Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to entice. On the exhibition floor at the 2023 Congress of the European Academy of Neurology, one company’s booth featured “Mindart” technology. A passersby could answer a short series of prompts, and get a unique image based on the input made by generative AI. Entertainment aside, medically speaking, AI applications “are still research,” Riccardo Soffietti told his audience at one of several sessions devoted to AI. “But obviously, research is the future.”
Investigators have identified a second individual who remained cognitively normal into his late 60s despite having the PSEN1 E280A mutation, which causes a familial version of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The likely source of protection, a mutation in a gene called Reelin, is distinct from the protective mechanism identified in the first case of an individual who was protected from the effects of PSEN1 E280A. That case was reported in 2019.
A base-by-base comparison of the genome sequences of 240 species of mammals has pinpointed sites in the human genome where mutations are likely to cause disease. The sites are all perfectly conserved across the mammalian family tree over 100 million years of evolution, indicating they underlie fundamental biological processes that do not tolerate diversity or change very well.
Unlike amphibians, mammals do not regenerate appendages. Except when they do. “If you amputate one of the branches off of the antler [of a reindeer], it will also regenerate,” Jeff Biernaskie told BioWorld. Even without amputation, the antlers of both male and female reindeer regenerate annually, including their skin. That regeneration is “the only large mammal model of true skin regeneration,” he said.
The positively charged nanoparticle polyamidoamine generation 3 (P-G3) can be specifically targeted to either visceral or subcutaneous fat, and affects both types of fat in different ways, researchers from Columbia University reported in two papers recently published. The studies, published online in Nature Nanotechnology on Dec. 1, 2022, and in Biomaterials on Nov. 28, 2022, are both “a conceptual advance” and “quite amenable to translation,” co-corresponding author Kam Leong told BioWorld.
A combination of radiation therapy and CD47 blockade induced an abscopal effect in animal studies even in animals that lacked T cells, researchers reported in the Nov. 21, 2022, online issue of Nature Cancer. The findings are “the first demonstration of T-cell-independent abscopal response,” co-corresponding author Edward Graves told BioWorld. “We’re not trying to say that all abscopal responses are macrophage-mediated. There are plenty that require T cells,” Graves clarified. But “there is another avenue of abscopal responses that has not been reported. ... All the abscopal literature is about stimulating an adaptive response.”
By pairing the expression of an inhibitory ion channel with an activity-dependent promoter, researchers have developed the first on-demand gene therapy that specifically silenced hyperactive cells and prevented epileptic seizures.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022 was awarded to Svante Pääbo today "for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution." Pääbo, who is currently the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and his colleagues overcame extreme technical challenges to sequence the DNA of ancient hominids – because after tens of thousands of years, there is no such thing as aging well for DNA.
The 2022 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award has been awarded to Richard Hynes, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Erkki Ruoslahti, of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Timothy Springer, of Harvard Medical School “for discoveries concerning the integrins, key mediators of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion in physiology and disease.”