GEN Highlights

  • Artificial Sweetener May Worsen Crohn’s Symptoms (2018/03/16 14:36)
    The war over the benefits and negative effects of artificial sweeteners continues to rage on as researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (CWRUSM) have found that the artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda) worsened gut inflammation in mice with the Crohn's-like disease but had no substantive effect on those without the condition. Findings from the new study—published recently in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in an article entitled “ The Artificial Sweetener Splenda Promotes Gut Proteobacteria , Dysbiosis, and Myeloperoxidase Reactivity in Crohn’s Disease–Like Ileitis ”—revealed increases in the numbers of Proteobacteria , a large phylum of microbes, in the intestines of mice drinking water supplemented with Splenda. "Our findings suggest that patients with Crohn's disease should think carefully about consuming Splenda or similar products containing sucralose and maltodextrin," explained lead study investigator, Alex Rodriguez-Palacios, D.V.M., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at CWRUSM. "Several studies have examined the ingredients ...
  • Single-Cell Analysis for a Penny a Profile (2018/03/16 14:35)
    Partitioning is expensive, but barcoding is cheap—that’s the idea behind a new technique for single-cell analysis. By dispensing with fancy cell sorters, custom microfluidics, and microwells, and introducing budget-friendly combinatorial barcoding, this new technique promises to democratize single-cell transcriptomics. The new technique, which is called split pool ligation-based transcriptome sequencing (SPLit-seq), was developed by scientists at the Allen Institute and the University of Washington. These scientists described how SPLit-seq works—and how it may benefit cost-conscious laboratories—in a paper (“Single-Cell Profiling of the Developing Mouse Brain and Spinal Cord with Split-Pool Barcoding”) that appeared March 15 in the journal Science . With SPLiT-seq, cells are never isolated. Instead, the cell is used as an isolation compartment for its own RNA. Pools of cells are split into multiple groups where a barcode is added to their RNA. This process is repeated multiple times to give the RNA of each ...
  • Bavarian Nordic Wins Up-to-$36M DoD Contract toward Equine Encephalitis Vaccine (2018/03/16 14:22)
    Bavarian Nordic said today it will partner with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a prophylactic vaccine against the equine encephalitis virus, through a collaboration that could generate up to $36 million for the company. Bavarian Nordic plans to apply its proprietary Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN ® ) platform to develop a vaccine against various strains of the rare but potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus. No preventive vaccine treatment now exists for equine encephalitis virus. The company said it already has an MVA-BN ® -based candidate vaccine that has shown efficacy in preclinical models against three separate equine encephalitis viruses, including Eastern (EEEV), Venezuelan (VEEV), and Western (WEEV). Under its multiyear collaboration with the DoD, Bavarian Nordic plans to carry out further preclinical studies to support clinical development, GMP production, and establishment of safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine in humans. Should the ...
  • Compact CRISPR Tool Effectively Targets RNA (2018/03/16 14:00)
    Salk Institute scientists have developed a newly identified RNA-targeting CRISPR/Cas system into a compact, easily delivered CRISPR -based tool for RNA knockdown in human cells. The team, led by Patrick Hsu, M.D., a Helmsley-Salk Fellow and senior author of the team’s published paper in Cell , describe use of the system, which they’ve dubbed CasRx, to correct protein imbalance in cells from a patient with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). “Our results present CasRx as a programmable RNA-binding module for efficient targeting of cellular RNA, enabling a general platform for transcriptome engineering and future therapeutic development,” the authors write. Their paper is entitled “ Transcriptome Engineering with RNA-Targeting Type VI-D CRISPR Effectors .” CRISPRs (clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats) are a form of bacterial defense mechanism, or immune system, which includes natural molecular scissors—including the Cas9 enzyme —which scientists have harnessed as highly specific, gene-editing tools. While DNA-targeting CRISPR-derived ...
  • Lundbeck to Acquire Prexton Therapeutics for Up-to-$1.1B (2018/03/16 13:52)
    H. Lundbeck has agreed to acquire Prexton Therapeutics for up to €905 million ($1.1 billion), the companies said today, in a deal that adds a Phase II Parkinson’s disease candidate to the buyer’s pipeline focused on neurological as well as psychiatric disorders. Lundbeck has agreed to pay Prexton €100 million ($122.9 million) upfront, and up to €805 million ($989.1 million) in payments tied to achieving development and sales milestones. “We are very excited to be working with Lundbeck, a company with a strong history and focus on diseases of the central nervous system,” Prexton founder and CEO François Conquet, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Lundbeck shares our vision for the development of foliglurax to help patients living with Parkinson’s disease.” Dr. Conquet founded Prexton in 2012 with M Ventures, the corporate venture subsidiary of Merck KGaA formed to spin out companies focused on continuing activities and ...
  • Inhibitory Interneuron Transplants May Offer Potential Alzheimer’s Therapy (2018/03/16 12:33)
    Researchers say they have shown the therapeutic benefits of genetically improving inhibitory interneurons and transplanting them into the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. They published their study (“ Nav1.1-Overexpressing Interneuron Transplants Restore Brain Rhythms and Cognition in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease ") in Neuron . “Inhibitory interneurons regulate the oscillatory rhythms and network synchrony that are required for cognitive functions and disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Network dysrhythmias in AD and multiple neuropsychiatric disorders are associated with hypofunction of Nav1.1, a voltage-gated sodium channel subunit predominantly expressed in interneurons,” write the investigators. “We show that Nav1.1-overexpressing, but not wild-type, interneuron transplants derived from the embryonic medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) enhance behavior-dependent gamma oscillatory activity, reduce network hypersynchrony, and improve cognitive functions in human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP)-transgenic mice, which simulate key aspects of AD. Increased Nav1.1 levels accelerated action potential kinetics of ...
  • Coffee Consumption Affects Cannabinoid Metabolism (2018/03/15 14:36)
    One of the world’s daily pleasures could have some interesting metabolic impacts, as a new study from investigators at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and several other research institutions shows that coffee affects a person’s metabolism in dozens of ways beyond the morning jolt—including the metabolism of steroids and the neurotransmitters typically linked to cannabis. Findings from the new study were released today in the Journal of Internal Medicine, in an article entitled “ Metabolomic Response to Coffee Consumption: Application to a Three-Stage Clinical Trial .” Interestingly, in the current study, these scientists were surprised to discover coffee changed many more metabolites in the blood than previously known. For instance, the research team found that the neurotransmitters related to the endocannabinoid system—the same ones affected by cannabis—decreased after drinking four to eight cups of coffee in a day. That's the opposite of what occurs after someone uses ...
  • Immunotherapy Raises the Stakes and Ovarian Cancer Blinks (2018/03/15 14:35)
    “I’ll see your neoepitope and raise you a tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte.” Such bets could be placed more confidently if cancer immunotherapy would deal itself a stronger hand, one that would include the “juiciest” T cells—the T cells that are best at recognizing and killing cancer cells. Unfortunately, the juiciest T cells often get lost in the shuffle. Either they don’t reach the bloodstream, where many T cells intended for cell-based immunotherapy are drawn, or they end up at the bottom of the tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) deck. Not content to play the hand they were dealt, scientists at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research decided that a little bottom dealing might be in order. “We developed a new methodology to identify highly reactive TILs and expand them in a manner that, rather than diluting the juiciest TILs, enriches them instead," said Alexandre Harari, Ph.D., a Ludwig Lausanne investigator and ...
  • FDA Places Full Clinical Hold on Solid Biosciences Trial for DMD Gene Therapy (2018/03/15 14:00)
    The FDA has imposed a full clinical hold on Solid Biosciences’ Phase I/II trial for its lead candidate, the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene therapy SGT-001, the company acknowledged. IGNITE DMD had been on a partial clinical hold since November pending submission to the FDA of “additional CMC [chemistry, manufacturing, and control] information that demonstrates that manufacturing capacity and product attributes can support the high-dose group,” Solid disclosed in a January 25 update to its preliminary prospectus for its S-1 initial public offering (IPO) filing. Last month, IGNITE DMD dosed its first patient—described by Solid as a male “non-ambulatory adolescent who received 5E13 vg [viral genomes]/kg of SGT-001 on February 14.” Several days later, he was hospitalized “due to laboratory findings that included a decrease in platelet count followed by a reduction in red blood cell count and evidence of complement activation." “The patient showed no ...
  • Obesity Factors Implicated in Anti-VEGF Therapy Failure against Breast Cancer (2018/03/15 14:00)
    Obesity has been associated with reduced survival in some cancers. A new study headed by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has now found that obesity may also explain why angiogenesis inhibitor therapy is ineffective against breast cancer (BC). The MGH research, including data from human breast cancer patients and experiments in two mouse models of the disease, suggest that obesity is associated with increased production of inflammatory and angiogenic factors that sustain angiogenesis and promote breast cancer resistance to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy. The results point to new strategies for improving breast cancer response to treatment with antiangiogenic treatments.  "Collectively, our clinical and preclinical results indicate that obesity fuels resistance to anti-VEGF therapy in breast cancer via production of several inflammatory and proangiogenic factors, depending on the subtype of cancer," says lead researcher Joao Incio, M.D., Ph.D, at the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor ...

Fiercebiotech News

  • Johnson & Johnson receives $2.1B bid for LifeScan diabetes unit by Nick Paul (2018/03/16 13:27)
    Private equity group Platinum Equity has offered Johnson & Johnson $2.1 billion for LifeScan. J&J has until the middle of June to accept the offer for its blood glucose monitoring business. 
  • Adaptimmune’s GSK-partnered T cells trigger responses in solid tumor patients by Nick Paul (2018/03/16 12:43)
    Adaptimmune has seen partial responses in three of the first four myxoid/round cell liposarcoma patients treated with its T cells. The early data raised hopes the GlaxoSmithKline-partnered drug will be effective in multiple types of solid tumor, sending Adaptimmune shares up nearly 20%.
  • Orthofix to acquire Spinal Kinetics in deal worth up to $105M by Joseph Keenan (2018/03/16 12:06)
    Device maker Orthofix is acquiring Spinal Kinetics, which manufactures artificial cervical and lumbar discs, in a deal that could be worth up to $105 million.
  • Worldwide Clinical Trials expands real-world services with Continuum late-stage buy by Angus Liu (2018/03/16 11:44)
    As the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act opens new possibilities for using real-world data to support medical products’ regulatory path, CROs are prepping themselves for growing demand. Worldwide Clinical Trials is the most recent one to make a move in that direction.
  • Lundbeck to buy Prexton for phase 2 Parkinson’s drug by Nick Paul (2018/03/16 10:56)
    Lundbeck is paying €100 million ($123 million) up front to buy Prexton Therapeutics and its midphase Parkinson’s disease candidate. The takeover gives Lundbeck control of an mGluR4 positive allosteric modulator designed to improve the long-term symptom control of dopaminergic agents.
  • Chutes & Ladders—Ex-GSK CEO Andrew Witty to lead UnitedHealth’s Optum by Angus Liu (2018/03/16 08:29)
    Ex-GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty makes surprise shift to PBM as Optum's CEO, Novartis shuffles executive team as operations lead André Wyss steps down, Gilead bids farewell to longtime R&D lead Norbert Bischofberger, plus more hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry.
  • FDA tells Opternative to pull eye exam app from the market by Nick Paul (2018/03/16 08:26)
    The FDA has sent a warning letter telling Opternative to stop distributing its mobile eye examination app. Regulatory officials view the online vision test app as a device and as such want Opternative to file for premarket approval.
  • Philips gets FDA nod for 2-in-1 imaging device by Nick Paul (2018/03/16 07:17)
    The FDA has granted 510(k) clearance to Philips’ two-in-one digital radiography-fluoroscopy device. Philips’ system, ProxiDiagnost N90, combines features from other existing products to enable users to perform nearby fluoroscopy and digital x-rays using a single device.
  • CARB-X backs HelixBind to develop sepsis test by Nick Paul (2018/03/16 07:10)
    HelixBind has secured funding to develop a blood test for infections linked to sepsis. Antibiotic R&D funding partnership CARB-X is putting up the cash to cut the time it takes to learn what pathogen is responsible for a case of sepsis.
  • Tumor-derived T-cells show promise against ovarian cancer by Amirah Al Idrus (2018/03/15 20:05)
    Extracting T cells directly from tumors, growing them in culture and then putting them back into the patient could be an effective alternative to blood-based T-cell therapies, which have seen limited success in solid tumors.

Google News:Health

  • Measles patient treated, isolated after Memphis arrival
    Measles patient treated, isolated after Memphis arrival  USA TODAY Measles Case Found in International Traveler in Memphis  U.S. News & World Report Measles Symptoms: Public Health Warning After Infectious People Visit Newark, Detroit and Memphis Airports  Brinkwire (press release) Full coverage
  • Abortion Services Vary Widely Across the US
    Abortion Services Vary Widely Across the US  WebMD Landmark Study Finds Legal Abortions Are Safe and Effective  Patheos (blog) Huge abortion discovery could change everything  Morning Ticker The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the United States : Health and Medicine Division  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Landmark Report Concludes Abortion In US Is Safe  NPR Full coverage
  • Baltimore's medical students celebrate years of hard work at Match Day
    Baltimore's medical students celebrate years of hard work at Match Day  Baltimore Sun Medical students learn their next steps at Match Day  The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines Graduates celebrate a match made in medicine  Greenville Daily Reflector Full coverage
  • Slightly elevated blood sugar tied to heart and kidney problems
    Slightly elevated blood sugar tied to heart and kidney problems  Business Insider High Blood Sugar May Be Linked To Heart Problems; These Foods May Regulate Diabetes  NDTV High blood sugar level increase the risk for heart problems  Facts Herald Full coverage
  • Weed could help treat millions suffering from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, researchers say
    Weed could help treat millions suffering from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, researchers say  The Sun New Research Suggests Cannabis May Help People With Skin Conditions  LADbible 9 Cannabis Skincare Products Guaranteed to Make Your Skin Dope  POPSUGAR Full coverage
  • Smart software can diagnose prostate cancer, says study
    Smart software can diagnose prostate cancer, says study  Deccan Chronicle New AI system can diagnose prostate cancer just good as pathologists AI that can diagnose prostate cancer as accurately as a doctor  Infosurhoy Full coverage
  • Doctors said to let a teen's sinus infection 'run its course,' family says. Weeks later, he died.
    Doctors said to let a teen's sinus infection 'run its course,' family says. Weeks later, he died.  Duluth News Tribune Video shows moment Florida bridge collapsed  WCVB Boston Boy, 13, dies after sinus infection travels to his brain, family says  Fox News 13-Year-Old Michigan Boy Dies After Sinus Infection Spreads to His Brain Full coverage
  • FDA begins push to cut addictive nicotine in cigarettes
    FDA begins push to cut addictive nicotine in cigarettes FDA Begins Push To Drastically Cut Nicotine In Cigarettes  WFMY News 2 Around 0.6 million children smoke cigarettes daily  Pakistan Today Full coverage
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels Could Be Better Than Cholesterol In Predicting Mortality
    Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels Could Be Better Than Cholesterol In Predicting Mortality  The Inquisitr Omega-3 levels may better predict mortality risk than cholesterol  The Indian Express Omega-3 levels better predictors of death risk than serum cholesterol  Business Standard Full coverage
  • Antidepressants saved my life — and destroyed it
    Antidepressants saved my life — and destroyed it  New York Post Why calling antidepressants 'happy pills' is such nonsense  Metro Full coverage
  • Keyhole surgery saves women with colon cancer tumour
    Keyhole surgery saves women with colon cancer tumour  Khaleej Times LETTERS: “With early detection, 40000 or more lives could be saved.”  Daytona Beach News-Journal Don't Wait, Get Screened Today  Oswego Daily News Full coverage
  • Hospitals are confronting a new opioid crisis: an alarming shortage of pain meds
    Hospitals are confronting a new opioid crisis: an alarming shortage of pain meds  PBS NewsHour US hospitals struggle with opioid shortage during epidemic.  Brinkwire (press release) The other opioid crisis: Hospital shortages lead to patient pain, medical errors  Salon Full coverage
  • How common is binge drinking? 1 in 6 Americans does it weekly, CDC finds
    How common is binge drinking? 1 in 6 Americans does it weekly, CDC finds  KABC-TV America is on a binge -- 17.5 billion drinks worth: Study  WSB Atlanta Americans Are Binge Drinking In An Alarming Way, According To A New Study, & Here's What You Need To Know  Bustle Annual Total Binge Drinks Consumed by U.S. Adults, 2015 - American Journal of Preventive Medicine  American Journal of Preventive Medicine Full coverage
  • Mice Eventually Change Their Appearance After Frequent Exposure To Humans
    Mice Eventually Change Their Appearance After Frequent Exposure To Humans  Infosurhoy 'Frequent human exposure' makes wild mice change appearance: study  The Express Tribune Full coverage
  • Coyote attacks child as she was going into her house: sheriff
    Coyote attacks child as she was going into her house: sheriff  WTSP 10 News 9-Year-Old Girl Attacked By Coyote Just Outside Her Home  Tech Times NC Sheriff: Coyote attacks child as she was going into her house  KHOU Full coverage
  • Free breast cancer screening
    Free breast cancer screening  Fernie Free Press Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Don't Account For Women Of Color's Health Needs, A New Study Found, & Here's ...  Bustle Full coverage
  • Chemicals in lavender and tea tree oil appear to be hormone disruptors
    Chemicals in lavender and tea tree oil appear to be hormone disruptors  Medical Xpress Two common essential oils contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals  Healio Full coverage
  • Veterans with type 2 diabetes improve blood sugar control using telehealth
    Veterans with type 2 diabetes improve blood sugar control using telehealth  Medical Xpress Benefits of Obesity Management in Type 2 Diabetes  Diabetes In Control American Diabetes Association takes issue with ACP's blood sugar targets  Cardiovascular Business Full coverage
  • S.Africa chain withdraws third meat brand over listeria fears
    S.Africa chain withdraws third meat brand over listeria fears  Medical Xpress Breakthrough Reported in South Africa's Worst Listeria Outbreak  Voice of America Listeria outbreak could herald tighter food safety - Peter Ben Embarek  africanews Full coverage
  • Indianapolis, Fort Wayne hospitals end visitor restrictions
    Indianapolis, Fort Wayne hospitals end visitor restrictions  San Francisco Chronicle Flu restrictions to end soon at local hospitals  Daily Journal Full coverage