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Biopharma Needs “Digital Maturity” and the Right Motivation for Bioprocess 4.0

To benefit from smart Industry 4.0 manufacturing ideas, the biopharmaceutical business needs to first fully embrace the third industrial revolution.

Plitidepsin Shows Promise against SARS-CoV-2 in Preclinical Models

Working in preclinical models, researchers report that plitidepsin, a drug with limited clinical approval for the treatment of multiple myeloma, is more potent against SARS-CoV-2 than remdesivir. The study suggests that plitidepsin should be strongly considered for expanded clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19.

New Genome Sequencing Lab Unveiled in Lagos, Nigeria

54gene, a U.S.- and Nigeria-based health technology company whose mission is to advance precision medicine capabilities in Africa, has unveiled its new genomics facility in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Dietary Supplement and Metabolite Found to Protect against Asthma

A study that was designed to investigate how the immune system impacts gut bacteria has led to the discovery that two molecules, L-tyrosine and a metabolite, p-cresol sulphate (PCS), can not only provide profound protection in experimental models of asthma, but can also substantially reduce the severity of an attack. Further animal studies suggested that the molecules may have a potential role in treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the sometimes fatal respiratory illness that can develop in people with serious COVID-19.

Novel Microneedle Patch on the Skin Can Test for Biomarkers

A new microneedle method, developed by engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, is low cost, easy for a clinician or patients themselves to use, and could eliminate the need for a trip to the hospital just for a blood draw, according to the researchers who developed the technology.

Accelerating Vaccine Development and Large-Scale Manufacturing with Advanced Purification Tools

Join this GEN webinar, sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and learn more on novel purification solutions that can help accelerate early vaccine candidate screening and improve the downstream process of different vaccine modalities such as mRNA, recombinant proteins, and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs). In addition, a new scavenging method for the removal of Baculovirus process impurities will be presented.

Merck Halves COVID-19 Pipeline; Halts Two Vaccines, Continues Two Drugs

The pharma giant said it is ending development of V590, on which it has partnered with IAVI, and is also scrapping V591, which it acquired last year from Themis when Merck bought the company last year for an undisclosed price.

Biden’s COVID-19 Plan Emphasizes Vaccines, Masks, and Trust

The Biden administration’s recently released Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness is extensive and ambitious. Broken down into seven goals, the plan emphasizes an effective vaccination campaign, public health initiatives such as mask mandates and rapid testing, and rebuilding the trust of the American people.

Metagenomics Analysis Finds 90% of U.S. Infants Studied Lack Key Gut Bacterium for Breast Milk Utilization and Immune System Development

A study analyzing the microbiomes of infants born across the United States, suggests that nine out of ten babies may exhibit a substantial deficiency in an important gut bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis, which is key to breast milk utilization and immune system development, as well as protection against gut pathogens linked to common newborn conditions such as colic and diaper rash. Researchers who carried out the study, concluded that, “the vast majority of infants are deficient in this key gut bacterium from the earliest weeks of life, and this is completely off the radar for most parents and pediatricians, alike.”

Bioenergetic Mechanism for Signal Regulation May Explain Cancer’s Warburg Effect

As cells shift to Warburg metabolism, researchers discovered that PI3 kinase activity is increased, and in turn, the cells' commitment to divide is strengthened. The findings suggest that targeting metabolism could be an effective way to thwart cancer growth.

Cannabidiol’s Antibiotic Potential Extends to Gram-Negative Bacteria

Cannabidiol analogs have been shown for the first time to kill the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, meningitis, and Legionnaires’ disease. Structure-activity relationship studies suggest that analogs could be developed that have systemic antibiotic activity in vivo.

Skin Cell Atlas Uncovers Origin of Inflammatory Skin Disease

An offshoot of the Human Cell Atlas, the Skin Cell Atlas, made from both developing and adult sources, identifies differences and similarities across heterogeneous populations of skin cells. The highly detailed map of skin reveals that skin from eczema and psoriasis patients share many of the same molecular pathways as developing skin cells and offers a completely new way of thinking about inflammatory diseases.

CRISPR-Based Cancer Cell Lineage Tracing Offers Insights into Drivers of Metastasis

A CRISPR-based method for tracing cancer progression in real-time across thousands of cells has revealed novel insights into the rates, routes, and drivers of cancer metastasis. By exploiting the new lineage-tracing technique in a mouse xenograft lung cancer model, the researchers were about to consider cancer cells in much the same way that evolutionary biologists might look at species, mapping out an intricately detailed family tree. By examining the branches of the tree it was then possible to track cancer cell lineage to find when a single tumor cell went rogue, spreading its progeny to the rest of the body.

Hormonal Coupling Identified That Incites Inflammatory Rage and Ages the Brain

A Stanford study showed that reprogramming myeloid immune cells can restore youthful bioenergetic metabolism and suppress inflammation in the brain, resulting in better cognitive functions in aged mice. The authors disrupted the binding of a key lipid messenger prostaglandin E2 to its receptor EP2 to reprogram myeloid immune cells.

Antisense Oligo Targets IRF4 Gene to Treat Multiple Myeloma

Past studies have shown that high IRF4 levels are associated with lower overall survival rates for patients with multiple myeloma.

Novel Promising Anti-Fungal Compound Identified in Ant Nests

The discovery of the first shared antifungal compound among ant farms could eventually have a broad range of medical applications.

Promising Triple Therapy Approach Identified for Renal Cell Carcinoma

Researchers in the U.S. and Ireland discovered that combining VEGFR inhibitor and immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs with angiotensin-(1,7), a peptide that is generated by the ACE2 enzyme, can overcome treatment resistance and improve survival in mice with renal cell carcinoma renal cell carcinoma. The team’s studies suggested that ACE2 expression is a good prognostic factor for RCC, and while loss of ACE2 mediates resistance to classical treatments. Experiments in preclinical models of RCC showed that triple therapy using established treatments plus angiotensin-(1–7) can improve tumor response and significantly prolong survival.

Mathematical Model Captures Relationship between Speed and Surface in Cell Movement

Scientist explain the precise mechanics underlying the biphasic adhesion-velocity relation by observing cells moving on fibronectin strips of alternating high and low stickiness. These studies inform developmental processes and may help identify targets to disrupt cancer metastasis.

A New Role for Androgen Receptors in Breast Cancer Revealed

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in collaboration with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, have found new evidence about the positive role of androgens in breast cancer treatment with immediate implications for women with estrogen receptor-driven metastatic disease.

A Deep Dive into Perfusion Media for Bioprocessing Applications

This eBook, sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, introduces the steps to take when choosing a perfusion medium, including key considerations and evaluation, along with articles highlighting the exciting potential of large-scale continuous bioprocesses.

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