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Decoding the structure of huntingtin

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:13:34 +0100

Mutations on a single gene, the huntingtin gene, are the cause of Huntington's disease. They lead to an incorrect form of the correspondent protein. With the help of cryo-electron microscopy researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried and Ulm University have now decoded ...

First line of defence against influenza further decoded

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:13:29 +0100

Time and again – the flu is coming to Germany. The number of cases of the current wave of influenza is still rising. When influenza viruses – the cause of the flu – enter our body, the immune system recognises them as being foreign by means of various receptors and starts a defence programme. Scient...

Maelstroms in the heart

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:00:10 +0100

Every five minutes in Germany alone, a person dies of sudden cardiac arrest or fibrillation, the most common cause of death worldwide. This is partly due to the fact that doctors still do not fully understand exactly what goes on in the heart during the occurrence. Until now, it was impossible to vi...

New Interaction Mechanism of Proteins Discovered

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:00:01 +0100

UZH researchers have discovered a previously unknown way in which proteins interact with one another and cells organize themselves. This new mechanism involves two fully unstructured proteins forming an ultra-high-affinity complex due to their opposite net charge. Proteins usually bind one another a...

Merck Invests Additional €40 Million to Enhance Manufacturing and Distribution in Asia

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:50:35 +0100

Merck announced an additional investment of€40 million to build a robust manufacturing and distribution platform in Asia over a span of two years. This investment follows Merck’s November 2016 announcement of its €80 million Life Science investment in Nantong, China. “In biopharmaceutical research, ...

Breakthrough for peptide medication

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:12:01 +0100

Peptides, short amino acid chains that control many functions in the human body, represent a billion-dollar market, also in the pharmaceutical industry. But, normally these medications must be injected. A research team led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now determined how peptides c...

Sartorius: Sales revenue to rise to around 4 billion euros by 2025

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:00:07 +0100

Sartorius intends to continue on its profitable growth track over the long term. According to its new medium-term targets that presented at the company’s annual press conference and its Capital Markets Day, the Group expects to achieve sales of around 4 billion euros in 2025. Management’s plan is to...

New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:00:05 +0100

The field of biomimetics offers an innovative approach to solving human problems by imitating strategies found in nature. Medical research could also benefit from biomimetics, as a group of international experts from various fields, including a wildlife veterinarian and wildlife ecologists from Vetm...

When Proteins Shake Hands

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:06:42 +0100

Be it in spider silk, wood, the spaces between body cells, in tendons, or as a natural sealant for small wounds: protein fibres are found virtually everywhere in nature. These small protein fibres, also referred to as protein nanofibres by experts, often have outstanding properties such as a high st...

Researchers find algorithm for large-scale brain simulations on next-generation supercomputers

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:09 +0100

The human brain is an organ of incredible complexity, composed of a hundred billion interconnected nerve cells. However, even with the help of the most powerful supercomputers available, it is currently impossible to simulate the exchange of neuronal signals in networks of this size. Researchers of ...

How the insulin receptor works

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:05 +0100

As we are approaching the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, a wide array of its signaling pathways has been defined. However, the initial step in insulin action, i.e. the engagement with its cell-surface receptor and the resulting conformational change, which propagates across the plasm...

Merck and Three Partners Start ExploreBio

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:01 +0100

Merck announced ExploreBio, a pre-seed-investment vehicle by four investment funds targeted at early-stage companies in the biotechnology landscape in Israel. For this purpose the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Merck has partnered with Arkin Holdings, Pontifax and WuXi AppTec to create t...

Progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0100

Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao. Bao, in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hosp...

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:17:17 +0100

Multicellular organisms like ourselves depend on a constant flow of information between cells, coordinating their activities in order to proliferate and differentiate. Deciphering the language of intercellular communication has long been a central challenge in biology. Now, Caltech scientists have d...

Testing drug transfer using placenta-on-a-chip

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:17:13 +0100

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science have demonstrated the feasibility of their "organ-on-a-chip" platform in studying how drugs are transported across the human placental barrier. Some maternally-administered medications can enter the fetal blood...

Merck Named One of the Global Top Employers in 2018

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:00:06 +0100

Merck announced it has been named one of only 13 global employers of choice by the Top Employers Institute. The independent research shows Merck stands out as an exceptional employer with regard to talent development, performance management, and career and succession planning. In addition to the “Gl...

Nobel laureate Günter Blobel dies at age 81

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:00:00 +0100

Günter Blobel, a Nobel Prize-winning Rockefeller biologist who discovered the mechanisms by which proteins are targeted for delivery to specific locations within cells, died February 18 at 81. Blobel joined the Rockefeller faculty 51 years ago; he was the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor and had be...

Computers outperform lab rats in detecting toxic chemicals

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 13:00:01 +0100

UL, the science safety company, and Johns Hopkins University have embarked on joint research that has resulted in findings that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is superior in finding toxic substances to traditional animal testing. Beyond being more effective, UL's Cheminformatics REACHAcross™ software ...

Biomimetic molecules to program cell mechanics

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:18:06 +0100

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology and Leipzig University are developing a system to enable mechanical cell properties to be precisely modulated and investigated. By drawing on synthetic mimics of proteins in cells, the links between cellular scaffold proteins ...

Gene taxi with turbo drive

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:18:03 +0100

Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis – these and many other fatal hereditary human diseases are genetically transmitted. Many cancers and cardiovascular diseases are also caused by genetic defects. Gene therapy is a promising possibility for the treatment of these diseases. Wit...

Rapid rise in nitric oxide increases heart attack risk

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:00:04 +0100

There is longstanding evidence that the presence of high levels of air pollutants in the atmosphere in particular nitrogen oxides are harmful to health causing respiratory problems and increasing the risk of a heart attack. In a current study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiolog...

Watching myelin patterns form

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:24:43 +0100

Nerve fibers are surrounded by a myelin sheath. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now made the first-ever “live” observations of how this protective layer is formed. The team discovered that the characteristic patterns of the myelin layer are determined at an early stage. H...

Evotec and MaRS Innovation announce first funded project under LAB150 BRIDGE

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:00:07 +0100

Evotec AG and MaRS Innovation announced that they have identified the first project to be developed under their LAB150 partnership. After signing a collaboration agreement in September 2017, the first project within this academic BRIDGE has now been identified. The project aims to develop kallikrein...

Surface modification using accelerated electrons

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:00:04 +0100

Surfaces must satisfy a wide range of requirements: they need to be decorative, and even contribute substantially to hygiene. They also play a large role in biomedicine. There are numerous processes for functionalizing surfaces, depending on the application. Many are already well established and oth...

Fresh insights into light-activated cancer drugs

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 11:00:06 +0100

Cancer drugs activated by light, minimizing toxic side-effects, are a step closer thanks to new research from University of Warwick and Monash University through the Monash Warwick Alliance Platinum-based chemotherapy drug candidate kills cancer cells in specific targeted areas, and totally inactive...

Novel method for rapid detection of antibiotic resistance

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:59:54 +0100

Respiratory, urinary tract, wound infections, and sepsis: the list of sites in which severe and life-threatening diseases manifest as a result of multidrug resistant microorganisms is long. The best option is an antibiotic treatment targeted specifically to the detected pathogen. However, the identi...

CureVac to Pursue mRNA Vaccines Against Flu and Malaria

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:10 +0100

CureVac AG announced the awarding of two new grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The programs will leverage CureVac’s RNActive® prophylactic vaccine technology to develop mRNA-based vaccines designed to prevent influenza and malaria infection. These vaccines, which are flexible in their...

Charles River to Acquire MPI Research

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:09 +0100

Charles River announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MPI Research for approximately $800 million in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. MPI is a premier non-clinical contract research organization (CRO) providing comprehensive testing services to biopharmace...

Linking cytosolic and chloroplast ribosome biogenesis in plants

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:07 +0100

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have found that eukaryotic and bacterial growth regulation systems of independent origins are connected to the control of chloroplast rRNA transcription in a primitive red alga. Chloroplasts are crucial specialized structures within a cell tha...

Anton Paar acquires Quantachrome Instruments

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:08 +0100

Quantachrome and Anton Paar finished the purchasing process on February 9 at the Quantachrome headquarters in Boynton Beach, Florida. The companies agreed not to disclose the purchase price. Under the umbrella of the Anton Paar Group, the company will continue operations in Boynton Beach. Georg Cort...

How the brain constructs the world

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:05 +0100

How are raw sensory signals transformed into a brain representation of the world that surrounds us? The question was first posed over 100 years ago, but new experimental strategies make the challenge more exciting than ever. SISSA investigators have now uncovered the contributions to perception of a...

Functioning kidney tissue created

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:04 +0100

Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to produce urine, a first for medical science. The study led by Professors Sue Kimber and Adrian Woolf from The University of Manchester, signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment...

Enabling identification of biomarkers for a wide range of diseases

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:00 +0100

Scientists have developed a way to identify biomarkers for a wide range of diseases by assessing the antibodies we are making to the complex sugars coating our cells. The new, highly sensitive Luminex Multiplex Glycan Array enables the kind of volume needed to establish associations between antibody...

New software processes huge amounts of single-cell data

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 10:18:14 +0100

Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a program that is able to help manage enormous datasets. The software, named Scanpy, is a candidate for analyzing the Human Cell Atlas. “It’s about analyzing gene-expression data of a large number of individual cells,” explains lead autho...

Water-Soluble Warped Nanographene

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 10:18:11 +0100

Graphene and its nano-sized little sibling, nanographene, are well known for their remarkable photoelectronic properties. However, biomedical applications are hampered by the insolubility of the materials, especially in water. A Japanese team of scientists has now introduced substituted “warped nano...

Acoustic Nanomotors

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 06:00:10 +0100

In cancer research, the “Cas-9–sgRNA” complex is an effective genomic editing tool, but its delivery across the cell membrane to the target (tumor) genome has not yet been satisfactorily solved. American and Danish scientists have now developed an active nanomotor for the efficient transport, delive...

How your brain helps you learn new skills

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 06:00:05 +0100

Even if you haven't ridden your bike in years, you probably remember how to do so without giving it much thought. If you're a skilled piano player, odds are you can easily sit down and play a song you've rehearsed before. And, when you drive to work, you're likely not actively thinking about your mo...

Surprise finding points to DNA's role in shaping cells

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:13:59 +0100

As a basic unit of life, the cell is one of the most carefully studied components of all living organisms. Yet details on basic processes such as how cells are shaped have remained a mystery. Working at the intersection of biology and physics, scientists at the University of California San Diego hav...

Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:13:41 +0100

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life. The generation of new nerve cells was once thoug...

Research Reactor supplying radioisotope for new cancer drug

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:10:49 +0100

More than 15 years ago, scientists at the University of Missouri's Research Reactor (MURR®) identified promising properties of the radioisotope lutetium-177 (Lu-177), which can be used to treat cancer. It was recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a Lu-177 based d...

Molecular 'magnets' could improve cancer immunotherapy

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:01:02 +0100

Chemicals that attract specialised immune cells toward tumours could be used to develop better immunotherapies for cancer patients, according to new research. Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered that immune cells called Natural Killer cells accumulate in tumours and release che...

A big step toward stopping cancer metastasis

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 06:00:01 +0100

New research from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) may give scientists a chance to target tumors before they metastasize. The study shows that a protein called LTBP3 fuels a chain reaction that leads some early developing tumors to grow new blood vessels. These vessels then act like highways to...

Sticking sugar to protein

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 10:08:56 +0100

Whenever cells receive signals, interact with other cells or identify viruses and bacteria, the process involves not only proteins but also sugar chains attached to their surface. The subject of relatively little attention until now, these structures differ widely in composition and branching, and s...

Self-sealing miniature 'wound' created by engineers

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 06:00:11 +0100

Biomedical engineers have developed a miniature self-sealing model system for studying bleeding and the clotting of wounds. The researchers envision the device as a drug discovery platform and potential diagnostic tool. A description of the system, and representative movies, were published. Lead aut...

Specific protein may reduce inflammation, improve survival during the flu

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 06:00:10 +0100

GM-CSF, a protein that modifies the immune response to the flu, may also help reduce lung inflammation and improve survival during influenza, according to Penn State researchers. The researchers studied the survival and lung function of mice with influenza in the lab. They found that the mice that h...

QIAGEN acquires Spanish diagnostics start-up company

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 06:00:05 +0100

QIAGEN N.V. announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire STAT-Dx, a privately-held company developing the next generation of multiplex diagnostics for one-step, fully integrated molecular analysis of common syndromes using a novel system based on real-time PCR technology and proven QIAGEN c...

Star-like cells may help the brain tune breathing rhythms

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 06:00:04 +0100

Traditionally, scientists thought that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes were steady, quiet supporters of their talkative, wire-like neighbors, called neurons. Now, an NIH study suggests that astrocytes may also have their say. It showed that silencing astrocytes in the brain's breathing cen...

Biosensors will be inexpensive, do more, go everywhere

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 06:00:03 +0100

When it comes to biometric sensors, human skin isn't an ally. It's an obstacle. The University of Cincinnati is developing cutting-edge methods to overcome this barrier without compromising the skin and its ability to prevent infection and dehydration. By making better noninvasive tests, researchers...

A Pair of RNA Scissors with Many Functions

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 10:10:16 +0100

CRISPR/Cas systems are known as promising “gene scissors” in the genome editing of plants, animals, and microorganisms by targeting specific regions in their DNA – and perhaps they can even be used to correct genetic defects. A team of scientists led by Juliane Behler and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hess fro...

Active genetics technology opens new horizons

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 06:00:26 +0100

In 2015, University of California San Diego biologists Ethan Bier and Valentino Gantz developed a breakthrough technology known as "active genetics," which results in parents transmitting a genetic trait to most of their offspring (instead of 50 percent receiving the trait under standard inheritance...