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Archive for the ‘Gene Therapy Research’ Category

Defective protein is a double hit for ataxia

Story Summary: University of Minnesota researchers now report that the defective protein responsible for the disease cuts the number of synaptic terminals and snarls traffic inside neurons. Symptoms usually start when patients are in their 20s or 30s, and they can gradually lose the ability to walk and speak. But the protein also helps the adapter protein dynactin hitch cargoes to dynein motors, pointing to a disruption of intracellular transportation. At the neuromuscular junctions where nerves and muscles meet, the larvae showed fewer presynaptic terminals. Vesicles from flies that made the faulty {beta}-III?spectrin were slower and more likely to change direction, and thus traveled shorter distances. Other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, involve faulty transport, and the results indicate that SCA5 does too. The two mechanisms might have a common link, the researchers suggest. At the synapse it might snag microtubules that strengthen the membrane and prevent degeneration. About The Journal of Cell BiologyFounded in 1955, The Journal of Cell Biology(JCB) is published by The Rockefeller University Press. All editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted are made by active scientists in conjunction with our in-house scientific editors. Authors retain copyright of their published works and third parties may reuse the content for non-commercial purposes under a creative commons license. is good for youAbout usScience Blog was started in August 2002. is good for youAbout usScience Blog was started in August 2002. Most of what you read here are press releases from the outfits named in the stories themselves….Read the Full Story

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  1. Targeting blood vessels, immune system may offer way to stop infection-caused inflammation
  2. Hidden habits and movements of insect pests revealed by DNA barcoding
  3. Clues to pregnancy-associated breast cancer found

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Reports Data From Newly Published Research Reinforcing Potential of Targeting PS in HIV Infection

Story Summary: (Nasdaq: PPHM) today announced the publication of data showing phosphatidylserine (PS)-targeting antibodies can block one of the key ways the AIDS virus gains entry into certain blood cells. The data were generated by scientists at as part of their ongoing AIDS vaccine research. In the presence of monocytes, the antibodies prevented HIV infection in vitro85% of the time in these studies. In November, 2009 Peregrine researchers presented positive data on progress in this program, showing that the PS-targeting antibodies increase survival in a model of lethal VHF infection. This publication is the latest in a series of presentations and publications that supports the potential of PS as a target in HIV infection and provides new insights into the unique mechanisms of action of our PS-targeting antibodies, said , president and CEO of Peregrine. While past studies have focused on the broad nature of the PS target, these new data reveal that some of these antibodies may also have highly specific effects. Published Online First . The study was supported by a Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a Veterans Affairs Merit Review Award, an NIAID NIH grant, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology as well as resources from the and the Birmingham Center for AIDS Research. About PS-Targeting Anti-Viral AgentsPhosphatidylserine (PS), a lipid molecule normally found only on the inside of cell membranes, becomes exposed on the outside of the membranes of viruses and virally infected cells. Peregrines PS-targeting antibodies have been shown to help clear infectious virus from the bloodstream and to induce antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. PS is exposed on the outer membrane of cells infected with a wide range of viruses, including HIV, influenza, herpes simplex viruses, hemorrhagic fever viruses, cytomegalovirus, measles and members of the smallpox and rabies virus families. Because the PS target is host-derived rather than pathogen-derived, PS-targeting antibodies are expected to be less susceptible to the viral genomic mutations that lead to anti-viral drug resistance. Peregrine is the exclusive licensee of broad patents covering anti-viral applications of PS-targeting antibodies issued to the System. The company is pursuing three separate clinical programs in cancer and HCV infection with its lead product candidates bavituximab and Cotara(r). avidbio. Additional information about Peregrine can be found at www. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially or otherwise adversely impact the companys ability to obtain regulatory approval for its product candidates include, but are not limited to, uncertainties associated with completing preclinical and clinical trials for our technologies; the early stage of product development; the significant costs to develop our products as all of our products are currently in development, preclinical studies or clinical trials; obtaining additional financing to support our operations and the development of our products; obtaining regulatory approval for our technologies; anticipated timing of regulatory filings and the potential success in gaining regulatory approval and complying with governmental regulations applicable to our business. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially or otherwise adversely impact the companys ability to obtain regulatory approval for its product candidates include, but are not limited to, uncertainties associated with completing preclinical and clinical trials for our technologies; the early stage of product development; the significant costs to develop our products as all of our products are currently in development, preclinical studies or clinical trials; obtaining additional financing to support our operations and the development of our products; obtaining regulatory approval for our technologies; anticipated timing of regulatory filings and the potential success in gaining regulatory approval and complying with governmental regulations applicable to our business….Read the Full Story

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  1. Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Awarded Second Broad U.S. Patent for Anti-Viral Applications of Phospholipid-Targeting Antibodies
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  3. GeoVax Labs, Inc. Reports Data on Prototype Adjuvant – Supplemented HIV Vaccine Tested in Preclinical Animal Studies

Providing Long-Term Affordable Supply Of Pneumococcal Vaccines To The Worlds Poorest Children

Story Summary: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer Inc. are the first two companies to make long-term commitments to supply new vaccines against pneumococcal disease. Supply may start as early as 2010 and at a fraction of the price charged in industrialised countries. Through this AMC and thanks to the political will demonstrated by donors and least developed nations and the participation of the pharmaceutical companies, prevention against the worlds biggest childhood killer is now within reach, said GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt. For approximately 20% of the doses, companies will also receive an additional payment of US $ 3. 50 for each dose they provide, which is paid with donor commitments (AMC funds). In total, this is a fraction of the current cost of pneumococcal vaccines in many industrialised countries. GSK is delighted to be among the first suppliers of vaccines to GAVI through this innovative mechanism. Through the AMC, donors commit money to guarantee the price of vaccines once they have been developed. These commitments help provide vaccine makers with the incentive to invest the considerable sums required to finalise development of vaccines and build adequate manufacturing capacity to serve developing countries. The AMC pilot will enable low income countries to access state of the art vaccines with assurance of affordable and sustainable supply in the future, said Nina Schwalbe, GAVIs Managing Director for Policy & Performance. We expect todays announcement will be an incentive to additional manufacturers, particularly those in developing countries, to accelerate production of new pneumococcal vaccines. Firms can still make offers under the AMC as new calls for supply offers will be issued over time. As more companies participate in the AMC, the long term vaccine price could drop further. To provide the new vaccines to countries, GSK and Pfizer Inc. have committed to scale up their manufacturing capacity to appropriate levels. Source: Jeffrey Rowland Burness Communications 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. Source: Jeffrey Rowland Burness Communications 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….Read the Full Story

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  1. Worlds poorest children among first to receive new life-saving pneumococcal vaccines
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Antibiotic-resistant Gram-Negative Bacteria

You’ve probably never even heard of Acinetobacter baumannii or Enterobacter aerogenes. But these and other little-known gram-negative bacteria are killing tens of thousands of hospitalized patients every year, according to some estimates.

Gram-negative bacteria (so-called because of the way they are stained during the Gram staining protocol) have a cell wall structure that makes them more difficult to kill with antibiotics in the first place. But some strains of these bacteria are now resistant to every modern antibiotic we have.

In an ironic twist, two antibiotics (colistin and polymyxin B) that are somewhat effective against these resistant bacteria are still effective only because they were essentially abandoned decades ago, when it was learned that they can cause nerve and kidney damage. Now it’s become an unpleasant trade-off at times; risk death from the bacteria, or risk possible nerve and kidney damage from the antibiotics.

New antibiotics are needed, but so far there do not appear to be any “magic bullet”-type antibiotics on the horizon. This is a battle we’re slowly losing.

You are my density … I mean Destiny*

(for other entries in the Chemistry in Space series, click here)

Chemistry in space has been greatly aided by the addition of the Destiny Laboratory Module (see also: here for overview, and here for images) to the International Space Station.  Destiny was delivered by the Space Shuttle Atlantis during STS-98 in February 2001.  It is the first permanent operating orbital research station since Skylab was vacated in February 1974.  Destiny is a cylinder measuring 28 feet long and 14 feet wide.  Inside, there are 24 ‘racks’ (6 on each side) measuring 73 inches by 42 inches.  The racks can be configured for storage, life support systems, or – more importantly – science experiments (check out the interactive on this page).   13 racks are available for science, while 11 are used for other purposes.

One rack bay remains open and houses the highlight of the module: a 20 inch optically perfect window made of telescope-quality glass – the largest produced for use in space.  It allows the use of high quality video and still cameras primarily for capturing images of Earth in detail not before possible.  One rack bay houses the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI).  It has 4 dewars of 75 liters which can hold samples of various sizes and shapes and keep them at variable controlled temperatures.  Currently, temperatures of -80 degC, -24 degC and +4 degC are in operation on the ISS.

The purpose of Destiny is to provide space for scientific research, including experiments in the physical sciences.  Experiments are designed and built into the shape of one rack, which is ported into space and installed in Destiny.  Racks can be built to be controlled by astronauts aboard the ISS or remotely by scientists on Earth.  Destiny is joined by Columbus and Kibo as the main research ‘wing’ of the ISS.  Columbus is the science laboratory contributed by the European Space Agency and Kibo is the science laboratory contributed by the Japanese space agency JAXA.  Kibo also includes a ‘terrace’ where experiment payloads are fully exposed to the space environment.

Check back for stories of experiments conducted in the microgravity of space aboard the ISS.  There’s some pretty awesome research being undertaken.

*Bonus points if you can tell me what movie that’s from :)

Depression associated with sustained brain signals: Genetic mutation in mice elevates their risk of stress-induced depression

Story Summary: However, some people have a higher predisposition to develop these diseases, which highlights a role for genetics in determining a persons disease risk. A high number of people with depression have a genetic change that alters a protein that cells use to talk to each other in the brain. This model has good validity for understanding depression in the human, in particularly in cases of stress-induced depression, which is a fairly widespread phenomenon says Dr. Alessandro Bartolomucci, the first author of the research published in the journal, Disease Models and Mechanisms(DMM). There is a clear relationship between a short form of the serotonin transporter and a very high vulnerability to develop clinical depression when people are exposed to increasing levels of stressful life events. It suggests that the genetic mutation impedes the removal of signaling protein from communication areas in the brain, which may result in an exaggerated response to stress. What we were surprised by was the magnitude of vulnerability that we observed in mice with the genetic mutation and the selectivity of its effects. Story Source:Adapted from materials provided by , via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS. Journal Reference:Alessandro Bartolomucci, Valeria Carola, Tiziana Pascucci, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra, Simona Cabib, Klaus-Peter Lesch, Stefano Parmigiani, Paola Palanza, Cornelius Gross….Read the Full Story

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Dr. Alecia Willis honored as the 2010 Signature Genomic Laboratories Travel Award winner

Story Summary: D. , ABMG Certified Clinical Molecular Geneticist, was honored as the 2010 recipient of the Signature Genomic Laboratories Travel Award at the American College of Medical Genetics 2010 Annual Clinical Genetics MeetingAlecia Willis, Ph. The Signature Genomics Travel Award is given to a selected student, trainee or junior faculty ACMG member whose abstract submission was chosen as a platform presentation during the ACMG Annual Clinical Genetics. The ACMG program committee selects the Travel Award recipient based on scientific merit. We are proud to be sponsoring this award to support and recognize exceptional young researchers in the field of medical genetics, said Lisa G. Shaffer, PhD, FACMG, president and CEO of Signature Genomics. net) offers a variety of resources including Policy Statements, Practice Guide- lines, Educational Resources, and a Medical Geneticist Locator. org) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding the Colleges diverse efforts to translate genes into health. About Signature Genomic Laboratories Signature Genomic Laboratories, founded in 2003, was the first laboratory to provide microarray-based cytogenetic diagnostics with its proprietary SignatureChip and is the leader in providing microarray-based chromosome analysis. Signatures worldwide client base includes clinical geneticists, neurologists, pediatricians, neonatologists, obstetricians, and the research community. Signature is CAP accredited, CLIA certified, and has clinical licenses from New York, California, Rhode Island and Florida. Additional information about Signature Genomic Laboratories is available at www. signaturegenomics….Read the Full Story

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Scientists Unravel Brain-Hormone Circuit That Helps Police Diabetes, Female Fertility

Story Summary: Many people, and even many physicians, think you develop diabetes that is solely secondary to obesity, said Dr. Joel Elmquist, professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, which appears online and in the current issue of Cell Metabolism. Our findings indicate that is not necessarily the case, at least in mice. Although diabetes and obesity often go hand in hand, Dr. Elmquist said the new findings indicate that a group of brain cells called pro-opiomelanocortin, or POMC, neurons help regulate glucose and insulin independent of food intake and body weight. The researchers also found that female mice that lacked the hormone receptors in POMC neurons had difficulty reproducing and produced smaller litters than mice lacking just one of the receptors. This is due in part to the fact that the females lacking both receptors had extremely high levels of androgens, the researchers speculate. The most well-known androgen is the male sex hormone testosterone. Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a metabolic disorder characterized by abnormal hormone levels. The award is one of nine interdisciplinary research consortia sponsored by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a series of initiatives designed to transform the nations medical research capabilities. Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Drs. Makoto Fukuda and Yong Xu, instructors of internal medicine; Dr. Kevin Williams, assistant instructor of internal medicine; Drs. Makoto Fukuda and Yong Xu, instructors of internal medicine; Dr. Kevin Williams, assistant instructor of internal medicine; Drs. Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Cologne in Germany, also contributed to the work. The study was funded by the American Diabetes Association, the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, the NIH and DFG, a German research foundation….Read the Full Story

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Expression of gelatinases in gastric cancer and superficial gastritis

Story Summary: Several precursor conditions, such as chronic gastritis, have been associated with the development of gastric cancer. The gelatinases MMP-2 and MMP-9, members of the metalloproteinase family, are fundamental enzymes in extracellular matrix remodelling. The authors reported that MMP9 expression is enhanced in gastric cancer compared to normal gastric mucosa; also they found no differences in MMP2 and MMP9 expression between superficial gastritis and normal tissue. Future research efforts of this team are directed to profiling all members of the matrix metalloproteinases family in larger groups of Mexican patients with gastritis and gastric cancer. Reference: Sampieri CL, de la Pena S, Ochoa-Lara M, Zenteno-Cuevas R, Leon-Cordoba K. Expression of matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 in human gastric cancer and superficial gastritis. mxTelephone: +52-228-8418900 Fax: +52-228-8418935About World Journal of GastroenterologyWorld Journal of Gastroenterology(WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJGis supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJGon January 25, 1998….Read the Full Story

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LA BioMed to receive $9.7 million stimulus grant for new research center

Story Summary: It requires rapid deployment of shovel-ready projects to ensure the grant creates jobs and stimulates the economy. The construction of the new Chronic Disease Clinical Research Center is expected to generate 150 new construction-related jobs, and the expansion of research at LA BioMed is estimated to create up to 40 additional new jobs. One-hundred fifty new construction jobs and up to 40 new staff positions at LA BioMed are a shot in the arm for the South Bays economy, said U. S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice. The grant will also foster the development of new treatments and therapies for chronic ailments. It will serve as the new home for LA BioMeds Center for Rehabilitative Medicine, its Center for Atherosclerosis Research, the HIV/AIDS research program and the Investigational Drug Service. This grant award is great news for LA BioMed and the South Bay because it will create much-needed new jobs and help stimulate our local economy, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. I look forward to the advances in treatments and therapies that will be developed at LA BioMeds new Chronic Diseases Clinical Research Center. This grant is great news for LA BioMed, for the South Bay and for anyone suffering from a chronic disease, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. It also educates young scientists and provides community services, including immunization and childhood nutrition programs. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center….Read the Full Story

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MDRNA, Inc. Announces Research Study With Pfizer

Story Summary: (NASDAQ: MRNA), a leading RNAi-based drug discovery and development company, today announced a study effort with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). The relationship will focus on the evaluation of MDRNAs proprietary di-alkylated amino acids (DiLA2) platform and UsiRNA constructs for RNA interference (RNAi). We are extremely pleased to be working with Pfizer, a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry, said Michael French, President and CEO of MDRNA. The DiLA2 Platform enables MDRNA to tailor the charge, linker length, and acyl chain characteristics to improve delivery of the liposomes to target tissue of interest. In vivo studies have demonstrated effective delivery in models of metabolic disease, cancer, and other diseases. DiLA2 based liposomes are well tolerated for repeat dose, and systemic and local administration. In addition, the platform is designed to permit attachment of peptides and other targeting molecules for delivery to a variety of tissues, and thus provide for a diverse therapeutic portfolio. About MDRNA, Inc. MDRNA is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutic products based on RNA interference (RNAi). Through our capabilities, expertise and know-how, we are incorporating multiple RNAi technologies as well as peptide- and liposome-based delivery approaches into a single integrated drug discovery platform that will be the engine for our clinical pipeline as well as a versatile platform for establishing broad therapeutic partnerships with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. We are also investing in new technologies that we expect to lead to safer and more effective RNAi-based therapeutics while aggressively building upon our broad and extensive intellectual property estate. By combining broad expertise in siRNA science with proven delivery platforms and a strong IP position, MDRNA is well positioned as a leading RNAi-based drug discovery and development company. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of MDRNA to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of MDRNA to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; (v) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products that can compete favorably with those of competitors; and (vi) the failure of the stockholders of MDRNA to approve the merger with Cequent, the failure of either party to meet any of the other conditions to closing the merger, contractual restrictions on the conduct of our business included in the merger agreement, and any impact on our relationships with third parties as a result of the announcement of the proposed merger. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in MDRNAs most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission….Read the Full Story

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Chronix Biomedicals serum DNA assays monitor disease activity and treatment response in MS

Story Summary: In the study, researchers applied advanced analytical techniques developed by Chronix to identify genomic DNA fingerprints in the bloodstream of 28 MS patients known to have relapsing or stable disease as compared to 50 healthy volunteers. D. , Professor of Pathology at Vanderbilt University and a co-author of the study noted, The data from this study suggests that the Chronix quantitative blood test provides a simpler, safer and more cost effective approach to assessing the activity of investigational new drugs for MS. Development of new MS drugs is currently complicated by the fact that disease status is monitored using dye-enhanced MRI scans that are expensive and are associated with occasional toxicities. In addition, they can only show neurological damage after it has occurred, while the Chronix approach provides a real time measure of disease activity. The newly published MS data follows earlier work that demonstrated the ability of Chronixs serum DNA-based assays to diagnose mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in live animals, conditions that until now could only be diagnosed using post-mortem biopsies. Eventually we intend to offer testing services that will allow physicians to monitor ongoing disease status and response to treatment in their patients with MS and other chronic neurological conditions. The findings demonstrated that the Chronix approach was able to detect invasive breast cancer with high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, even at the earliest stage when tumors are very small. Dr. Clerici is a member of the Chronix Medical Advisory Board and has an equity position in the company. It has developed proprietary technology that measures and categorizes DNA sequences circulating in the serum that are associated with specific changes in disease and health status. Using advanced genome analysis methodology, proprietary data tools and disease-specific databases, Chronix has demonstrated the utility of its diagnostic and prognostic approach in a chronic neurologic disease, in breast cancer and in multiple myeloma. Using advanced genome analysis methodology, proprietary data tools and disease-specific databases, Chronix has demonstrated the utility of its diagnostic and prognostic approach in a chronic neurologic disease, in breast cancer and in multiple myeloma. The company plans to offer its serum DNA-based assays in a CLIA laboratory setting. The company plans to offer its serum DNA-based assays in a CLIA laboratory setting….Read the Full Story

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New investigation supports correlation between XMRV and prostate cancer

Story Summary: com215-239-3798Novel XMRV retrovirus diagnostic test developedPhiladelphia, PA, April 5, 2010 The recently discovered retrovirus, xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV), has been identified in some prostate cancer patients. This assay has been rigorously confirmed by two independent labs and two independent technologies (PCR and FISH), thus confidence in the accuracy of the test is high. Dr. Petros comments, The public deserves to know if the next blood transfusion or organ donation will give them XMRV retrovirus, an infection which lasts for life, and could possibly be related to prostate cancer. We have reported serologic evidence of infection and that the serology correlated with tissue-based assays. Robust clinical assays are needed to detect XMRV infection, and much work remains to be done in determining whether XMRV is indeed an oncogenic virus or simply an associated epiphenomenon. The article is XMRV Infection in Patients With Prostate Cancer: Novel Serologic Assay and Correlation With PCR and FISH by Rebecca S. Arnold, Natalia V. Makarova, Adeboye O. Osunkoya, Suganthi Suppiah, Takara A. Scott, Nicole A. Johnson, Sushma M. Bhosle, Dennis Liotta, Eric Hunter, Fray F. Marshall, Hinh Ly, Ross J. Molinaro, Jerry L. Blackwell, and John A. Petros….Read the Full Story

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Clinical trial to test whether vaccine can effectively treat melanoma

Story Summary: The cancer typically begins in a mole, but can also lodge in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines. The vaccine being tested is called OncoVEX, initially developed to combat herpes virus. Researchers discovered accidentally that the vaccine attacked cancerous tissue when it was inadvertently placed in a Petri dish of tumor cells. Response rates for those therapies are at best about 15 percent, according to Kaufman. Eight of the 50 patients were free of disease by the end of the trial period, which consisted of vaccination every two weeks, for a total of up to 24 injections or until disease disappeared. Four more patients were rendered disease-free after surgery or further vaccination of new lesions. These are the best results to date for any vaccine developed for melanoma, but they need to be confirmed in a larger population. The Phase III trial will enroll a total of 430 patients at centers across the U. S. As with the earlier trial, the vaccine will be injected directly into tumor nodules every two weeks for up to 24 treatments. BioVex, in Woburn, Massachusetts, which makes OncoVEX, is funding the study. Rush University, with more than 1,730 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, and one of the nations top-ranked nursing colleges. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences….Read the Full Story

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Researchers discover new approach for identifying smokers at highest risk for developing lung cancer

Story Summary: Although this biomarker is successful at diagnosing lung cancer, it does not identify the signaling pathways underlying these gene expression changes. This finding is significant as these cells can be obtained in a relatively non-invasive fashion from the airway of smokers at risk for lung cancer, and does not require invasive sampling of lung tissue where lung tumors normally arise, said Spira, who is also an associate professor medicine and pathology at BUSM. The BUSM researchers then went on to validate their findings by measuring the biochemical activity of this pathway in the airway epithelial cells from an independent group of smokers with and without lung cancer. We found that this PI3K pathway gene expression activity is decreased in the airway of high-risk smokers who had regression (or improvement) of their premalignant lesions following treatment with a potential lung cancer chemopreventive agent known as myo-inositol, and demonstrated that myo-inositol inhibits the PI3K pathway in lung cancer cell lines, he added. Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health….Read the Full Story

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Scientists find out why living things are the size they are — and none other

Story Summary: Then they identified which genes were turned off simultaneously in multiple organs with age. These same genes are progressively turned off during the maturation process, causing growth to slow. This process occurs simultaneously in multiple organs, which explains why organs all stay in proportional size as the body grows. This important work answers the question of why any animal including us has a certain size, said Gerald Weissmann, M. D. , Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, As this study shows, growth is dictated by organ development, and no one wishes their organs to be abnormally large or small. org) is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The journal has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century and is the most cited biology journal worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information. FASEB comprises 23 societies with more than 90,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB enhances the ability of scientists and engineers to improvethrough their researchthe health, well-being and productivity of all people. FASEBs mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy. Details: Julian C. Lui, Patricia Forcinito, Maria Chang, Weiping Chen, Kevin M. Barnes, and Jeffrey Baron. Coordinated postnatal down-regulation of multiple growth-promoting genes: evidence for a genetic program limiting organ growth. 1096/fj. fasebj. org/cgi/content/abstract/fj. org/cgi/content/abstract/fj….Read the Full Story

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Considering diabetes treatment, experts say 1 size does not fit all

Story Summary: Seeking to address this critical health issue, an international multidisciplinary group of experts just issued recommendations for individualized treatment in a consensus statement to be published in the April 2010 issue of the Endocrine Societys Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism(JCEM). The group consisted of experts in diabetes epidemiology, physiology, genetics, clinical trials and clinical care. Recent advances in genetics such as the identification of the responsible genes for several forms of Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY), now referred to as monogenic diabetes, have established precedents linking specific drug therapies to defined subtypes of diabetes patients, said Robert Smith, MD, of Brown University in Providence, R. I. and co-author of the statement. Not only should these registries collect material for future biomarker and genetic analysis, but registries should be designed to specifically address the heterogeneity of diabetes with hypotheses generated by examining existing data. Develop new clinical trials – Future randomized studies of diabetes therapies should, by design, collect phenotypic information relevant to response to therapy. Develop new technologies – Targeting therapy toward more appropriate subgroups of patients will require increasingly accurate and efficient methods to measure markers for diabetes heterogeneity and heterogeneous response to treatment….Read the Full Story

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Searching for brains defenses to ward off infections, prevent memory loss

Story Summary: They will examine brain tissues to explore the possibility that the beta defensins contribute to degenerative brain diseases and in particular Alzheimers disease (AD). Chronic inflammation within the aging human brain and in the brains of individuals suffering from a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers disease, is now recognized as a major contributor to neuronal cell death and subsequent decline in cognitive function, said Wesley M. Williams, a neurobiologist and researcher in the Department of Biological Science at the dental school. While the blood-brain barrier generally blocks harmful pathogens from reaching brain tissue, Williams said not all parts of the brain have this protection. Beta defensins are found in the skin and in lung, kidney, intestines, mouth, stomach, and vagina. Whenever a wound occurs in these areas, the beta defensins kick in to fight off infection. Some 20-beta defensins are known to exist in humans, other mammals and plants. This study is among a number of funded projects by the University Center on Aging and Health supported by the Presidents Strategic Initiatives Fund and McGregor Foundation, located in the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and under the direction of Diana Morris, that encourage interdisciplinary research projects among campus researchers. Case Western Reserve University is among the nations leading research institutions….Read the Full Story

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Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center discover key molecule for cancer initiation

Story Summary: It is what is called the subventricular zone, a tissue structure lining the lateral ventricles. This is where neural or brain stem cells reside, which are responsible for generating new neurons if needed. Functioning of the stem cells thus appears to depend on the presence of this protein. As a result, cell division activity in the subventricular zone increased, the cells left their habitual environment called stem cell niche, and started forming glioblastoma-like tissue lesions. Therefore, we are now able, for the first time, to hold brain stem cells directly responsible for the formation of brain tumor stem cells, Gunther Schutz explains. The researchers expect to be able to develop new therapies to treat glioblastoma on the basis of these results from fundamental cell biology research. Tlx seems to play its fatal role not only in mouse brains. Therefore, we can now try to develop therapies that are directed very specifically against Tlx producing cells, said Schutz describing the next steps. jpgFigure caption: Mice overexpressing Tlx develop glioma initiating lesions Photography: Haikun Liu, German Cancer Research Center The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany and is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers. More than 2,000 staff members, including 850 scientists, are investigating the mechanisms of cancer and are working to identify cancer risk factors. In addition, the staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Published on: 2010-04-04Limited copyright is granted for you to use and/or republish any story on this site for any legitimate media purpose as long as you reference 7thSpace and any source mentioned in the story above. Published on: 2010-04-04Limited copyright is granted for you to use and/or republish any story on this site for any legitimate media purpose as long as you reference 7thSpace and any source mentioned in the story above. Please make sure to read our disclaimer prior to contacting 7thSpace Interactive. If you wish submit your own press release, click here….Read the Full Story

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New genetic risk factors for aneurysms identified by Yale-led team

Story Summary: The massive study of intracranial aneurysms involved more than 20,000 subjects and was published in the April 4 online edition of the journal Nature Genetics. The new study, the second by Yale researchers published within the last 15 months, brings to five the number of regions of the genome that have been found to contribute to the nearly 500,000 cases of this devastating disorder diagnosed worldwide annually. They searched across the entire genome for changes in the genetic code that were shared more often by aneurysm patients than by unaffected individuals. The median age when aneurismal hemorrhagic stroke occurs is 50 years old, and there are typically no warning signs. Without a way to diagnose aneurysms prior to these events, physicians have been mostly left to respond after the fact, once the damage has largely been done, Gunel said….Read the Full Story

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U of I scientist says slimming soybeans are on the horizon

Story Summary: Study reveals new genetic culprit in deadly skin cancer– 30 Aug 2009 — Drawing on the power of DNA sequencing, National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a new group of genetic. New technique could eliminate inherited mitochondrial disease– 26 Aug 2009 — Researchers have developed an experimental technique with the potential to prevent a class of hereditary disorders passed. Whats more, we have identified the specific peptides (digested proteins) that do this, and we are now beginning to understand the mechanism behind it. She had learned from her previous research that administration of soy protein caused weight loss in laboratory rats, but she wanted to know exactly why it happened. She incubated human fat cells in the lab, treated them with soy hydrolysates from 15 soy genotypes containing varying amounts of beta-conglycinin, and then measured the amount of fat that accumulated. As we increased the concentration of beta-conglycinin, we saw more inhibition of lipids and less accumulation of fat. She then compared the activity of beta-conglycinins with glycinins and found that hydrolysates from beta-conglycinins inhibited almost 50 percent of lipid accumulation in the fat cells. For years weve known that soy protein is a good source of essential amino acids. Soy helps us maintain muscle mass, and its peptides make people feel full so they dont eat as much, she said. Now it appears that products made from soybeans selected for this particular protein profile may also help limit fat accumulation. But researchers at the University. The investigators say that strains of the common. — full story– 16 August 2009Scientists at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital have identified inherited variations in two genes that account for 37 percent of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), including. — full story– 16 August 2009Scientists at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital have identified inherited variations in two genes that account for 37 percent of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), including….Read the Full Story

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Only women with Western Swedish breast cancer gene run higher risk of ovarian cancer

Story Summary: The study, published in the journal Acta Oncologica, shows that the increased risk of ovarian cancer is linked to a known mutation in women with breast cancer in Western Sweden. The research team had previously identified a special mutation in the breast cancer gene BRCA1 originating with some distant forefather on Swedens West Coast many generations back. Their research results reveal that women diagnosed with breast cancer who do not have this mutation do not run an increased risk of ovarian cancer. There is also research under way in the cancer genetics field which may mean that, in future, patients can receive more specific screening, and that cancer patients can expect a more personalised treatment, says Karlsson, who believes that this work could lead to fewer screenings and fewer side-effects from cancer treatments. — full story– 29 July 2009Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown that they can engineer mouse and human cells to produce brown fat, a natural energy-burning type of fat that counteracts obesity….Read the Full Story

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Bees with an impaired insulin partner gene prefer proteins over carbs

Story Summary: But how to do you get your say if you are in the minority?. Leaves whisper their properties through ultrasound– 4 Feb 2010 — The water content of leaves, their thickness, their density and other properties can now be determined without even having. By taking control of the Insulin Receptor Substrate gene (IRS), an insulin partner gene in the bees fat cells, researchers at Arizona State University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences made the insects forego carbohydrates (sugar-containing nectar) and favour protein (pollen). While IRS affects the food choices of bees, it is not the only gene involved. Previous studies identified vitellogenin, a gene that also is active in fat cells. Its effect on the bees loading of protein and carbohydrates is opposite to that of IRS. Source: Public Library of Science– 29 July 2009A higher density of blood vessels and other unique physiological features in the flight muscles of bar-headed geese allow them to do what even the most elite of human athletes struggle. — full story– 27 July 2009Researchers have developed a new technique that allows them to make a movie of bacteria infecting their living host….Read the Full Story

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Inhibitor That Binds To Genetic Material May Prevent Hepatitis C Virus From Replicating

Story Summary: This discovery, published in the March 29 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a potential new target for structure-based design of new hepatitis C treatments. Hepatitis C is a major public health problem affecting as many as 170 million people worldwide, with 2 million to 3 million new cases diagnosed each year. However, small molecules that inhibit viral replication have been reported and they represent potential opportunities for new, more effective HCV treatments. Previous research has shown that the three-dimensional structure of HCV RNA appears to be crucial for initiating the viral replication process. It is possible that, because HCV replication inhibitors like Isis-11 bind to a region of RNA that is conserved among all genotypes of the virus, they might be effective against a majority of HCV genotypes. Davis and his colleagues also noted that Isis-11 binds with low affinity to HCV RNA, resulting in a relatively loose bond and suggesting that there is considerable potential for optimizing this class of HCV replication inhibitors by modifying them to have tighter bonds to the genetic material of the virus. Isis Pharmaceuticals provided the Isis compound for this study, but did not give any funding for the research. Source: Phil Sahm University of Utah Health Sciences 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. Improving Health CareImprovements are necessary to make sure Americans get the best quality health care and that money for this care is being spent as effectively as possible. Our panel discusses the causes and warning signs of alcoholism and how to recognize them….Read the Full Story

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Bees forage with their guts

Story Summary: Reducing the genes activity in fat cells affects the bees behavior even if the gene is functioning normally in the brain, Amdams group discovered. I dont think many people have considered how insulin is affecting food choices, not just what happens after food has entered the body. Insulin is an important hormone that regulates sugar intake by cells. In the new study, Amdam and her colleagues show that the IRSgene is partially responsible for influencing the bees foraging behavior. Using bee strains that have been bred in the laboratory to show a high or low preference for pollen, Amdams group showed that pollen-hoarding bees have lower IRSactivity. Researchers injected RNA into the bees abdomens, blocking genes that are normally turned on in the thin layer of fat cells lining the abdominal cavity. As a group, bees that got the IRS-inhibiting injections collected more pollen than the control group did. Previous work by the group had shown that changing bees sensitivity to sugar could affect nectar collection. We want to know what the fat cells are telling the brain about what food to choose, Amdam says. For now, the content of that message is a mystery. Down-regulation of honey bee IRS gene biases behavior toward food rich in protein….Read the Full Story

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