Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, believe they have discovered stem cells that play a decisive role in new blood vessel growth. If researchers learn to isolate and efficiently produce these stem cells found in blood vessel walls, the cells offer new opportunities in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and many other diseases. The study is published in the PLOS Biology journal on 16 October 2012.
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have succeeded in engineering algae to produce potential candidates for a vaccine that would prevent transmission of the parasite that causes malaria, an achievement that could pave the way for the development of an inexpensive way to protect billions of people from one of the world’s most prevalent and debilitating diseases. Initial proof-of-principle experiments suggest that such a vaccine could prevent malaria transmission. Read the report of their research in PLoS ONE.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Mayo Clinic’s Cardiorenal Research Laboratory to conduct a highly innovative research project, “Cardiovascular Peptides and Myocardial Infarction.” The research will seek to further understand the potential of a novel, engineered guanylyl cyclase (GC) activator, cenderitide, to reduce the level of cardiac and renal injury following a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. Researchers will try to determine whether the therapy could help prevent deterioration of cardiac and renal function following a heart attack, and potentially reduce further heart failure in the future in treated patients.
Mayo researchers invented cenderitide to activate two different subtypes of GC receptors, which uniquely differentiates cenderitide from other GC stimulating peptides. Cenderitide, a designer peptide derived from the venom of the green mamba snake, may aid in the preservation of cardiac and renal function following serious cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and acute decompensated heart failure.
For the first time, scientists have tracked the activity, across the lifespan, of an environmentally responsive regulatory mechanism that turns genes on and off in the brain’s executive hub. Among key findings of the study by National Institutes of Health scientists: genes implicated in schizophrenia and autism turn out to be members of a select club of genes in which regulatory activity peaks during an environmentally-sensitive critical period in development. The mechanism, called DNA methylation, abruptly switches from off to on within the human brain’s prefrontal cortex during this pivotal transition from fetal to postnatal life. As methylation increases, gene expression slows down after birth.
WASHINGTON– Bruce B. Darling, currently vice president for laboratory management at the University of California, will soon join the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council as executive officer. His transition from the university to NAS will occur over the next several months. He will succeed E. William Colglazier, who now serves as science and technology adviser at the U.S. Department of State. Read More.
Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, Ohio) announced that it has made an investment of an undisclosed amount in CosmosID for the development of a metagenomics software-based solution for microbial identification.
The investment from Battelle is part of $4 million in financing that CosmosID recently received to support its efforts “to deliver pathogen identification in a single, rapid, and accurate service,” Battelle said, adding that it is partnering with the College Park, Md.-based company to develop and market microbial metagenomics toolkits for public safety and medical treatment applications.
CosmosID’s technology called MetaSeq Genomics uses unassembled reads from next-generation sequencing, probabilistic algorithms, and reference databases to identify pathogens, and antibiotic resistance and virulence factors. The software, which is scalable and updated iteratively, is targeted for diagnostic test development in the markets of public safety and security, medical treatment, environmental monitoring, and drug development, Battelle said.
Privately held CosmosID was founded in 2007 by Rita Colwell, former director of the US National Science Foundation and currently distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Maryland.
A red dye derived from lichens that has been used for centuries to color fabrics and food appears to reduce the abundance of small toxic protein aggregates in Alzheimer’s disease. The dye, a compound called orcein, and a related substance, called O4, bind preferentially to small amyloid aggregates that are considered to be toxic and cause neuronal dysfunction and memory impairment in Alzheimer’s disease. O4 binding to small aggregates promotes their conversion into large, mature plaques which researchers assume to be largely non-toxic for neuronal cells. Read the full story in NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY.
WASHINGTON — A new data network that integrates emerging research on the molecular makeup of diseases with clinical data on individual patients could drive the development of a more accurate classification of disease and ultimately enhance diagnosis and treatment, says a new report from the National Research Council. The “new taxonomy” that emerges would define diseases by their underlying molecular causes and other factors in addition to their traditional physical signs and symptoms. The report adds that the new data network could also improve biomedical research by enabling scientists to access patients’ information during treatment while still protecting their rights. This would allow the marriage of molecular research and clinical data at the point of care, as opposed to research information continuing to reside primarily in academia.
Biologists have a tool for unraveling the odd collection of traits — including apparent complete resistance to cancer – in this odd rodent from South Africa. They find may clues that will prove useful to human medicine. A team of 36 scientists working on three continents published the genome this week, the latest and perhaps most exotic organism to have its entire DNA sequence transcribed.
A tiny piece of a critical receptor that fuels the brain and without which sentient beings cannot live has been discovered by University at Buffalo scientists as a promising new drug target for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The research on the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor was being published online in Nature Communications.