GEN Highlights

  • Human Egg Precursor Generated in a Dish (2018/09/21 14:30)
    Human pluripotent stem cells cradled by a mouse ovarian environment—a sort of living “dish”—differentiated into states that brought the cells close to becoming mature oocytes. The cells, which were evaluated over the course of a months-long experiment, progressed epigenetically toward reproductive competence, suggesting that induced pluripotent stem cells, given the right culture conditions, can become human egg cells. The encouraging findings emerged from a study conducted by scientists based at Kyoto University. These scientists, led by Mitinori Saitou, M.D., Ph.D., professor, anatomy and cell biology, Kyoto University, detailed their work in a paper (“ Generation of human oogonia from induced pluripotent stem cells in vitro ”) that appeared recently in the journal Science . According to this paper, the scientists not only derived primordial germ cell-like cells (hPGCLCs) from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), they found a way to help the hPGCLCs differentiate, show oocyte-specific characteristics, and pass through ...
  • Laser Capture RNA-Seq “Cuts Open” Neuropsychiatric Genomic Dark Matter (2018/09/21 14:06)
    Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School have cataloged more than 70,000 active novel elements in dopaminergic neurons using a new technique known as laser-capture RNA seq—which involves cutting out dopamine neurons from a human brain section with a laser. Dopamine neurons are located within the midbrain, yet their tendril-like axons can branch far into the higher cortical areas, influencing how we move and how we feel. New genetic evidence has revealed that these specialized cells may also have far-reaching effects, implicating them in conditions that range from Parkinson's disease to schizophrenia. Findings from the new study were published recently in Nature Neuroscience  through an article titled “ Enhancers active in dopamine neurons are a primary link between genetic variation and neuropsychiatric disease .” We found that a whopping 64% of the human genome—the vast majority of which is 'dark matter' DNA that ...
  • GTx's Enobosarm Fails Phase II Trial in Stress Urinary Incontinence; Stock Plunges 90%+ (2018/09/21 13:48)
    GTx acknowledged today that its sole clinical-phase drug candidate enobosarm has failed a Phase II trial in women with stress urinary incontinence—a failure that sent shares free-falling more than 90% this morning—but stopped short of saying whether it will halt the trial or end clinical development of the drug as a result. Enobosarm missed its primary endpoint in the Phase II Assessing Enobosarm for Stress Urinary Incontinence Disorder (ASTRID) trial ( NCT03241342 ) of achieving a statistically significant proportion of patients with a greater than 50% reduction in incontinence episodes per day compared to placebo. The percentage of patients with a greater than 50% reduction after 12 weeks of enobosarm treatment was 58.9% for the 3 mg dose, 57.7% for the 1 mg dose, and 52.7% for placebo, according to top-line results disclosed by GTx. “We are very disappointed that the ASTRID Trial did not achieve ...
  • Natural Antibiotic Shows Promise against Drug Resistant (2018/09/21 11:40)
    Researchers report that a naturally occurring antibiotic, kanglemycin A, is effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis , the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), even in drug-resistant strains. The team, which used chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, and x-ray crystallography to show how the compound maintains its activity, published its study (“ Mode of Action of Kanglemycin A, an Ansamycin Natural Product that Is Active against Rifampicin-Resistant  Mycobacterium tuberculosis ”)  in Molecular Cell . “Antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens pose an urgent healthcare threat, prompting a demand for new medicines. We report the mode of action of the natural ansamycin antibiotic kanglemycin A (KglA). KglA binds bacterial RNA polymerase at the rifampicin-binding pocket but maintains potency against RNA polymerases containing rifampicin-resistant mutations. KglA has antibiotic activity against rifampicin-resistant gram-positive bacteria and multidrug-resistant  Mycobacterium tuberculosis  (MDR- M. tuberculosis ). The x-ray crystal structures of KglA with the  Escherichia coli  RNA polymerase holoenzyme and  Thermus thermophilus  RNA polymerase-promoter complex reveal an ...
  • RNA-Based CRISPR Has Detailed Molecular Structure Revealed (2018/09/21 11:29)
    Researchers at the Salk Institute have described for the first time the molecular structure of CRISPR-Cas13d, an enzyme for emerging RNA-editing technology. They were able to visualize the enzyme with cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) as reported in an article (“ Structural Basis for the RNA-Guided Ribonuclease Activity of CRISPR-Cas13d ”) in  Cell . “CRISPR-Cas endonucleases directed against foreign nucleic acids mediate prokaryotic adaptive immunity and have been tailored for broad genetic engineering applications. Type VI-D CRISPR systems contain the smallest known family of single effector Cas enzymes, and their signature Cas13d ribonuclease employs guide RNAs to cleave matching target RNAs. To understand the molecular basis for Cas13d function and explain its compact molecular architecture, we resolved cryoelectron microscopy structures of Cas13d-guide RNA binary complex and Cas13d-guide-target RNA ternary complex to 3.4 and 3.3 Å resolution, respectively,” write the investigators. “Furthermore, a 6.5 Å reconstruction of apo Cas13d combined with hydrogen-deuterium exchange revealed conformational ...
  • Pancreatic Cancer Therapies May Be Improved through Novel Live-Tumor Imaging Method (2018/09/20 14:35)
    Hokkaido University scientists say they have developed a new cell-culture platform that allows them to see never-before-seen behaviors of live cancer cells under the microscope. The observation of these behaviors’ sheds light on the mechanisms behind well-known properties of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal malignant tumors, and may lead to the identification of new treatment targets, according to the researchers, who describe their work (“ Visualising the dynamics of live pancreatic microtumors self-organized through cell-in-cell invasion ”) in Scientific Reports . “Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) reportedly progresses very rapidly through the initial carcinogenesis stages including DNA damage and disordered cell death. However, such oncogenic mechanisms are largely studied through observational diagnostic methods, partly because of a lack of live  in vitro  tumor imaging techniques. Here we demonstrate a simple live-tumor  in vitro  imaging technique using micro-patterned plates (micro/nanoplates) that allows dynamic visualization of PDAC microtumors. When PDAC cells ...
  • Amicus Expands into Gene Therapy with Celenex Acquisition (2018/09/20 14:34)
    Amicus Therapeutics said it has acquired Nationwide Children’s Hospital spinout Celenex for up to $452 million, in a deal that expands the rare disease drug developer into gene therapy with a portfolio of 10 clinical and preclinical programs in neurologic lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). The 10 adeno-associated virus 9 (AAV9) gene therapy programs—developed at the hospital’s Center for Gene Therapy and The Ohio State University, both based in Columbus, OH—include lead programs in CLN6, CLN3, and CLN8 Batten disease that are potential first-to-market curative treatments, Amicus said. The other programs include efforts to develop gene therapies for Niemann Pick C, Wolman disease, Tay Sachs disease, and LSDs for other unspecified CNS disorders, according to a presentation for investors by Amicus. “The groundbreaking work of [principal investigators] Brian Kaspar, Ph.D. and Kathrin Meyer, Ph.D., at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, along with collaborator, Arthur Burghes, Ph.D., professor at The ...
  • Why Do Some Genes Get All the “Likes”? (2018/09/20 14:30)
    A few genes achieve research stardom, whereas many, many, many others, including potentially important genes, languish in obscurity. So, why do only certain genes permanently bask in the spotlight? A big part of the reason comes down to social networking—not the newfangled social networking of Twitter and Facebook, but rather, the familiar give-and-take-and-take-and-take that keeps unfolding in an environment suffused with historical bias. Social forces, as manifested in career development and research funding, perpetuate longstanding preferences in the distribution of scientific resources. That’s the conclusion reached by scientists based at Northwestern University, who conducted a meta-analysis of computational and experimental knowledge bases. The scientists, led by Thomas Stoeger and Luís Amaral, applied a systems approach to identify connections between gene properties—chemical, physical, and biological—and research priorities. They also accounted for how these priorities evolve over time. We discovered that current research on human genes does not reflect ...
  • Flu Virus Explodes in Some Cells, Fizzles in Others (2018/09/20 14:23)
    Ostensibly, the concept of inequality may have some origins in the viral world, as scientists from the University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School have recently discovered that the influenza virus does not replicate equally in all cells. The investigators found that not only is the immune system response tuned to the amount of virus replication, it's also tuned to the viral spread. This deeper and more accurate understanding of the influenza virus and how it spreads could be the building blocks to better protective therapies for patients in the future. Findings from the new study were published recently in PNAS through an article titled “ Distinct antiviral signatures revealed by the magnitude and round of influenza virus replication in vivo .” The seasonal flu is caused by different subtypes of Influenza A virus and typically leads to the death of half a million people each year. In order ...
  • Scientists Discover “Noisiest” Step in the Protein Production Process (2018/09/20 12:00)
    Researchers report that they have used a combination of computational and experimental methods to examine how a variety of cells produce different proteins and to measure noise, i.e., the variability in the amount of each protein they express for every step along the production process.  The team discovered that for 85% of genes, the noise magnitude is higher in the last step as compared to the first step. Noise has been shown to play a role in viral infection, antibiotic resistance, and drug resistance in cancer cells, according to the scientists. We are trying to determine whether differences in one step along the assembly line influences the final amount of proteins produced more than other steps, says Leor S. Weinberger, Ph.D., the William and Ute Bowes Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Cell Circuitry at the Gladstone Institutes. “When thinking about gene expression, we used to ...

Fiercebiotech News

  • MeMed raises $70M for immune system-based infection diagnostics by Conor Hale (2018/09/21 15:28)
    MeMed has raised over $70 million to support its point-of-care immune system diagnostic for distinguishing between bacterial and viral infections. The company aims to cut down on the misuse of antibiotics, to avoid ineffective treatments and the spread of drug-resistant strains.
  • GTx’s enobosarm flunks stress urinary incontinence trial by Amirah Al Idrus (2018/09/21 13:30)
    GTx’s lead candidate, enobosarm, did not meet its primary endpoint in a phase 2 trial involving postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence.
  • Medtronic buys remainder of Mazor Robotics in $1.6B deal by Conor Hale (2018/09/21 13:14)
    Medtronic has moved to acquire Mazor Robotics, a developer of spine surgery guidance systems, and plans to merge it with its own implants, navigation and imaging products to offer an integrated suite of surgical offerings.
  • uBiome grabs $83M, new digs and Joe Jimenez as it expands into therapeutics by Amirah Al Idrus (2018/09/21 11:53)
    uBiome, which sells sequencing-based microbiome tests, is moving into therapeutics with $83 million in new funding, a new site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a new board member: former Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez.
  • Agenus sells cut of Incyte, Merck milestone streams by Nick Paul (2018/09/21 11:41)
    Agenus has sold a portion of the royalties and milestones it is due to receive from Incyte and Merck. Xoma is paying $15 million for 10% of the $600 million in milestones Agenus is in line to pocket and a 33% cut of any royalties.
  • Amgen backs Los Angeles as new Golden State bio hub by Phil Taylor (2018/09/21 11:35)
    Amgen has thrown its weight behind a new organization that aims to transform the Los Angeles area into a life sciences hot spot—nestled in between the established clusters in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.
  • Boston Scientific launches new device allowing 1 surgeon to easily perform kidney stone removals by Conor Hale (2018/09/20 19:46)
    Boston Scientific launched a new kidney stone retrieval device that allows a single urologist to operate both a ureteroscope and basket simultaneously during the procedure, performed via flexible ureteroscopy.
  • Celgene ditches option to license OncoMed’s navicixizumab by Amirah Al Idrus (2018/09/20 19:14)
    Celgene is walking away from navicixizumab, a bispecific antibody that became OncoMed’s lead asset after midstage failures scuppered a couple of other candidates. However, Celgene is holding on to its options to license two other pipeline hopefuls.
  • T-cell therapy for eradicating HIV reservoirs proves safe in small study by Arlene Weintraub (2018/09/20 19:10)
    HIV can hide in the body in “reservoirs” that can resurge at any time. Scientists at the University of North Carolina are reporting progress in their efforts to use immunotherapy—a technology that’s most closely associated with oncology—to eradicate these reservoirs.
  • Chutes & Ladders—Corsico jumps from Boehringer to head development at GlaxoSmithKline by Conor Hale (2018/09/20 15:29)
    Chris Corsico jumps from Boehringer to head development at GSK; Tony Polverino swaps interim CSO role at Kite for permanent gig at Zymeworks; Kymera taps former Alnylam executive as CMO; and BioTime names new CEO amid leadership shuffle. Those moves plus more hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry.

Google News:Health

  • Octopuses Get Strangely Cuddly On The Mood Drug Ecstasy
    Octopuses Get Strangely Cuddly On The Mood Drug Ecstasy  NPR Giving Ecstasy to Octopuses Taught Researchers Something Important About the Brain  TIME All the Arms for Hugging  GenomeWeb Eric Edsinger - Marine Biological Laboratory  Marine Biological Laboratory Full coverage
  • Cocaine, Meth, Opioids All Fuel Rise in Drug-Overdose Deaths
    Cocaine, Meth, Opioids All Fuel Rise in Drug-Overdose Deaths  Wall Street Journal Opioid crisis started 40 years ago, report argues Opioid Overdose Crisis May Have Begun Decades Ago  HealthDay Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016  Science Magazine OPINION: Fentanyl — Escalating The Opioid Epidemic Into A Public Health And Safety Emergency  The Daily Caller Full coverage
  • Globally, losing the fight against cancer and other chronic diseases
    Globally, losing the fight against cancer and other chronic diseases  CNN Most nations falling short of UN targets to cut premature deaths from chronic diseases  Medical Xpress Most Nations Expected to Fall Short of UN Chronic Illness Death Reduction Goals  Sputnik International Home - Professor Majid Ezzati - Imperial College London  Imperial College London Full coverage
  • 87 days of smog: Southern California just saw its longest streak of bad air in decades
    87 days of smog: Southern California just saw its longest streak of bad air in decades  Los Angeles Times Foul Air Plagues Southland Full coverage
  • Last year the flu was deadly. Here's how you can fight it now
    Last year the flu was deadly. Here's how you can fight it now  Medical Xpress Get your flu shot, help stop another deadly season  The News Journal 17K hospitalized with flu last year: What you need to know about this season  Dayton Daily News Full coverage
  • Pennsylvania girl with diabetes dies after blood sugar drops during sleepover, family says
    Pennsylvania girl with diabetes dies after blood sugar drops during sleepover, family says  Fox News Fifth Grader With Diabetes Dies After Dramatic Blood Sugar Drop During Sleepover At A Friend's House  Tech Times 10-year-old girl with diabetes dies after blood sugar drops during sleepover  WPLG Local 10 Girl, 10, with Type 1 diabetes dies after blood sugar dropped during sleepover  WPXI Pittsburgh Full coverage
  • T-cell therapy for eradicating HIV reservoirs proves safe in small study
    T-cell therapy for eradicating HIV reservoirs proves safe in small study  FierceBiotech Proof-of-concept HIV immunotherapy study passes Phase 1 safety trial  EurekAlert (press release) HXTC Therapy Safe, Well Tolerated in HIV Patients Full coverage
  • Antibiotic Resistant Infection Linked To "Puppy Exposure" Was Found In 18 States, According To The CDC
    Antibiotic Resistant Infection Linked To "Puppy Exposure" Was Found In 18 States, According To The CDC  Bustle Pet Store Puppies Spread Drug-Resistant Diarrhea To Over 100 People: CDC  Tech Times Pet store puppies have spread an antibiotic-resistant illness to over 100 people, CDC says  Miami Herald CDC: Pet store puppies linked to bacterial outbreak in 18 states  Atlanta Journal Constitution Full coverage
  • These flea and tick medications for pets are causing seizures, other neurological issues, FDA warns
    These flea and tick medications for pets are causing seizures, other neurological issues, FDA warns  Fox News FDA Issues Warning on Pet Reactions to Common Flea Medicine  HealthDay FDA warning: Pet flea and tick medications could cause seizures  The Mercury News CVM Updates > Animal Drug Safety Communication: FDA Alerts Pet Owners and Veterinarians About Potential for ...  FDA Full coverage
  • Alzheimer's, Related Dementias Predicted to Double by 2060
    Alzheimer's, Related Dementias Predicted to Double by 2060  Medscape CDC: Alzheimer's disease, dementia cases to double by 2060  USA TODAY Congress should act on bipartisan legislation to address the devastating impact of Alzheimer's disease  The Hill (blog) Husband yanks leash -- attached to wife's neck -- at York Fair, police say  York Daily Record/Sunday News Alzheimer's Day: The journey of caring for one with the disease Full coverage
  • 4 little girls reunite for touching photo after completing cancer treatments
    4 little girls reunite for touching photo after completing cancer treatments 4 Young Girls Who Beat Cancer Together Celebrate With Photo Shoot  Inside Edition Full coverage
  • WHO: Excessive Drinking Killed Millions in 2016
    WHO: Excessive Drinking Killed Millions in 2016  U.S. News & World Report World Health Organization calls for restrictions on alcohol  Washington Examiner Over 3 million people die from harmful use of alcohol yearly – WHO  Premium Times Harmful use of alcohol kills more than 3 million people each year, most of them men.  World Health Organization Full coverage
  • Prominent Cornell professor, food researcher resigns for misconduct
    Prominent Cornell professor, food researcher resigns for misconduct  Fox News A Prominent Researcher on Eating Habits Resigned After a Scandal Over His Studies  TIME Food researcher defends work after resigning from Cornell Cornell professor resigns after review questions his food studies Full coverage
  • New study raises hopes for vaccine to treat head and neck cancer
    New study raises hopes for vaccine to treat head and neck cancer  Herald-Mail Media DNA vaccine leads to immune responses in HPV-related head and neck cancer  EurekAlert (press release) Hope for HPV-related cancers: New vaccine gives a boost to treating even the most advanced head and neck cancers  Daily Mail Full coverage
  • Scientists Grow Human Esophagus in Lab
    Scientists Grow Human Esophagus in Lab  Laboratory Equipment Scientists create human esophagus in stem cell first  Medical News Today Cincinnati Children's researchers report progress growing a human esophagus in a lab  Medical Design & Outsourcing Full coverage
  • What is a healthful diet?
    What is a healthful diet?  Manitoba Co-operator Bob Harper's 'Super Carb Diet' Says You Can Eat Bread and Lose Weight Full coverage
  • Cannabis cafe to open on Campus Corner in coming weeks
    Cannabis cafe to open on Campus Corner in coming weeks  The Oklahoma Daily Marijuana for Pain — Does it Provide Enough Relief?  Puff Puff Post (press release) The Anatomy of a Cannabis Plant, and its Lifecycle A consumer's guide to cannabis basics  The Globe and Mail Full coverage
  • 'Contact lenses and water don't mix': Woman's warning after swimming in contacts
    'Contact lenses and water don't mix': Woman's warning after swimming in contacts Contact Lenses May Harbor Serious, Blinding Infection  HealthDay An Eye Infection Linked To Contacts Is On The Rise, A New Study Says, & It Can Cause Blindness  Bustle Ongoing outbreak of rare eye infection found among contact lens wearers  CNN Full coverage
  • West Nile virus cause of New Jersey man's death, health officials say
    West Nile virus cause of New Jersey man's death, health officials say  Fox News 11 Human Cases Of West Nile Reported In Philadelphia: Health Dept West Nile Virus in Texas Kills One: What Are Symptoms of the Infection?  Newsweek Full coverage
  • NOAA: Distemper is causing seal deaths in New England
    NOAA: Distemper is causing seal deaths in New England  New York Daily News Distemper outbreak is suspected in New England seal die-off  Press Herald Full coverage