Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category

Apr 2, 2020

Physical force alone spurs gene expression, study reveals

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Cells will ramp up gene expression in response to physical forces alone, a new study finds. Gene activation, the first step of protein production, starts less than one millisecond after a cell is stretched—hundreds of times faster than chemical signals can travel, the researchers report.

The scientists tested forces that are biologically relevant—equivalent to those exerted on by breathing, exercising or vocalizing. They report their findings in the journal Science Advances.

“We found that force can activate genes without intermediates, without enzymes or signaling molecules in the cytoplasm,” said University of Illinois mechanical science and engineering professor Ning Wang, who led the research. “We also discovered why some genes can be activated by force and some cannot.”

Apr 2, 2020

More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The U.S. passed 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day Wednesday, a daily death toll more than double lung cancer and the flu.

Apr 2, 2020

Australia begins coronavirus vaccine tests

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

Australian government scientists have begun the first stages of testing for a potential vaccine against the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. Australia’s national science agency CSIRO said Thursday that testing at a biosecurity facility was expected to take three months. The testing is being undertaken in cooperation with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global group that aims to help speedily develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

Australia’s national science agency will test two vaccine candidates over the next three months. It is part of a global race to halt the coronavirus pandemic.

Apr 2, 2020

Senator: Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war has killed 20,000

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, policy

Circa 2018

Rights group says report underscores need for a UN-led investigation into Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly anti-drug policy.

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Apr 2, 2020

Probiotics, Immunity & Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

COVID-19 has caused a sharp increase in interest around immunity supporting products, such as NZMP’s clinically researched probiotic strains. Dr James Dekker, discusses probiotics ability to support immunity and whether their use is appropriate.

Apr 2, 2020

Needle in a haystack: MIPT scientists explain why new dangerous viruses are so hard to identify

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

In a recently published fundamental review dedicated to the diagnostics of viral infections, a Russian research team featuring MIPT researchers was the first to systematically describe and summarize the cutting-edge technologies in the rapidly developing field of genetics. A number of new effective methods of virus detection have been developed over the past few years, including those targeted at unknown pathogens. The authors described the so-called high-throughput next-generation sequencing as a potent new approach. The method promises to revolutionize the detection and analysis of new pathogenic viruses, but it will be at least several years until it is introduced into mainstream clinical practice.

In response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, an authoritative global scientific journal, aptly named Viruses, published a fundamental review of problems related to identifying and studying emerging pathogens, such as the notorious coronavirus.

“There are, by various statistical estimations, over 320,000 various viruses infecting mammals,” said Kamil Khafizov, a researcher at MIPT’s Historical Genetics, Radiocarbon Analysis and Applied Physics Lab and one of the review’s authors. “But up to date, less than 1% of this vast multitude has been studied.”

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Apr 2, 2020

Homo Deus author has pandemic lessons from past and warnings for future

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, governance, privacy, surveillance

Historian Yuval Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, answers questions from the South China Morning Post on how the coronavirus pandemic poses unprecedented challenges in biometric surveillance, governance and global cooperation.

Yuval Harari says that unlike our ancestors battling plagues, we have science, wisdom and community on our side.

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Apr 2, 2020

Control of brain tumor growth

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Although innate immune cells are typically present inside tumors, they often have an inactive phenotype such that they are ineffective at killing the cancer cells or even promote tumor growth. Sarkar et al. discovered that it may be possible to reprogram these cells to a more active type using niacin (vitamin B3). The authors showed that niacin-exposed monocytes can inhibit the growth of brain tumor–initiating cells. Moreover, niacin treatment of intracranial mouse models of glioblastoma increased monocyte and macrophage infiltration into the tumors, stimulated antitumor immune responses, and extended the animals’ survival, especially when combined with the chemotherapeutic drug temozolomide.

Glioblastomas are generally incurable partly because monocytes, macrophages, and microglia in afflicted patients do not function in an antitumor capacity. Medications that reactivate these macrophages/microglia, as well as circulating monocytes that become macrophages, could thus be useful to treat glioblastoma. We have discovered that niacin (vitamin B3) is a potential stimulator of these inefficient myeloid cells. Niacin-exposed monocytes attenuated the growth of brain tumor–initiating cells (BTICs) derived from glioblastoma patients by producing anti-proliferative interferon-α14. Niacin treatment of mice bearing intracranial BTICs increased macrophage/microglia representation within the tumor, reduced tumor size, and prolonged survival. These therapeutic outcomes were negated in mice depleted of circulating monocytes or harboring interferon-α receptor–deleted BTICs. Combination treatment with temozolomide enhanced niacin-promoted survival.

Apr 2, 2020

A New Coronavirus Test Can Accurately Diagnose People Without Symptoms

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

One of the most talked-about issues to come out of the coronavirus pandemic has been testing. Why is it so hard to get a COVID-19 test? How accurate are they, really? Why does it take so long to get results?

Apr 2, 2020

FDA pulls common heartburn drug from US market after carcinogen concerns

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

After a year of investigation the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completely withdrawn all ranitidine products from the American market. Studies have revealed levels of a carcinogenic compound can increase in the product over time, particularly when stored at high temperatures.

Early last year concerns were raised after some ranitidine products were found to contain low levels of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known cancer-causing chemical. Frequently sold as a heartburn drug called Zantac, the FDA initially suspected the presence of NMDA was due to some kind of contamination during manufacturing.

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