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Four UCLA stem cell researchers receive CIRM Early Translational grants

Posted: September 1, 2013 at 2:49 am


Four researchers from UCLA’s Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research have received Early Translational Research Awards totaling approximately $13 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state's stem cell agency. The UCLA researchers received four of the 12 total awards; no other institution received more than one.
 
The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, CIRM’s governing body, announced at its Aug. 28 meeting in La Jolla, Calif., that grant recipients included Dr. Jerome Zack, professor of medicine and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics; Dr. Robert Reiter, Bing Professor of Urologic Research; Dr. Donald Kohn, professor of pediatrics and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics in th...

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Newborns Could Soon Be Screened for Rare Pompe Enzyme Deficiency Disorder

Posted: at 2:49 am


Shortly after a baby’s first wail at birth she or he receives a tiny prick on the heel. A few drops of blood are caught on special filter paper to screen for myriad diseases. [More]

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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Unhidden Traits: Genomic Data Privacy Debates Heat Up

Posted: August 18, 2013 at 2:55 am


Earlier this year Yaniv Erlich of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at M.I.T. sent bioethicists into a frenzy when he and his team uncovered the names of people whose anonymous genome...

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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Enhanced prostate cancer gene transfer and therapy using a novel serotype chimera cancer terminator virus (Ad.5/3?CTV)

Posted: July 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm


Abstract
Few options are available for treating patients with advanced prostate cancer (PC). As PC is a slow growing disease and accessible by ultrasound, gene therapy could provide a viable option for this neoplasm. Conditionally replication?competent adenoviruses (CRCAs) represent potentially useful reagents for treating prostate cancer (PC). We previously constructed a CRCA, Cancer Terminator Virus (CTV), which showed efficacy both in vitro and in vivo for PC. The CTV was generated on a serotype 5?background (Ad.5?CTV) with infectivity depending on Coxsackie?Adenovirus Receptors (CARs). CARs are frequently reduced in many tumor types, including PCs thereby limiting effective Ad?mediated therapy. Using serotype chimerism, a novel CTV (Ad.5/3?CTV) was created by replacing the ...

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Music to your ears? Try a headphones implant like Rich Lee

Posted: July 7, 2013 at 2:54 am


'Grinder' can listen to music player by wearing a loose wire coil around his neckDon't offer Rich Lee a pair of headphones to listen to music: he's already got a pair, even though you can't see them. They're implanted in his ears – a procedure carried out by a "body modification" expert.Now, by connecting his music player to a loose wire coil around his neck (which he can tuck under his shirt), Lee can listen to music without blocking out the outside world. The tiny magnets implanted invisibly in his outer ears pick up the signal and generate sound.But that's only the beginning. Lee, 34, who works as a salesman, intends to hook it up to an ultrasonic rangefinder – effectively giving himself bat-like echolocation. And he would like to have X-ray vision, super-strength, and anything else...

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[Development of an adenovirus vector containing a hepatitis C virus expression cassette and its application].

Posted: May 26, 2013 at 2:55 am


Authors: Yoshida T, Kondoh M, Mizuguchi H, Yagi K
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a hepatotropic member of the Flaviviridae family and contains a 9.6 kb positive-sense RNA genome. Approximately 170-million people are infected with HCV worldwide. These people face increased risks of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma compared with the general population. Transduction of the HCV genome into hepatocytes is essential for understanding the mode of action of HCV infection, and for preparing HCV, evaluating HCV replication, and screening anti-HCV drugs. Although electroporation of in vitro-synthesized HCV genome and transduction of plasmid vectors containing the HCV genome are widely used in HCV research, a more convenient system with higher transduction efficie...

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Yes, a Child Has Been Pronounced Cured of HIV but Can It Be Duplicated?

Posted: March 17, 2013 at 2:56 am


A child born to an HIV-infected mother in Mississippi may be cured after a swiftly administered course of drugs. A number of factors make the child’s case unique, however, and clinicians caution that we have not discovered a general cure for HIV yet. Still, the medical first may hint at ways to fight the AIDS-causing virus .

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Truncated dystrophins reduce muscle stiffness in the extensor digitorum longus muscle of mdx mice

Posted: February 17, 2013 at 2:52 am


Muscle stiffness is a major clinical feature in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). DMD is the most common lethal inherited muscle-wasting disease in boys, and it is caused by the lack of the dystrophin protein. We recently showed that the extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle of mdx mice (a DMD mouse model) exhibits disease-associated muscle stiffness. Truncated micro- and mini-dystrophins are the leading candidates for DMD gene therapy. Unfortunately, it has never been clear whether these truncated genes can mitigate muscle stiffness. To address this question, we examined the passive properties of the EDL muscle in transgenic mdx mice that expressed a representative mini- or micro-gene (H2-R15, R2-15/R18-23/C, or R4-23/C). The passive properties were measured at the ages of 6 and 20 mo a...

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Potent growth-inhibitory effect of a dual cancer-specific oncolytic adenovirus expressing apoptin on prostate carcinoma.

Posted: February 3, 2013 at 7:56 am


Potent growth-inhibitory effect of a dual cancer-specific oncolytic adenovirus expressing apoptin on prostate carcinoma.
Int J Oncol. 2013 Mar;42(3):1052-60
Authors: Zhang M, Wang J, Li C, Hu N, Wang K, Ji H, He D, Quan C, Li X, Jin N, Li Y
Abstract
Apoptin is a chicken anemia virus-derived, p53-independent, bcl-2-insensitive apoptotic protein with the ability to specifically induce apoptosis in various human tumor cells, but not in normal cells. To explore the use of apoptin in tumor gene therapy, we assessed a recombinant adenovirus expressing the apoptin protein (Ad-hTERTp-E1a-Apoptin) in order to determine its lethal and growth-inhibitory effects on PC-3 and RM-1 cells in vitro and its antitumor effect on solid tumors in vivo....

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Ocular gene delivery systems using ternary complexes of plasmid DNA, polyethylenimine, and anionic polymers.

Posted: at 7:56 am


Authors: Kurosaki T, Uematsu M, Shimoda K, Suzuma K, Nakai M, Nakamura T, Kitahara T, Kitaoka T, Sasaki H
Abstract
In this experiment, we developed anionic ternary complexes for effective and safe ocular gene delivery. Ternary complexes were constructed by coating plasmid DNA (pDNA)/polyethylenimine (PEI) complex with anionic polymers such as ?-polyglutamic acid (?-PGA) and chondroitin sulfate (CS). The cationic pDNA/PEI complex showed high gene expression on the human retinal pigment epithelial cell line, ARPE-19 cells. The pDNA/PEI complexes, however, also showed high cytotoxicity on the cells and aggregated strongly in the vitreous body. On the other hand, the anionic ternary complexes showed high gene expression on ARPE-19 cells without such cytotoxicity and aggregation. Afte...

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Protection of genetic heritage in the era of cloning

Posted: January 27, 2013 at 7:52 am


Research on human beings has expanded greatly due to progress and the evolution of society as well as customs. Not only the unceasing development of research on human beings, but also interference in the beginning and end of life with homologous and heterogonous human reproduction, surrogate motherhood, cloning, gene therapies, eugenics,euthanasia, dysthanasia, orthothanasia, assisted suicide, genetic engineering, reassignment surgery in cases of transsexuality, the use of recombinant DNA technology and embryonic stem cells, transplantation of human organs and tissues, biotechnology and many other scientific advances. Scientific progress goes faster than the real needs of human beings, who are the final recipient of the entire evolutionary progress. Hence, there is the need to scrutinize w...

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Mucopolysacccharidoses: from understanding to treatment, a century of discoveries

Posted: December 23, 2012 at 7:48 am


After the first description of a patient recognized as a MPS case was made in 1917, several similar cases were described and identified. Observations reported in the middle of the twentieth century concerning the presence of acid mucopolysaccharides (later called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs) in tissues and especially in urine of patients were instrumental in providing an identity for these diseases, which became referred as "mucopolysaccharidoses" (MPS). In the late 1960's it was demonstrated that MPS were caused by defects in the breakdown of GAGs, and the specific enzyme deficiencies for the 11 types and subtypes of MPS were identified thereafter. Genes involved in the MPS were subsequently identified, and a large number of disease-causing mutations were identified in each one. Although ...

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ARE-Regulated Lentiviral HSV-TK/GCV Gene Therapy

Posted: December 9, 2012 at 7:49 am


In this study, we sought to examine whether this attribute could be exploited in cancer suicide gene therapy by using a lentiviral (LV) vector expressing herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK/GCV) under the regulation of antioxidant response element (ARE), a cis-acting enhancer sequence that binds Nrf2. In human lung adenocarcinoma cells in which Nrf2 is constitutively overexpressed, ARE activity was found to be high under basal conditions. In this setting, ARE-HSV-TK was more effective than a vector in which HSV-TK expression was driven by a constitutively active promoter. In a mouse xenograft model of lung cancer, suicide gene therapy with LV-ARE-TK/GCV was effective compared with LV-PGK-TK/GCV in reducing tumor size. We conclude that ARE-regulated HSV-TK/GCV therapy offers a pro...

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Misprocessing and functional arrest of microRNAs by miR-Pirate, roles of miR-378 in vitro and in vivo

Posted: at 7:49 am


MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that can regulate gene expression in cancer development, which makes them valuable targets for therapeutic intervention. Here we report on an approach that can not only arrest the functions of mature miRNAs by binding to them but it can also induce the “mis-processing” of the target miRNA producing a non-functional truncated miRNA. This approach involves generating an expression construct that produces a RNA fragment with sixteen repeat sequences. The construct is named miR-Pirate or microRNA-interacting RNA—producing imperfect RNA and tangling endogenous miRNA. The transcript of the construct contained mismatches to the seed region, and thus it would not target the potential targets of the miRNA under study. The homology of the cons...

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The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Posted: October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am


The Press Release from the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute

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Hydration forces as a tool for the optimization of core-shell nanoparticle vectors for cancer gene therapy

Posted: October 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm


Soft Matter, 2012, Advance ArticleDOI: 10.1039/C2SM26389K, PaperM. J. Santander-Ortega, M. de la Fuente, M. V. Lozano, M. E. Bekheet, F. Progatzky, A. Elouzi, I. F. Uchegbu, A. G. SchatzleinThe high cationic charge density of the polymers used in synthetic gene therapy vectors makes these systems toxic and induces non-specific interactions with blood components.To cite this article before page numbers are assigned, use the DOI form of citation above.The content of this RSS Feed (c) The Royal Society of Chemistry (Source: RSC - Soft Matter latest articles)

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Trio of Genome-Sequencing Studies Offers a Broader View of Lung Cancer

Posted: October 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm


From Nature magazine

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Human Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Gerbil Hearing

Posted: at 3:51 pm


By Virginia Gewin of Nature magazine

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"Junk" DNA Holds Clues to Common Diseases

Posted: at 3:51 pm


When the draft of the human genome was published  in 2000, researchers thought that they had obtained the secret decoder ring for the human body. Armed with the code of 3 billion basepairs of As, Ts, Cs and Gs and the 21,000 protein-coding genes, they hoped to be able to find the genetic scaffolds of life --both in sickness and in health. [More]

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Are Phage Viruses the Forgotten Cure for Superbugs? [Excerpt]

Posted: at 3:51 pm


Excerpted from The Forgotten Cure: The Past and Future of Phage Therapy , by Anna Kuchment . (Copernicus Books, 2011. Reprinted by   permission of Springer Science+Business Media)

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