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Mutations of SARS-CoV-2 & Co.

Tracking virus variants faster with sequencing

A global group of researchers is calling for better integration of viral genetics, bioinformatics, and public health to enable better pandemic response now and better pandemic preparedness in the future. In a comment piece in the journal Nature, an international collaboration of specialists in viral and genetic analysis, led by Swiss scientists Dr. Emma Hodcroft at the University of Bern and…

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Coronavirus research

Promising SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors discovered

A research team of pharmacists at the University of Bonn has discovered two families of active substances that can block the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The drug candidates are able to switch off the the key enzyme of the virus, the so-called main protease. The study is based on laboratory experiments. Extensive clinical trials are still required for their further development as…

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Cancer vaccine research

Tackling tumors with two types of virus

An international research group led by the University of Basel has developed a promising strategy for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Using two different viruses as vehicles, they administered specific tumor components in experiments on mice with cancer in order to stimulate their immune system to attack the tumor. The approach is now being tested in clinical studies.

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Neuro-map reveals nourishment mechanisms

Food for thought: How our brain keeps its supply up

Our brains are non-stop consumers. A labyrinth of blood vessels, stacked end-to-end comparable in length to the distance from San Diego to Berkeley, ensures a continuous flow of oxygen and sugar to keep our brains functioning at peak levels. But how does this intricate system ensure that more active parts of the brain receive enough nourishment versus less demanding areas? That’s a century-old…

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Collagen 'pushing'

Supercomputer illustrates mechanical process of cancer growth

According to the World Health Organization, one in six worldwide deaths have been attributed to cancer; however, these fatalities were not due to initial malignant tumors—the deaths were caused by the spread of cancer cells to surrounding tissues and subsequent tumor growth. These tissues, which consist largely of collagen, have been the focus of a recent collaborative study by a team from…

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iPSC research

'Brain cell grafts' hold promise for reversing Parkinson’s symptoms

Grafting neurons grown from monkeys’ own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison report. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the team describes its success with neurons made from induced pluripotent stem cells from the monkeys’ own bodies.…

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Longer lasting implants for younger people

Engineering more durable artificial joints

A £4 million research project will develop a new generation of artificial joints that last longer, produce fewer side effects and are better suited for younger people. The international collaboration, led by the University of Leeds and funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, will focus on improved design and testing to reduce the chance that the implants develop faults and fail, or cause…

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Cardiology research

How hypertension leads to atherosclerosis

Research scientists at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital have investigated the mechanisms by which hypertension leads to arterial damage and atherosclerosis. The results may facilitate the development of new therapies. Hypertension is a prevalent condition affecting approximately one third of all adults. It is also the leading global cause of morbidity and mortality. The condition…

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Peptide research

A 'fake handshake' to trick the coronavirus

Scientists have developed peptides that fit snugly into a groove on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that it would normally use to access a host cell. These protein fragments effectively trick the virus into “shaking hands” with a replica rather than with the actual protein on a cell’s surface that lets the virus in. revious research has determined that the novel coronavirus binds to a receptor…

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Brain tumour analysis

Glioblastoma '3D maps' help find new therapies

Researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona obtained a highly accurate recreation of human glioblastoma’s features using a novel 3D microscopy analysis. The study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications, provides new information to help with the diagnose, by finding therapeutical targets and designing immunotherapeutical strategies.

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Physics of tumours

How cancer cells shape-shift to squeeze through tissue

Working with colleagues from Germany and the US, researchers at Leipzig University have achieved a breakthrough in research into how cancer cells spread. In experiments, the team of biophysicists led by Professor Josef Alfons Käs, Steffen Grosser and Jürgen Lippoldt demonstrated for the first time how cells deform in order to move in dense tumour tissues and squeeze past neighbouring cells. The…

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Regenerative medicine

Lab-grown ‘mini-bile ducts’ to repair human livers

Scientists have used a technique to grow bile duct organoids – often referred to as ‘mini-organs’ – in the lab and shown that these can be used to repair damaged human livers. This is the first time that the technique has been used on human organs. The research paves the way for cell therapies to treat liver disease – in other words, growing ‘mini-bile ducts’ in the lab as…

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Infection research

Mutations help bacteria resist antibiotic treatment

Bacteria have many ways to evade the antibiotics that we use against them. Each year, at least 2.8 million people in the United States develop an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 people die from such infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Most of the mutations known to confer resistance occur in the genes targeted by a particular antibiotic. Other…

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Inactivation of Coronavirus & Co. via electrochemistry

Antiviral mask offers protection at the push of a button

Researchers at ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences are working with the Swiss company Osmotex AG to develop a self-disinfecting mask that inactivates viruses at the push of a button. The prototype of this mask made of electrochemical textiles shows an antiviral effect of over 99 percent. Further applications such as sterilizable seat covers are being examined.

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Study from Zambia shows many more deaths

Experts: Impact of Covid-19 in Africa “vastly underestimated”

The impact of Covid-19 in Africa has been vastly underestimated, warn researchers in a new study. Outside of South Africa, this is the first study to provide systematic surveillance data capturing the impact of Covid-19 in Africa. Their findings are based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results for 364 deceased people of all ages at the University Teaching Hospital morgue in Lusaka,…

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Research collaboration

'Cells of the future' might cure lung infections

Healing the body with cells – this is the ambitious goal of scientists at Hannover Medical School (MHH). With this in mind, Professor Dr. Nico Lachmann and Dr. Robert Zweigerdt have initiated a research collaboration and license agreement with the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S, to combine academic knowhow with the translational power of the industry. The overall aim of the endeavor is…

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Study on N95, KN95 and FFP2 mask suggests

Covid-19 masks: Why proper fit matters more than material

A team of researchers studying the effectiveness of different types of face masks has found that in order to provide the best protection against Covid-19, the fit of a mask is as important, or more important, than the material it is made of. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, carried out a series of different fit tests, and found that when a high-performance mask – such as an…

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Freefrom Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels

A 'FRESH' way to 3D-print tissues and organs

Research into 3D bioprinting has grown rapidly in recent years as scientists seek to re-create the structure and function of complex biological systems from human tissues to entire organs. The most popular 3D printing approach uses a solution of biological material or bioink that is loaded into a syringe pump extruder and deposited in a layer-by-layer fashion to build the 3D object. Gravity,…

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Brain cancer research

New approach could stop glioblastoma growth

Inhibiting a key enzyme that controls a large network of proteins important in cell division and growth, paves the way for a new class of drugs that could stop glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer, from growing. Researchers at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and University of Toronto (U of T), showed that chemically inhibiting the enzyme PRMT5 can…

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Spotting viral differences

Finding a better way to search for Covid-19 drugs

Is there a better approach to Covid drug research? Research from the University of Kent, Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main, and the Philipps-University in Marburg has provided crucial insights into the biological composition of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19, revealing vital clues for the discovery of antiviral drugs. Researchers compared SARS-CoV-2 and the closely related virus SARS-CoV,…

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53,831 genomes analysed

Rare diseases: huge dataset brings new insights

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and their colleagues published a new analysis from genetic sequencing data of more than 53,000 individuals, primarily from minority populations. The early analysis, part of a large-scale program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, examines one of the largest and most diverse data sets of high-quality whole…

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Malignant paediatric cancer

Neuroblastoma: sending tumour cells on a collision course

With two commercially available inhibitors, the cell cycle of the cancer cells in neuroblastomas can be disrupted at a key point causing tumour cell death. Neuroblastomas are malignant solid tumours that occur mainly in early childhood. They arise from degenerated immature cells of the sympathetic nervous system. One prognostic marker to assess the malignancy of the tumour is the MYCN oncogene.…

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Target cells, medication effects, evasion methods

4 new facts about early Covid-19 infections

University of Minnesota Medical School researchers studied SARS-CoV-2 infections at individual cellular levels and made four major discoveries about the virus, including one that validates the effectiveness of remdesivir – an FDA-approved antiviral drug – as a form of treatment for severe Covid-19 disease. “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the way that each individual responds…

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Identifying symptoms and predicting diagnosis

Covid-19 detection: Wearables have an edge over traditional diagnostics

Wearable devices can identify Covid-19 cases earlier than traditional diagnostic methods and can help track and improve management of the disease, Mount Sinai researchers report in one of the first studies on the topic. The findings were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The Warrior Watch Study found that subtle changes in a participant’s heart rate variability (HRV)…

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Nuclear medicine

Targeted cancer therapy: Researchers speed up astatine-211 purification

In a recent study, researchers at the Texas A&M University have described a new process to purify astatine-211, a promising radioactive isotope for targeted cancer treatment. Unlike other elaborate purification methods, their technique can extract astatine-211 from bismuth in minutes rather than hours, which can greatly reduce the time between production and delivery to the patient.

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