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May 4, 2016

Faster, cheaper way to produce new antibiotics

Posted by in category: biotech/medical


A novel way of synthesising a promising new antibiotic has been identified by scientists at the University of Bristol. By expressing the genes involved in the production of pleuromutilin in a different type of fungus, the researchers were able to increase production by more than 2,000 per cent.

With resistance growing to existing antibiotics, there is a vital and urgent need for the discovery and development of new antibiotics that are cost effective. Promising developments are derivatives of the antibiotic pleuromutilin, which are isolated from the mushroom Clitopilus passeckerianus.

These new compounds are some of the only new class of antibiotics to join the market recently as human therapeutics. Furthermore, with their novel mode of action and lack of cross-resistance, pleuromutilins and their derivatives represent a class with further great potential, particularly for treating resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XTB).

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May 4, 2016

Biogen haemophilia spin-out to develop gene therapies and long-acting factors

Posted by in categories: business, life extension

The new entity will focus on a haemophilia pipeline utilising the XTEN half-life extension technology, bispecific antibodies and gene therapies.

Biogen announced yesterday it is planning to spin-out its haemophilia business into an independent, public firm based in Boston, Massachusetts by early next year.

Management said during a conference call this was the right time for a spin-out as Biogen’s haemophilia business has matured.

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May 4, 2016

Endometrial Cancer Genetic Risk Factors Double

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The strength of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) lies in their ability to identify new disease biomarkers through large-scale genomic comparisons of afflicted individuals and unaffected controls. Now, using this powerful technique, an international collaboration of researchers has identified five new gene regions that increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer—one of the most common cancers to affect women—taking the number of known gene regions associated with the disease to nine.

Endometrial cancer affects the lining of the uterus, typically presenting as an adenocarcinoma. Endometrial cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women worldwide and is the most common cancer of the female reproductive tract in developed countries, with over 320,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012.

Investigators at the University of Cambridge, Oxford University, and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane studied the DNA of over 7000 women with endometrial cancer and 37,000 women without cancer to identify genetic variants that affected a woman’s risk of developing the disease.

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May 4, 2016

Non-Identical Twins Run In Families: Scientists Find Common Genes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The likelihood of giving birth to non-identical twins run in the families, suggests a new study conducted by a team of scientists. The team based their conclusion on the identification of two genetic variants in women who give birth to twins.

A number of factors have previously been linked to why some women give birth to non-identical twins. However, no study ever characterized the properties of the genes the contribute to this outcome.

The latest study looks at the genetic makeup of the mother and explains how mother’s genes can lead to the birth of non-identical twins. During the study, the research team specifically compared the genomes of the non-identical twins’ mothers to look for any common genetic variants between them.

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May 4, 2016

If Something Is Going To Destroy Humanity, It’s Going To Be One Of These Catastrophes

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, climatology, existential risks, sustainability

Pandemics, asteroids, nuclear war, and sudden, destructive climate change are all unlikely—but not so unlikely that we shouldn’t be planning for them.

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May 4, 2016

Breaking down brain barriers to fight cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience


Neurosurgeons using lasers to treat brain cancer have discovered the technique breaks down the blood-brain barrier, a finding that could potentially lead to new treatment options for the deadly disease. Ben Gruber reports.

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May 4, 2016

The Real Reasons Quantum Entanglement Doesn’t Allow Faster-Than-Light Communication

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Orzell’s response to Siegel’s blog about breaking quantum entanglement and slowing down quantum communications — Orzell highlights some of the problems with Siegel’s statement about how quantum entanglement can be broken via two opposing states. The problem with Siegel’s statement is not with the breaking of entanglement slows down quantum communications; Orzell’s concern is with the details that Siegel describes in how it happens is the problem according to Orzell. Orzell highlights that the 2 state’s that Siegel shares as details to why and how the breakage occurs are not close enough by definition to make the argument valid because one is only a measurement while the other is the actual changing of state followed by a measurement.

Quantum entanglement is one of the weirdest and coolest phenomena in physics, but it’s absolutely not a method for sending messages faster than light, for subtle and complicated reasons.

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May 4, 2016

IBM’s Quantum Experience brings quantum computing to the masses via the cloud

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, quantum physics

Hmmm; my verdict is out for now because I haven’t seen anything showing me that IBM is a real player in this space.

IBM is bringing quantum computing to a device near you by delivering its IBM Quantum Experience through the IBM Cloud. The platform is part of IBM’s Research Frontiers Institute and could be a data scientist’s newest tool and a data junkie’s dream come true.

The platform is available on any desktop or mobile device. The tech allows users to “run algorithms and experiments on IBM’s quantum processor, work with the individual quantum bits (qubits), and explore tutorials and simulations around what might be possible with quantum computing,” the press release noted.

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May 4, 2016

IBM Quantum Computing To Accelerate Cloud Innovation

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, supercomputing

Hmmm; my verdict is out for now.

IBM Quantum Computing Scientist Jay Gambetta uses a tablet to interact with the IBM Quantum Experience, the world’s first quantum computing platform delivered via the IBM Cloud at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, NY.

On Wednesday, May 4, for the first time ever, IBM is making quantum computing available via the cloud to anyone interested in hands-on access to an IBM quantum processor, making it easier for researchers and the scientific community to accelerate innovations, and help discover new applications for this technology. This is the beginning of the quantum age of computing and the latest advance from IBM towards building a universal quantum computer. A universal quantum computer, once built, will represent one of the greatest milestones in the history of information technology and has the potential to solve certain problems we couldn’t solve, and will never be able to solve, with today’s classical computers. (Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

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May 4, 2016

Why Machine Vision Is Flawed in the Same Way as Human Vision

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

AI you’re only as good as the eye of your creator.

Humans and machines both use neural networks for object and face recognition. Now evidence is emerging that both types of vision are flawed in the same way.

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