Archive for the ‘biotech/medical’ category: Page 10

Jan 7, 2023

New Oral Drug Lowers Cholesterol

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A team from University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University has identified a small-molecule drug that effectively reduces cholesterol by 70% in animal models.

PCSK9 inhibitors are the second most common type of medication used to manage cholesterol levels, following statins. These drugs are highly effective at reducing excess cholesterol in the blood, but unlike statins, which can be taken orally, PCSK9 inhibitors must be injected. This can be a barrier to their use for some people.

A small-molecule drug that can be taken orally has been developed by researchers at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The drug has been shown to significantly reduce PCSK9 levels and lower cholesterol by 70% in animal models. These findings, published in the journal Cell Reports.

Jan 7, 2023

MRNA cancer therapies planned for 2030

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

BioNTech has announced a strategic partnership with the UK government to provide up to 10,000 patients with personalised mRNA cancer immunotherapies by 2030.

BioNTech is famous for having partnered with Pfizer to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, based on messenger RNA (mRNA). More recently, the company has been further developing this technology to investigate its potential in treating other diseases, such as cancer. One study, which involved the injection of mRNA into colon and melanoma tumours in mice, halted tumour growth and caused a complete regression of cancer in 85% of the animals. A phase 1 trial in 231 humans is currently underway and expected to conclude in 2024.

Jan 7, 2023

Aging Is Linked to More Activity in Short Genes Than in Long Genes

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics, life extension

Our DNA is made up of genes that vary drastically in size. In humans, genes can be as short as a few hundred molecules known as bases or as long as two million bases. These genes carry instructions for constructing proteins and other information crucial to keeping the body running. Now a new study suggests that longer genes become less active than shorter genes as we grow older. And understanding this phenomenon could reveal new ways of countering the aging process.

Luís Amaral, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University, says he and his colleagues did not initially set out to examine gene length. Some of Amaral’s collaborators at Northwestern had been trying to pinpoint alterations in gene expression—the process through which the information in a piece of DNA is used to form a functional product, such as a protein or piece of genetic material called RNA—as mice aged. But they were struggling to identify consistent changes. “It seemed like almost everything was random,” Amaral says.

Then, at the suggestion of Thomas Stoeger, a postdoctoral scholar In Amaral’s lab, the team decided to consider shifts in gene length. Prior studies had hinted that there might be such a large-scale change in gene activity with age—showing, for example, that the amount of RNA declines over time and that disruptions to transcription (the process through which RNA copies, or transcripts, are formed from DNA templates) can have a greater impact on longer genes than shorter ones.

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Jan 7, 2023

Google’s Sergey Brin talks AI safety efforts to prevent ‘sci-fi style sentience’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Elon Musk, information science, robotics/AI

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has taken a rather similar stance as Tesla CEO Elon Musk on artificial intelligence, emphasizing AI dangers in a recent investor communication. According to the Russian-born billionaire, the present day is an era of possibilities, but it is also a time when responsibility has to be practiced, particularly when it comes to emerging technologies.

“We’re in an era of great inspiration and possibility, but with this opportunity comes the need for tremendous thoughtfulness and responsibility as technology is deeply and irrevocably interwoven into our societies,” he wrote.

Brin’s statements were outlined in Alphabet’s recent Founders’ Letter, where the 44-year-old billionaire described how Google is utilizing bleeding-edge technology for its ventures. While AI as a discipline is still an emerging field, Brin noted that there are already a lot of everyday applications for the technology. Among these are the algorithms utilized by Waymo’s self-driving cars, the smart cooling units of Google’s data centers, and of course, Google Translate and YouTube’s automatic captions.

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Jan 7, 2023

We’ve just discovered a new part of the brain’s waste disposal system

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In 2012, Nedergaard also helped to discover a network of thin tubes that collect waste fluid from brain cells, known as the glymphatic system. These tubes may drain into the outgoing cerebrospinal fluid, says Nedergaard.

The waste products of brain cells include proteins called beta-amyloid and tau that are thought to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease when they build up in excessive amounts.

In both mice and people, the SLYM also contains immune cells, so it may allow them to detect signs of infection present in the cerebrospinal fluid, says Nedergaard. “It is loaded with immune cells.”

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Jan 7, 2023

A New Approach to Halting the Effects of Aging: Boosting Immune Cells Improves Brain Waste Clearance

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

Many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that attacks the brain, causing a decline in mental ability that worsens over time. It is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. There is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are medications that can help ease the symptoms.

Jan 7, 2023

Jeff Lichtman (Harvard) Part 2: Neuromuscular Connectomics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Talk Overview: The human brain is extremely complex with much greater structural and functional diversity than other organs and this complexity is determined both by one’s experiences and one’s genes. In Part 1 of his talk, Lichtman explains how mapping the connections in the brain (the connectome) may lead to a better understanding of brain function. Together with his colleagues, Lichtman has developed tools to label individual cells in the nervous system with different colors producing beautiful and revealing maps of the neuronal connections.
Using transgenic mice with differently colored, fluorescently labeled proteins in each neuron (Brainbow mice), Lichtman and his colleagues were able to follow the formation and destruction of neuromuscular junctions during mouse development. This work is the focus of Part 2.
In Part 3, Lichtman asks whether some day it might be possible to map all of the neural connections in the brain. He describes the technical advances that have allowed him and his colleagues to begin this endeavor as well as the enormous challenges to deciphering the brain connectome.

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Jan 7, 2023

Learn about CRISPR & Genome Editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, ethics

CRISPR-Cas9 is a revolutionary gene editing tool that has wide spread implications for research, medical treatments, the environment, and ethics. In this pla…

Jan 6, 2023

Consumer Health: Do you know the symptoms of glaucoma?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about treating this group of eye conditions.

About 3 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, and it’s the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, often due to abnormally high pressure in your eye. Elevated eye pressure is due to a buildup of the fluid that flows throughout the inside of your eye. When this fluid is overproduced or the drainage system doesn’t work properly, the fluid can’t flow out at its normal rate and eye pressure increases.

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Jan 6, 2023

Weird bits of DNA help microbes to rule the seas

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Photosynthetic bacteria that swarm the oceans could acquire beneficial genetic material using ‘tycheposons’.

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