mRNA Vaccines Could Kill Covid Today, and Cancer Tomorrow 💉🧪🦠

The mRNA vaccines being developed to fight COVID-19 may be able to defeat cancer and other diseases. These vaccines instruct the body to make offending proteins, and in the case of COVID-19, ones that wrap around viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2. The immune system then homes in on these antigens, practicing for the day when the same proteins show up with the coronavirus attached. mRNA can tell our cells to make whatever protein we want, including the antigens of many other diseases besides COVID-19.

Cancer Cells Hibernate to Survive Chemotherapy Drugs💉💊🧬

It is an unfortunate fact that, regardless of available treatments, cancer has the ability to reoccur after several years of diagnosis. This could be because some cancer cells tends to enter into a hibernation-like state called dormancy to survive when a threat like chemotherapy begins to attack them.

Moderna Unveils Plans for Multiple Infectious Disease Vaccine Programs 💉🦠🌎

On January 11, Moderna announced three new infectious disease vaccine development programs. The company plans to add a vaccine for the flu, HIV, and Nipah virus into their pipeline within the coming year. Currently the company has 24 ongoing programs with 13 that have entered the clinic. 

Androgen Therapy For Breast Cancer Shows Promise In Preliminary Study 🎀 🧫 💊

Researchers from Adelaide Medical School in Australia studied the effect of androgen-receptor activating drugs on tumor growth. Using mice with implanted tumors from breast cancer patients, the team concluded that androgen therapy could be a potential therapeutic to fight breast cancer.

T Cells to Fight Malignant Tumors Even After Their Exhaustion by Deleting a Specific Gene 🧬🔬💉

CD8+ T Cells often called as the Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes are very important for the tumor surveillance and immune defense responses. According to a new study led by UT Southwestern Researchers, CD8+ T cells can continue to fight malignant tumors by eliminating a single gene called Cbl-b, which is more upregulated in the exhausted cells. This can demonstrate a new way to fight cancer through body’s immune system.

Researchers Design Synthetic Phages to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance🔬💉🧬🦠

Antibiotic resistance is one of the major concerns in the world of medicine and pharmacology. Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon where microbes develop mechanisms that protect them from the effects of an antimicrobial agent. In a time where antibiotic resistance is becoming a major problem, genetically engineered bacteriophages are emerging as a promising therapeutic approach to deal with this problem. This innovative use of phages to treat bacterial infections (phage therapy) was conceived almost a century back by Felix d’Herelle however it’s real power emerged only recently due to the rise of multi-antibiotic resistant pathogens.

Prospect of a Nanotherapy Based Cure for Liver Fibrosis 💊🦠🧪

Liver cirrhosis, which starts as liver fibrosis (scarring) is a considerable cause of morbidity and death worldwide. Without any licensed antifibrotic therapies and availability of liver transplants being limited, it usually leads to death. However, due to recent developments in biotechnology and medicine, there has been an increasing prospect in the use of naturally occurring peptide hormone human-relaxin 2 (RLX) as a possible therapeutic agent. RLX is vasodilatory, promotes tissue remodeling and is anti-fibrotic across major organs.

New Oncolytic Virus-Based Treatment Effectively Treats Pancreatic Cancer💉🦠🔬

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Zhengzhou University have developed a powerful therapeutic platform that uses a modified Vaccinia virus (VV) for treating pancreatic cancer (PaCa). Pancreatic cancer is the seventh leading cause of cancer death worldwide, which also has the lowest survival rate of all the common cancers, with less than 7% of patients surviving for five years or more.

Cabenuva: The First Long-Acting HIV Treatment🧬🧪💉

The first long-acting drug combination for HIV, to be administered monthly after the successful approval from the United States regulators. Thursday’s authorization of the two-shot combination, referred to as Cabenuva, is anticipated to make it less complicated for individuals to follow proper medication as well as to give more privacy.

New Ultra-Sensitive Rapid Hepatitis B Test💉🔬🧬

Scientists have developed a new Hepatitis B test, which detects the ‘HBsAg’ or Hepatitis B virus surface antigen in the blood plasma. Both acute and chronic cases of Hepatitis B Viral diseases are diagnosed this way.

Normally, there are 2 types of HBV tests – RDTs (Rapid Diagnostic Tests) and EIAs (Enzyme Immunoassays). While EIAs are extremely sensitive but expensive, RDTs are less sensitive and more affordable, resulting in laboratories with poor resources using the latter even for blood sample screening before transfusion. The RDTs are also easy to use, enabling untrained individuals to work with them. EIAs, on the other hand, demand skill.

Variants of Drug Metabolizing Gene Identified 💊🔬🧬

A CCMB (CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology) research team studied the diversity of the cytochrome-P450-2C9 (CYP269) gene among 1488 Indians across 36 population groups representing different linguistic groups, castes and tribes. The CYP269 gene encodes for the enzyme CYP269. The team also discovered 8 new variants of the gene making a total of 11 variants of the gene across South Asia. Additionally, they found that a few Indian populations have more than 20% people with a deleterious variant of the gene.

“Cancer-on-a-Chip”: New Method for Testing Immunotherapy Drugs Useful in Treating Breast Cancer.🎗🧬🧫

Researchers from LA based Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation have successfully designed a method to recognize and test large number of potential immunotherapy drugs against live tumors.

Chemotherapeutic Drug Delivery using DNA-Based Nanogels 👨‍🔬🔬🧬

In a breakthrough, researchers reporting in ACS’ Nano Letters have designed DNA-Based Nanogels that can be used for selective drug delivery in cancerous cells. These nanogels break down only in cancerous cells releasing the chemotherapeutic drug. These nanogels work due to a repair enzyme called FEN1 that cuts certain parts of DNA. This enzyme is found in all cells however it is present in large amounts in cancerous cells. Special DNA structures were used to make these nanogels that FEN1 could recognize and cut. This technique was used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs doxorubicin and vinorelbine to breast cancer cells and it was found that human breast cancer cells died at a higher rate than healthy breast cells which indicates that this technique can be effectively used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs with high specificity with a reduced risk of side effects.

UFC Looks into Psychedelic Drugs as Potential Therapy for Fighters🥊🧠🍄

After recent research from Johns Hopkins University on psychedelic drugs and their therapeutic potential, the UFC is looking to get involved with the research to use psychedelic drugs as a therapy for fighters’ brain health.

MIT uses Natural Language Processing to Analyze Viral Mutations 💻🦠💉

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published a paper on using algorithms to predict viral mutations to better develop treatments or vaccines. They used natural language processing (NLP) to model viral escape using machine-learning and hopefully predict how a virus can mutate in the immune system before it actually does.

New Stem-Cell Therapy Technique Developed for Dogs 🔬🧬🐕

A research team from Japan’s Osaka Prefecture University successfully designed a method for generation of canine iPSCs from canine blood samples. iPSCs are a type of stem cell which are produced from already differentiated mature cells by introducing a specific set of genes into them. These iPSCs have the potential to differentiate into various cell types and can proliferate very rapidly providing a reliable supply of stem cells which can be used for regenerative therapies against chronic conditions in dogs.

Fecal Microbiota Transplants Improve Response to Immunotherapy Drugs💩🦠💊

A new study by a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, part of the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with investigators from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh suggests that adjusting the composition of microorganisms in the intestines (the gut microbiome) through the use of stool or fecal transplants may help patients with cancer that do not respond to immunotherapy drugs. These transplants may potentially help these patients respond to these immunotherapy drugs.

Freeze-Dried Vaccines that can be Rehydrated on Demand 🧊💉🥶

As Covid-19 vaccines roll-out across the country, the logistics of vaccine distribution are proving to be extremely challenging. Despite months of development and trials, these vaccines can still be tripped at the finish line by refrigerators. Once removed from refrigeration, Covid-19 vaccine doses must be administered within a small window of time before they spoil. Now, biochemical engineers have designed a method to freeze-dry essential components of vaccine that can then be rehydrated with a drop of water and administered on-demand at their final destination in just one hour.

Researchers Develop Method to ‘Flip’ Immune Response in IBD🔬🦠💊

IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease) is a term used to describe two conditions – crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. IBD can be debilitating and can lead to life threatening complications. Immune response to IBD is incorrect in response to some environmental triggers which causes the immune system to attack the tissues that line the gut causing inflammation of the gut.

Gene-Based Blood Test Can Show Skin Cancer Treatment Process 💉🦠🧬

Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Perlmutter Cancer Center developed a gene-based blood test to detect levels of freely circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) within patients who are receiving a drug treatment for metastatic melanoma. Researchers also noted a BRAF gene mutation linked with the cancer allowed some individuals to live twice as long without any cancer growth.

Epigenetic Therapy Boosts T-Cells to Kill Cancer Cells 🧬🧫🦠

Researchers from Princess Margaret Cancer Center developed a method to create “super soldiers” of white blood cells to boost the immune system’s anti-tumor response. They hope that transforming T-cells can boost the body’s natural response mechanisms used to defend against cancer cells and benefit those who do not respond as expected to immunotherapy. 

Cone Snail Venom Shows Promise as Malaria Treatment 🐌💊🦠

A team of researchers from Florida Atlantic University published about the effectiveness of conotoxins as a treatment for malaria. From hundreds of species, the researchers were able to identify the venom from the Conus nux sea snail as having ideal conditions for blockade-therapy for malaria.

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