Biology & Medicine News and Discussions

weatheriscool
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Stanford Device Enables Thousands of Synthetic DNA Enzyme Experiments To Run Simultaneously
TOPICS:BiotechnologyGeneticsStanford University

By Stanford University July 23, 2021
https://scitechdaily.com/stanford-devic ... taneously/
A new tool that enables thousands of tiny experiments to run simultaneously on a single polymer chip will let scientists study enzymes faster and more comprehensively than ever before.

For much of human history, animals and plants were perceived to follow a different set of rules than rest of the universe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this culminated in a belief that living organisms were infused by a non-physical energy or “life force” that allowed them to perform remarkable transformations that couldn’t be explained by conventional chemistry or physics alone.

Scientists now understand that these transformations are powered by enzymes – protein molecules comprised of chains of amino acids that act to speed up, or catalyze, the conversion of one kind of molecule (substrates) into another (products). In so doing, they enable reactions such as digestion and fermentation – and all of the chemical events that happen in every one of our cells – that, left alone, would happen extraordinarily slowly.
weatheriscool
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Neurotransmitter Levels in the Brain Predict Math Ability

https://scitechdaily.com/neurotransmitt ... h-ability/

By PLOS July 22, 2021
The neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate have complementary roles — GABA inhibits neurons, while glutamate makes them more active. Published today (July 22nd, 2021) in PLOS Biology, researchers led by Roi Cohen Kadosh and George Zacharopoulos from the University of Oxford show that levels of these two neurotransmitters in the intraparietal sulcus of the brain can predict mathematics ability. The study also found that the relationships between the two neurotransmitters and arithmetic fluency switched as children developed into adults.
weatheriscool
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Preclinical study finds success in reversing age-related memory loss
By Rich Haridy
July 22, 2021
https://newatlas.com/science/method-rev ... onal-nets/
An intriguing new study from researchers in the United Kingdom is proposing an innovative method to treat age-related memory loss. The preclinical research shows memory decline in aging mice can be reversed by manipulating the composition of structures in the brain known as perineuronal nets.

Perineuronal nets (PNNs) are structures in the brain that envelop certain subsets of neurons, helping stabilize synaptic activity. They essentially put the brakes on the neuroplasticity seen in the first few years of life.
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Yuli Ban
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Stem-Cell Based ‘Cure’ for Type-1 Diabetes Draws Nearer, With FDA Trials Launched
While type-2 diabetes is largely preventable, type-1 diabetes is a disruptive autoimmune disorder that was once thought incurable. ‘Once’ is the keyword here, as a new and uncontroversial form of stem cell treatment should be able to cure the disease once and for all.

Relying on transforming a small piece of adult skin tissue into beta-cells in the pancreas— the ones which produce the insulin hormone illusive in diabetics—the treatment bypasses the genetic mutation that causes the immune system to attack these cells which creates the disease.

Diabetes, especially type-1, severely limits quality of life, and if not carefully managed can result in serious complications like foot amputations and early mortality.

Furthermore, it costs the U.S. medical care industry around $85,000 per patient per lifetime’s worth of treatment—an enormous burden that if lifted could save the entire sector hundreds of millions.
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
weatheriscool
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Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... ected.html
by Simons Foundation
Researchers have identified a rare class of genetic differences transmitted from parents without autism to their affected children with autism and determined that they are most prominent in "multiplex" families with more than one family member on the spectrum. These findings are reported in "Recent ultra-rare inherited variants implicate new autism candidate risk genes," a new study published in Nature Genetics.

The hunt is on in earnest for the genes involved in autism, now that technology and vastly lower costs allow the aggregation of thousands of genomes of people with autism and their family members. Knowing precisely which genes are at play will enable greater understanding of the condition known as autism and may ultimately lead to treatments for those who desire them.
weatheriscool
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Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- ... erapy.html
by Chinese Academy of Sciences
Researchers from the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital and the University of Queensland have developed a new formulation based on regulatory T-cell exosomes (rEXS) to deliver vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy.

The study was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering on July 26.

Ocular neovascularization is often associated with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other ocular diseases, which can cause severe vision loss.

The present treatment for ocular neovascular disease in clinic is intravitreal injection of VEGF antibodies (aV) to block the activity of VEGF and suppress pathogenic angiogenesis. However, this therapy alone faces problems of fast metabolism with the aqueous humor, poor accumulation in lesions and limited efficacy. A considerable proportion of patients still show incomplete response to above aV treatment.
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Glyphic Biotechnologies Raises Six Million Dollars to Accelerate Protein Sequencing by Orders of Magnitude

by Devin Coldewey
July 26, 2021

https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/26/glyph ... magnitude/

Introduction:
(TechCrunch) The whole human proteome may be free to browse thanks to DeepMind, but at the bleeding edge of biotech new proteins are made and tested every day, a complex and time-consuming process. Glyphic Biotechnologies accelerates the critical but slow sequencing step, potentially cutting drug development times down by a huge amount, and the startup just raised a $6 million seed to bring its clever solution to market.
weatheriscool
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FDA allows automatic 'generic' swap for brand-name insulin
Source: Associated Press

U.S. regulators took action Wednesday that will make it easier to get a cheaper, near-copy of a brand-name insulin at the drugstore.

Doctors now have to specifically prescribe what’s called a biosimilar or OK substituting it for a more expensive brand-name insulin.

Wednesday’s move by the Food and Drug Administration will allow pharmacists to automatically substitute the cheaper version, just as they do with generic pills for other kinds of drugs.

It’s the FDA’s first approval of an “interchangeable” biosimilar, a near-copy of an injected biologic medicine that’s manufactured inside living cells. It could save diabetics and health plans millions of dollars annually and encourage other drugmakers to create more biosimilar medicines. Health data firm IQVIA projects U.S. savings from increasing use of biosimilars from 2020 through 2024 will top $100 billion.
-snip-

By LINDA A. JOHNSON
an hour ago


Read more: https://apnews.com/article/business-sci ... 2cfd22ca89
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Yuli Ban
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France declares moratorium on prion research after fatal brain disease strikes two lab workers
Five public research institutions in France imposed a 3-month moratorium on the study of prions – a class of misfolded infectious proteins that cause fatal brain diseases – after a retired lab worker who manipulated prions in the past has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob prion disease (CJD), the most common prion disease in humans. An investigation is underway to find out whether the patient, who worked in a laboratory managed by the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE), contracted the disease at work.

If this were the case, it would be the second such case in France for a few years. In June 2019, an employee of the INRAE ​​laboratory named Émilie Jaumain died at the age of 33, 10 years after having pricked her thumb during an experiment with mice infected with prions. His family is now suing INRAE ​​for manslaughter and endangering life; his illness had already led to reinforced security measures in French prion laboratories.

The objective of the moratorium, which concerns nine laboratories, is “to study the possibility of a link with the [new patient’s] former professional activity and if necessary to adapt the preventive measures in force in research laboratories, ”according to a joint statement released yesterday by the five establishments.
Image
Émilie Jaumain in 2010, the year she was exposed to prions during a laboratory accident. She died in 2019 at the age of 33.
ARMEL HOUEL
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Yuli Ban
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RNA advances lead to 50% increase in yield in Wheat and Rice
Manipulating RNA can allow plants to yield dramatically more crops, as well as increasing drought tolerance, announced a group of scientists from the University of Chicago, Peking University and Guizhou University.

In initial tests, adding a gene encoding for a protein called FTO to both rice and potato plants increased their yield by 50% in field tests. The plants grew significantly larger, produced longer root systems and were better able to tolerate drought stress. Analysis also showed that the plants had increased their rate of photosynthesis.

“The change really is dramatic,” said University of Chicago Prof. Chuan He, who together with Prof. Guifang Jia at Peking University led the research. “What’s more, it worked with almost every type of plant we tried it with so far, and it’s a very simple modification to make.”

The researchers—along with other leading experts—are hopeful about the potential of this breakthrough, especially in the face of climate change and other pressures on crop systems worldwide.
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