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Moderna and Catalent Collaborate on COVID-19 Vaccine

Coronavirus deal covers large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing of Moderna’s mRNA-based candidate (mRNA-1273).

Brain Cell Study Opens Door to New Therapies for Epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic brain diseases, affecting over 65 million people worldwide. While current drug treatments are usually effective in suppressing seizures, they do not work in one third of people with epilepsy. Now scientists report they have identified a critical new step in how brain cells function that may lead to new treatment approaches for people with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Bioprocess 4.0 Approach Will Help Biopharma Achieve Regulators’ Goals

Approach will play role in bridging the gap between science and engineering and let biopharma to meet regulators’ quality requirements.

Digitalized Twin Model of the Workhorse

Diving into how virtual Chinese hamster ovary cells really work in biomanufacturing operations via a genome-scale metabolic model even as many of their metabolic processes remain a mystery.

INOVIO Reports Positive Interim Phase I Data for COVID-19 DNA Vaccine, Joins “Warp Speed” Primate Study

Though preliminary analyses of INOVIO's Phase I results showed that 34 out of 36 trial participants completing the study (94%) “demonstrated overall immune responses” six weeks after receiving two doses of INO-4800 in the study, investors drove the stock price 12% in early trading after seeking more details.

CAR-T Therapy Gets Some Structural Engineering Guidance

A method known as CAR-T therapy has been used successfully in patients with blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia. It modifies a patient's own T-cells by adding a piece of an antibody that recognizes unique features on the surface of cancer cells. In a new study, researchers report that they have dramatically broadened the potential targets of this approach—their engineered T-cells attack a variety of solid-tumor cancer cells from humans and mice.

Bioengineered Uteri in Animal Model Proven to Support Pregnancy

Researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) were able to show that bioengineered uteri in an animal model developed the native tissue-like structures needed to support normal reproductive function. This research introduces new avenues for potentially creating tissue substitutes derived from a patient's own cells to treat uterine defects.

DNA Origami Vaccine Particles Developed against HIV and Potentially SARS-CoV-2

MIT researchers have used DNA origami to fold DNA into a virus-like particle coated with HIV antigens in precise patterns, which may eventually be used as an HIV vaccine. The DNA origami particles mimic the size and shape of viruses, which in vitro tests showed provoked a strong immune response from human immune cells. The same approach could feasibly be used to design DNA origami vaccines for a wide variety of viral diseases, and the team is already adapting the technology to develop a potential vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

In COVID-19, Blood Clots May Form via NETosis

An overactive immune response may lead to increased blood clotting, disease severity, and death from COVID-19. The response, called NETosis, is the generation of extracellular virus-trapping web-like structures by neutrophils. NETosis, however, becomes increasingly hyperactive (and NETosis biomarkers become increasingly evident) in people on ventilators and people who die from the disease. NETosis induced by COVID-19 could be kept within bounds by neonatal NET-Inhibitory Factor (nNIF).

Gut Microbiome Helps People Resist Cholera

Cholera affects millions of people annually and can be deadly if left untreated. Now scientists at the University of California, Riverside have discovered how the gut microbiome helps people resist cholera. Their findings may one day lead to understanding how the microbiome changes with COVID-19.

New Single-Cell Technique Reveals Genetic Diversity of Cancer Tumors

A new technique developed by USC researchers and 10x Genomics may offer a higher resolution view into cancer not previously possible. Researchers simultaneously sequenced the genomes of close to 1,500 single cells, revealing genetic diversity previously hidden in a well-studied melanoma cell line.

Vaxart Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Joins Trump’s “Warp Speed,” Ramps Up Manufacturing Capacity

Vaxart's room temperature stable tablet vaccine has been selected for a non-human primate (NHP) challenge study organized and funded by Operation Warp Speed. The study is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of Vaxart’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, based on the company’s Vector-Adjuvant-Antigen Standardized Technology (VAAST™) Platform.

Engineering the Immune Response for Therapeutic Success

In the first of the articles included in this Horizon eBook, Carl June describes the development of CAR T cells as “along and winding road.” This and other selected articles indicate why this is so: the immune system is complex and no one cell type works in isolation.

Packaging and Producer Cell Lines for Scalable Lentiviral Production

In this GEN webinar, Dr. Qian Liu will discuss a novel strategy for stable lentiviral cell line development and show recent data demonstrating the robustness of the lentiviral packaging and producer cell lines from OXGENE.

Researchers Discover Why ApoE4 Increases the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

A team of researchers from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association may have found an explanation as to why ApoE4 increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Their findings may provide the basis for a new strategy to treat Alzheimer's disease.

MicroRNA in Obese Mothers, Grandmothers Passes Increased Liver Cancer Risk to Multiple Generations of Offspring

Researchers in China have identified a microRNA in obese mouse mothers that is passed on to their pups, increasing the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma developing in offspring, down multiple generations. The study found that the maternal microRNA, miR-27a-3p, acted to increase the risk of liver cancer in offspring by regulating two genes, Acsl1 and Aldh2. Analysis of human liver tumor samples also found that miR-27a-3p was negatively correlated with Ascl1 and Aldh2.

Reversing Parkinson’s in Mice Achieved by Replacing Lost Neurons

Using antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) treatment that depleted the RNA-binding protein PTB, scientists converted astrocytes to functional neurons. In a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, just a single treatment converted native astrocytes into dopaminergic neurons. As a result, the mice's disease symptoms disappeared. The group intends to move forward testing this ASO treatment in humans. These findings identify a potentially powerful approach to treating neurodegeneration by replacing lost neurons.

Mitigating Viral Contamination, a Challenge for Emerging Therapies

Industry consortium working with MIT collected years of data to understand the common causes of contamination, corrective measures to be taken, and the impacts of these events.

Lymphoma-Associated Metabolic Enzyme May Be a Drug Target

Historically, cancer cell metabolic changes have been considered a consequence rather than a cause of cancer, and therefore not good drug targets. A new study from the Sloan Kettering Institute laboratory of Hans-Guido Wendel, MD, challenges that assumption.

GENcast: CRISPR Screens Speed Drug Discovery Efforts for Disease Intervention

In this GENcast, we will hear about an ongoing case study at Wageningen University where digital lab transformation has helped one department manage and catalog its data while simultaneously inspiring new communications among investigators. Take a listen!

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