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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

THE ABKS OF CHIKUNGUNYA

A specific immune system proteinase, granzyme A, was shown to promote arthritic inflammation in mice infected with chikungunya virus (CHIKV), in an Australian study reported in the Feb. 16, 2017, edition of PLOS Pathogens.

AAAS 2017

BOSTON – Science may be in the business of answering questions, but medicine, agriculture and policy based on scientific findings remain uncertain business. Those uncertainties do not always show up as spectacularly as they did in the 2016 presidential election.

SALMONELLA'S HEALTH BENEFITS

A nonvirulent tumor-targeting bacterial strain bioengineered to release multiple Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands was shown to suppress tumor growth and prolong survival in mouse tumor models in a Korean study, suggesting it could be a new cancer immunotherapy in humans.

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY

Serum – the part of blood that is left over after red cells are removed – is a cornerstone of cell culture. Fetal bovine serum, with its mix of growth factors and nutrients, certainly enables cultured cells to grow. But because it is a natural product, what's in it is not just what is desirable to researchers.

MOVING FORWARD IN REVERSE

The first successful recovery of recombinant rotaviruses (RVs) derived entirely from cloned cDNAs in a Japanese study will both improve understanding of RV pathobiology and promote the development of new vaccines and therapeutics.

THE XI FACTOR

Factor XI, a coagulation factor that is part of the intrinsic blood clotting pathway, is part of a newly discovered circuit that links coagulation, inflammation and hypertension. Researchers described the circuit, which breaks ground scientifically as well as offering potential therapeutic strategies to treat often-co-morbid diseases, in the Feb. 1, 2017, issue of Science Translational Medicine.

PAC-IFYING HBV

A plant-derived compound and its analogues may help prevent and treat hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and could contribute to the development of well-tolerated and broadly active inhibitors of HBV, including activity against treatment-resistant strains, a new Japanese study has found.

HONG KONG – A study by Japanese researchers has identified two promising and selective candidate therapeutic targets that could prove important in the development of new treatments aimed at overcoming drug resistance in melanoma. Drug resistance is a major problem in the treatment of melanoma patients, for example with drugs targeting BRAF-mutated melanomas such as Zelboraf.

HEATING UP COLD TUMORS

Inhibiting the Axl kinase could have applications in both antitumor and antiviral therapy, separate papers published over the past few weeks have reported. In the Jan. 10, 2017, issue of Cell Reports, a team from the French INSERM Institute showed that Axl receptor activity both enabled Zika virus entry into cells and modulated innate immune responses.

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