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Archives for : dicembre2013

H. pylori Vaccine Shows Promise in Mouse Studies

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science

Researchers from Southern Medical University in Guangdong, Guangzhou, China, have developed an oral vaccine against Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for peptic ulcers and some forms of gastric cancer, and have successfully tested it in mice. The research is published ahead of print in the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

The investigators constructed a live recombinant bacterial vaccine, expressing the H. pylori antigen, adhesin Hp0410, in the food-grade bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus. They then used it to orally vaccinate the mice.

 

The vaccine elicited specific anti-Hp0410 IgG antibodies in serum, and showed “a significant increase” in the level of protection against gastric Helicobacter infection, according to the report. When assayed, following challenge with H. pylori, immunized mice had significantly lower bacterial loads than non-immunized mice.

 

H. pylori is a class 1 human carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. It causes gastritis, peptic ulcers, stomach cancer, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. Antibiotic therapy is complex, unsuccessful in some patients (particularly in developing countries) and relapse is common. A vaccine against H. pylori could circumvent these difficulties.


See on www.asm.org

Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well

See on Scoop.ithealthcare technology

Learn how doctors will be able to develop targeted cancer therapy based on you and your cancer’s genetics.


How to personalize cancer treatment


Once a doctor sequences your full genome as well as your cancer’s DNA, mapping that information to the right treatment is difficult. Today, these types of DNA-based plans, where available, can take weeks or even months. Cognitive systems will decrease these times, while increasing the availability by providing doctors with information they can use to quickly build a focused treatment plan in just days or even minutes – all via the cloud.

Within five years, deep insights based on DNA sequencing will be accessible to more doctors and patients to help tackle cancer. By using cognitive systems that continuously learn about cancer and the patients who have cancer, the level of care will only improve. No more assumptions about cancer location or type, or any disease with a DNA link, like heart disease and stroke.

more at http://www.research.ibm.com/cognitive-computing/machine-learning-applications/targeted-cancer-therapy.shtml#fbid=2VHk6CaxW6l

directly view the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0M1DMdc1mQ0


See on www.research.ibm.com

Scientists ‘print’ new eye cells

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science

Scientists say they have been able to successfully print new eye cells that could be used to treat sight loss. The proof-of-principle work in the journal Biofabrication was carried out using animal cells.


The Cambridge University team says it paves the way for grow-your-own therapies for people with damage to the light-sensitive layer of tissue at back of the eye – the retina. More tests are needed before human trials can begin.


Co-authors of the study Prof Keith Martin and Dr Barbara Lorber, from the John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair at the University of Cambridge, said: “The loss of nerve cells in the retina is a feature of many blinding eye diseases. The retina is an exquisitely organised structure where the precise arrangement of cells in relation to one another is critical for effective visual function.


“Our study has shown, for the first time, that cells derived from the mature central nervous system, the eye, can be printed using a piezoelectric inkjet printer. Although our results are preliminary and much more work is still required, the aim is to develop this technology for use in retinal repair in the future.”

They now plan to attempt to print other types of retinal cells, including the light-sensitive photoreceptors – rods and cones.

Scientists have already been able to reverse blindness in mice using stem cell transplants. And there is promising work into electronic retina implants implants in patients.


Clara Eaglen, of the RNIB, said: “This is a step in the right direction as the retina is often affected in many of the common eye conditions, causing loss of central vision which stops people watching TV and seeing the faces of loved ones.”



See on www.bbc.co.uk

Decoding viral puzzles

See on Scoop.itCuriosopernatura


The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell.


See on www.sciencedaily.com

NATURE: Water seems to flow freely on Mars

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science


Any areas of water could be off-limits to all but the cleanest spacecraft.

Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars1. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized — a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for exploration.


River-like valleys attest to the flow of water on ancient Mars, but today the planet is dry and has an atmosphere that is too thin to support liquid water on the surface for long. However, intriguing clues suggest that water may still run across the surface from time to time.

In 2011, for example, researchers who analysed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft observed dark streaks a few metres wide that appeared and lengthened at the warmest time of the year, then faded in cooler seasons, reappearing in subsequent years2. “This behaviour is easy to understand if these are seeps of water,” says planetary scientist Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led that study. “Water will darken most soils.”


The streaks, known as recurring slope lineae, initially were found at seven sites in Mars’s southern mid-latitudes. The water may have come from ice trapped about a metre below the surface; indeed, the MRO has spotted such ice in fresh impact craters at those latitudes.


McEwen and his colleagues have now found the reappearing streaks near the equator, including in the gargantuan Valles Marineris canyon that lies just south of it. The MRO has turned up 12 new sites — each of which has hundreds or thousands of streaks — within 25 degrees of the equator. The temperatures there are relatively warm throughout the year, says McEwen, and without a mechanism for replenishment, any subsurface ice would probably already have sublimated.


The possibility of running water could put the sites off-limits for future spacecraft unless they are carefully sterilized. The international guidelines of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of the Paris-based International Council for Science say that sites that may host life, called ‘special regions’, should only be visited by probes that have been thoroughly treated to prevent microbes from hitching a ride from Earth. “You wouldn’t want to send a dirty spacecraft to these places because you’d have the potential to not discover what you’re looking for, but what you took with you,” says John Rummel, chair of COSPAR’s panel on planetary protection.


See on www.nature.com

Scripps Research Institute Scientists Achieve Most Detailed Picture Ever of Key Part of Hepatitis C Virus

See on Scoop.itVirology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca


Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have determined the most detailed picture yet of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus, which the virus uses to infect liver cells. The new data reveal unexpected structural features of this protein.


See on www.newswise.com

Single-molecule microscopy simultaneously monitors protein structure and function

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science

Proteins accomplish something rather amazing: A protein can have many functions, with a given function being determined by the way they fold into a specific three-dimensional geometry, or conformations. Moreover, the structural transitions form one conformation to another is reversible. However, while these dynamics affect protein conformation and therefore function, and so are critical to a wide range of areas, methods for understanding how proteins behave near surfaces, which is complicated by protein and surface heterogeneities, has remained elusive. Recently, however, scientists at University of Colorado utilized a method known as Single-Molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (SM-FRET) tracking to monitor dynamic changes in protein structure and interfacial behavior on surfaces by single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer, allowing them to explicate changes in protein structure at the single-molecule level. (SM-FRET describes energy transfer between two chromophores – molecular components that determine its color.) In addition, the researchers state that their approach is suitable for studying virtually any protein, thereby providing a framework for developing surfaces and surface modifications with improved biocompatibility.

 

Prof. Joel L. Kaar discussed the paper he and his co-authors, Dr. Sean Yu McLoughlin, Prof. Mark Kastantin and Prof. Daniel K. Schwartz, recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The primary challenges in devising our approach to characterizing changes in protein structure were implementing a site-specific labeling method, which enabled single-molecule resolution, as well as a method to only image molecules at the solution-surface interface,” Kaar tells Phys.org. The scientists overcame the former challenge by incorporating unnatural amino acids – that is, those not among the 20 so-called standard amino acids – with unique functional groups for labeling with fluorophores (chemical compounds that can re-emit light upon light excitation); the latter, by using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, which only excites molecules in the near-surface environment, thereby minimizing the background fluorescence of molecules free in solution. “Although site-specific labeling methods have been used to monitor changes in protein conformation mainly in bulk solution, such techniques have not previously been exploited to study freely diffusible protein molecules at interfaces,” Kaar adds. As such, the researchers are the first to apply site-specific labeling methods to study protein-surface interactions.

 

“The major challenge associated with incorporating unnatural amino acids for labeling was related to the optimization of protein expression,” Kaar continues. Specifically, he explains, the expression of the enzyme organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH) – which is notoriously difficult to make in large quantities due to inclusion body formation – with the unnatural amino acid p-azido-L-Phe (AzF) had to be optimized to efficiently incorporate p-azido-L-Phe. (Inclusion body formation refers to the intracellular aggregation of partially folded expressed proteins,) “This process required modification of expression conditions,” he adds, “in which bacteria with modified genetic machinery were grown to enable production of soluble enzyme for single-molecule experiments.”


See on phys.org

Personalized Medicine – Matching Treatments to Your Genes

See on Scoop.ithealthcare technology

You’re one of a kind. Wouldn’t it be nice if treatments and preventive care could be designed just for you, matched to your unique set of genes?

The story of personalized medicine begins with the unique set of genes you inherited from your parents. Genes are stretches of DNA that serve as a sort of instruction manual telling your body how to make the proteins and perform the other tasks that your body needs. These genetic instructions are written in varying patterns of only 4 different chemical “letters,” or bases.

The same genes often differ slightly between people. Bases may be switched, missing, or added here and there. Most of these variations have no effect on your health. But some can create unusual proteins that might boost your risk for certain diseases. Some variants can affect how well a medicine works in your body. Or they might cause a medicine to have different side effects in you than in someone else.

The study of how genes affect the way medicines work in your body is called pharmacogenomics. 

“If doctors know your genes, they can predict drug response and incorporate this information into the medical decisions they make,” says Dr. Rochelle Long, a pharmacogenomics expert at NIH.

It’s becoming more common for doctors to test for gene variants before prescribing certain drugs. For example, children with leukemia might get the TPMT gene test to help doctors choose the right dosage of medicine to prevent toxic side effects. Some HIV-infected patients are severely allergic to treatment drugs, and genetic tests can help identify who can safely take the medicines. 

“By screening to know who shouldn’t get certain drugs, we can prevent life-threatening side effects,” Long says. 

Pharmacogenomics is also being used for cancer treatment. Some breast cancer drugs only work in women with particular genetic variations. If testing shows patients with advanced melanoma (skin cancer) have certain variants, 2 new approved drugs can treat them. 


See on newsinhealth.nih.gov

Could this be future of renewable energy?

See on Scoop.itTracking the Future

A Japanese construction firm is proposing to turn the moon into a colossal solar power plant by laying a belt of solar panels 250 miles wide around its equator and beaming the energy back to Earth by way of lasers or microwave transmission.

The “Luna Ring” that is being proposed would be capable of sending 13,000 terawatts of power to Earth – more than three times more than the United States generated throughout the whole of 2011.

Shimizu is reluctant to put a price tag on the construction costs involved but, given adequate funding, the company believes construction work could get under way as early as 2035.

Robots and automated equipment would be developed to mine the moon’s natural resources and produce concrete and the solar cells required for the scheme.

Shimizu believes that “virtually inexhaustible, non-polluting solar energy is the ultimate source of green energy”.


See on www.telegraph.co.uk

Sentient code: An inside look at Stephen Wolfram’s utterly new, insanely ambitious computational paradigm

See on Scoop.itTracking the Future

In 2002 Stephen Wolfram released A New Kind of Science and immediately unleashed a firestorm of wonder, controversy, and criticism as the British-born scientist, programmer, and entrepreneur overturned conventional ideas on how to pursue knowledge.

Earlier this month, he teased something with the capacity to create as much passion — and, likely, much more actual change — in the world of programming, computation, and applications.


See on venturebeat.com

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