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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

Structural studies published this week indicated there are antigens that would make it feasible to create a broad-spectrum vaccine that would simultaneously protect against both Zika and dengue virus. But another study also showed that an infection with dengue can make a later infection with Zika worse.

HONG KONG – New research has identified a targetable new pathway in a proposed cell-of-origin population in breast cancer-susceptible BRCA1 gene mutation carriers, implicating RANKL blockade as a promising strategy for the prevention of breast cancer. Those findings, by Australian researchers, were reported in the June 20, 2016, edition of Nature Medicine.

LIVER LEARNS FROM BONE

Researchers have developed a method to expand corrected cells in the liver after gene therapy, an approach analogous to bone marrow conditioning that could improve both the efficacy and the safety of gene therapy.

CHINESE/GERMAN COLLABORATION

HONG KONG – The findings of a new collaborative study by Chinese and German scientists suggest that activation in mice of a specific type of immune response, known as a Type 2 (Th2) response, using parasitic worm-derived stimuli, could clear the way to the development of new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

PHASE I

A combination of retroviral gene therapy and chemotherapy administered as a prodrug significantly increased survival times of patients with recurrent high-grade glioma in a phase I trial.

GET OUT AND DON’T COME BACK

Researchers have identified the signals that breast cancer cells use to get into the bone marrow, as well as the separate signals that keep them there. Disrupting those signals may offer a way to prevent late relapses of hormone-driven breast cancers.

CELL DEATH, SHAKEN OR STIRRED

HONG KONG – The in vivo antileukemic efficacy and safety of a novel combination of apoptosis-regulating drugs seen in a recent study by Australian researchers suggests that inhibition of apoptosis and activation of another type of cell death, necroptosis, warrants clinical investigation as a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

EAT DIRT

Vaccination with a heat-killed soil bacterium both protected mice from colitis and protected them from the behavioral consequences of chronic stress, a team from the University of Colorado has found. The work potentially suggests “a way to lower risk for a number of diseases related to inappropriate inflammation,” Christopher Lowry told BioWorld Today.

HIV VACCINE

The degree of pre-existing adaptation between a person's immune system and the precise genetic characteristics of the HIV that person was infected with could predict how quickly disease would progress, researchers reported in the May 16, 2016, online issue of Nature Medicine. The paper addressed what co-corresponding author Jonathan Carlson termed a "deceptively simple" question – namely whether viral adaptation matters for the clinical course of infection.

Cast Your Vote

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