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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

CHANGING THE CHANNEL

A team of Korean researchers has used gene knockout techniques in mice to gain an improved understanding of the role played by the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) in absence seizures, which may lead to the development of effective new treatment methods for that form of epilepsy.

Using deep sequencing of candidate genes, researchers have identified mosaic mutations – mutations that exist in only some of the body's cells, because they arose as a result of a copying error during cell division rather than being present in the sperm or egg – in about a third of patients with malformations of the cerebral cortex.

SALK OR SABIN? BOTH
Polio was declared an eradicable disease in 1988, and although the global polio eradication initiative missed its original goal of wiping the disease off the face of the planet by 2000, it certainly seems possible to get there.
EBOLA OUTBREAK
LONDON – The scale of the current outbreak of Ebola presents a change in the development landscape for therapeutics, with a far greater demand for drugs than is realized, according to new epidemiological research.
EBOLA OUTBREAK
Scientists have reported that Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.'s experimental drug candidate TKM-Marburg (NP-718m–LNP) was able to prevent monkeys from becoming seriously ill after Marburg virus infection, even when treatment was not started until the animals showed signs of viremia.
BUT DEVELOPMENT PATH UNCLEAR
HONG KONG – The first human trial of a new vaccine based on virus-like particles (VLPs) suggests it is safe and effective against the rapidly emerging mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, researchers reported in the Aug. 15, 2014, early online edition of The Lancet.
GETTING THERE FROM HERE
Finding a substance with activity against its intended target is only one of the challenges of any therapeutics development effort. Then, that substance needs to go where it is needed. "We have literally thousands of drugs that in cell culture can kill tumor cells," Jan Schnitzer told BioWorld Today.
NOVYI NEWS
Researchers have found a way to destroy tumors by directly injecting them with spores of Clostridium novyi, a bacterium that thrives in anaerobic conditions and, therefore, prefers exactly the kind of cancer that other therapies have a hard time getting to: the poorly vascularized core of large tumors.
COMING UP FROM CARTILAGE
HONG KONG – Researchers here have shown for the first time that during bone formation and growth, cartilage cells or chondrocytes survive and develop into mature osteoblasts, the cells that form new bone, contradicting the long-held tenet that chondrocytes and osteoblasts are separate independently developing cell types.

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