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The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:09:17 +0100

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics. Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to inte...

Surfers three times more likely to have antibiotic-resistant bacteria in guts

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:00:05 +0100

Regular surfers and bodyboarders are three times more likely to have antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts than non-surfers, new research has revealed. Conducted by the University of Exeter, the Beach Bums study asked 300 people, half of whom regularly surf the UK's coastline, to take rectal sw...

Stingray soft robot could lead to bio-inspired robotics

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:00:04 +0100

UCLA bioengineering professor Ali Khademhosseini has led the development of a tissue-based soft robot that mimics the biomechanics of a stingray. The new technology could lead to advances in bio-inspired robotics, regenerative medicine and medical diagnostics. The simple body design of stingrays, sp...

New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:00:00 +0100

Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world--creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines--and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant to many antifungals, meaning once a person is infected, there are limited treatme...

First 3-D structure of DHHC enzymes reported

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:00:06 +0100

The first three-dimensional structure of DHHC proteins--enzymes involved in many cellular processes, including cancer--explains how they function and may offer a blueprint for designing therapeutic drugs. Researchers have proposed blocking DHHC activity to boost the effectiveness of first-line treat...

PET tracer can measure damage from multiple sclerosis in mouse models

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:00:03 +0100

The loss or damage of myelin, a cellular sheath that surrounds and insulates nerves, is the hallmark of the immune-mediated neurological disorder multiple sclerosis (MS). When segments of this protective membrane are damaged, nerve impulses can be disrupted. Symptoms range from tingling and numbness...

Immune cells that keep gut fungi under control

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:00:00 +0100

Immune cells that process food and bacterial antigens in the intestines control the intestinal population of fungi, according to a new study from Weill Cornell Medicine scientists. Defects in the fungus-fighting abilities of these cells may contribute to some cases of Crohn's disease and other forms...

Bristol to lead revolutionary research into 'self-healing' materials

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:06:56 +0100

The Manufacturing Immortality Project is a three-year project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), that will investigate the development of new materials made up of biological and non-biological parts which are capable of self-healing. Initially the project will...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:00:11 +0100

The human body has two primary kinds of fat--white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means of combating obesity. Now, a study led by Brown University researchers has ...

Malaria parasite packs genetic material for trip from mosquitoes to humans

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:00:09 +0100

The parasite that causes malaria has not one, but two, specialized proteins that protect its messenger RNAs -- genetic material that encodes for proteins -- until the parasite takes up residence in a new mosquito or a human host. A new study by researchers at Penn State describes the two proteins an...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:00:06 +0100

Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery from heart attack injury. The results are a step closer to the goal of trea...

Scaling to new heights with gecko-inspired adhesive

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:00:01 +0100

Some animals, such as geckos, can easily climb up walls and across ceilings. But currently, no material exists that allows everyday people to scale walls or transverse ceilings as effortlessly. Now, scientists report a dry adhesive that could someday make it easier to defy gravity. Geckos can scale...

Rare melanoma type highly responsive to immunotherapy

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:00:01 +0100

Desmoplastic melanoma is a rare subtype of melanoma that is commonly found on sun-exposed areas, such as the head and neck, and usually seen in older patients. Treatment is difficult because these tumors are often resistant to chemotherapy and lack actionable mutations commonly found in other types ...

How do we taste sugar, bacon and coffee?

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:28:39 +0100

How do we taste the sugary richness of candy, or the bitter undertones of coffee? What about the savory flavors of smoked and cured meats? Until now, many scientists believed that a single protein -- TRPM5 -- acted as a gatekeeper for tasting these delectable foods. Remove TRPM5 from a person's tast...

Potential for a green energy economy based on hydrogen

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:28:23 +0100

Hydrogenases are enzymes capable of making hydrogen gas (H2) using protons from water, a reaction with relevance to a potential future green energy economy based on H2. Bacteria containing these enzymes often produce H2 as a waste product during sugar metabolism in the absence of oxygen. Meanwhile,...

Alzheimer's drug turns back clock in powerhouse of cell

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:00:42 +0100

The experimental drug J147 is something of a modern elixir of life; it's been shown to treat Alzheimer's disease and reverse aging in mice and is almost ready for clinical trials in humans. Now, Salk scientists have solved the puzzle of what, exactly, J147 does. They report that the drug binds to a ...

Nanoscale virus delivers peptide drugs to cells, tissues

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:00:10 +0100

By chipping away at a viral protein, Rice University scientists have discovered a path toward virus-like, nanoscale devices that may be able to deliver drugs to cells. The protein is one of three that make up the protective shell, called the capsid, of natural adeno-associated viruses (AAV). By maki...

How good bacteria control your genes

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:00:04 +0100

Scientists from the Babraham Institute near Cambridge in collaboration with colleagues from Brazil (here and here) and Italy have discovered a way that good bacteria in the gut can control genes in our cells. The work shows that chemical messages from bacteria can change the location of key chemical...

Solid-state physics offers insights into dielectric properties of biomaterials

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:00:00 +0100

A team of Russian, Czech and German researchers gained a new perspective on the properties of three materials of biological origin. Besides two reference materials with well-studied properties -- serum albumin and cytochrome C -- the researchers looked at the extracellular matrix of the Shewanella o...

Cluster of Resistant Tuberculosis Pathogen Discovered

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 10:26:17 +0100

Between February and November 2016, the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Zurich discovered a multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in eight refugees arriving in Europe from the Horn of Africa. The analyses provided an impulse for launching a transnational investigation...

New Biomarkers Predict Outcome of Cancer Immunotherapy

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 06:00:07 +0100

Researchers at the University of Zurich have identified biomarkers in the blood that make it possible to predict whether cancer patients will respond positively to immunotherapy. Patients for whom therapy does not work can thus be treated using different methods at an earlier stage. Nowadays, melano...

Survival Strategy of Messenger RNAs During Cellular Sugar Shortage

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 06:00:00 +0100

If a cell runs low on sugar, it stores certain messenger RNAs in order to prolong its life. As a research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has now discovered, the protein Puf5p determines whether individual messenger RNAs will be stored or degraded when sugar levels are low. The st...

Super-silenced DNA hints at new ways to reprogram cells

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:48:16 +0100

Newly described stretches of super-silenced DNA reveal a fresh approach to reprogram cell identity to use in regenerative medicine studies and one day in the clinic, according to a study by investigators from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "In the past, most labs,...

Less chewing the cud, more greening the fuel

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:48:04 +0100

Plant biomass contains considerable calorific value but most of it makes up robust cell walls, an unappetising evolutionary advantage that helped grasses to survive foragers and prosper for more than 60 million years. The trouble is that this robustness still makes them less digestible in the rumen ...

Evotec and APEIRON achieve first milestone in immuno-oncology alliance with Sanofi

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 06:00:11 +0100

Evotec AG and APEIRON Biologics AG announced that the companies received the first milestone payment from Sanofi under a 3-party alliance signed in August 2015. The milestone payment of EUR 3 m will be split equally between the two biotech companies. The success payment was triggered when the partne...

Alnylam and Sanofi enter into strategic restructuring

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 06:00:07 +0100

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi announced a strategic restructuring of their RNAi therapeutics alliance to streamline and optimize development and commercialization of certain products for the treatment of rare genetic diseases. Specifically, Alnylam will obtain global development and comme...

Takeda announces its intention to acquire TiGenix

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 06:00:05 +0100

TiGenix NV confirms that Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited has announced its intention to launch a voluntary conditional takeover bid on TiGenix. Takeda intends to acquire 100% of the securities with voting rights or giving access to voting rights of TiGenix not already owned by Takeda or affili...

Abzena takes on new facilities

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 06:00:05 +0100

Abzena plc enables the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products, provides an update on its UK and US facilities. In Cambridge, UK, the Group’s lease has commenced for 30,000 square feet of space in Building 900 on the Babraham Research Campus, as first announced in February 2015. Th...

A plausible recipe for early life on Earth

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 06:00:00 +0100

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a fascinating new theory for how life on Earth may have begun. Their experiments demonstrate that key chemical reactions that support life today could have been carried out with ingredients likely present on the planet four billion yea...

Multiple sclerosis: Cholesterol crystals prevent regeneration in the central nervous system

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 10:17:20 +0100

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, in which the immune cells attack the insulating myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibers. The regeneration of intact myelin sheathes is a necessary prerequisite for patients to recover from MS relapses. Neverthele...

CureVac and Arcturus Therapeutics announce broad strategic collaboration

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 06:00:08 +0100

CureVac AG and Arcturus Therapeutics Ltd. announced they have entered into a broad strategic collaboration to jointly discover, develop and commercialize novel messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics. Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate to develop up to four molecular therapy products for ...

Alligator Bioscience to Receive USD 6 Million Milestone Payment from Janssen

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 06:00:06 +0100

Alligator Bioscience announced that a development milestone payment of USD 6 million has been triggered under the partnership agreement for ADC-1013 (JNJ-64457107) with Janssen Biotech, Inc. The milestone payment is for the partnership agreement to initiate a clinical combination study of ADC-1013 w...

The Making of Biorelevant Nanomaterials

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 10:05:58 +0100

The interactions of biological macromolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, and polysaccharide–protein conjugates can be mimicked by artificial polyelectrolytes. Such synthetic polyionic complexes are expected to serve as novel platforms to stabilize and deliver drugs, proteins, or nucleic acids....

New incubator for Israeli biotechnology start-ups

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 08:46:15 +0100

Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company WuXi AppTec Group is partnering with Merck Serono to launch a pharma and biotech startup incubator in Israel in early 2018, according to a report from CTech. Mori Arkin and life sciences-focused venture capital fund Pontifax are also said to be partners in the v...

Research opens new avenue for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:00:05 +0100

University of Florida neuroscientists have validated a potential pathway to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of Americans and is the most common cause of dementia. The investigators made the finding while studying the toxici...

Autoimmune Reaction Successfully Halted in Early Stage Islet Autoimmunity

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 06:00:03 +0100

Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München have discovered a mechanism that amplifies the autoimmune reaction in an early stage of pancreatic islet autoimmunity prior to the progression to clinical type 1 diabetes. If the researchers blocked the corresponding molecules, the immune system was significan...

BioNTech Secures USD 270 Million in Series A Financing

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 13:00:00 +0100

BioNTech AG announced it has completed a USD 270 million Series A round of financing. The Company previously completed a seed round fundraising in 2008 concurrent with its founding. The Series A round was led by the Redmile Group and joined by Janus Henderson Investors, Invus, Fidelity Management & ...

Silver nanoparticles take spectroscopy to new dimension

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 10:14:12 +0100

As medicine and pharmacology investigate nanoscale processes, it has become increasingly important to identify and characterize different molecules. Raman spectroscopy, a technique that leverages the scattering of laser light to identify molecules, has a limited capacity to detect molecules in dilut...

Spider's web inspires removable implant that may control type 1 diabetes

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 06:00:02 +0100

For the more than 1 million Americans who live with type 1 diabetes, daily insulin injections are literally a matter of life and death. And while there is no cure, a Cornell University-led research team has developed a device that could revolutionize management of the disease. In Type 1 diabetes, in...

Zooming in on protein to prevent kidney stones

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 06:00:02 +0100

Researchers have applied Nobel prize-winning microscope technology to uncover an ion channel structure that could lead to new treatments for kidney stones. In a recent study published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, researchers revealed atomic-level details of the protein that serves as ...

BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG Acquires Metanomics Health GmbH

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 06:00:00 +0100

BIOCRATES Life Sciences AG announced the acquisition of Metanomics Health GmbH. Metanomics Health is a metabolomics biomarker development and healthcare services specialist based in Berlin, Germany. At the same time, the company is closing a significant financing round to support future growth. BASF...

Growing organs a few ink drops at a time

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 10:59:48 +0100

Printed replacement human body parts might seem like science fiction, but this technology is rapidly becoming a reality with the potential to greatly contribute to regenerative medicine. Before any real applications, "bioprinting" still faces many technical challenges. Processing the bio-ink and mak...

Selenium Protects a Specific Type of Interneurons in the Brain

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 10:23:11 +0100

200 years after the discovery of the trace element selenium, researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München have shown for the first time why this chemical element is indispensable for mammalian life. As integral part of the enzyme GPX4, selenium protects a subset of neurons from cell death during postnat...

Keeping egg cells fresh with epigenetics

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 06:00:02 +0100

Keeping egg cells in stasis during childhood is a key part of female fertility. New research sheds some light on the role of epigenetics in placing egg cells into stasis. A team led by Dr Gavin Kelsey in the Babraham Institute and colleagues in Dresden and Munich studied a protein called MLL2 and di...

Bacteria acquire resistance from competitors

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 08:55:14 +0100

Bacteria not only develop resistance to antibiotics, they also can pick it up from their rivals. In a recent publication in "Cell Reports", Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have demonstrated that some bacteria inject a toxic cocktail into their competitors causing cell lysi...

Double strike against tuberculosis

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 08:27:31 +0100

In search of new strategies against life-threatening tuberculosis infections, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), as well as Harvard University and Texas A&M University in the USA have found a new ally. They discovered a substance that interferes with the mycomembrane formation of ...

How a virus becomes chronic

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 11:49:27 +0100

Chronic viral infections like HIV or hepatitis are among the biggest threads to human health worldwide. While an acute viral infection usually results in a full recovery and effective immune memory, chronic viruses evade the immune system and remain permanently in their host´s body. Treating such a ...

Fighting germs with replicas of natural compounds

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 06:00:12 +0100

Thomas Magauer from the University of Innsbruck is using chemically replicated natural substances to find means to fight the worldwide increase in antibiotic resistance. Biological analyses of a group of molecules systematically produced for the first time show a promising effect, for example agains...

How Plants Form Their Seeds

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 06:00:08 +0100

Vegetable, fruit, or grain – the majority of our food results from plant reproduction. Researchers at UZH have now discovered the key to how plants regulate pollen growth and seed formation. In addition to seed formation, knowledge about these signaling pathways can be used to influence plant growth...

CRISPR treatment prevents hearing loss in mice

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 06:00:01 +0100

Using molecular scissors wrapped in a greasy delivery package, researchers have disrupted a gene variant that leads to deafness in mice. A single treatment involving injection of a genome editing cocktail prevented progressive hearing loss in young animals that would have otherwise gone deaf, Howard...