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THE BIOWORLD BIOME: Our Habitat for All Things Science

TAKING TISSUE TO THE BANK

HONG KONG – Retinal cells derived from the reprogrammed stem cells of one monkey have been transplanted into the eyes of others, without immune rejection and need for immunosuppressants, said researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Preclinical work by researchers from Danish Orphazyme ApS has demonstrated that targeting heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70) could alleviate a number of different lysosomal storage diseases, a group of several dozen rare to ultra-rare disorders united by mutations in proteins that lead to problems with cellular waste disposal.

THE ROAD TO NO NASHVILLE

As evidenced most recently by Allergan plc's purchase of Tobira Therapeutics Inc. and Akarna Therapeutics Ltd., nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are getting a lot of love from the pharma industry these days, with good reason. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 21, 2016.)

TRIMMING THE FAT

Inhibiting an enzyme that is important for fat synthesis led tumors to shrink in preclinical models of non-small-cell lung cancer, researchers reported in the Sept. 19, 2016, online issue of Nature Medicine.

BETTER THAN SEX

The behavioral effects of genetic mutations depend strongly on the mouse strain in which they are studied, and in some cases, the same genetic mutation can have opposite effects on behavior, such as increasing anxiety-driven behaviors in some mouse strains and decreasing them in others, researchers have found.

TEIXOBACTIN'S COUSINS

HONG KONG – Scientists at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have successfully synthesized teixobactin, a recently discovered antibiotic that is considered to be a breakthrough in antibacterial drug research.

By inhibiting carotid bodies, the smallest organ in the human body, researchers have been able to lower blood pressure in several different animal models. In previous work, the team had shown that carotid body hyperactivity played a role in slightly more than half of patients with hypertension, and developed a way to identify individuals who were likely to respond to carotid body modulation.

RARE VARIANTS, COMMON FEATURES

HONG KONG – A new Japanese study of the effects of environmental and genetic influences on individual differences in proteomics and metabolomics has identified biomarkers for early disease prevention and diagnosis, through the identification and quantification of blood metabolites.

A metabolomics signature consisting of a group of eight metabolites in males and 13 metabolites in females was able to diagnose myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with better than 90 percent accuracy, possibly enabling more accurate diagnosis of a disorder that remains hard to pin down.

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