Posts Tagged ‘biotechnology’

Page 1 of 41234

Kinexus releases new antibody microarray kit

Kinexus releases new antibody microarray kit

New protein microarray kit is designed to aid researchers in lead discovery

Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, a world leader in functional proteomics research, announced today the release of its first KinexTM antibody microarray kit with its latest generation KAM-850 chip. The new antibody microarray is capable of tracking the levels and functional states of hundreds of diverse proteins in human and animal cell and tissue specimens and features more than 330 phosphosite- and 540 pan-specific antibody probes. This provides researchers with a reliable proteomics tool to study changes in cell signaling proteins that occur in response to a range of treatments, drugs, toxins, pathological and other experimental conditions. The KAM-850 chip now provides for the broadest coverage of protein kinase and protein phosphatases targets and their regulatory phosphorylation sites in the market place today with the lowest costs, about US 20¢ per antibody measurement. The purchase costs of commercial antibodies range from 200 to 300 US$ each, so the Kinex™ antibody microarray format offers incredible economy to enable researchers to better identify novel biomarkers for disease diagnostics purposes and for the discovery of new research leads.

“By offering the most affordable and highest quality antibody microarrays, we enable scientists to conduct proteome-wide screening in their own laboratories to further advance signal transduction research that will ultimately help improve patient care”, said Dr. Steven Pelech, President and founder of Kinexus and a professor in the Division of Neurology at the University of British Columbia. “We have already used our KinexTM antibody microarray to successfully identify panels of candidate biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and ALS that we are hoping to develop as diagnostic targets.”

The KinexTM Antibody Microarray Kit is the latest addition to a unique suite of integrated proteomics services and products offered by Kinexus. Discoveries made using the KinexTM microarray kit can be quickly validated by Kinexus with its custom KinetworksTM immunoblotting services and compared with the results from hundreds of thousands of measurements of protein expression and phosphorylation from thousands of other model systems with the company’s open-access KiNETTM databases and SigNET knowledgebases. To follow-up with detailed characterization of biomarker leads in large specimen sets, Kinexus offers custom reverse lysate microarrays services.

Kinexus currently has agreements with over 1700 research laboratories in companies, universities, government institutions and hospitals in over 35 different countries. To learn more about the KinexTM Antibody Microarray Kit or any of the proteomics services available, please visit www.kinexus.ca. Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation is a private, biotechnology company engaged in the research and development of innovative methods to map, track and manipulate cellular communication networks. The application of this knowledge positions Kinexus and its clients in drug development, rational drug design, disease diagnosis and personalized therapies to improve human health.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121127/Kinexus-releases-new-antibody-microarray-kit.aspx

Full story

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

Systems to improve patient rehabilitation, methods that help detect diseases, and smart biomaterials for optimising treatments—scientific advances in the field of biomedical engineering are unstoppable. A number of leading UPC teams are carrying out research aimed at harnessing technology to improve people’s health.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Optimising treatment and rehabilitation of the people it affects and improving their quality of life is the goal of Joan Cabestany and Andreu Català, researchers at the Technical Research Centre for Dependency Care and Autonomous Living (CETpD) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC).

The two engineers are heading up a European project known as REMPARK (Personal Health Device for the Remote and Autonomous Management of Parkinson’s Disease), which has a budget of €4.73 million. The objective is to develop a pioneering wearable monitoring system that can be used to identify and quantify, in real time and with high reliability, the motor status of Parkinson’s patients during their everyday lives. The system will act automatically—though always under medical supervision—in response to the situations that are most incapacitating for patients, intervening in the least invasive and most effective way possible. Other participants in this ambitious project coordinated by the UPC include the Teknon Medical Centre, Telefónica R&D, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, and a number of research centres and companies based in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.

The system being developed consists of two elements: a bracelet equipped with a sensor for measuring tremor in patients and a smart device the size of a mobile phone, which is worn at the waist on a belt made of biocompatible material. The device is equipped with a set of sensors and has the capacity to process and wirelessly transmit all the information collected and processed.

When a gait-freezing episode occurs, the REMPARK system will act to synchronise the patient’s movements. This will be achieved by means of auditory, visual or haptic (touch-related) cueing devices, a pump for regulated subcutaneous drug delivery, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. “The device will make it possible to quantify the effects of a drug in a particular patient and adjust the dose accordingly,” says Joan Cabestany, stressing that REMPARK is “a personalised system that adapts to each person’s needs.”

For the first time in Europe, REMPARK will be tested on a hundred patients in their homes. “We want to use the technology to give Parkinson’s patients back their confidence, which is gradually eroded by the disease,” says Andreu Català. The project “will reduce the number of hospitalisations and improve patient treatment and rehabilitation,” adds the researcher, who works at the Vilanova i la Geltrú Campus.

Stress-free cells

The REMPARK project is set to run until 2015, but others are yielding results that are about to hit the market. This was clear at the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition, which was held in Boston (Massachusetts, United States) last June.

The UPC presented a number of patents at the event, including an automatic method for introducing substances such as drugs and DNA into cells (transfection). The method, known as in vitro electroporation, is more efficient and economical than existing approaches.

The technique, which is applied manually, is commonly used in gene therapy, cell-based therapies, and tumour treatment by electrochemotherapy. Cells are detached from the bottom of the plates where they are grown and put into suspension, i.e. into a mixture. They are then placed in a special cuvette with aluminium electrodes on its sides. The cuvette is loaded into a device (an electroporator) that creates a high-intensity electric field across the cells, causing the pores in the cell membrane to open. Substances can then be introduced through these pores.

The new system simplifies and automates this process. A microelectrode assembly is introduced directly into the culture plate and placed at a distance of 10 ìm (10 millionths of a metre) from the cells. A 20 V electric field is then applied (in the conventional process a 500 V field is used). The lower voltage reduces the cost of the devices used to carry out these biotechnological processes and subjects the cells to less stress. The low cost of the microelectrodes also makes it possible to produce single-use electroporators. This patent was developed by researcher Ramon Bragós and doctoral student Tomàs Garcia, who are attached to the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), in collaboration with a team at the University of Barcelona (UB).

The UPC is also contributing to major advances in the development of medical devices and diagnostic imaging. The UPC’s Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering (IOC) and the Pulmonology Research Group of Bellvitge Hospital’s Institute for Biomedical Research have developed a virtual bronchoscopy system that improves the diagnosis of lung cancer. The technology provides doctors with information that enables them to decide with more confidence whether an actual bronchoscopy is necessary or not. This helps minimise risk and discomfort for patients.

The system is based on images provided by a virtual bronchoscopy using 2D computed tomography images. The novel feature of the system is that it takes into account the geometry and kinematic constraints of the bronchoscope.

The device is designed so that a pulmonologist can virtually navigate through a patient’s airways and simulate the movements that will later be executed when a flexible bronchoscope is used to perform the examination. It is a useful tool that facilitates “very realistic planning of the most feasible path from the trachea to peripheral pulmonary lesions,” says Jan Rosell, the researcher who carried out the project together with Paolo Cabras and Alexander Pérez, who also work with the IOC. “Doctors can also use the device to determine whether the end of the bronchoscope will reach a lesion, or, if not, how close it can be manoeuvred and what technique will need to be used to obtain a biopsy sample,” Rosell adds.

In addition to pursuing advances in diagnostic imaging, molecular biology and telemedicine, UPC researchers are also doing innovative work in another area of interest: metabolomics, the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites. It is in this field that another CREB team has patented an innovative software tool. The advanced program, based on a new algorithm, helps medical professionals make more accurate, automated predictions in disease diagnosis and drug screening.

Developed by Àlex Perera and Francesc Fernández in collaboration with researchers with the University of Barcelona’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science, the tool improves detection of biomarkers, the biological markers used to detect diseases.

Another advantage of the software is that it reduces prediction error in metabolomic analysis and testing (used to examine the small organic molecules in biological systems). Metabolomic analyses are based on biological samples of urine or blood, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Making predictions in this area is complex because it requires analysis of extensive data obtained from individual samples, but it is of vital importance in evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs, for example.

New test for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that accounts for the most morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disease and many scientific challenges remain to be tackled. Daniel López Codina and Clara Prats of the UPC’s Discrete Modelling and Simulation of Biological Systems group have carried out research in this field in collaboration with a team at the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation.

The two teams have patented a new method that offers a fast, easy and reliable way to determine the virulence (ability to produce disease) of Koch’s bacillus. The technique allows specialists to make more accurate diagnoses.

López Codina’s team observed the tuberculosis bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in an in vitro culture and looked at the way it grows by forming clumps. Given the difficulty of applying conventional microbiological methods with this type of culture, the researchers used an alternative approach: microscopy and analysis with image processing techniques. “This is the first time we’ve been able to use a culture to observe two different strains of the bacterial parasite and the existence of a correlation between the characteristic clumping pattern and the virulence of the disease,” said the researcher.

The results have created a new business opportunity for companies involved in biomedical imaging and diagnostic testing.

Projects like these highlight the huge potential of engineering and medicine to continue delivering solutions that improve people’s quality of life.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/UPC-teams-conduct-research-in-biomedical-engineering-to-improve-peoples-health.aspx

Full story

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

An estimated 500 million people become infected with malaria each year. The disease is often lethal – particularly in tropical developing countries with insufficient health care services. The infected suffer from a high fever. As this is also the case with other germs, however, it is important to conduct a rapid and precise analysis to determine the cause of the disease for a successful therapy. A team of researchers aims to develop a rapid test of this kind within the context of the project DiscoGnosis. Launched in November 2012, the project will receive three million euros in funding from the European Union and is being coordinated by the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg.

DiscoGnosis stands for “disc-shaped point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnosis” – a device that looks similar to a DVD player. Its purpose will be to purify patients’ blood samples and detect all relevant fever-causing germs in a single step. The institutions responsible for the project want to develop an inexpensive method for determining whether a person with fever has malaria or not. Studies have shown that 30 to 40 percent of patients being treated for malaria are actually suffering from typhus or dengue fever.

Each disc will be intended for one use only and will be capable of making a reliable diagnosis automatically with the help of integrated biochemical analytical processes. The innovation thus has the potential to bring modern diagnostics to countries and regions with poor infrastructure and improve the health care of entire populations. Ultimately, it could serve as a shield to stop the spread of malaria in Europe, which is currently being exacerbated by climate change.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/DiscoGnosis-project-aims-to-develop-rapid-malaria-test.aspx

Full story

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

Systems to improve patient rehabilitation, methods that help detect diseases, and smart biomaterials for optimising treatments—scientific advances in the field of biomedical engineering are unstoppable. A number of leading UPC teams are carrying out research aimed at harnessing technology to improve people’s health.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Optimising treatment and rehabilitation of the people it affects and improving their quality of life is the goal of Joan Cabestany and Andreu Català, researchers at the Technical Research Centre for Dependency Care and Autonomous Living (CETpD) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC).

The two engineers are heading up a European project known as REMPARK (Personal Health Device for the Remote and Autonomous Management of Parkinson’s Disease), which has a budget of €4.73 million. The objective is to develop a pioneering wearable monitoring system that can be used to identify and quantify, in real time and with high reliability, the motor status of Parkinson’s patients during their everyday lives. The system will act automatically—though always under medical supervision—in response to the situations that are most incapacitating for patients, intervening in the least invasive and most effective way possible. Other participants in this ambitious project coordinated by the UPC include the Teknon Medical Centre, Telefónica R&D, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, and a number of research centres and companies based in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.

The system being developed consists of two elements: a bracelet equipped with a sensor for measuring tremor in patients and a smart device the size of a mobile phone, which is worn at the waist on a belt made of biocompatible material. The device is equipped with a set of sensors and has the capacity to process and wirelessly transmit all the information collected and processed.

When a gait-freezing episode occurs, the REMPARK system will act to synchronise the patient’s movements. This will be achieved by means of auditory, visual or haptic (touch-related) cueing devices, a pump for regulated subcutaneous drug delivery, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. “The device will make it possible to quantify the effects of a drug in a particular patient and adjust the dose accordingly,” says Joan Cabestany, stressing that REMPARK is “a personalised system that adapts to each person’s needs.”

For the first time in Europe, REMPARK will be tested on a hundred patients in their homes. “We want to use the technology to give Parkinson’s patients back their confidence, which is gradually eroded by the disease,” says Andreu Català. The project “will reduce the number of hospitalisations and improve patient treatment and rehabilitation,” adds the researcher, who works at the Vilanova i la Geltrú Campus.

Stress-free cells

The REMPARK project is set to run until 2015, but others are yielding results that are about to hit the market. This was clear at the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition, which was held in Boston (Massachusetts, United States) last June.

The UPC presented a number of patents at the event, including an automatic method for introducing substances such as drugs and DNA into cells (transfection). The method, known as in vitro electroporation, is more efficient and economical than existing approaches.

The technique, which is applied manually, is commonly used in gene therapy, cell-based therapies, and tumour treatment by electrochemotherapy. Cells are detached from the bottom of the plates where they are grown and put into suspension, i.e. into a mixture. They are then placed in a special cuvette with aluminium electrodes on its sides. The cuvette is loaded into a device (an electroporator) that creates a high-intensity electric field across the cells, causing the pores in the cell membrane to open. Substances can then be introduced through these pores.

The new system simplifies and automates this process. A microelectrode assembly is introduced directly into the culture plate and placed at a distance of 10 ìm (10 millionths of a metre) from the cells. A 20 V electric field is then applied (in the conventional process a 500 V field is used). The lower voltage reduces the cost of the devices used to carry out these biotechnological processes and subjects the cells to less stress. The low cost of the microelectrodes also makes it possible to produce single-use electroporators. This patent was developed by researcher Ramon Bragós and doctoral student Tomàs Garcia, who are attached to the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), in collaboration with a team at the University of Barcelona (UB).

The UPC is also contributing to major advances in the development of medical devices and diagnostic imaging. The UPC’s Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering (IOC) and the Pulmonology Research Group of Bellvitge Hospital’s Institute for Biomedical Research have developed a virtual bronchoscopy system that improves the diagnosis of lung cancer. The technology provides doctors with information that enables them to decide with more confidence whether an actual bronchoscopy is necessary or not. This helps minimise risk and discomfort for patients.

The system is based on images provided by a virtual bronchoscopy using 2D computed tomography images. The novel feature of the system is that it takes into account the geometry and kinematic constraints of the bronchoscope.

The device is designed so that a pulmonologist can virtually navigate through a patient’s airways and simulate the movements that will later be executed when a flexible bronchoscope is used to perform the examination. It is a useful tool that facilitates “very realistic planning of the most feasible path from the trachea to peripheral pulmonary lesions,” says Jan Rosell, the researcher who carried out the project together with Paolo Cabras and Alexander Pérez, who also work with the IOC. “Doctors can also use the device to determine whether the end of the bronchoscope will reach a lesion, or, if not, how close it can be manoeuvred and what technique will need to be used to obtain a biopsy sample,” Rosell adds.

In addition to pursuing advances in diagnostic imaging, molecular biology and telemedicine, UPC researchers are also doing innovative work in another area of interest: metabolomics, the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites. It is in this field that another CREB team has patented an innovative software tool. The advanced program, based on a new algorithm, helps medical professionals make more accurate, automated predictions in disease diagnosis and drug screening.

Developed by Àlex Perera and Francesc Fernández in collaboration with researchers with the University of Barcelona’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science, the tool improves detection of biomarkers, the biological markers used to detect diseases.

Another advantage of the software is that it reduces prediction error in metabolomic analysis and testing (used to examine the small organic molecules in biological systems). Metabolomic analyses are based on biological samples of urine or blood, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Making predictions in this area is complex because it requires analysis of extensive data obtained from individual samples, but it is of vital importance in evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs, for example.

New test for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that accounts for the most morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disease and many scientific challenges remain to be tackled. Daniel López Codina and Clara Prats of the UPC’s Discrete Modelling and Simulation of Biological Systems group have carried out research in this field in collaboration with a team at the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation.

The two teams have patented a new method that offers a fast, easy and reliable way to determine the virulence (ability to produce disease) of Koch’s bacillus. The technique allows specialists to make more accurate diagnoses.

López Codina’s team observed the tuberculosis bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in an in vitro culture and looked at the way it grows by forming clumps. Given the difficulty of applying conventional microbiological methods with this type of culture, the researchers used an alternative approach: microscopy and analysis with image processing techniques. “This is the first time we’ve been able to use a culture to observe two different strains of the bacterial parasite and the existence of a correlation between the characteristic clumping pattern and the virulence of the disease,” said the researcher.

The results have created a new business opportunity for companies involved in biomedical imaging and diagnostic testing.

Projects like these highlight the huge potential of engineering and medicine to continue delivering solutions that improve people’s quality of life.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/UPC-teams-conduct-research-in-biomedical-engineering-to-improve-peoples-health.aspx

Full story

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

An estimated 500 million people become infected with malaria each year. The disease is often lethal – particularly in tropical developing countries with insufficient health care services. The infected suffer from a high fever. As this is also the case with other germs, however, it is important to conduct a rapid and precise analysis to determine the cause of the disease for a successful therapy. A team of researchers aims to develop a rapid test of this kind within the context of the project DiscoGnosis. Launched in November 2012, the project will receive three million euros in funding from the European Union and is being coordinated by the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg.

DiscoGnosis stands for “disc-shaped point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnosis” – a device that looks similar to a DVD player. Its purpose will be to purify patients’ blood samples and detect all relevant fever-causing germs in a single step. The institutions responsible for the project want to develop an inexpensive method for determining whether a person with fever has malaria or not. Studies have shown that 30 to 40 percent of patients being treated for malaria are actually suffering from typhus or dengue fever.

Each disc will be intended for one use only and will be capable of making a reliable diagnosis automatically with the help of integrated biochemical analytical processes. The innovation thus has the potential to bring modern diagnostics to countries and regions with poor infrastructure and improve the health care of entire populations. Ultimately, it could serve as a shield to stop the spread of malaria in Europe, which is currently being exacerbated by climate change.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/DiscoGnosis-project-aims-to-develop-rapid-malaria-test.aspx

Full story

HORIBA Europe opens new R&D facility

HORIBA Europe opens new R&D facility

HORIBA Europe has inaugurated its new research and technology center at the Saclay Technopole. Atsushi Horiba, President of the HORIBA Group, cut the ribbon opening the doors to HORIBA’s home for scientific innovation and cooperation.

The new facility boasts 7,500 square feet of operations space, with the ability to expand to 18,000 square feet. The facility is the headquarters for the HORIBA Group in Europe, and is the center of excellence for 1,700 employees in France, Germany and the UK. The new facility, built to be the HORIBA Europe headquarters, will be the centerpiece and home to a large part of HORIBA’s local activities including:

The design and manufacture of HORIBA Jobin Yvon‘s spectroscopic diffraction gratings and scientific instrumentation;

Genoptics, created by the Institut d’Optique Graduate School and acquired by HORIBA, in 2012, specialists in biophotonics; and

Parts of the HORIBA Medical domestic sales team who specialize in in-vitro diagnostics and hematology, and the HORIBA Scientific domestic sales team, specializing in optical spectroscopy and the world leaders in Raman and Fluorescence spectroscopy.

“HORIBA is entering a new strategic development cycle aimed at leading edge technologies like nano-systems, biotech devices and advanced computer assist algorithms, to complement our existing strengths in holography,” stated Michel Mariton, General Manager of HORIBA Europe. “The choice of this new strategic location was driven by the proximity of advanced academic labs, leading industries’ research centers, and highly regarded graduate schools whose students and facilities HORIBA would like to partner with and support. HORIBA also seeks to collaborate with key French technology providers, and to open opportunities for small innovative high-tech companies to enter the Japanese market.”

About HORIBA Jobin Yvon:

Founded 193 years ago, HORIBA Jobin Yvon is now one of the world’s largest manufacturers of analytical and spectroscopic systems and components, dedicated to scientific research and industry. HORIBA Jobin Yvon’s expertise in molecular and microanalysis has established it as the world leader for confocal Raman microscopy, fluorescence and optical emission technologies. The main fields of application for these advanced technologies are semiconductors, nanotechnology, biotechnology, the environment, pharmaceuticals, geology and applied fundamental research.

About HORIBA Instruments, International

HORIBA designs, manufactures and distributes products for five main commercial markets: Scientific (world leader in Raman, fluorescence and other spectroscopic instrumentation, Environmental, Medical analysis (European leader for blood analysis), Automotive diagnosis (80% of the world market for exhaust gas analysis), and Semiconductors (mass-flow controllers). Annual revenues topped 1.5 billion dollars in 2011.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121119/HORIBA-Europe-opens-new-RD-facility.aspx

Full story

NIH-funded scientists develop new treatment to combat autoimmune disorders in mouse model

NIH-funded scientists develop new treatment to combat autoimmune disorders in mouse model

In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed innovative technology to selectively inhibit the part of the immune system responsible for attacking myelin-the insulating material that encases nerve fibers and facilitates electrical communication between brain cells.

Autoimmune disorders occur when T-cells-a type of white blood cell within the immune system-mistake the body’s own tissues for a foreign substance and attack them. Current treatment for autoimmune disorders involves the use of immunosuppressant drugs which tamp down the overall activity of the immune system. However, these medications leave patients susceptible to infections and increase their risk of cancer as the immune system’s normal ability to identify and destroy aberrant cells within the body is compromised.

Supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at NIH, Drs. Stephen Miller and Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University, Evanston, teamed up with researchers at the University of Sydney, and the Myelin Repair Foundation in Saratoga, Calif. to come up with a novel way of repressing only the part of the immune system that causes autoimmune disorders while leaving the rest of the system intact.

The new research takes advantage of a natural safeguard employed by the body to prevent autoreactive T-cells-which recognize and have the potential to attack the body’s healthy tissues-from becoming active. They report their results in the Nov. 18 online edition of Nature Biotechnology.

“We’re trying to do something that interfaces with the natural processes in the body,” said Shea. “The body has natural mechanisms for shutting down an immune response that is inappropriate, and we’re really just looking to tap into that.”

One of these natural mechanisms involves the ongoing clearance of apoptotic, or dying, cells from the body. When a cell dies, it releases chemicals that attract specific cells of the immune system called macrophages. These macrophages gobble up the dying cell and deliver it to the spleen where it presents self-antigens-tiny portions of proteins from the dying cell-to a pool of T-cells. In order to prevent autoreactive T-cells from being activated, macrophages initiate the repression of any T-cells capable of binding to the self-antigens.

Dr. Miller was the first to demonstrate that by coupling a specific self-antigen such as myelin to apoptotic cells, one could tap into this natural mechanism to suppress T-cells that would normally attack the myelin. The lab spent decades demonstrating that they could generate antigen-specific immune suppression in various animal models of autoimmune diseases. Recently, they initiated a preliminary clinical trial with collaborators in Germany to test the safety of injecting the antigen-bound apoptotic cells into patients with MS. While the trial successfully demonstrated that the injections were safe, it also highlighted a key problem with using cells as a vehicle for antigen delivery:

“Cellular therapy is extremely expensive as it needs to be carried out in a large medical center that has the capability to isolate patient’s white blood cells under sterile conditions and to re-infuse those antigen-coupled cells back into the patients,” said Miller. “It’s a costly, difficult, and time-consuming procedure.”

Thus began a collaboration with Dr. Shea, a bioengineer at Northwestern University, to discuss the possibility of developing a surrogate for the apoptotic cells. After trying out various formulations, his lab successfully linked the desired antigens to microscopic, biodegradable particles which they predicted would be taken up by circulating macrophages similar to apoptotic cells.

Much to their amazement, when tested by the Miller lab, the antigen-bound particles were just as good, if not better, at inducing T-cell tolerance in animal models of autoimmune disorders.

Using their myelin-bound particles, the researchers were able to both prevent the initiation of MS in their mouse model as well as inhibit its progression when injected immediately following the first sign of clinical symptoms.

The research team is now hoping to begin phase I clinical trials using this new technology. The material that makes up the particles has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is currently used in resorbable sutures as well as in clinical trials to deliver anti-cancer agents. Miller believes that the proven safety record of these particles along with their ability to be easily produced using good manufacturing practices will make it easier to translate their discovery into clinical use.

“I think we’ve come up with a very potent way to induce tolerance that can be easily translated into clinical practice. We’re doing everything we can now to take this forward,” said Miller.

In addition to its potential use for the treatment of MS, the researchers have shown in the lab that their therapy can induce tolerance for other autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes and specific food allergies. They also speculate that transplant patients could benefit from the treatment which has the potential to retract the body’s natural immune response against a transplanted organ. Dr. Christine Kelley, NIBIB director of the Division of Science and Technology, points to the unique collaboration between scientists and engineers that made this advance a reality.

“This discovery is testimony to the importance of multidisciplinary research efforts in healthcare,” said Kelley. “The combined expertise of these immunology and bioengineering researchers has resulted in a valuable new perspective on treating autoimmune disorders.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121118/NIH-funded-scientists-develop-new-treatment-to-combat-autoimmune-disorders-in-mouse-model.aspx

Full story

New nanoparticle halts relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in mouse model

New nanoparticle halts relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in mouse model

In a breakthrough for nanotechnology and multiple sclerosis, a biodegradable nanoparticle turns out to be the perfect vehicle to stealthily deliver an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and halt a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

The new nanotechnology also can be applied to a variety of immune-mediated diseases including Type 1 diabetes, food allergies and airway allergies such as asthma.

In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin membrane that insulates nerves cells in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. When the insulation is destroyed, electrical signals can’t be effectively conducted, resulting in symptoms that range from mild limb numbness to paralysis or blindness. About 80 percent of MS patients are diagnosed with the relapsing remitting form of the disease.

The Northwestern nanotechnology does not suppress the entire immune system as do current therapies for MS, which make patients more susceptible to everyday infections and higher rates of cancer. Rather, when the nanoparticles are attached to myelin antigens and injected into the mice, the immune system is reset to normal. The immune system stops recognizing myelin as an alien invader and halts its attack on it.

“This is a highly significant breakthrough in translational immunotherapy,” said Stephen Miller, a corresponding author of the study and the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The beauty of this new technology is it can be used in many immune-related diseases. We simply change the antigen that’s delivered.”

“The holy grail is to develop a therapy that is specific to the pathological immune response, in this case the body attacking myelin,” Miller added. “Our approach resets the immune system so it no longer attacks myelin but leaves the function of the normal immune system intact.”

The nanoparticle, made from an easily produced and already FDA-approved substance, was developed by Lonnie Shea, professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“This is a major breakthrough in nanotechnology, showing you can use it to regulate the immune system,” said Shea, also a corresponding author. The paper will be published Nov. 18 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Miller and Shea are also members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In addition, Shea is a member of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine and the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.

CLINICAL TRIAL FOR MS TESTS SAME APPROACH — WITH KEY DIFFERENCE

The study’s method is the same approach now being tested in multiple sclerosis patients in a phase I/II clinical trial — with one key difference. The trial uses a patient’s own white blood cells — a costly and labor intensive procedure — to deliver the antigen. The purpose of the new study was to see if nanoparticles could be as effective as the white blood cells as delivery vehicles. They were.

THE BIG NANOPARTICLE ADVANTAGE FOR IMMUNOTHERAPY

Nanoparticles have many advantages; they can be readily produced in a laboratory and standardized for manufacturing. They would make the potential therapy cheaper and more accessible to a general population. In addition, these nanoparticles are made of a polymer called Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG), which consists of lactic acid and glycolic acid, both natural metabolites in the human body. PLG is most commonly used for biodegradable sutures.

The fact that PLG is already FDA approved for other applications should facilitate translating the research to patients, Shea noted. Miller and Shea tested nanoparticles of various sizes and discovered that 500 nanometers was most effective at modulating the immune response.

“We administered these particles to animals who have a disease very similar to relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and stopped it in its tracks,” Miller said. “We prevented any future relapses for up to 100 days, which is the equivalent of several years in the life of an MS patient.”

Shea and Miller also are currently testing the nanoparticles to treat Type one diabetes and airway diseases such as asthma.

In the study, researchers attached myelin antigens to the nanoparticles and injected them intravenously into the mice. The particles entered the spleen, which filters the blood and helps the body dispose of aging and dying blood cells. There, the particles were engulfed by macrophages, a type of immune cell, which then displayed the antigens on their cell surface. The immune system viewed the nanoparticles as ordinary dying blood cells and nothing to be concerned about. This created immune tolerance to the antigen by directly inhibiting the activity of myelin responsive T cells and by increasing the numbers of regulatory T cells which further calmed the autoimmune response.

“The key here is that this antigen/particle-based approach to induction of tolerance is selective and targeted. Unlike generalized immunosuppression, which is the current therapy used for autoimmune diseases, this new process does not shut down the whole immune system,” said Christine Kelley, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering director of the division of Discovery Science and Technology at the National Institutes of Health, which supported the research. “This collaborative effort between expertise in immunology and bioengineering is a terrific example of the tremendous advances that can be made with scientifically convergent approaches to biomedical problems.”

“We are proud to share our expertise in therapeutics development with Dr. Stephen Miller’s stellar team of academic scientists,” said Scott Johnson, CEO, president and founder of the Myelin Repair Foundation. “The idea to couple antigens to nanoparticles was conceived in discussions between Dr. Miller’s laboratory, the Myelin Repair Foundation’s drug discovery advisory board and Dr. Michael Pleiss, a member of the Myelin Repair Foundation’s internal research team, and we combined our efforts to focus on patient-oriented, clinically relevant research with broad implications for all autoimmune diseases. Our unique research model is designed to foster and extract the innovation from the academic science that we fund and transition these technologies to commercialization. The overarching goal is to ensure this important therapeutic pathway has its best chance to reach patients, with MS and all autoimmune diseases.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121119/New-nanoparticle-halts-relapsing-remitting-multiple-sclerosis-in-mouse-model.aspx

Full story

New England Biolabs launches new NEBNext Ultra kits at ASHG annual meeting

New England Biolabs launches new NEBNext Ultra kits at ASHG annual meeting

New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB) launched their new NEBNext® “Ultra” kits at the recent American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) annual meeting. These kits provide streamlined, low-input methods to prepare DNA and RNA libraries for Illumina® next generation sequencing. The supplied protocols and reagents are designed to maximize useful data from a broad range of samples, including those available in limited amounts.

The NEBNext Ultra DNA and Ultra RNA Library Kits produce high-yield libraries from 5 ng to 1 ug of input DNA, or as little as 10 ng of input RNA. The input RNA can be total RNA, purified mRNA or rRNA-depleted RNA.

Early access user Cynthia Hendrickson, Ph.D., at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, reports that in initial experiments, NEB’s new method “has allowed us to reduce our DNA inputs for exome enrichment from micrograms to a few hundred nanograms, while providing a simpler, faster protocol that minimizes the amount of hands-on time required.”

Another early access user, Momchilo Vuyisich, Ph.D., at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, says, “After testing several NGS library prep kits, we have found that the NEBNext Ultra DNA kit for Illumina has the best overall utility for resequencing and assembly of bacterial genomes. The kit offers an unmatched combination of ease-of-use, low cost, robustness and low input DNA requirements. It consistently produces excellent sequencing data.”

The new Ultra kits contain novel ligation reagents, as well as NEB’s NEBNext NGS-optimized formulation of Q5® High-Fidelity DNA polymerase, which provides ultra high-fidelity amplification and minimized GC bias.

NEB’s streamlined protocol for constructing DNA libraries with the Ultra kit requires only 15 minutes of hands-on-time, and is complete in 2.5 hours. The Ultra RNA workflow also incorporates a streamlined protocol; the workflow is complete in 4-5 hours, with only 30 minutes of hands-on time.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121117/New-England-Biolabs-launches-new-NEBNext-Ultra-kits-at-ASHG-annual-meeting.aspx

Full story

Researchers succeed in teaching computers how to identify commonalities in DNA sequences

Researchers succeed in teaching computers how to identify commonalities in DNA sequences

Johns Hopkins researchers have succeeded in teaching computers how to identify commonalities in DNA sequences known to regulate gene activity, and to then use those commonalities to predict other regulatory regions throughout the genome. The tool is expected to help scientists better understand disease risk and cell development.

The work was reported in two recent papers in Genome Research, published online on July 3 and Sept. 27.

“Our goal is to understand how regulatory information is encrypted and to learn which sequence variations contribute to medical risks,” says Andrew McCallion, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins. “We give data to a computer and ‘teach it’ to distinguish between data that has no biological value versus data that has this or that biological value. It then establishes a set of rules, which allows it to look at new sets of data and apply what it learned. We’re basically sending our computers to school.”

These state-of-the-art “machine learning” techniques were developed by Michael Beer, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and by Ivan Ovcharenko, Ph.D., at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The researchers began both studies by creating “training sets” for their computers to “learn” from. These training sets were lists of DNA sequences taken from regions of the genome, called enhancers, that are known to increase the activity of particular genes in particular cells.

For the first of their studies, McCallion’s team created a training set of enhancer sequences specific to a particular region of the brain by compiling a list of 211 published sequences that had been shown, by various studies in mice and zebrafish, to be active in the development or function of that part of the brain.

For a second study, the team generated a training set through experiments of their own. They began with a purified population of mouse melanocytes, which are the skin cells that produce the pigment melanin that gives color to skin and absorbs harmful UV rays from the sun. The researchers used a technique called ChIP-seq (pronounced “chip seek”) to collect and sequence all of the pieces of DNA that were bound in those cells by special enhancer-binding proteins, generating a list of about 2,500 presumed melanocyte enhancer sequences.

Once the researchers had these two training sets for their computers, one specific to the brain and another to melanocytes, the computers were able to distinguish the features of the training sequences from the features of all other sequences in the genome, and create rules that defined one set from the other. Applying those rules to the whole genome, the computers were able to discover thousands of probable brain or melanocyte enhancer sequences that fit the features of the training sets.

In the brain study, the computers identified 40,000 probable brain enhancer sequences; for melanocytes, 7,500. Randomly testing a subset of each batch of sequences, the scientists found that more than 85 percent of the predicted enhancer sequences enhanced gene activity in the brain or in melanocytes, as expected, verifying the predictive power of their approach.

The researchers say that, in addition to identifying specific DNA sequences that control the genetic activity of a particular organ or cell type, these studies contribute to our understanding of enhancers in general and have validated an experimental approach that can be applied to many other biological questions as well.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121107/Researchers-succeed-in-teaching-computers-how-to-identify-commonalities-in-DNA-sequences.aspx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Full story

Page 1 of 41234
Copyright © 2017 Medical Technology & Gadgets Blog MedicalBuy.net. All rights reserved.
Proudly powered by WordPress. Developed by Deluxe Themes