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Poultry disease vaccine brings short-term results but long-term problems

Story Summary: Newcastle Disease is an economically devastating poultry disease that costs the industry millions of dollars. Many vaccines in the animal industry are developed by modifying a virulent live virus, said Mary Poss, professor of biology and veterinary and biomedical sciences, Penn State. Recombination among these strains could bring together genes that have multiple means to evade immunity in a host. Poss added that vaccine developers need to be aware of the potential for driving virus evolution using modified live viruses and should instead consider using killed or inactivated viruses. Scientists are already using that approach against Newcastle Disease in some areas but not globally. While many virus strains undergo a boom and bust cycle — they are present for a period of time and then die out — Poss notes that the use of live virus vaccines creates a persistent level of the vaccine strains in the global bird population. If all six genes that make up the paramyxovirus shared the same ancestor, Poss reasoned, the family trees of each gene would look the same. However, genes that are derived from a different strain would have family trees distinct from the other genes of that virus, a strong signature of recombination. Researchers next reconstructed the population history of the different viral strains. When viruses dont change, it is typically a good thing, Poss explained. But as soon as they start to change, like the flu, we dont know what the transmission and disease potential are going to be like from one year to another….Read the Full Story

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First case of animals making their own carotene

Story Summary: Moran and her co-author Tyler Jarvik also figured out how the aphids they studied, known as pea aphids, acquired the ability to make carotenoids. Animals have a lot of requirements that reflect ancestral gene loss. This is why we require so many amino acids and vitamins in the diet, she said. She and Jarvik, a research specialist in UAs department of chemistry and biochemistry, report their discovery in the paper, Lateral Transfer of Genes from Fungi Underlies Carotenoid Production in Aphids, to be published in the April 30 issue of the journal Science. A lucky accident in the lab plus the recent sequencing of the pea aphid genome made the discovery possible, Moran said. Aphids are clonal – the mothers give birth to daughters that are genetically identical to their mothers. So when an aphid in the Moran labs red 5A strain began giving birth to yellowish-green babies, Moran and her colleagues knew they were looking at the results of a mutation. The bacteria, which are passed from mother to babies, supply the insects with crucial nutrition. Moran, who has been studying the pea aphid-bacteria system for decades, already knew the three main species of symbiotic bacteria did not make carotenoids. Aphids eat by sucking the phloem sap from plants, but the sap is carotenoid-poor. In addition, the carotenoids in the aphids were different from those usually found in plants. In late 2009, after the complete DNA sequence of the pea aphid became available to researchers, she decided to search it for carotenoid genes. Lucky for Moran, the researchers who sequenced the pea aphid genome used red aphids, which have an extra copy of the carotenoid gene, making the gene causing the red color easier to find. Next, she figured out whether the genes were from pea aphid DNA or from uncommon symbiotic bacteria or were just contamination from fungi in the sample. That inheritance pattern also fit with another teams research that suggested both colors were present in nature because red aphids are more susceptible to parasitic wasps, whereas green aphids are more susceptible to predators such as lady-bird beetles. The particular sequence of aphid DNA that coded for carotenoids differed from bacterial carotenoid genes and matched those from some fungi….Read the Full Story

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New research about human genetic diseases and human development

Story Summary: Makova received special permission to use the orangutan data set in her study. Kvikstad and Makova looked at one SINE family — Alu sequences, which are about 300 base pairs long, — and one LINE family — L1 sequences, which can be thousands of bases long. If there are germline-specific differences in the activity of transposable elements, for example, we should see clues to these differences in their sex-chromosome distributions. Even after we corrected for regional genomic effects, we still observed a very strong sex-chromosome bias in distributions of transposable elements, says Makova. There also are differences between these two classes of elements. Our study suggests that Alus probably integrate mostly in the male germline, while L1s integrate in both male and female germlines, or they might integrate in early embryogenesis. When transposable elements were first discovered in the 1940s, many in the scientific community labeled them as junk DNA. Says Makova, I dont think many people agree that they are junk DNA any longer. Alu elements frequently possess the regulatory elements. Kvikstad and Makova spent a year analyzing the primate data. Kvikstad and Makova spent a year analyzing the primate data. Previously, together with Francesca Chiaromonte, associate professor of statistics at Penn State, they had worked together on a project looking at primate insertions and deletions of a much smaller size, under 30 base pairs. Previously, together with Francesca Chiaromonte, associate professor of statistics at Penn State, they had worked together on a project looking at primate insertions and deletions of a much smaller size, under 30 base pairs. We are the first team to look into this much detail at the distribution of transposable elements on human sex chromosomes, Makova says. We are the first team to look into this much detail at the distribution of transposable elements on human sex chromosomes, Makova says. In particular, we noted that gene density was not a significant predictor of either Alu or L1 element density, at any evolutionary time point, she says. In particular, we noted that gene density was not a significant predictor of either Alu or L1 element density, at any evolutionary time point, she says….Read the Full Story

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Biosensor chip enables high-sensitivity protein analysis for disease diagnosis

Story Summary: Jens Niemax, Ralf Strasser, Dr. Kenji Arinaga, and Dr. Ulrich Rant (from left to right), at the Walter Schottky Institute of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, together with Fujitsu Laboratories. In the battle against cancer and other diseases, precise analysis of specific proteins can point the way toward targeted treatments. For some tests, the target protein must be chemically modified by reagents. If the protein of interest is present in sample material placed on the biosensor chip, it will bind to the key molecule. Precise confirmation of the identity of the captured protein can be deduced from measurements of this motion, since both the size and shape of the protein will affect the way the DNA molecules swing. This approach is unique in its ability not only to determine the concentration of the target protein, but also to show if it is altered by the disease or the influence of medication. The scientists are currently working with a chip that can analyze 24 different proteins in parallel. Rant is a researcher in the laboratories of Prof. Gerhard Abstreiter at the Walter Schottky Institute, a central institute of TUM focused on the fundamental physics of semiconductor electronics. Important application areas for this biosensor chip technology, which the TUM scientists have dubbed switchSENSE, include medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical drug development, and proteomics research. Further development is targeted toward completion of a pre-production prototype by the end of 2010 and collaborative pilot projects with customers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Within TUM, support for this research has come through the International Graduate School of Science and Engineering (IGSSE). Ulrich Rant is a Carl von Linde Fellow of TUM-IAS, the universitys Institute for Advanced Study. In addition, one doctoral candidate working on this research is being financed by the International Graduate School of Materials Science of Complex Interfaces (CompInt). dePublication: Detection and Size Analysis of Proteins with Switchable DNA Layers Ulrich Rant, Erika Pringsheim, Wolfgang Kaiser, Kenji Arinaga, Jelena Knezevic, Marc Tornow, Shozo Fujita, Naoki Yokoyama, and Gerhard Abstreiter Nano Letters, 2009 Vol. After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an Elite University in 2006 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an Elite University in 2006 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an Elite University in 2006 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). tum….Read the Full Story

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Scientists report first genome sequence of frog

Story Summary: It will be tremendous to have a high quality sequence of X. tropicalisupon which to build the X. laevissequence. Hopefully, he added, understanding the effects of these hormone disruptors will help us preserve frog diversity and, since these chemicals also affect humans, could have a positive effect on human health. Their large eggs also were easy to inject with chemicals; making them big spherical test tubes, Harland said. When the Joint Genome Institute decided to sequence a frog genome, however, the Xenopus research community recommended X. tropicalisover X. laevisbecause tropicalishas half the genome size. Sequencing X. laeviswould have been not only more costly, but also harder, because of the difficulty of matching genes to the proper chromosome. Nevertheless, the high quality draft sequence will provide a scaffold upon which to assemble the X. laevisgenome, Harland said. When you look at segments of the Xenopus genome, you literally are looking at structures that are 360 million years old and were part of the genome of the last common ancestor of all birds, frogs, dinosaurs and mammals that ever roamed the earth, said Hellsten. Chromosome archaeology helps to understand the history of evolution, showing us how the genetic material has rearranged itself to create the present day mammalian genome and present day amphibian genome. Thus, understanding these genes in frogs could help biologists understand how they are involved in human disease, Hellsten said. The X. tropicalisgenome, which contains more than 20,000 genes – humans have about 23,000 – is of particular interest to Harland, who is part of a small community of scientists studying this frog in addition to its larger cousin, X. laevis. The frogs take up less room and have a shorter lifecycle – as little as 4 months instead of a year or more – while their smaller eggs are still relatively easy to manipulate and inject. Harland injects eggs with nucleic acids that activate or block the action of specific genes or their protein products in order to discover their function. Harland injects eggs with nucleic acids that activate or block the action of specific genes or their protein products in order to discover their function….Read the Full Story

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Collaborates on Clinical Biomarker Research with Leading Proteomics Researcher in Luxembourg

Story Summary: (April 22, 2010) – Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. , the world leader in serving science, and Professor Bruno Domon, director of the new Luxembourg Clinical Proteomics unit (LCP), today announced a collaboration to develop workflows that overcome current bottlenecks in biomarker discovery and assay development for clinical proteomics research. In addition to his part in developing iSRM, Bruno Domon was a primary scientific contributor to the Thermo Scientific Pinpoint software, which simplifies the creation of quantitative peptide assays on Thermo Scientific TSQ mass spectrometers and allows researchers to leverage knowledge acquired in previous qualitative proteomics discovery experiments. The CRP-Sante research group will employ the recently introduced Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap Velos hybrid mass spectrometer equipped with electron transfer dissociation (ETD) for biomarker discovery. This latest-generation hybrid linear ion trap-Orbitrap instrument is more accurate, faster and more sensitive than older generation LTQ Orbitrap instruments. It enables the massive, rapid and accurate identification of proteins in complex mixtures and the characterization of post-translational modifications. In addition, the group will utilize the Thermo Scientific TSQ Vantage triple stage quadrupole mass spectrometer for fast, sensitive, accurate and reliable targeted protein quantification, and it will use Pinpoint software for rapid, automated assay development. The Thermo Scientific Exactive benchtop LC/MS mass spectrometer, which leverages proven Orbitrap technology, will be employed for biomarker profiling analyses. As a market leader in the development of tools for proteomics research, Thermo Fisher was the clear choice for collaborating on these clinical projects said Bruno Domon. By joining forces, I hope to build on our results to further develop workflows that will enable researchers to overcome challenges in biomarker discovery and verification Bruno Domon is a leading researcher in proteomics, and his academic and industrial experience complements Thermo Fishers commitment to producing proteomics solutions said Ian Jardine, vice president of global R&D for Thermo Fisher Scientific. This collaboration provides a unique opportunity for the company to expand its role in the development of cutting-edge biomarker research tools and consolidate its presence within the EU The newly established biomarker research group within CRP-Sante is part of a wider effort in Luxembourg to develop projects that are at the forefront of biomedical research. This effort includes the Integrated Biobank (IBBL) of Luxembourg, a state-of-the-art tissue storage and distribution initiative designed to help a worldwide network of cancer scientists and other disease researchers find answers to the worlds most pressing health problems. Overall, the Luxembourg government-led initiative, launched in 2008, is expected to support the development of cutting-edge skills and expertise in the field of molecular medicine. The objective is not only to strengthen the national research effort and benefit the countrys healthcare system,, but also to foster the diversification of Luxembourgs economic fabric in a promising and fast-growing sector. com/proteomics Thermo Scientific is part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science. About CRP-Sante – Luxembourg Clinical Proteomics (LCP)CRP-Sante employs 200 researchers and 50 support staff, working on some hundred research projects which resulted in 98 peer-reviewed publications in the year 2009. Its annual budget is currently around 35 million Euros, increasing each year. CRP-Sants research focus is on health topics with high impact on the European population. We create value for our key stakeholders through two premier brands, Thermo Scientific and Fisher Scientific, which offer a unique combination of continuous technology development and the most convenient purchasing options….Read the Full Story

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Study links 1976 swine flu shot to stronger immune response to 21st century pandemic flu

Story Summary: Jude Childrens Research Hospital staff helps investigators gauge the lingering impact of the 1976 vaccineNew evidence shows immunization against swine flu in 1976 might provide individuals with some protection against the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, according to new research from St. Jude investigators. Researchers found that individuals who reported receiving the 1976 vaccine mounted an enhanced immune response against both the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and a different H1N1 flu strain that circulated during the 2008-09 flu season. The study is the first to focus on whether those vaccinated against the 1976 H1N1 strain made antibodies against the 2009 pandemic flu, including antibodies that could block the virus from infecting cells. Nineteen percent of volunteers also produced antibodies that neutralized the 2009 pandemic strain and blocked it from infecting cells. In comparison, more than 67 percent of volunteers had antibodies that neutralized the 2008-09 seasonal H1N1 strain. Those vaccinated in 1976 were more likely to make neutralizing antibodies against the new pandemic strain. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant, meaning it was unlikely chance alone explained the result. The unexpectedly robust immune response mounted by all the volunteers suggests that routine vaccination against seasonal flu might confer a broader-than- realized protection, McCullers said. The St. Jude volunteers included many health care workers who are vaccinated annually against flu. Other St. Jude authors are Lee-Ann Van De Velde, Kim Allison, Kristen Branum, Richard Webby and Patricia Flynn, all of Infectious Diseases. The work was supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and ALSAC. Jude Childrens Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, and has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. For more information, go to www. For more information, go to www….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Scientists favor needles over tablets for global vaccinations

Story Summary: A recent discovery by researchers at the Trudeau Institute promises to bypass these obstacles and help deliver more effective vaccines to these people, boosting their protection against common childhood diseases. Dr. Markus Mohrs and his team of investigators focus much of their studies on cytokines, messengers used by cells of the immune system to communicate with one another. Dr. Mohrs reports that cytokines not only signal locally to neighboring cells, as previously thought, but they also spread throughout the affected lymph node influencing even those cells not actively involved in fighting the current infection. Funding for this research is provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Trudeau researchers are identifying the basic mechanisms used by the immune system to combat viruses like influenza, mycobacteria, such as tuberculosis, parasites and cancer, so that better vaccines and therapies can be developed for fighting deadly disease….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Protease inhibitor monotherapy in clinical practice: valid option for undetectable patients

Story Summary: Patients prescribed protease inhibitor-ritonavir (PI/r) monotherapy in real-world clinical practice achieve viral suppression rates equivalent to those seen in randomised controlled trials, according to two surveys presented to the second BHIVA/BASHH joint conference in Manchester. However, in one of the two studies, all but one of a small subgroup of patients who started monotherapy with a detectable HIV viral load failed to suppress the virus, underlining findings from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that this strategy should only be considered for patients who have undetectable viral loads when placed on PI/r monotherapy. Half of them were taking boosted protease-inhibitor-plus-NRTIs triple therapy at the time of switching to monotherapy while twelve made a complete switch from an NNRTI-based regimen and 21 were taking more exotic combinations such as NRTI-sparing regimens, double boosted PIs, or quadruple NRTIs. 5% had started taking it twice daily), 21% on lopinavir and 5% on atazanavir. Fifty patients (74%) had a viral load under 40 throughout, while another seven (10%) had a single blip over 40 copies/ml but resuppressed, and another, after a period of repeated blips, had had a viral load under 40 copies/ml for ten months. Four of these, however, were able to resuppress their HIV by adding back NRTIs, meaning that at the time of analysis 91% of patients had an undetectable viral load. Of the other six, two stopped therapy and one died, two have viral loads just over 40 copies/ml and are expected to resuppress, while one has a viral load of 259. In the second study, a prospective one from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London (Brown), a very similar group of patients (average age 47, average time on antiretrovirals 12 years) were all switched to boosted darunavir (DRV/r) monotherapy from other regimens containing PIs. Only one of these patients was undetectable at week 48 and only three ever achieved an undetectable viral load on DRV/r at any point during the study. ReferencesAll references are from the second BHIVA/BASHH joint conference, Manchester, April 2010. Gazzard B et al. Cost-efficacy analysis of the MONET trial using UK antiretroviral drug prices. Gazzard B et al. Cost-efficacy analysis of the MONET trial using UK antiretroviral drug prices….Read the Full Story

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Hepatitis C virus in semen unlikely to explain transmission

Story Summary: The study recruited men from the HCV cohort at Mortimer Market who had been diagnosed less than six months after initial infection. A sensitive viral load assay was used capable of detecting HCV down to ten international units per millilitre (IU/ml) and the assay was initially tested with semen spiked with HCV. This is a small pilot study with only ten acute cases and ten chronic controls. HIV-negative men were eligible to join the study, but with HCV infection being so much rarer in negative men, none have been recruited so far. None of the acutely infected men did, though one developed a very low viral load (14 IUs/ml) at one month. At six months two acutely infected men had had a detectable viral load at some point in the study compared with four chronically infected men, but all very low, with no measurement over 230 IUs/ml compared with figures in the millions for blood viral load. Dr Turner said that the recruitment method meant that the peak of seminal and blood viraemia might have been missed in the acutely infected men, but said that the results mean that The increased transmission of acute HCV in HIV-positive men remains unexplained. Second joint BHIVA/BASHH Conference, Manchester….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Embryonic stem cells reveal oncogenes secret growth formula

Story Summary: (April 29, 2010) A comprehensive new gene expression study in embryonic stem cells has uncovered a transcription control mechanism that is not only more pervasive than once thought but is also heavily regulated by the cancer-causing gene c-Myc. In research published in the April 30th edition of Cell, a team of Whitehead Institute researchers describes a pausing step in the transcription process that serves to regulate expression of as many as 80% of the genes in mammalian cells. It turns out that for a surprisingly large number of genes in embryonic stem cells, that something is the transcription factor c-Myc. Our findings provide the molecular basis for loss of proliferation control in some cancers, says Peter Rahl, a postdoctoral researcher in Youngs lab and first author of the Cellpaper. Armed with this new understanding of c-Mycs role in controlling proliferation genes, Young and his colleagues have embarked on a search for drugs that could interrupt c-Mycs pause-release activity in tumors where its over-expressed. Written by Nicole GieseRichard Youngs primary affiliation is with Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where his laboratory is located and all his research is conducted. Peter B. Rahl (1), Charles Y. Lin (1,2), Amy C. Seila (3,4), Ryan A. Flynn (3), Scott McCuine (1), Christopher B. Burge (2), Phillip A. Sharp (2,3), Richard A. Young (1,2)1….Read the Full Story

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AIDS-related deaths continue to fall, diseases of ageing and lifestyle on the rise in people with HIV

Story Summary: Lifestyle and social factors need to be addressed if the full potential of HIV treatment to lower mortality is to be realised, according to results from a large cohort study published in the May 15thedition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Investigators from the international Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration examined recorded causes of death amongst patients taking HIV treatment in Europe and North America between 1996 and 2006. These individuals contributed a total of 154,667 person-years of follow-up, the median duration of follow-up for each patients being a little under four years. The majority of patients (62%) took a combination that included a protease inhibitor. Those who died had a lower median CD4 cell count at baseline (110 cells/mm3) than those who survived (217 cells/mm3). When the investigators looked at the AIDS-related mortality in further detail, they noted that 23% of all deaths were due to AIDS-defining infections and 15% to AIDS-defining cancers. Non-AIDS-defining cancers were the next most common cause of death (12%). Over a third (37%) of non-AIDS-defining cancer deaths were caused by lung cancer. Infections not considered AIDS-defining caused 8% of all deaths, and 8% of deaths were also attributed to cardiovascular death. The proportion of AIDS-related deaths fell from 58% in 1996-99 to 44% in the period 2003 to 2006. However, at the same time non-AIDS-defining cancers became an increasingly important cause of death. The proportion of deaths attributed to such malignancies more than doubled from 7% before 1999 to 15% in the period between 2003 and 2006. The strong inverse association of rates of death due to AIDS with CD4 cell counts at the time of starting antiretroviral therapy supports arguments for earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy, comment the investigators. A baseline viral load above 5 log10/copies/ml was significantly associated with an increased risk of death due to AIDS (HR = 1. Mortality rates for all causes with the exception of renal disease were higher for injecting drug users than other risk groups. Older age was strongly associated with an increased risk of death from non-AIDS-related cancers (HR per 10 years = 2. The investigators believe that these results imply that the process of aging will become a dominant factor in HIV mortality in the next decade. Overall, mortality rates were 16% were lower in women in men. As the duration of antiretroviral therapy increased, the risk of death from AIDS, non-AIDS-related infections, and kidney disease decreased (p < 0. Starting HIV therapy after 2000 was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death due to AIDS (p < 0. However, they express concern about the high mortality rates due to conditions associated with social and lifestyle factors the importance of lifestyle is reinforced by the observation that the most common non-AIDS malignancy was lung cancer, likely caused by smoking. They suggest: interventions to address risk factors for lifestyle-related causes of death, as well as monitoring for and care of diseases associated with old age, will be necessary if the full benefit of antiretroviral therapy in decreasing mortality is to continue n the second decade of antiretroviral treatment. Causes of death in HIV-1-infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy, 1996-2006: collaborative analysis of 13 HIV cohort studies….Read the Full Story

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Natural compound speeds bone growth: report

Story Summary: While the findings were tested in mice, humans and mice have the same biology in this area. 5 times more new bone after three days than other nice. They plan to test their approach in treating skin wounds, strokes and heart attacks. After stroke and heart attack, we heal the injuries slowly and imperfectly, and the resulting scar tissue lacks functionality, Helms said. Using Wnt may one day allow us to regenerate tissue without scarring. *We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language or appear to be spam and review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. Now the time is ripe to cash in, but certain clients might not like that one bit. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbookwhich requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes….Read the Full Story

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Cells programmed to cure and even prevent cancer

Story Summary: Led by Francois Major, Principal Investigator in bioinformatics at IRIC, with the collaboration of Gerardo Ferbeyre, biochemistry researcher with the Faculty of Medicine of the Universite de Montreal, the team is seeking to control the behaviour of RNAs, which is at the core of the cells programming, in order to cure and even prevent cancer. The new laboratory is housed on the third floor of IRICs Marcelle-Coutu Pavillion. We are also planning to design microRNAs capable of protecting the cell, acting similarly to antivirus software that identifies and eliminates attacks before they can cause damage to the computer, Francois Major explains. Such cross-disciplinary learning will contribute to their competitiveness on the job market. Note to editors:The Universite de Montreal name can be adapted to University of Montreal (but never Montreal University). Partners in funding:The development of IRICs RNA Engineering Research Unit was made possible with the financial contributions of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, le Ministere de lEducation, du Loisir et du Sport, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, PerkinElmer, IBM, VWR, Fisher Scientific, TekniScience, Montreal Biotech, Nuaire, Nikon, Bio-Rad, Inso and Ultident. Partners in funding:The development of IRICs RNA Engineering Research Unit was made possible with the financial contributions of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, le Ministere de lEducation, du Loisir et du Sport, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, PerkinElmer, IBM, VWR, Fisher Scientific, TekniScience, Montreal Biotech, Nuaire, Nikon, Bio-Rad, Inso and Ultident….Read the Full Story

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DNA Study: Grass May Not Be A Grass

Story Summary: DNA Study: Grass May Not Be A GrassPosted on: Tuesday, 27 April 2010, 18:58 CDT A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but it would no longer be a rose. Morris and Duvalls examination of the chloroplast sequence uncovered features the Anomochloa chloroplast shares with other grasses, features unique to Anomochloa, and features that call into question our definition of grasses or the classification of Anomochloa as a grass. Anomochloa is also unusual in that it contains a uniquely short insert in the rpoC2 locus. Taxa closely related to grasses do not have this extra sequence at all; other grasses that have been studied have an insert that is nearly twice as long (about 400 nucleotides) as that found in Anomochloa. Also notable is the fact that Anomochloa is missing the rpl23 pseudogene, another diagnostic marker in all other grasses. These features of Anomochloa require scientists to either revise their criteria of what characters are essential to a plants identification as a grass or remove Anomochloa from the grass family. These features of Anomochloa require scientists to either revise their criteria of what characters are essential to a plants identification as a grass or remove Anomochloa from the grass family….Read the Full Story

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Gene therapy sets stage for new treatments for inherited blindness, Penn veterinary researchers say

Story Summary: A red antibody that specifically identifies cones was used to label this class. PHILADELPHIA – Veterinary vision scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have safely and successfully used a viral vector in targeting a class of photoreceptors of the retina called rods, a critical first step in developing gene therapies for inherited blindness caused by rod degeneration. The scientists tested whether three different promoters, pieces of DNA that play the role of a switch, could turn on the production of the green fluorescent protein in rods in dogs. The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Gene Therapy. Hauswirth and the University of Florida have a financial interest in the use of rAAV therapies and own equity in AGTC Inc. All remaining authors declare that they have no competing financial interests….Read the Full Story

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Gene silencing prevents its first human disease

Story Summary: Under RNAi, short strands of RNA are added to cells to destroy any native RNA molecules with a complementary sequence of letters. Since genes use RNA molecules to make proteins, these snippets effectively silence genes that carry the same sequence. In animals, RNAi has shown promise, but progress in people has been slow. On day two, all the volunteers were infected with live RSV. The team is now testing the therapy in lung-transplant patients, who take immunity-suppressing drugs that can make RSV infections deadly. 0912186107If you would like to reuse any contentfrom New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndicationdepartment first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing optionsavailable for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Native American settlement highlights DNA dilemma

Story Summary: Scientists who work with human subjects must obtain informed consent, making sure the participants understand and agree to the purposes of the research and the risks it might entail. This approach is not ideal for either researchers or volunteers. Open consentPGPs bioethicist, Jeantine Lunshof, says this open consent approach is the only honest way to collect DNA. We need to tell people that there is an uncertain future. Its an intriguing model, but I think its totally un-generalisable, says Ellen Claytonat Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Researchers ought to focus on improving ways of protecting genetic data, not removing them, she says. Dan Vorhaus, a biotechnology lawyer who advises PGP, agrees its approach isnt for everyone. If you would like to reuse any contentfrom New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndicationdepartment first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing optionsavailable for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing optionsavailable for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to. 18:00 28 April 2010Excess dietary salt is a killer and you should take any evidence to the contrary with a large pinch of the stuff, say Franco Cappuccioand Simon Capewell18:00 28 April 2010The director and producer talks about improving the way films portray science, why film-makers and scientists hit it off and how he helped Iron Man 218:00 28 April 2010Worried that your vote counts for nothing? 18:00 28 April 2010Excess dietary salt is a killer and you should take any evidence to the contrary with a large pinch of the stuff, say Franco Cappuccioand Simon Capewell18:00 28 April 2010The director and producer talks about improving the way films portray science, why film-makers and scientists hit it off and how he helped Iron Man 218:00 28 April 2010Worried that your vote counts for nothing?…Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Refined tools help pinpoint disease-causing genes

Story Summary: Instead, say genetics researchers, the culprits may be numerous rare variants, located in DNA sequences farther away from the original hot spots than scientists have been accustomed to look. Using an approach that detects rare but powerful causal gene variants, the researchers say they have accounted for a significant proportion of the missing heritability problem – the disappointing fact that, to date, conventional gene-hunting studies have often failed to identify, when searching for gene variants, variants that cause a large proportion of common diseases, such as heart disease, cancers and diabetes. When we can say that a specific gene mutation causes a patients disease, we have more meaningful diagnostic results. In using these SNP chips over the past decade in comparing DNA samples between healthy subjects and patients, scientists have identified thousands of SNPs that associate with common complex diseases. However, geneticists believe that the SNPs investigated by the gene chips do not themselves cause a disease, but instead serve as a tag, a marker linked to the actual causal mutations that may reside in a nearby region. After a GWAS finds SNPs linked to a disease, researchers then perform a fine-mapping study by additional genotyping–sequencing of the gene regions near the SNP signal, to uncover an altered gene that harbors a mutation responsible for the disease. By applying their methods to real DNA samples from patients with genetic hearing loss, the researchers approach helped them to select from GWAS data a subset of cases for sequencing analysis that were most likely to carry causative mutations. Sequencing the DNA in this subset, the study team found that the majority of those patients carried an actual mutation known to cause hearing loss. Our technique suggests that when we do our resequencing follow-up studies, we can identify people who are much more likely to carry a causative gene, said Kai Wang, who analyzed the dataset. Our technique suggests that when we do our resequencing follow-up studies, we can identify people who are much more likely to carry a causative gene, said Kai Wang, who analyzed the dataset….Read the Full Story

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Synthetic enzymes could help ID proteins

Story Summary: We have combined the chemical capabilities of rhodium with what biology already knows about recognizing and selecting specific proteins, said study co-author Zachary Ball, assistant professor of chemistry at Rice. He did not start out trying to create enzymes with them, but he was intrigued by a study that showed dirhodium catalysts could be used to modify tryptophan, one of the 21 amino acids that are the basic building blocks of life. Ball and postdoctoral research associate Brian Popp wondered if they could marry the selectivity of enzymatic reactions with a rhodium-based catalyst. Signaling proteins are those that activate or deactivate key processes like apoptosis, the programmed death response thats known to play a key role in cancer. Signaling pathways are like a trail of dominos, Ball said. Dozens of proteins can be involved, and they interact one after the other in a cascade. In most cases, the interactions are both fleeting and weak. They are difficult to observe with traditional methods, and as a result we are still in the dark about the roles that key signaling proteins play in health and disease. In their tests, the chemists were able to develop synthetic enzymes that could selectively bind with proteins and attach tags that would allow biologists to identify them. Ball said the process must be refined before it can be used in the majority of biology labs, but he and Popp are already working toward realizing broad applications of the strategy. com) — Researchers have achieved a feat drug developers had thought difficult, if not impossible, discovering a compound that blocks the functioning of a key developmental protein by binding to an undruggable . . . Second Semester Physical Chemistry ACS Final Exam3 hours ago I am taking an undergrad course P Chem II: Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy. and the final is a standardized exam from the ACS. And an off topic question here can you determine how much force that. A few years ago, researchers at the National Institute of Standards . . . The new formulas are tough enough to get rid of nerve gas, . . . Apr 21, 2010 | / 5 (17) | | Scientists are reporting discovery of what may be the ancestral Eve crystal that billions of years ago gave life on Earth its curious and exclusive preference for so-called left-handed amino acids….Read the Full Story

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Hypertensive rat genome sequence expected to uncover genetic basis of human hypertension

Story Summary: Hypertensive rat genome sequence expected to uncover genetic basis of human hypertensionApril 28, 2010 Chronic high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious health risk factor that afflicts more than 25% of all adults worldwide, but the molecular basis of the disease remains poorly understood. In a study published online today in Genome Research, scientists have sequenced the genome of the spontaneously hypertensive rat, building a rich catalog of genetic variants that will help researchers to understand causes of the disease in humans. The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) strain is the most widely studied animal model of human hypertension. They also found that genes known to be abnormally expressed in SHR are especially enriched for sequence variants. The group expected that the genome sequencewould reveal mutations disrupting a number of genes in the SHR strain, however the number of mutated genes they found was quite surprising – 788 genes are mutated in SHR compared to the reference genome, including 60 that are deleted altogether. The authors suggest that defects in these functional categories may be causally associated with the known phenotypes of this strain. Aitman explained that their characterization of genetic variationin the hypertensive rat would be invaluable for complete elucidation of the causes of hypertension and related traits at the molecular level in hypertensive rat. This in turn will pave the way for greater understanding of the genetic basis of hypertensionin humans, Aitman noted, a problem that has proved remarkably difficult to study in humans directly. More information:Atanur SS, Birol I, Guryev V, Hirst M, Hummel O, Morrissey C, Behmoaras J, Fernadez-Suarez XM, Johnson MD, McLaren WM, et al. The genome sequence of the spontaneously hypertensive rat: Analysis and functional significance. Research using DNA has revealed that people who have a below . . ….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Silence Therapeutics plc Unaudited Preliminary Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2009

Story Summary: , /PRNewswire/ — Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) (Silence or the Company) announces its results for the year ended . On , Silence merged with U. S. -based RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic company, Intradigm Corporation, to form a leading company in the field of RNAi. Details and outlook relating to this merger are provided in the Chairmans Statement and the Chief Executives Review. Silences licensing partner, Quark Pharmaceuticals, commenced Phase I/II clinical trials with QPI-1002,a short interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic product candidate in development for use in kidney transplants. The Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office revoked in its entirety European patent EP1 214 945, which is a fundamental competitor patent owned by Alnylam Europe AG. Silence entered into a delivery collaboration with Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co. , Ltd. of to demonstrate the functional delivery of Silences proprietary siRNA molecules to specific targets. The collaboration is evaluating Silences proprietary AtuRNAi, a novel proprietary siRNA molecule which is chemically modified to improve stability, reduce manufacturing costs and increase yield. The collaboration is also making use of Silences AtuPLEX delivery technology, which has been shown to improve functional intracellular uptake. The Opposition Division of the EPO upheld Silences core AtuRNAi patent EP 1 527 176 (176) in amended form. The merger was effected by the issue of Silence shares to the shareholders of Intradigm such that the Intradigm shareholders at the time of the merger owned approximately 36% of the issued share capital of Silence. The merger offers a number of strategic benefits including multiple RNAiIn parallel with the merger, Silence Therapeutics raised 15 million pounds (gross) through an institutional placing and a subscription of shares at a price of 23 pence per share. D. , former chief executive officer of Intradigm, assumed the role of chief executive officer of the enlarged group. Despite our many internal successes, the turbulence of the worlds financial markets created a significant degree of uncertainty that required the companys attention and decisive action. Potent siRNA sequences Innovative siRNA structural features Silence has issued and pending patents directed to one of the industrys most advanced siRNA chemical modification technologies optimized for improved stability, yield and safety. In summary, the merger combined the strength of two innovative entities and created a new leadership in RNAi therapeutic development. Capabilities extend to all essential areas for successful product development including formulation and drug delivery, siRNA structure and chemistry and a diverse library of therapeutic siRNA sequences. These include product candidates that are being advanced by partners such as Pfizer and Quark Pharma. IP protection covering essential areas of RNAi therapeutic development (target sequences, delivery and siRNA structural features). Expanded financial support and stability to facilitate new growth opportunities. We believe the merger produced a stronger, more stable and technologically sophisticated company that is well positioned as a new leader in RNAi therapeutic development. We are grateful for the support of our shareholders and new investors alike and we wish to assure them both that we are committed to building corporate value through meaningful scientific progress and additional high-value partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry. Jerry Randall ACAChairman CHIEF EXECUTIVES REVIEWOVERVIEWIn 2009, a number of pivotal events provided the foundation and framework that will propel Silence forward in 2010 and beyond. With our expanded technologies and assets, we are aggressively executing a plan designed to further strengthen the business and create increasing value for our shareholders. OPERATIONALProgress in the ClinicIn 2009, we made great strides in the clinic with two of our programs in human trials. In , our licensing partner, Quark Pharmaceuticals, commenced a Phase I/II clinical trial with QPI-1002, its RNAi drug targeting the p53 gene for the prevention of delayed graft function (DGF) following kidney transplants. While this program is managed by Quark, we believe the trial is progressing as planned and we look forward to the results. In , Silence initiated a Phase I study of Atu027, our lead drug candidate for the treatment of advanced solid tumours. Atu027 specifically targets PKN3, a molecule involved in cancer growth and metastasis formation. Atu134 is being evaluated for potential treatment of acute lung injury and Atu111 and Atu150 are both being evaluated for the potential treatment of solid tumours. The collaboration is also making use of Silences AtuPLEX delivery technology, which has been shown to improve functional intracellular uptake. As a company focused on addressing the challenges of RNAi delivery, we are very pleased that Dainippon Sumitomo has elected to expand our collaboration so quickly. We believe this is a strong testimony to the potential of our delivery technology as well as the value we bring our partners. 65m pounds net of expenses through the issue of 15m shares at a price of 18p per share. Concurrent with our merger with Intradigm in , we raised an additional 15m pounds (gross) at a price of 23p per share. Beyond the funding itself, it is important to note who invested in each of these rounds. We are also very fortunate to have the financial backing of a number of strategic pharmaceutical venture groups including Lilly Ventures, Roche Finance and Astellas Venture, who were investors in Intradigm. During 2009 and continuing in 2010, both Silence and the former Intradigm secured a number of pivotal patents that are all now owned by post-merger Silence. The following events contributed significantly to the strength of Silences IP estate:The European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent on protein kinase N3 (PKN3), the target gene for Silences lead compound Atu027. The Opposition Division of the EPO upheld Silences core AtuRNAi patent EP 1 527 176 (176) in amended form. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a notice of allowance on a patent application directed to methods of treatment using PKN-3, a high-value therapeutic target in the area of oncology. With these combined assets, we believe our patent estate today is one of the most useful, most functional portfolios in the RNAi field and we believe it will provide us with the opportunity to actively pursue all our areas of interest. This funding provided cash resources that will support the companys operations into the second quarter of 2011. The decrease in revenue was primarily attributable to receiving milestone income from previous deals in 2008 which did not arise in 2009. Research and Development ExpensesResearch and development expenses during the year decreased to 5. 1m pounds in 2009 due to lower average balances on deposit and the marked fall in interest rates during 2008 and 2009. TaxationThe taxation credit arises through the availability of UK R&D tax credits in respect of some of the groups research and development costs. Liquidity, cash, cash equivalents and money market investmentsThe groups cash position at year-end was 1. 6m pounds and of non-cash items such as depreciation, amortisation and share option charges of 1. While other companies in the sector may claim leadership, this merger created one of the most sophisticated platforms in RNAi therapeutic development. This unique combination of technology has created an unparalleled technology platform that we believe will drive many of the most critical advances in the field. Perhaps most exciting about the merger is the powerful range of RNAi delivery technology solutions possessed by the new company. Beyond our technology platform, Silence is a clear leader in the enablement of clinical development of RNAi therapeutic candidates. With the transaction complete, it is now our task to establish a path that allows us to optimize our resources and efficiently advance our development programs and clinical efforts. We will continue to evaluate the most beneficial strategies to address the challenges ahead. In the coming year, we will continue to work diligently to advance our groundbreaking science and to continue to build shareholder value. D. Chief Executive OfficerForward-Looking StatementsThis press release includes forward-looking statements that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors. Silence Therapeutics plc, a public limited company incorporated and domiciled in England, is the Groups ultimate parent company. The group had a net cash outflow for 2009 of 2,160,383 pounds and at 31 December 2009 had cash balances of 1. The directors have reviewed the working capital requirements of the group for the next 12 months and are confident that these can be met. The directors have also taken a number of steps to reduce administration costs and to restrict the research and development expenditure to core areas pending the availability of additional funds. 3 The financial information set out above does not constitute the Companys statutory accounts within the meaning of section 435 of the Companies Act 2006. The directors anticipate that the auditors report, to be issued with the Groups statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2009, will be unqualified but will contain an emphasis of matter paragraph. This emphasis of matter paragraph will draw attention to the material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the Groups ability to continue as a going concern, referred to in note 1. The 2008 comparatives are derived from the statutory accounts for 2008 which have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies and received an unqualified audit report containing an emphasis of matter paragraph relating to going concern and did not contain a statement under the Companies Act 1985, s237(2) or (3). The calculation of the loss per share is based on the loss for the financial year after taxation of 7,470,597 pounds (2008: loss 7,434,641 pounds) and on the weighted average of 134,640,515 (2008: 119,885,617) ordinary shares in issue during the year….Read the Full Story

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Sequence Is Scaffold To Study Sleeping Sicknes – Study Probes Trypanosoma Parasite Genome For Cause Of Human Infectivity

Story Summary: The study is published April 13 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The similarity between the two genomes also suggested that the source of T. b. gambienses ability to infect humans cannot be explained simply by the addition or removal of a few genes. Single letter changes in the genome; differences in the number of copies of genes; changes in how the activity of genes is regulated – all of these genetic nuances could play that crucial role in determining why T. b. gambiense behaves so differently to T. b. brucei. With two high-quality reference genome sequences in place for the T. brucei strains, the search for those small genetic differences is given a boost. It is this search that will fuel the pursuit of targeted drug treatments to tackle T. b. gambiense. Financial Disclosure The genome sequencing and annotation work was funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant number WT085775/Z/08/Z). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. CitationThe Genome Sequence of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, Causative Agent of Chronic Human African Trypanosomiasis. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to: These are the most read articles from this news category for the last 6 months: New Disease Among HIV-infected Gay Men28 Nov 2009A rare parasitic disease, which normally only is transmitted by contaminated water, has been shown to be transmitted by gay sex between hiv-positive men. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Simply click the link below and select the follow option….Read the Full Story

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Body Builders The Worms That Point The Way To Understanding Tissue Regeneration

Story Summary: Dr Aboobaker said: These amazing worms offer us the opportunity to observe tissue regeneration in a very simple animal that can regenerate itself to a remarkable extent and does so as a matter of course. If we know what is happening when tissues are regenerated under normal circumstances, we can begin to formulate how to replace damaged and diseased organs, tissues and cells in an organised and safe way following an injury caused by trauma or disease. This would be desirable for treating Alzheimers disease, for example. With this knowledge we can also assess the consequences of what happens when stem cells go wrong during the normal processes of renewal for example in the blood cell system where rogue stem cells can result in Leukaemia. But even so, without Smed-prep these cells do not organise themselves to form a normal brain. Planarians are famous for their immense power of regeneration, being able to regenerate a new head after decapitation. It has been a really exciting project and I feel very lucky to have had this study as the centre piece of my thesis workSource: Nottingham University Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. Follow Our News On Twitter:Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. But how you treat them depends upon how seriously the skin is damaged….Read the Full Story

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Moving MicroRNA Molecules Regulate Ontogenesis

Story Summary: MicroRNAs are negative regulators, which means they are also capable of stopping the operations of certain genes. They showed that microRNAs are capable of moving from cell to cell, and conveying information between them. However, the research findings are universal, since besides plants, these molecules also appear in animal and human tissues, such as in brains. Mutual communication between plant cellsThe researchers described, in its entirety, a model where plants different cells discuss with each other. This movement regulates how the cells within and outside the microRNA field will develop. It is possible that the microRNA molecules found in animals also move from cell to cell, establishing regulatory fields during development of human tissues, for example in the brain. Source: Yrjo Helariutta University of Helsinki Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. Simply click the link below and select the follow option. Treating First and Second Degree Burns the Right WayBurns are common accidents around the house. While a third-degree burn is a medical emergency, many minor first and second-degree burns can be treated at home….Read the Full Story

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