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Sep 9, 2019

Genome engineering with CRISPR/HDR to diversify the functions of hybridoma-produced antibodies

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

Bioengineers and life scientists incorporate hybridoma technology to produce large numbers of identical antibodies, and develop new antibody therapeutics and diagnostics. Recent preclinical and clinical studies on the technology highlight the importance of antibody isotypes for therapeutic efficacy. In a new study, a research team in Netherlands have developed a versatile Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindrome Repeats (CRISPR) and homology directed repair (HDR) platform to rapidly engineer immunoglobin domains and form recombinant hybridomas that secrete designer antibodies of a preferred format, species or isotype. In the study, Johan M. S. van der Schoot and colleagues at the interdisciplinary departments of immunology, proteomics, immunohematology, translational immunology and medical oncology, used the platform to form recombinant hybridomas, chimeras and mutants. The stable antibody products retained their antigen specificity. The research team believes the versatile platform will facilitate mass-scale antibody engineering for the scientific community to empower preclinical antibody research. The work is now published on Science Advances.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) have revolutionized the medical field with applications to treat diseases that were once deemed incurable. Hybridoma technology is widely used since 1975 for mAb discovery, screening and production, as immortal cell lines that can produce large quantities of mAbs for new antibody-based therapies. Scientists had generated, validated and facilitated a large number of hybridomas in the past decade for preclinical research, where the mAb format and isotypes were important to understand their performance in preclinical models. Genetically engineered mAbs are typically produced with recombinant technology, where the variable domains should be sequenced, cloned into plasmids and expressed in transient systems. These processes are time-consuming, challenging and expensive, leading to outsourced work at contract research companies, which hamper the process of academic early-stage antibody development and preclinical research.

In its mechanism of action, the constant antibody domains forming the fragment crystallizable – (Fc) domain are central to the therapeutic efficacy of mAbs since they engage with specific Fc receptors (FcRs). Preceding research work had highlighted the central role of Fc in antibody-based therapeutics to emphasize this role. Since its advent, CRISPR and associated protein Cas-9 (CRISPR-Cas9)-targeted genome editing technology has opened multitudes of exciting opportunities for gene therapy, immunotherapy and bioengineering. Researchers had used CRISPR-Cas9 to modulate mAb expression in hybridomas, generate a hybridoma platform and engineer hybridomas to introduce antibody modification. However, a platform for versatile and effective Fc substitution from foreign species within hybridomas with constant domains remains to be genetically engineered.

Sep 9, 2019

New high-mass gamma-ray binary discovered

Posted by in categories: energy, space

An international team of astronomers has detected a new high-mass gamma-ray binary (HMGB) in the Milky Way galaxy. The newly found HMGB, designated 4FGL J1405.1–6119, is one of only a handful of such objects discovered to date. The discovery was announced in a paper published August 28 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

HMGBs consist of an OB star in orbit with a compact object. In these systems, interactions between the two objects result in an emission with spectral energy distribution (SED) peaks above 1.0 MeV. They are assumed to be precursors to high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs).

HMGBs are very rare objects. Astronomers estimate that there are about 100 still undetected HMGBs residing in our home galaxy. Moreover, many known sources of as-yet unknown nature, could potentially be high-mass gamma-ray binaries.

Sep 9, 2019

Hard as a diamond? Scientists predict new forms of superhard carbon

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Superhard materials can slice, drill and polish other objects. They also hold potential for creating scratch-resistant coatings that could help keep expensive equipment safe from damage.

Now, science is opening the door to the development of new materials with these seductive qualities.

Researchers have used computational techniques to identify 43 previously unknown forms of that are thought to be stable and superhard—including several predicted to be slightly harder than or nearly as hard as diamonds. Each new carbon variety consists of carbon atoms arranged in a distinct pattern in a .

Sep 9, 2019

An artificial-intelligence first: Voice-mimicking software reportedly used in a major theft

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, robotics/AI

Once the realm of science fiction, voice-mimicking software is now “well within the range of any lay criminal who’s got creativity to spare,” one cybersecurity expert said.

Sep 9, 2019

Gold nanoparticle sensor produces simple urine test for cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Imperial College London biomedical materials scientist Molly Stevens teamed up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology biomedical engineer Sangeeta Bhatia to develop the approach, which they think has the potential to help patients in low-resource and rural areas, where available medical technology may be limited. Stevens specializes in low-cost catalyst-based diagnostics and Bhatia works on creating nanosensors that respond to enzymatic activity. The two combined their expertise to create nanoparticle-protein complexes that, once injected, can reveal the presence of disease-related enzymes through a simple urine test.

Sensor turns urine blue in the presence of tumor-related enzymes.


Continue reading “Gold nanoparticle sensor produces simple urine test for cancer” »

Sep 9, 2019

2019 Developer Circles from Facebook Community Challenge

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, business, entertainment

Facebook’s Developer Circles are local communities designed to help developers learn and grow. For the 2019 Developer Circles Community Challenge, you are invited to build software applications that use at least one of three featured technologies: React360, Spark AR, and/or HTML5 Games. Your software must also fit into one of three categories: Gaming and Entertainment, Productivity and Utility, or Social Good.

Build software using React360, Spark AR, or HTML5 Games to give people the power to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses.

Sep 9, 2019

Elon Musk’s AI project to replicate the human brain receives $1 billion from Microsoft

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, robotics/AI

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

Sep 9, 2019

Two Mathematicians Just Solved a Decades-Old Math Riddle — and Possibly the Meaning of Life

Posted by in categories: computing, mathematics

Using a global network of computers, mathematicians have finally solved a decades-old math conundrum — and possibly the meaning of life.

Sep 9, 2019

Searching for the 80,000 Disappeared in Colombia’s Brutal Civil War

Posted by in category: government

SAN JOSE DEL GUAVIARE, COLOMBIA — Cerafín Méndez was out drinking one night when a fight broke out with his neighbor. The next day, three FARC soldiers came for him, bound his hands, and led him away.

That was the last time his family would see him alive.

Continue reading “Searching for the 80,000 Disappeared in Colombia’s Brutal Civil War” »

Sep 9, 2019

Making and controlling crystals of light

Posted by in category: transportation

Optical microresonators convert laser light into ultrashort pulses travelling around the resonator’s circumference. These pulses, called “dissipative Kerr solitons,” can propagate in the microresonator maintaining their shape.

When solitons exit the , the output takes the form of a train—a series of repeating pulses with fixed intervals. In this case, the repetition rate of the pulses is determined by the microresonator size. Smaller sizes enable pulse trains with high repetition rates, reaching hundreds of gigahertz in frequency. These can be used to boost the performance of optical communication links or become a core technology for ultrafast LiDAR with sub-micron precision.

Exciting though it is, this technology suffers from what scientists call “light-bending losses”—loss of light caused by structural bends in its path. A well-known problem in , light-bending loss also means that the size of microresonators cannot drop below a few tens of microns. This therefore limits the maximum repetition rates we can achieve for pulses.