. Although Russia was among the first countries to announce and deploy a coronavirus vaccine, only about 14% of the population has received at least one shot.

Russia’s coronavirus task force has reported nearly 5.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the pandemic and 134,545 deaths.
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Ken_J
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https://getpocket.com/explore/item/does ... ket-newtab
Intestinal inflammation might give rise to Parkinson’s in several ways, Houser explains. One possibility is that a chronically inflamed gut might elevate alpha-synuclein levels locally—as Zasloff’s investigation in children suggests—or else it may give rise to inflammation throughout the body, which in itself could increase the permeability of the gut and blood-brain barriers. Or else it could increase circulating cytokines, molecules that that can promote inflammation. Tansey adds that changes in the microbiome could also be influencing gut inflammation.
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