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Archive for the ‘Cell Biology’ Category


Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

A mutated gene called RAS gives rise to a signalling protein Ral which is involved in tumour growth in the bladder. Many researchers tried and failed to target and stop this wayward gene. Signalling proteins such as Ral usually shift between active and inactive states.

 

So, researchers next tried to stop Ral to get into active state. In inacvtive state Ral exposes a pocket which gets closed when active. After five years, the researchers found a small molecule dubbed BQU57 that can wedge itself into the pocket to prevent Ral from closing and becoming active. Now, BQU57 has been licensed for further development.

 

Researchers have a growing genetic data on bladder cancer, some of which threaten to overturn the supposed causes of bladder cancer. Genetics has also allowed bladder cancer to be reclassified from two categories into five distinct subtypes, each with different characteristics and weak spots. All these advances bode well for drug development and for improved diagnosis and prognosis.

 

Among the groups studying the genetics of bladder cancer are two large international teams: Uromol (named for urology and molecular biology), which is based at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), based at institutions in Texas and Boston. Each team tackled a different type of cancer, based on the traditional classification of whether or not a tumour has grown into the muscle wall of the bladder. Uromol worked on the more common, earlier form, non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, whereas TCGA is looking at muscle-invasive bladder cancer, which has a lower survival rate.

 

The Uromol team sought to identify people whose non-invasive tumours might return after treatment, becoming invasive or even metastatic. Bladder cancer has a high risk of recurrence, so people whose non-invasive cancer has been treated need to be monitored for many years, undergoing cystoscopy every few months. They looked for predictive genetic footprints in the transcriptome of the cancer, which contains all of a cell’s RNA and can tell researchers which genes are turned on or off.

 

They found three subgroups with distinct basal and luminal features, as proposed by other groups, each with different clinical outcomes in early-stage bladder cancer. These features sort bladder cancer into genetic categories that can help predict whether the cancer will return. The researchers also identified mutations that are linked to tumour progression. Mutations in the so-called APOBEC genes, which code for enzymes that modify RNA or DNA molecules. This effect could lead to cancer and cause it to be aggressive.

 

The second major research group, TCGA, led by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, that involves thousands of researchers across USA. The project has already mapped genomic changes in 33 cancer types, including breast, skin and lung cancers. The TCGA researchers, who study muscle-invasive bladder cancer, have looked at tumours that were already identified as fast-growing and invasive.

 

The work by Uromol, TCGA and other labs has provided a clearer view of the genetic landscape of early- and late-stage bladder cancer. There are five subtypes for the muscle-invasive form: luminal, luminal–papillary, luminal–infiltrated, basal–squamous, and neuronal, each of which is genetically distinct and might require different therapeutic approaches.

 

Bladder cancer has the third-highest mutation rate of any cancer, behind only lung cancer and melanoma. The TCGA team has confirmed Uromol research showing that most bladder-cancer mutations occur in the APOBEC genes. It is not yet clear why APOBEC mutations are so common in bladder cancer, but studies of the mutations have yielded one startling implication. The APOBEC enzyme causes mutations early during the development of bladder cancer, and independent of cigarette smoke or other known exposures.

 

The TCGA researchers found a subset of bladder-cancer patients, those with the greatest number of APOBEC mutations, had an extremely high five-year survival rate of about 75%. Other patients with fewer APOBEC mutations fared less well which is pretty surprising.

 

This detailed knowledge of bladder-cancer genetics may help to pinpoint the specific vulnerabilities of cancer cells in different people. Over the past decade, Broad Institute researchers have identified more than 760 genes that cancer needs to grow and survive. Their genetic map might take another ten years to finish, but it will list every genetic vulnerability that can be exploited. The goal of cancer precision medicine is to take the patient’s tumour and decode the genetics, so the clinician can make a decision based on that information.

 

References:

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29117162

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27321955

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28583312

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24476821

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28988769

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28753430

 

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH), is secreted by growing follicles that contains the egg or ovum. According to regular practice low AMH and high Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) are generally considered as indicators of diminished egg quantity in a female. But, there are several cases the female conceived absolutely normally without any support even after low AMH was reported.

 

Therefore, a new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association declares that AMH doesn’t dictate a woman’s reproductive potential. Although AMH testing is one of the most common ways that doctors assess a woman’s fertility. Present research says that all it takes is one egg each cycle and AMH is not a marker of whether a female can or cannot become pregnant. So, for women who haven’t yet tried to get pregnant and who are wondering whether they are fertile, an AMH value isn’t going to be helpful in that context. In addition, AMH is not necessarily a good marker to predict that whether one has to cryopreserve her eggs. So, practically doctors don’t yet have a way to definitively predict egg quality or a woman’s long-term ability to conceive, but age is obviously one of the most important factors.

 

The above mentioned study followed 750 women between the ages of 30 and 44 who had been trying to conceive for three months or less. During the 12-month observation period, those with low AMH values of less than 0.7 were not less likely to conceive than those who had normal AMH values. The study had various limitations, however, that are worth noting. The researchers only included women who did not have a history of infertility. Women who sought fertility treatments (about 6 percent) were withdrawn. And only 12 percent of the women were in the 38-to-44 age range. In addition, the number of live births was unavailable.

 

Among women aged 30 to 44 years without a history of infertility who had been trying to conceive for 3 months or less, biomarkers indicating diminished ovarian reserve compared with normal ovarian reserve were not associated with reduced fertility. These findings do not support the use of urinary or blood FSH tests or AMH levels to assess natural fertility for women with these characteristics. The researchers’ next want to see whether low AMH is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage among the women who conceived.

 

Although AMH testing isn’t designed to be an overall gauge of a woman’s fertility, it can still provide valuable information, especially for women who are infertile and seeking treatment. It can assist in diagnosing polycystic ovarian syndrome, and identify when a woman is getting closer to menopause. Previous research also showed that AMH is good predictor of a woman’s response to ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization and therefore it can predict the probability of conceiving via in vitro fertilization (I.V.F.).

 

References:

 

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2656811?JamaNetworkReader=True

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/health/fertility-test-ovarian-reserve.html

 

https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/26/11/2925/656065

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3339896/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27179263

 

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Koch Institute Immune Engineering Symposium on October 16 & 17, 2017, Kresge, MIT

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Koch Institute Immune Engineering Symposium on October 16 & 17, 2017.

 

Summary: Biological, chemical, and materials engineers are engaged at the forefront of immunology research. At their disposal is an analytical toolkit honed to solve problems in the petrochemical and materials industries, which share the presence of complex reaction networks, and convective and diffusive molecular transport. Powerful synthetic capabilities have also been crafted: binding proteins can be engineered with effectively arbitrary specificity and affinity, and multifunctional nanoparticles and gels have been designed to interact in highly specific fashions with cells and tissues. Fearless pursuit of knowledge and solutions across disciplinary boundaries characterizes this nascent discipline of immune engineering, synergizing with immunologists and clinicians to put immunotherapy into practice.

SPEAKERS:

Michael Birnbaum – MIT, Koch Institute

Arup Chakraborty – MIT, Insititute for Medical Engineering & Sciences

Jianzhu Chen – MIT, Koch Institute

Jennifer R. Cochran – Stanford University

Jennifer Elisseeff – Johns Hopkins University

K. Christopher Garcia – Stanford University

George Georgiou – University of Texas at Austin

Darrell Irvine – MIT, Koch Institute

Tyler Jacks – MIT, Koch Institute

Doug Lauffenburger – MIT, Biological Engineering and Koch Institute

Wendell Lim – University of California, San Francisco

Harvey Lodish – Whitehead Institute and Koch Institute

Marcela Maus – Massachusetts General Hospital

Garry P. Nolan – Stanford University

Sai Reddy – ETH Zurich

Nicholas Restifo – National Cancer Institute

William Schief – The Scripps Research Institute

Stefani Spranger – MIT, Koch Institute

Susan Napier Thomas – Georgia Institute of Technology

Laura Walker – Adimab, LLC

Jennifer Wargo – MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dane Wittrup – MIT, Koch Institute

Kai Wucherpfennig – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Please contact ki-events@mit.edu with any questions.

SOURCE

From: Koch Institute Immune Engineering Symposium <ki-events@mit.edu>

Reply-To: <ki-events@mit.edu>

Date: Friday, September 8, 2017 at 9:06 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Reminder – Register Today

 

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Emerging STAR in Molecular Biology, Synthetic Virology and Genomics: Clodagh C. O’Shea: ChromEMT – Visualizing 3D chromatin structure

 

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

On 8/28/2017, I attend and covered in REAL TIME the CHI’s 5th Immune Oncology Summit – Oncolytic Virus Immunotherapy, August 28-29, 2017 Sheraton Boston Hotel | Boston, MA

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/08/28/live-828-chis-5th-immune-oncology-summit-oncolytic-virus-immunotherapy-august-28-29-2017-sheraton-boston-hotel-boston-ma/

 

I covered in REAL TIME this event and Clodagh C. O’Shea talk at the conference.

On that evening, I e-mailed my team that

“I believe that Clodagh C. O’Shea will get the Nobel Prizebefore CRISPR

 

11:00 Synthetic Virology: Modular Assembly of Designer Viruses for Cancer Therapy

Clodagh_OShea

Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar; Associate Professor, William Scandling Developmental Chair, Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Design is the ultimate test of understanding. For oncolytic therapies to achieve their potential, we need a deep mechanistic understanding of virus and tumor biology together with the ability to confer new properties.

To achieve this, we have developed

  • combinatorial modular genome assembly (ADsembly) platforms,
  • orthogonal capsid functionalization technologies (RapAd) and
  • replication assays that have enabled the rational design, directed evolution, systematic assembly and screening of powerful new vectors and oncolytic viruses.

 

Clodagh O’Shea’s Talk In Real Time:

  • Future Cancer therapies to be sophisticated as Cancer is
  • Targer suppresor pathways (Rb/p53)
  • OV are safe their efficacy ishas been limited
  • MOA: Specify Oncolytic Viral Replication in Tumor cells Attenuate – lack of potency
  • SOLUTIONS: Assembly: Assmble personalized V Tx fro libraries of functional parts
  • Adenovirus – natural & clinical advantages
  • Strategy: Technology for Assmbling Novel Adenovirus Genomes using Modular Genomic Parts
  • E1 module: Inactives Rb & p53
  • core module:
  • E3 Module Immune Evasion Tissue targeting
  • E4 Module Activates E2F (transcription factor TDP1/2), PI3K
  • Adenovirus promoters for Cellular viral replication — Tumor Selective Replication: Novel Viruses Selective Replicate in RB/p16
  • Engineering Viruses to overcome tumor heterogeneity
  • Target multiple & Specific Tumor Cel Receptors – RapAd Technology allows Re-targeting anti Rapamycin – induced targeting of adenovirus
  • Virus Genome: FKBP-fusion FRB-Fiber
  • Engineer Adenovirus Caspids that prevent Liver uptake and Sequestration – Natural Ad5 Therapies 
  • Solution: AdSyn335 Lead candidat AdSyn335 Viruses targeting multiple cells
  • Engineering Mutations that enhanced potency
  • Novel Vector: Homes and targets
  • Genetically engineered PDX1 – for Pancreatic Cancer Stroma: Early and Late Stage
On Twitter:

Engineer Adenovirus Caspids prevent Liver uptake and Sequestration – Natural Ad5 Therapies C. O’Shea, HHDI

Scientist’s Profile: Clodagh C. O’Shea

http://www.salk.edu/scientist/clodagh-oshea/

EDUCATION

BS, Biochemistry and Microbiology, University College Cork, Ireland
PhD, Imperial College London/Imperial Cancer Research Fund, U.K.
Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, U.S.A

VIDEOS

http://www.salk.edu/scientist/clodagh-oshea/videos/

O’Shea Lab @Salk

http://oshea.salk.edu/

AWARDS & HONORS

  • 2016 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar
  • 2014 W. M. Keck Medical Research Program Award
  • 2014 Rose Hills Fellow
  • 2011Science/NSF International Science & Visualization Challenge, People’s Choice
  • 2011 Anna Fuller Award for Cancer Research
  • 2010, 2011, 2012 Kavli Frontiers Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2009 Sontag Distinguished Scientist Award
  • 2009 American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
  • 2008 ACGT Young Investigator Award for Cancer Gene Therapy
  • 2008 Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award
  • 2008 William Scandling Assistant Professor, Developmental Chair
  • 2007 Emerald Foundation Schola

READ 

Clodagh C. O’Shea: ChromEMT: Visualizing 3D chromatin structure and compaction in interphase and mitotic cells | Science

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6349/eaag0025

and 

https://www.readbyqxmd.com/keyword/93030

Clodagh C. O’Shea

In Press

Jul 27, 2017 – Salk scientists solve longstanding biological mystery of DNA organization

Sep 22, 2016 – Clodagh O’Shea named HHMI Faculty Scholar for groundbreaking work in designing synthetic viruses to destroy cancer

Oct 05, 2015 – Clodagh O’Shea awarded $3 million to unlock the “black box” of the nucleus

Aug 27, 2015 – The DNA damage response goes viral: a way in for new cancer treatments

Apr 12, 2013 – Salk Institute promotes three top scientists

Oct 16, 2012 – Cold viruses point the way to new cancer therapies

Aug 25, 2010 – Use the common cold virus to target and disrupt cancer cells?

Oct 22, 2009 – Salk scientist receives The Sontag Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist Award

May 15, 2008 – Salk scientist wins 2008 Beckman Young Investigator Award

Mar 24, 2008 – Salk scientist wins 2007 Young Investigator’s Award in Gene Therapy for Cancer

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Trends in Sperm Count

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

There has been a genuine decline in semen quality over the past 50 years. There is lot of controversy about this as there are limitations in studies that have attempted to address it. Sperm count is of considerable public health importance for several reasons. First, sperm count is closely linked to male fecundity and is a crucial component of semen analysis, the first step to identify male factor infertility.

Reduced sperm count is associated with cryptorchidism, hypospadias and testicular cancer. It may be associated with multiple environmental influences, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, pesticides, heat and lifestyle factors, including diet, stress, smoking and BMI. Therefore, sperm count may sensitively reflect the impacts of the modern environment on male health throughout the life span.

This study provided a systematic review and meta-regression analysis of recent trends in sperm counts as measured by sperm concentration (SC) and total sperm count (TSC), and their modification by fertility and geographic group. Analyzing trends by birth cohorts instead of year of sample collection may aid in assessing the causes of the decline (prenatal or in adult life) but was not feasible owing to lack of information.

This rigorous and comprehensive analysis found that SC declined 52.4% between 1973 and 2011 among unselected men from western countries, with no evidence of a ‘leveling off’ in recent years. Declining mean SC implies that an increasing proportion of men have sperm counts below any given threshold for sub-fertility or infertility. The high proportion of men from western countries with concentration below 40 million/ml is particularly concerning given the evidence that SC below this threshold is associated with a decreased monthly probability of conception.

Declines in sperm count have implications beyond fertility and reproduction. The decline reported in this study is consistent with reported trends in other male reproductive health indicators, such as testicular germ cell tumors, cryptorchidism, onset of male puberty and total testosterone levels. The public health implications are even wider. Recent studies have shown that poor sperm count is associated with overall morbidity and mortality. While the current study is not designed to provide direct information on the causes of the observed declines, sperm count has been plausibly associated with multiple environmental and lifestyle influences, both prenatally and in adult life. In particular, endocrine disruption from chemical exposures or maternal smoking during critical windows of male reproductive development may play a role in prenatal life, while lifestyle changes and exposure to pesticides may play a role in adult life.

These findings strongly suggest a significant decline in male reproductive health, which has serious implications beyond fertility concerns. Research on causes and implications of this decline is urgently needed.

 

REFERENCES

Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis 

Hagai Levine, Niels Jørgensen, Anderson Martino‐Andrade, Jaime Mendiola, Dan Weksler-Derri, Irina Mindlis, Rachel Pinotti, Shanna H Swan. Human Reproduction Update, July 25, 2017, doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx022.

Link: https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/humupd/dmx022.

Sperm Counts Are Declining Among Western Men – Interview with Dr. Hagai Levine

https://news.afhu.org/news/sperm-counts-are-declining-among-western-men?utm_source=Master+List&utm_campaign=dca529d919-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e19a421-dca529d919-92801633

J Urol. 1983 Sep;130(3):467-75.

A critical method of evaluating tests for male infertility.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6688444

Hum Reprod. 1993 Jan;8(1):65-70.

Estimating fertility potential via semen analysis data.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8458929

Lancet. 1998 Oct 10;352(9135):1172-7.

Relation between semen quality and fertility: a population-based study of 430 first-pregnancy planners.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9777833

Hum Reprod Update. 2010 May-Jun;16(3):231-45. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmp048. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

World Health Organization reference values for human semen characteristics.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19934213

J Nutr. 2016 May;146(5):1084-92. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.226563. Epub 2016 Apr 13.

Intake of Fruits and Vegetables with Low-to-Moderate Pesticide Residues Is Positively Associated with Semen-Quality Parameters among Young Healthy Men.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27075904

Reprod Toxicol. 2003 Jul-Aug;17(4):451-6.

Semen quality of Indian welders occupationally exposed to nickel and chromium.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849857

Fertil Steril. 1996 May;65(5):1009-14.

Semen analyses in 1,283 men from the United States over a 25-year period: no decline in quality.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8612826

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Genomic Diagnostics: Three Techniques to Perform Single Cell Gene Expression and Genome Sequencing Single Molecule DNA Sequencing

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

This article presents Three Techniques to Perform Single Cell Gene Expression and Genome Sequencing Single molecule DNA sequencing

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First Haploid Human Stem Cells

Reported: Irina Robu, PhD

Most of the cells in our body are diploid, which indicate they carry two sets of chromosomes—one from each parent. So far, scientists have only succeeded in generating haploid embryonic stem cells—which comprise a single set of chromosomes in non-human mammals such as mice, rats and monkeys. Nevertheless, scientists have tried to isolate and duplicate these haploid ESCs in humans, which would allow them to work with one set of human chromosomes as opposed to a mixture from both parents.

Scientists from Hebrew from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute (NYSCF) were successful in generating a new type of embryonic stem cells that has a single copy of the human genome, instead of two copies which is typically found in normal stem cells.

This landmark was finally obtained by Ido Sagi, working as a PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem which was successful in isolating and maintaining haploid embryonic stem cells in humans. Unlike in mice, these haploid stem cells were capable to differentiate into various cell types such as brain, heart and pancreas, although holding a single set of chromosomes. Sagi and his advisor, Prof. Nissim Benvenisty showed that this new human stem cell type will play an important role in human genetic and medical research.  This new human cell type cell type will aid in understanding human development and it will make genetic screening simpler and more precise, by examining a single set of chromosomes.

Based on this research, the Technology Transfer arm of the Hebrew University, started a new company New Stem, which is developing a diagnostic kit for predicting resistance to chemotherapy treatments. By gathering a broad library of human pluripotent stem cells with various genetic makeups and mutations. The company is planning to use this kit for personalized medication and future therapeutic and reproductive products.

SOURCE

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-haploid-human-stem-cells-medical.html#jCp

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Ido Sagi – PhD Student @HUJI, 2017 Kaye Innovation Award winner for leading research that yielded the first successful isolation and maintenance of haploid embryonic stem cells in humans.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Ido Sagi – PhD Student @HUJI, 2017 Kaye Innovation Award winner for leading research that yielded the first successful isolation and maintenance of haploid embryonic stem cells in humans.

 

 

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