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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

ACID TEST

HONG KONG – The process whereby an extremely potent new antibody can neutralize infection by the Zika virus has been discovered by researchers at Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School (Duke-NUS), a key finding that may lead to development of the first effective Zika virus therapies.

Reading or hearing about precision medicine can be reminiscent of Dan Ariely's snappy summary of big data analysis, which he said is "like teenage sex: Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it; everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it."

BACTERIAL CRISPR

Most of the attention lavished on CRISPR is about its capacity to edit mammalian genes, but a study by New Zealand researchers has given new insight into the functions of CRISPR in bacteria.

TAU'S GOOD SIDE

HONG KONG – Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, have established that site-specific phosphorylation of tau protein inhibits amyloid beta (Abeta) plaque toxicity in mice with Alzheimer's disease (AD), providing valuable new insights into AD pathogenesis that could potentially result in new treatments.

HONG KONG – Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute (RRI) have successfully tested a drug showing early promise for preventing pre-term birth in mice, by suppressing inflammatory mechanisms underlying premature delivery.

FATTENING UP T CELLS

Researchers have linked metabolic changes in the wasting syndrome cachexia to the inability to mount an antitumor immune response. “Host metabolism and cellular immunity are seldom connected,” Thomas Flint told BioWorld Today, and are studied instead as separate phenomena.

TARP TO THE RESCUE

By targeting a so-called auxiliary protein, researchers have selectively inhibited specific neural circuits whose malfunction underlies one form of epilepsy. Researchers from Eli Lilly and Co. published their findings in the Nov. 7, 2016, issue of Nature Medicine.

HONG KONG – The bacterial metabolite prodigiosin and its analogue, obatoclax, have been shown to have therapeutic activity in advanced breast cancer, providing the rationale for clinical trials, Chinese researchers reported in the Oct. 31, 2016, online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

"The average scientist thinks of estrogen as largely mediating gene expression," Eric Prossnitz told BioWorld Today. Estrogen is a steroid hormone, and its classical receptor is a nuclear hormone receptor that acts as a transcription factor once it is activated by estrogen binding.

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