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Mar 28, 2020

Targeted gene silencing in vivo

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a powerful tool for gene silencing that has been used for a wide range of biomedical applications, but there are many challenges facing its therapeutic use in vivo. Here, we report on a platelet cell membrane–coated metal-organic framework (MOF) nanodelivery platform for the targeted delivery of siRNA in vivo. The MOF core is capable of high loading yields, and its pH sensitivity enables endosomal disruption upon cellular uptake. The cell membrane coating provides a natural means of biointerfacing with disease substrates. It is shown that high silencing efficiency can be achieved in vitro against multiple target genes. Using a murine xenograft model, significant antitumor targeting and therapeutic efficacy are observed. Overall, the biomimetic nanodelivery system presented here provides an effective means of achieving gene silencing in vivo and could be used to expand the applicability of siRNA across a range of disease-relevant applications.

RNA interference (RNAi) is a naturally occurring mechanism for gene down-regulation that, since its first discovery in the late 1990s, has been widely leveraged as a tool for biological studies. Through a robust process mediated by the RNA-induced silencing complex present within the cytosol, target genes can be posttranscriptionally silenced via degradation of the corresponding mRNA. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are short and well-defined double-stranded RNA molecules that can be synthetically manufactured to take advantage of the RNAi pathway. Over time, siRNAs have become an indispensable tool for validating gene function. They have also been widely explored as therapeutics for human disease , and an siRNA-based treatment for transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Mar 28, 2020

Astronauts experience these common, Earth-like symptoms in space

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space

But as we prepare for longer journeys that will return humans to the Moon and possibly send them to Mars within the near future, scientists are working hard to measure the effects of spaceflight on the human body in order to help mitigate them for those longer missions.

Mar 28, 2020

All rough sleepers in England ‘to be housed’

Posted by in category: habitats

And just like that, the homeless were given homes! ❤.

Labour have welcomed the plan but said councils “need more support” and money to achieve it.

Mar 28, 2020

Coronavirus: Iceland’s mass testing finds half of carriers show no symptoms

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Here is another good reason why it’s better to assume you are a carrier and do all you can to avoid getting others sick, even if you are healthy as an ox…

As the coronavirus pandemic surges worldwide, each piece of data counts in the fight against the deadly pathogen.

But significant findings about the contagious disease are coming from an unlikely place: Iceland, the tiny Island state with a population of just 364,000 people, where authorities are testing large numbers of the population – without imposing any lockdown or curfew.

Continue reading “Coronavirus: Iceland’s mass testing finds half of carriers show no symptoms” »

Mar 28, 2020

Melatonin? Stem cells? Researchers step up with unconventional approaches to COVID-19

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

At a time of unprecedented panic over the rapidly spreading COVID-19 coronavirus, several research groups are asking whether existing therapies could be repurposed in fighting the disease. And pretty much everything seems to be on the table, including melatonin, the hormone that’s sold over-the-counter as a sleep aid.

The melatonin suggestion was published Monday in the journal Cell Discovery by Cleveland Clinic researchers, who hit on the hormone after analyzing the genomes of 15 human coronaviruses. The team compared COVID-19 with the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak of 2003 using a technique called “network proximity analysis” to identify combinations of existing drugs that may be able to target cellular factors that allow the viruses to replicate.

The analysis turned up three potential drug combinations: melatonin plus chemotherapy drug mercaptopurine; sirolimus, most commonly used to prevent organ-transplant rejection, combined with another chemo drug, dactinomycin; and breast cancer drug toremifene plus emodin, a chemical found in plants like rhubarb.

Mar 28, 2020

Quantum copycat: Researchers find a new way in which bosons behave like fermions

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Bosons and fermions, the two classes into which all particles—from the sub-atomic to atoms themselves—can be sorted, behave very differently under most circumstances. While identical bosons like to congregate, identical fermions tend to be antisocial. However, in one dimension—imagine particles that can only move on a line—bosons can become as stand-offish as fermions, so that no two occupy the same position. Now, new research shows that the same thing—bosons acting like fermions—can happen with their velocities. The finding adds to our fundamental understanding of quantum systems and could inform the eventual development of quantum devices.

“All particles in nature come in one of two types, depending on their ‘spin,’ a quantum property with no real analogue in ,” said David Weiss, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Penn State and one of the leaders of the research team. “Bosons, whose spins are whole integers, can share the same quantum state, while fermions, whose spins are half integers, cannot. When the particles are cold or dense enough, bosons behave completely differently from fermions. Bosons form ‘Bose-Einstein condensates,’ congregating in the same . Fermions, on the other hand, fill available states one by one to form what is called a ‘Fermi sea.’”

Researchers at Penn State have now experimentally demonstrated that, when bosons expand in one dimension—the line of atoms is allowed spread out to become longer—they can form a Fermi sea. A paper describing the research appears March 27, 2020 in the journal Science.

Mar 28, 2020

Rebuilding a diseased lung: repair and regeneration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, health

Chronic lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis, are the second leading cause of death in the world. Currently, only limited therapeutic options exist for chronic lung diseases; in particular, causative therapeutic approaches are missing. Lung transplantation remains the only available therapy for many patients with end-stage lung disease; however, the number of patients listed for lung transplantation by far surpasses the number of suitable donor organs.

Beyond lung transplantation, several approaches to repair and regenerate lung tissue, with the aim of restoring lung function, have made substantial progress in recent years and hold great promise for future therapies. Importantly, advancement in our understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of distinct chronic lung diseases will be crucial for the development of novel, targeted therapeutic approaches.

The mission of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) is to alleviate suffering from respiratory disease and promote lung health through research, knowledge sharing, and medical and public education. In support of this mission, the ERS hosts the annual Lung Science Conference (LSC) in Estoril, Portugal, which brings together leading experts (basic scientists, physician scientists and clinicians alike) on distinct topics of relevance to respiratory medicine. In addition, the ERS is strongly committed to encourage, nurture and mentor future generations of world class respiratory scientists and clinicians. The LSC represents one of the main platforms to encourage debate and interaction between young doctoral and postdoctoral scientists with established investigators. In particular, this is facilitated by special mentoring sessions and the Young Investigator Competition, which enables younger delegates to present themselves and their work to established investigators.

Mar 28, 2020

Scientists Use Stem Cells to Treat COVID-19 Patients in China

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

More than 100 COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Beijing are receiving injections of mesenchymal stem cells to help them fend off the disease. The experimental treatment is part of an ongoing clinical trial, which coordinators say has shown early promise in alleviating COVID-19 symptoms.

Several experts express skepticism of the trial’s early results, suggest resources would be better spent exploring other treatments.

Mar 28, 2020

Getting Astronauts To Mars Easier Than Magellan’s Journey Across Pacific, Says Historian

Posted by in category: space travel

During this extremely rare epoch of non-travel, it’s worth looking back at Magellan and the Age of Discovery. Exploration and freedom of movement have always come with a price.

Mar 28, 2020

Tens of thousands of scientists are redeploying to fight coronavirus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Working around the clock, scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts can run about 2,000 COVID-19 tests per day. In places where testing is still scarce — which is to say much of the world — similar efforts can provide vital relief to public-health systems stretched to their limits. As they shutter their labs indefinitely, tens of thousands of scientists are volunteering to help the pandemic relief efforts in any way they can.

As labs shut down around the world, researchers are finding creative ways to donate their time, supplies and expertise.