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Sequencing Study Suggests Mechanistic Link between Red Meat Consumption and Colorectal Cancer

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School carried out a DNA sequencing study that identified a mutational gene signature indicative of DNA damage, which was associated with high red meat consumption and increased cancer-related mortality in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The results suggest that red meat consumption may cause alkylating damage that leads to cancer-causing mutations in KRAS and PIK3CA, which promotes CRC development.

How TB Destroys the Lungs and How to Protect Them

A team from the University of Southampton used a new 3D culture system they have developed to observe the changes that occur in cells infected with Tuberculosis (TB). They found that Sphingosine kinase 1 is expressed in human lung TB granu-lomas and, therefore, represents a host therapeutic target to improve TB outcomes.

Boosting Chemotherapy by Blocking Protein in DNA Repair

Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center report they have discovered how tumor cells manage to repair and survive the damage of chemotherapy. Their findings suggest that the removal of a protein called PrimPol, which maintains efficient DNA duplication, may be the key to boosting chemotherapy.

Versatile Nanosponge Drug Delivery Platform Proves Effective in Inflamed Lungs

Nanoengineers have developed immune cell-mimicking nanoparticles that target inflammation in the lungs and deliver drugs directly where they're needed. The researchers filled the nanoparticles with the drug dexamethasone and injected them in mice with inflamed lung tissue ameliorating the inflammation completely at drug concentrations that standard delivery methods are ineffective.

New COVID-19 Vaccines May Reach Out to T Cells, Not Just B Cells

“Red flags” that prompt T cells to attack host cells infected by SARS-CoV-2 infection have been identified in studies with human cells. These red flags, which correspond to previously uncharacterized peptides derived from the internal proteins making up the SARS-CoV-2 virus, could enable a more precise selection of peptides for COVID-19 immune monitoring and vaccine development.

Immunomodulatory Treatment Halts Alzheimer’s Disease Progression, Improves Cognition in Primates

Studies in aging squirrel monkeys showed how a form of immunomodulatory therapy can stimulate activity of immune defense cells and reduce levels of amyloid beta plaques and tau tangles that are linked with the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. The research found that animals treated using CpG oligodeoxynucleotides had up to 59% fewer plaque deposits in their brains, and also lower levels of toxic tau, without excessive or sustained inflammation.

Blood Samples Reveal SARS-CoV-2 Infections in the U.S. in Late 2019

Blood samples originally collected through the NIH’s All of Us Program were analyzed for the presence of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus using two different serology tests. The study found evidence of infection in nine participants' samples earlier than had been previously reported. The results expand on findings from a CDC study that suggested SARS-CoV-2 was present in the United States as far back as December 2019.

Critical Biospecimens

In this eBook, sponsored by Precision for Medicine, we have brought together best practices and leading-edge developments in the industry to help researchers optimize sourcing, utilization, and storage of biospecimens as they move their research and development programs forward.

Recurrent Neural Networks Can Boost Upstream Processes

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) could optimize biopharmaceutical processes and even identify potential deviations during process development, according to new research.

Moving Mass Spectrometry to the Bioprocessing Floor

DART-MS could resolve the fundamental problems of using quality-by-design, which is the added time and cost.

New Training Program from U.K. Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The goal is to target people with high-level skills in industries that are in decline and retrain them for the growing cell and gene therapy or vaccine manufacturing industry.

Look Out for the Coming New Capacity Crunch

BioPlan study reports on shifting trends in biomanufacturing.

The Microbiome’s Evolution is Shaped by Dispersal Strategies

A team of scientists used metagenomics to analyze the evolutionary strategies and persistence of bacteria in the human gut microbiome. To do so, they examined 5,278 fecal metagenomes longitudinally sampled in individuals and families. The researchers described how different dispersal strategies can lead to the long-term persistence of human gut microbes with implications for gut flora modulations.

venBio Writes New Chapter with $550M Fourth Fund

Like the firm's three earlier funds, the new venBio Global Strategic Fund IV is expected to fund 12 to 15 companies, with each company typically receiving $30-40 million--though the firm has invested more in a few companies.

Novavax Plans FDA Filing for COVID-19 Vaccine after Positive Efficacy Data

PREVENT-19 met a key exploratory endpoint of the study by showing 93.2% efficacy against both “variants of concern” (VoC) and “variants of interest (VoI). Variant data was based on sequencing data that was available for 54 of the 77 COVID-19 cases seen in the study.

Mechanism Identified by Which Omega-3 Fatty Acid Is “Poison” to Tumors

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) has identified a biochemical mechanism, known as ferroptosis, that allows DHA and other related fatty acids to slow the development of tumors. The overall findings could open the door to new, combined treatment possibilities.

Gene Expression Patterns and Lineage of Metastatic Cancer Traced at Single-Cell Level

Metastases are often more dangerous than the primary tumor that gives rise to them. Yet, the underpinnings of cancer metastasis remain poorly understood. Now, using a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine report they have developed a new method to help trace the lineage and gene expression patterns of individual cancer cells at the single-cell level.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Against SARS-CoV-2 Variants

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be protective against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. The authors of the work noted that their findings should "alleviate concerns that vaccines will become ineffective but suggest the importance of continued surveillance for potential new variants.” While this is good news, the same study includes results suggesting that the only approved monoclonal antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 might be less effective against some variants.

New Method Tracks Cellular RNA in Space and Time

Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin have developed a new method to track genes through space and time within a one-cell zebrafish embryo. The method may one day allow scientists to measure cellular responses to drugs in organoids.

Could We Store All of the World’s Data in a Coffee Mug Full of DNA?

Could you imagine storing all of your digital photos, audio, documents, and other files as DNA? Scientists can already write image and text files in DNA, which could revolutionize how we store and archive data. Researchers at MIT and colleagues have now developed an approach that allows them to encapsulate, barcode, and easily retrieve DNA data files from large pools, which could help to make DNA data storage a more feasible future prospect.
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