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Archive for the ‘Diagnostics and Lab Tests’ Category

Sperm damage and fertility problem due to COVID-19

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

Many couples initially deferred attempts at pregnancy or delayed fertility care due to concerns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). One significant fear during the COVID-19 pandemic was the possibility of sexual transmission. Many couples have since resumed fertility care while accepting the various uncertainties associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov2), including the evolving knowledge related to male reproductive health. Significant research has been conducted exploring viral shedding, tropism, sexual transmission, the impact of male reproductive hormones, and possible implications to semen quality. However, to date, limited definitive evidence exists regarding many of these aspects, creating a challenging landscape for both patients and physicians to obtain and provide the best clinical care.

According to a new study, which looked at sperm quality in patients who suffered symptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, showed that it could impact fertility for weeks after recovery from the virus. The data showed 60% COVID-19 infected men had reduction in sperm motility and 37% had drop in sperm count, but, 2 months after recovery from COVID-19 the value came down to 28% and 6% respectively. The researchers also of the view that COVID-19 could not be sexually transmitted through semen after a person had recovered from illness. Patients with mild and severe cases of COVID-19 showed similar rate of drop in sperm quality. But further work is required to establish whether or not COVID-19 could have a longer-term impact on fertility. The estimated recovery time is three months, but further follow-up studies are still required to confirm this and to determine if permanent damage occurred in a minority of men.

Some viruses like influenza are already known to damage sperm mainly by increasing body temperature. But in the case of COVID-19, the researchers found no link between the presence or severity of fever and sperm quality. Tests showed that higher concentrations of specific COVID-19 antibodies in patients’ blood serum were strongly correlated with reduced sperm function. So, it was believed the sperm quality reduction cause could be linked to the body’s immune response to the virus. While the study showed that there was no COVID-19 RNA present in the semen of patients who had got over the virus, the fact that antibodies were attacking sperm suggests the virus may cross the blood-testis barrier during the peak of an infection.

It was found in a previous report that SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the semen of patients with COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 may still be detected in the semen of recovering patients. Due to imperfect blood-testes/deferens/epididymis barriers, SARS-CoV-2 might be seeded to the male reproductive tract, especially in the presence of systemic local inflammation. Even if the virus cannot replicate in the male reproductive system, it may persist, possibly resulting from the privileged immunity of testes.

If it could be proved that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted sexually in future studies, sexual transmission might be a critical part of the prevention of transmission, especially considering the fact that SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the semen of recovering patients. Abstinence or condom use might be considered as preventive means for these patients. In addition, it is worth noting that there is a need for studies monitoring fetal development. Therefore, to avoid contact with the patient’s saliva and blood may not be enough, since the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in a recovering patient’s semen maintains the likelihood to infect others. But further studies are required with respect to the detailed information about virus shedding, survival time, and concentration in semen.

References:

https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/12/21/covid-can-damage-sperm-for-months-making-it-harder-to-conceive-a-baby-a-new-study-finds

https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(20)32780-1/fulltext

https://www.fertstertreviews.org/article/S2666-5719(21)00004-9/fulltext

https://www.fertstertscience.org/article/S2666-335X(21)00064-1/fulltext

https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(21)02156-7/fulltext

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2765654/

https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(21)01398-4/fulltext

https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/08/27/do-covid-vaccines-affect-pregnancy-fertility-or-periods-we-asked-the-world-health-organiza

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Genomic data can predict miscarriage and IVF failure

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

Infertility is a major reproductive health issue that affects about 12% of women of reproductive age in the United States. Aneuploidy in eggs accounts for a significant proportion of early miscarriage and in vitro fertilization failure. Recent studies have shown that genetic variants in several genes affect chromosome segregation fidelity and predispose women to a higher incidence of egg aneuploidy. However, the exact genetic causes of aneuploid egg production remain unclear, making it difficult to diagnose infertility based on individual genetic variants in mother’s genome. Although, age is a predictive factor for aneuploidy, it is not a highly accurate gauge because aneuploidy rates within individuals of the same age can vary dramatically.

Researchers described a technique combining genomic sequencing with machine-learning methods to predict the possibility a woman will undergo a miscarriage because of egg aneuploidy—a term describing a human egg with an abnormal number of chromosomes. The scientists were able to examine genetic samples of patients using a technique called “whole exome sequencing,” which allowed researchers to home in on the protein coding sections of the vast human genome. Then they created software using machine learning, an aspect of artificial intelligence in which programs can learn and make predictions without following specific instructions. To do so, the researchers developed algorithms and statistical models that analyzed and drew inferences from patterns in the genetic data.

As a result, the scientists were able to create a specific risk score based on a woman’s genome. The scientists also identified three genes—MCM5, FGGY and DDX60L—that when mutated and are highly associated with a risk of producing eggs with aneuploidy. So, the report demonstrated that sequencing data can be mined to predict patients’ aneuploidy risk thus improving clinical diagnosis. The candidate genes and pathways that were identified in the present study are promising targets for future aneuploidy studies. Identifying genetic variations with more predictive power will serve women and their treating clinicians with better information.

References:

https://medicalxpress-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-miscarriage-failure-vitro-fertilization-genomic.amp

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35347416/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31552087/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33193747/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33197264/

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Reporter: Danielle Smolyar, Research Assistant 3 – Text Analysis for 2.0 LPBI Group’s TNS #1 – 2020/2021 Academic Internship in Medical Test Analysis (MTA) 

Reporting on a Study published on July 6, 2021 by  Oregon Health & Science University

Recently, researchers have found many ways to manipulate and alter gene activity in specific cells. As a result of seeing this alteration, it has caused much development and progress in understanding cancer, brain function, and immunity.

IMAGE SOURCE: 3D-model of DNA. Credit: Michael Ströck/Wikimedia/ GNU Free Documentation Lic

Tissues and Organs are composed of cells that look the same but have different roles. For example, single-cell analysis allows us to research and test the cells within an organ or cancerous tumor. However, the single-cell study has its boundaries and limits in trying a more significant number of cells. This result is not an accurate data and analysis of the cells.

Andrew Adey, Ph.D., the senior author of a paper in Nature Biotechnology, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-021-00962-z

Mulqueen, R. M., Pokholok, D., O’Connell, B. L., Thornton, C. A., Zhang, F., O’Roak, B. J., Link, J., Yardımcı, G. G., Sears, R. C., Steemers, F. J., & Adey, A. C. (2021, July 5). High-content single-cell combinatorial indexing. Nature News. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-021-00962-z

states that the new method gives us the ability to have a ten-fold improvement in the amount of DNA produced from a single DNA sequence. A DNA sequence is composed of units which are called bases. The sequence puts the bases in chronological order for it to code correctly. 

To understand cancer better, single-cell studies are a crucial factor in doing so. Different cells catch on to other mutations in the DNA sequence in a cancerous tumor, which ultimately alters the DNA sequence. This results in tumor cells with new alterations, which could eventually spread to the rest of the body. 

Adey and his team provided evidence that the method they had created can show DNA alterations that have come from cells present in tumor samples from patients with pancreatic cancer. Adey stated,

quote “For example, you can potentially identify rare cell subtypes within a tumor that are resistant to therapy.” 

Abey and his team have been working with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and with them, they are testing a single-cell method to see if patients’ tumors have changed by doing chemo or drug therapy. 

This new method allows itself to create DNA libraries and fragments of DNA that helps analyze the different genes and mutations within the sequence. This method uses something called an enzymatic reaction that attaches primers to the end of each DNA fragment.  For the cells to be analyzed, each primer must be present on both ends of the fragment. 

As a result of this new method, all library fragments present must-have primers on both ends of the fragments. At the same time, it improves efficiency by reducing its sequencing  price overall, that these adapters can be used instead of the regular custom workflows. 

SOURCE

Original article:

Mulqueen, R.M., Pokholok, D., O’Connell, B.L. et al. High-content single-cell combinatorial indexing. Nat Biotechnol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-021-00962-z

Research categories – Cell biology, cancer-general, research, DNA Fragment TAGS- DNA, sequencing, cell fragments, single-cell

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

Series B: Frontiers in Genomics Research

Series Content Consultant:

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Emeritus CSO, LPBI Group

Volume Content Consultant:

Prof. Marcus W. Feldman

BURNET C. AND MILDRED FINLEY WOHLFORD PROFESSOR IN THE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES

Stanford University, Co-Director, Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genetics (2012 – Present)

Latest in Genomics Methodologies for Therapeutics:

Gene Editing, NGS & BioInformatics,

Simulations and the Genome Ontology

2019

Volume Two

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08385KF87

 

Part 4: Single Cell Genomics

Introduction to Part 4: Single Cell Genomics – Voice of Aviva Lev-Ari & Stephen Williams


4.1 The Science

4.1.1   Single-cell biology

Special | 05 July 2017

https://www.nature.com/collections/gbljnzchgg

4.1.2   The race to map the human body — one cell at a time, A host of detailed cell atlases could revolutionize understanding of cancer and other diseases

https://www.nature.com/news/the-race-to-map-the-human-body-one-cell-at-a-time-1.21508

4.1.3   Single-cell Genomics: Directions in Computational and Systems Biology – Contributions of Prof. Aviv Regev @Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cochair, the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee with Sarah Teichmann of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

4.1.4   Cellular Genetics

https://www.sanger.ac.uk/science/programmes/cellular-genetics

4.1.5   Cellular Genomics

https://www.garvan.org.au/research/cellular-genomics

4.1.6   SINGLE CELL GENOMICS 2019 – sometimes the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, September 24-26, 2019, Djurönäset, Stockholm, Sweden http://www.weizmann.ac.il/conferences/SCG2019/single-cell-genomics-2019

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

4.1.7   Norwich Single-Cell Symposium 2019, Earlham Institute, single-cell genomics technologies and their application in microbial, plant, animal and human health and disease, October 16-17, 2019, 10AM-5PM

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

4.1.8   Newly Found Functions of B Cell

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

4.1.9 RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS: HUMAN CELL ATLAS

https://www.broadinstitute.org/research-highlights-human-cell-atlas

4.2 Technologies and Methodologies

4.2.1   How to build a human cell atlas – Aviv Regev is a maven of hard-core biological analyses. Now she is part of an effort to map every cell in the human body.

Anna Nowogrodzki, 05 July 2017, Article tools

https://www.nature.com/news/how-to-build-a-human-cell-atlas-1.22239

4.2.2   Featuring Computational and Systems Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI), The Dana Pe’er Lab

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

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

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

4.2.4   Three Technology Leaders in Single Cell Sequencing: 10X Genomics, Illumina and MissionBio

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

4.2.5   scPopCorn: A New Computational Method for Subpopulation Detection and their Comparative Analysis Across Single-Cell Experiments

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

4.2.6   Nano-guided cell networks: new methods to detect intracellular signaling and implications

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

4.3 Clinical Aspects

4.3.1 Using single cell sequencing data to model the evolutionary history of a tumor.

Kim KI, Simon R.

BMC Bioinformatics. 2014 Jan 24;15:27. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-15-27.

PMID:

4.3.2   eProceedings 2019 Koch Institute Symposium – 18th Annual Cancer Research Symposium – Machine Learning and Cancer, June 14, 2019, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM ET MIT Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

Real Time Press Coverage: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

4.3.3   The Impact of Heterogeneity on Single-Cell Sequencing

Samantha L. Goldman1,2, Matthew MacKay1,2, Ebrahim Afshinnekoo1,2,3, Ari M. Melnick4, Shuxiu Wu5,6 and Christopher E. Mason1,2,3,7*

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2019.00008/full

4.3.4   Single-cell approaches to immune profiling

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05214-w

4.3.5   Single-cell sequencing made simple. Data from thousands of single cells can be tricky to analyse, but software advances are making it easier.

by Jeffrey M. Perkel

https://www.nature.com/news/single-cell-sequencing-made-simple-1.22233

4.3.6  Single-cell RNA-seq helps in finding intra-tumoral heterogeneity in pancreatic cancer

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

4.3.7 Cancer Genomics: Multiomic Analysis of Single Cells and Tumor Heterogeneity

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

4.4 Business and Legal

4.4.1   iBioChips integrate diagnostic assays and cellular engineering into miniaturized chips that achieve cutting-edge sensitivity and high-throughput. We have resolved traditional biotech challenges with innovative biochip approaches

https://ibiochips.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwuLPnBRDjARIsACDzGL0wb6u79VHHkftodfApMYs-oxI-5cOZIBUaELdmd2wDOIk3W0OQg2caAqMyEALw_wcB

4.4.2   Targeted Single-Cell Solutions for High Impact Applications – Mission Bio’s Tapestri® Platform is the only technology that provides single-cell targeted DNA sequencing at single-base resolution.

Part 4: Summary – Single Cell Genomics – Voice of Stephen Williams

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Covid-19 and its implications on pregnancy

Reporter and Curator: Mr. Srinjoy Chakraborty (Junior Research Felllow) and Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has emerged as a serious global health issue with high transmission rates affecting millions of people worldwide. The SARS-CoV-2 is known to damage cells in the respiratory system, thus causing viral pneumonia. The novel SARS-CoV-2 is a close relative to the previously identified severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) which affected several people in 2002 and 2012, respectively. Ever since the outbreak of covid-19, several reports have poured in about the impact of Covid-19 on pregnancy. A few studies have highlighted the impact of the viral infection in pregnant women and how they are more susceptible to the infection because of the various physiological changes of the cardiopulmonary and immune systems during pregnancy. It is known that SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV diseases have influenced the fatality rate among pregnant women. However, there are limited studies on the impact of the novel corona virus on the course and outcome of pregnancy.

Figure: commonly observed clinical symptoms of COVID-19 in the general population: Fever and cough, along with dyspnoea, diarrhoea, and malaise are the most commonly observed symptoms in pregnant women, which is similar to that observed in the normal population.

The WHO and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have proposed detailed guidelines for treating pregnant women; these guidelines must be strictly followed by the pregnant individual and their families. According to the guidelines issued by the ICMR, the risk of pregnant women contracting the virus to that of the general population. However, the immune system and the body’s response to a viral infection is altered during pregnancy. This may result in the manifestation of more severe symptoms. The ICMR guidelines also state that the reported cases of COVID-19 pneumonia in pregnancy are milder and with good recovery. However, by observing the trends of the other coronavirus infection (SARS, MERS), the risks to the mother appear to increase in particular during the last trimester of pregnancy. Cases of preterm birth in women with COVID-19 have been mentioned in a few case report, but it is unclear whether the preterm birth was always iatrogenic, or whether some were spontaneous. Pregnant women with heart disease are at highest risk of acquiring the infection, which is similar to that observed in the normal population. Most importantly, the ICMR guidelines highlights the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the mental health of pregnant women. It mentions that the since the pandemic has begun, there has been an increase in the risk of perinatal anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence. It is critically important that support for women and families is strengthened as far as possible; that women are asked about mental health at every contact.

With the available literature available on the impact of SARS and MERS on reproductive outcome, it has been mentioned that SARS infection did increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth and, intrauterine foetal growth restriction. However, the same has not been demonstrated in early reports from COVID-19 infection in pregnancy. According to a study that included 8200 participants conducted by the centre for disease control and prevention, pregnant women may be at a higher risk of acquiring severe infection and need for ICU admissions as compared to their non-pregnant counterparts. However, a detailed and thorough study involving a larger proportion of the population is needed today.

References:

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210614/COVID-19-in-pregnancy-could-be-less-severe-than-previously-thought-A-Danish-case-study.aspx

https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jog.14696

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-021-00525-y

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14767058.2020.1759541

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/special-populations/pregnancy-data-on-covid-19/what-cdc-is-doing.html

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/why-is-covid-19-killing-so-many-pregnant-women-in-india/articleshow/82902194.cms?from=mdr

https://content.iospress.com/download/international-journal-of-risk-and-safety-in-medicine/jrs200060?id=international-journal-of-risk-and-safety-in-medicine%2Fjrs200060

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Thriving Vaccines and Research: Weizmann Institute Coronavirus Research Development

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur, B.Sc., M.Sc.

In early February, Prof. Eran Segal updated in one of his tweets and mentioned that “We say with caution, the magic has started.”

The article reported that this statement by Prof. Segal was due to decreasing cases of COVID-19, severe infection cases and hospitalization of patients by rapid vaccination process throughout Israel. Prof. Segal emphasizes in another tweet to remain cautious over the country and informed that there is a long way to cover and searching for scientific solutions.

A daylong webinar entitled “COVID-19: The epidemic that rattles the world” was a great initiative by Weizmann Institute to share their scientific knowledge about the infection among the Israeli institutions and scientists. Prof. Gideon Schreiber and Dr. Ron Diskin organized the event with the support of the Weizmann Coronavirus Response Fund and Israel Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The speakers were invited from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv University, the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), and Kaplan Medical Center who addressed the molecular structure and infection biology of the virus, treatments and medications for COVID-19, and the positive and negative effect of the pandemic.

The article reported that with the emergence of pandemic, the scientists at Weizmann started more than 60 projects to explore the virus from different range of perspectives. With the help of funds raised by communities worldwide for the Weizmann Coronavirus Response Fund supported scientists and investigators to elucidate the chemistry, physics and biology behind SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Prof. Avi Levy, the coordinator of the Weizmann Institute’s coronavirus research efforts, mentioned “The vaccines are here, and they will drastically reduce infection rates. But the coronavirus can mutate, and there are many similar infectious diseases out there to be dealt with. All of this research is critical to understanding all sorts of viruses and to preempting any future pandemics.”

The following are few important projects with recent updates reported in the article.

Mapping a hijacker’s methods

Dr. Noam Stern-Ginossar studied the virus invading strategies into the healthy cells and hijack the cell’s systems to divide and reproduce. The article reported that viruses take over the genetic translation system and mainly the ribosomes to produce viral proteins. Dr. Noam used a novel approach known as ‘ribosome profiling’ as her research objective and create a map to locate the translational events taking place inside the viral genome, which further maps the full repertoire of viral proteins produced inside the host.

She and her team members grouped together with the Weizmann’s de Botton Institute and researchers at IIBR for Protein Profiling and understanding the hijacking instructions of coronavirus and developing tools for treatment and therapies. Scientists generated a high-resolution map of the coding regions in the SARS-CoV-2 genome using ribosome-profiling techniques, which allowed researchers to quantify the expression of vital zones along the virus genome that regulates the translation of viral proteins. The study published in Nature in January, explains the hijacking process and reported that virus produces more instruction in the form of viral mRNA than the host and thus dominates the translation process of the host cell. Researchers also clarified that it is the misconception that virus forced the host cell to translate its viral mRNA more efficiently than the host’s own translation, rather high level of viral translation instructions causes hijacking. This study provides valuable insights for the development of effective vaccines and drugs against the COVID-19 infection.

Like chutzpah, some things don’t translate

Prof. Igor Ulitsky and his team worked on untranslated region of viral genome. The article reported that “Not all the parts of viral transcript is translated into protein- rather play some important role in protein production and infection which is unknown.” This region may affect the molecular environment of the translated zones. The Ulitsky group researched to characterize that how the genetic sequence of regions that do not translate into proteins directly or indirectly affect the stability and efficiency of the translating sequences.

Initially, scientists created the library of about 6,000 regions of untranslated sequences to further study their functions. In collaboration with Dr. Noam Stern-Ginossar’s lab, the researchers of Ulitsky’s team worked on Nsp1 protein and focused on the mechanism that how such regions affect the Nsp1 protein production which in turn enhances the virulence. The researchers generated a new alternative and more authentic protocol after solving some technical difficulties which included infecting cells with variants from initial library. Within few months, the researchers are expecting to obtain a more detailed map of how the stability of Nsp1 protein production is getting affected by specific sequences of the untranslated regions.

The landscape of elimination

The article reported that the body’s immune system consists of two main factors- HLA (Human Leukocyte antigen) molecules and T cells for identifying and fighting infections. HLA molecules are protein molecules present on the cell surface and bring fragments of peptide to the surface from inside the infected cell. These peptide fragments are recognized and destroyed by the T cells of the immune system. Samuels’ group tried to find out the answer to the question that how does the body’s surveillance system recognizes the appropriate peptide derived from virus and destroy it. They isolated and analyzed the ‘HLA peptidome’- the complete set of peptides bound to the HLA proteins from inside the SARS-CoV-2 infected cells.

After the analysis of infected cells, they found 26 class-I and 36 class-II HLA peptides, which are present in 99% of the population around the world. Two peptides from HLA class-I were commonly present on the cell surface and two other peptides were derived from coronavirus rare proteins- which mean that these specific coronavirus peptides were marked for easy detection. Among the identified peptides, two peptides were novel discoveries and seven others were shown to induce an immune response earlier. These results from the study will help to develop new vaccines against new coronavirus mutation variants.

Gearing up ‘chain terminators’ to battle the coronavirus

Prof. Rotem Sorek and his lab discovered a family of enzymes within bacteria that produce novel antiviral molecules. These small molecules manufactured by bacteria act as ‘chain terminators’ to fight against the virus invading the bacteria. The study published in Nature in January which reported that these molecules cause a chemical reaction that halts the virus’s replication ability. These new molecules are modified derivates of nucleotide which integrates at the molecular level in the virus and obstruct the works.

Prof. Sorek and his group hypothesize that these new particles could serve as a potential antiviral drug based on the mechanism of chain termination utilized in antiviral drugs used recently in the clinical treatments. Yeda Research and Development has certified these small novel molecules to a company for testing its antiviral mechanism against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Such novel discoveries provide evidences that bacterial immune system is a potential repository of many natural antiviral particles.

Resolving borderline diagnoses

Currently, Real-time Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is the only choice and extensively used for diagnosis of COVID-19 patients around the globe. Beside its benefits, there are problems associated with RT-PCR, false negative and false positive results and its limitation in detecting new mutations in the virus and emerging variants in the population worldwide. Prof. Eran Elinavs’ lab and Prof. Ido Amits’ lab are working collaboratively to develop a massively parallel, next-generation sequencing technique that tests more effectively and precisely as compared to RT-PCR. This technique can characterize the emerging mutations in SARS-CoV-2, co-occurring viral, bacterial and fungal infections and response patterns in human.

The scientists identified viral variants and distinctive host signatures that help to differentiate infected individuals from non-infected individuals and patients with mild symptoms and severe symptoms.

In Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Profs. Elinav and Amit are performing trails of the pipeline to test the accuracy in borderline cases, where RT-PCR shows ambiguous or incorrect results. For proper diagnosis and patient stratification, researchers calibrated their severity-prediction matrix. Collectively, scientists are putting efforts to develop a reliable system that resolves borderline cases of RT-PCR and identify new virus variants with known and new mutations, and uses data from human host to classify patients who are needed of close observation and extensive treatment from those who have mild complications and can be managed conservatively.

Moon shot consortium refining drug options

The ‘Moon shot’ consortium was launched almost a year ago with an initiative to develop a novel antiviral drug against SARS-CoV-2 and was led by Dr. Nir London of the Department of Chemical and Structural Biology at Weizmann, Prof. Frank von Delft of Oxford University and the UK’s Diamond Light Source synchroton facility.

To advance the series of novel molecules from conception to evidence of antiviral activity, the scientists have gathered support, guidance, expertise and resources from researchers around the world within a year. The article reported that researchers have built an alternative template for drug-discovery, full transparency process, which avoids the hindrance of intellectual property and red tape.

The new molecules discovered by scientists inhibit a protease, a SARS-CoV-2 protein playing important role in virus replication. The team collaborated with the Israel Institute of Biological Research and other several labs across the globe to demonstrate the efficacy of molecules not only in-vitro as well as in analysis against live virus.

Further research is performed including assaying of safety and efficacy of these potential drugs in living models. The first trial on mice has been started in March. Beside this, additional drugs are optimized and nominated for preclinical testing as candidate drug.

Source: https://www.weizmann.ac.il/WeizmannCompass/sections/features/the-vaccines-are-here-and-research-abounds

Other related articles were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, including the following:

Identification of Novel genes in human that fight COVID-19 infection

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur, B.Sc., M.Sc. (ept. 5/2021)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/04/19/identification-of-novel-genes-in-human-that-fight-covid-19-infection/

Fighting Chaos with Care, community trust, engagement must be cornerstones of pandemic response

Reporter: Amandeep Kaur, B.Sc., M.Sc. (ept. 5/2021)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/04/13/fighting-chaos-with-care/

T cells recognize recent SARS-CoV-2 variants

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/03/30/t-cells-recognize-recent-sars-cov-2-variants/

Need for Global Response to SARS-CoV-2 Viral Variants

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2021/02/12/need-for-global-response-to-sars-cov-2-viral-variants/

Mechanistic link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and increased risk of stroke using 3D printed models and human endothelial cells

Reporter: Adina Hazan, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/12/28/mechanistic-link-between-sars-cov-2-infection-and-increased-risk-of-stroke-using-3d-printed-models-and-human-endothelial-cells/

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Happy 80th Birthday: Radioiodine (RAI) Theranostics: Collaboration between Physics and Medicine, the Utilization of Radionuclides to Diagnose and Treat: Radiation Dosimetry by Discoverer Dr. Saul Hertz, the early history of RAI in diagnosing and treating Thyroid diseases and Theranostics

 

Guest Author: Barbara Hertz

 203-661-0777

htziev@aol.com

Celebrating eighty years of radionuclide therapy and the work of Saul Hertz

First published: 03 February 2021

Both authors contributed to the development, drafting and final editing of this manuscript and are responsible for its content.

Abstract

March 2021 will mark the eightieth anniversary of targeted radionuclide therapy, recognizing the first use of radioactive iodine to treat thyroid disease by Dr. Saul Hertz on March 31, 1941. The breakthrough of Dr. Hertz and collaborator physicist Arthur Roberts was made possible by rapid developments in the fields of physics and medicine in the early twentieth century. Although diseases of the thyroid gland had been described for centuries, the role of iodine in thyroid physiology had been elucidated only in the prior few decades. After the discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel in 1897, rapid advancements in the field, including artificial production of radioactive isotopes, were made in the subsequent decades. Finally, the diagnostic and therapeutic use of radioactive iodine was based on the tracer principal that was developed by George de Hevesy. In the context of these advancements, Hertz was able to conceive the potential of using of radioactive iodine to treat thyroid diseases. Working with Dr. Roberts, he obtained the experimental data and implemented it in the clinical setting. Radioiodine therapy continues to be a mainstay of therapy for hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer. However, Hertz struggled to gain recognition for his accomplishments and to continue his work and, with his early death in 1950, his contributions have often been overlooked until recently. The work of Hertz and others provided a foundation for the introduction of other radionuclide therapies and for the development of the concept of theranostics.

SOURCE

https://aapm.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/acm2.13175

 

 

SOURCE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Qhm8CeMuc

 

http://www.wjnm.org/article.asp?issn=1450-1147;year=…

http://www.wjnm.org/text.asp?2019/18/1/8/250309

Abstract

Dr. Saul Hertz was Director of The Massachusetts General Hospital’s Thyroid Unit, when he heard about the development of artificial radioactivity. He conceived and brought from bench to bedside the successful use of radioiodine (RAI) to diagnose and treat thyroid diseases. Thus was born the science of theragnostics used today for neuroendocrine tumors and prostate cancer. Dr. Hertz’s work set the foundation of targeted precision medicine.

Keywords: Dr. Saul Hertz, nuclear medicine, radioiodine

 

How to cite this article:
Hertz B. A tribute to Dr. Saul Hertz: The discovery of the medical uses of radioiodine. World J Nucl Med 2019;18:8-12

 

How to cite this URL:
Hertz B. A tribute to Dr. Saul Hertz: The discovery of the medical uses of radioiodine. World J Nucl Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Mar 2];18:8-12. Available from: http://www.wjnm.org/text.asp?2019/18/1/8/250309

 

 

  • Dr Saul Hertz (1905-1950) discovers the medical uses of radioiodine

Barbara Hertz, Pushan Bharadwaj, Bennett Greenspan»

Abstract » PDF» doi: 10.24911/PJNMed.175-1582813482

 

SOURCE

http://saulhertzmd.com/home

 

  • Happy 80th Birthday: Radioiodine (RAI) Theranostics

Thyroid practitioners and patients are acutely aware of the enormous benefit nuclear medicine has made to mankind. This month we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the early use of radioiodine(RAI).

Dr. Saul Hertz predicted that radionuclides “…would hold the key to the larger problem of cancer in general,” and may just be the best hope for diagnosing and treating cancer successfully.  Yes, RAI has been used for decades to diagnose and treat disease.  Today’s “theranostics,” a term that is a combination of “therapy” and “diagnosis” is utilized in the treatment of thyroid disease and cancer. 

            This short note is to celebrate Dr. Saul Hertz who conceived and brought from bench to bedside the medical uses of RAI; then in the form of 25 minute iodine-128.  

On March 31st 1941, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Dr. Saul Hertz (1905-1950) administered the first therapeutic use of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) cyclotron produced RAI.  This landmark case was the first in Hertz’s clinical studies conducted with MIT, physicist Arthur Roberts, Ph.D.

[Photo – Courtesy of Dr Saul Hertz Archives ]

Dr Saul Hertz demonstrating RAI Uptake Testing

            Dr. Hertz’s research and successful utilization of radionuclides to diagnose and treat diseases and conditions, established the use of radiation dosimetry and the collaboration between physics and medicine and other significant practices.   Sadly, Saul Hertz (a WWII veteran) died at a very young age.  

 

About Dr. Saul Hertz

Dr. Saul Hertz (1905 – 1950) discovered the medical uses of radionuclides.  His breakthrough work with radioactive iodine (RAI) created a dynamic paradigym change integrating the sciences.  Radioactive iodine (RAI) is the first and Gold Standard of targeted cancer therapies.  Saul Hertz’s research documents Hertz as the first and foremost person to conceive and develop the experimental data on RAI and apply it in the clinical setting.

Dr. Hertz was born to Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents in Cleveland, Ohio on April 20, 1905. He received his A.B. from the University of Michigan in 1925 with Phi Beta Kappa honors. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1929 at a time of quotas for outsiders. He fulfilled his internship and residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland. He came back to Boston in 1931 as a volunteer to join The Massachusetts General Hospital serving as the Chief of the Thyroid Unit from 1931 – 1943.

Two years after the discovery of artifically radioactivity, on November 12, 1936 Dr. Karl Compton, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), spoke at Harvard Medical School.  President Compton’s topic was What Physics can do for Biology and Medicine. After the presentation Dr. Hertz spontaneously asked Dr. Compton this seminal question, “Could iodine be made radioactive artificially?” Dr. Compton responded in writing on December 15, 1936 that in fact “iodine can be made artificially radioactive.”

Shortly thereafter, a collaboration between Dr. Hertz (MGH) and Dr. Arthur Roberts, a physicist of MIT, was established. In late 1937, Hertz and Roberts created and produced animal studies  involving 48 rabbits that demonstrated that the normal thyroid gland concentrated Iodine 128 (non cyclotron produced), and the hyperplastic thyroid gland took up even more Iodine.  This was a GIANT step for Nuclear Medicine.

In early 1941, Dr. Hertz administer the first therapeutic treatment of MIT Markle Cyclotron produced radioactive iodine (RAI) at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  This  led to the first series of twenty-nine patients with hyperthyroidism being treated successfully with RAI. ( see “Research” RADIOACTIVE IODINE IN THE STUDY OF THYROID PHYSIOLOGY VII The use of Radioactive Iodine Therapy in Hyperthyroidism, Saul Hertz and Arthur Roberts, JAMA Vol. 31 Number 2).

In 1937, at the time of the rabbit studies Dr Hertz conceived of RAI in therapeutic treatment of thyroid carsonoma.  In 1942 Dr Hertz gave clinical trials of RAI to patients with thyroid carcinoma.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Dr. Hertz wrote to the director of the Mass General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Paxon on March 12, 1946, “it is a coincidence that my new research project is in Cancer of the Thyroid, which I believe holds the key to the larger problem of cancer in general.”

Dr. Hertz established the Radioactive Isotope Research Institute, in September, 1946 with a major focus on the use of fission products for the treatment of thyroid cancer, goiter, and other malignant tumors. Dr Samuel Seidlin was the Associate Director and managed the New York City facilities. Hertz also researched the influence of hormones on cancer.

Dr. Hertz’s use of radioactive iodine as a tracer in the diagnostic process, as a treatment for Graves’ disease and in the treatment of cancer of the thyroid remain preferred practices. Saul Hertz is the Father of Theranostics.

Saul Hertz passed at 45 years old from a sudden death heart attack as documented by an autopsy. He leaves an enduring legacy impacting countless generations of patients, numerous institutions worldwide and setting the cornerstone for the field of Nuclear Medicine. A cancer survivor emailed, The cure delivered on the wings of prayer was Dr Saul Hertz’s discovery, the miracle of radioactive iodine. Few can equal such a powerful and precious gift. 

To read and hear more about Dr. Hertz and the early history of RAI in diagnosing and treating thyroid diseases and theranostics see –

http://saulhertzmd.com/home

 

   References in https://www.wjnm.org/article.asp?issn=1450-1147;year=2019;volume=18;issue=1;spage=8;epage=12;aulast=Hertz

 

Top

 

1.
Hertz S, Roberts A. Radioactive iodine in the study of thyroid physiology. VII The use of radioactive iodine therapy in hyperthyroidism. J Am Med Assoc 1946;131:81-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.
Hertz S. A plan for analysis of the biologic factors involved in experimental carcinogenesis of the thyroid by means of radioactive isotopes. Bull New Engl Med Cent 1946;8:220-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.
Thrall J. The Story of Saul Hertz, Radioiodine and the Origins of Nuclear Medicine. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Qhm8CeMuc. [Last accessed on 2018 Dec 01].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.
Braverman L. 131 Iodine Therapy: A Brief History. Available from: http://www.am2016.aace.com/presentations/friday/F12/hertz_braverman.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Dec 01].  Back to cited text no. 4
5.
Hofman MS, Violet J, Hicks RJ, Ferdinandus J, Thang SP, Akhurst T, et al. [177Lu]-PSMA-617 radionuclide treatment in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (LuPSMA trial): A single-centre, single-arm, phase 2 study. Lancet Oncol 2018;19:825-33.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.
Krolicki L, Morgenstern A, Kunikowska J, Koiziar H, Krolicki B, Jackaniski M, et al. Glioma Tumors Grade II/III-Local Alpha Emitters Targeted Therapy with 213 Bi-DOTA-Substance P, Endocrine Abstracts. Vol. 57. Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging; 2016. p. 632.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.
Baum RP, Kulkarni HP. Duo PRRT of neuroendocrine tumours using concurrent and sequential administration of Y-90- and Lu-177-labeled somatostatin analogues. In: Hubalewska-Dydejczyk A, Signore A, de Jong M, Dierckx RA, Buscombe J, Van de Wiel CJ, editors. Somatostatin Analogues from Research to Clinical Practice. New York: Wiley; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 7

 

SOURCE

From: htziev@aol.com” <htziev@aol.com>

Reply-To: htziev@aol.com” <htziev@aol.com>

Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:04 AM

To: “Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN” <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Dr Saul Hertz : Discovery for the Medical Uses of RADIOIODINE (RAI) MARCH 31ST: 80 Years

 

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