Posts Tagged ‘Cell’

Page 1 of 812345...Last »

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

Researchers create 3D map of rod sensory cilium architecture affected by mutation

Researchers create 3D map of rod sensory cilium architecture affected by mutation

Using a new technique called cryo-electron tomography, two research teams at Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) have created a three-dimensional map that gives a better understanding of how the architecture of the rod sensory cilium (part of one type of photoreceptor in the eye) is changed by genetic mutation and how that affects its ability to transport proteins as part of the light-sensing process.

Almost all mammalian cells have cilia. Some are motile and some are not. They play a central role in cellular operations, and when they are defective because of genetic mutations, people can go blind, have cognitive defects, develop kidney disease, grow too many fingers or toes or become obese. Such mutations cause cilia defects known in the aggregate as ciliopathies.

“The major significance of this report lies in our being able to, for the first time, look in three dimensions at the structural alterations in ciliopathies,” said Dr. Theodore G. Wensel (http://www.bcm.edu/biochem/index.cfm?pmid=3795), chair of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM and corresponding author of the report that appears in the journal Cell (www.cell.com). The report is spotlighted on the issue’s cover.

In collaboration with the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging (http://ncmi.bcm.edu/ncmi/), led by Dr. Wah Chiu (http://www.bcm.edu/biochem/index.cfm?pmid=3715), professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM, Wensel and his colleagues established such three dimensional images for cilia in three examples of mice known to have cilopathies.

These mice have genetic mutations that lead to defects in the structure of the rod outer segment. The rod outer segment is part of the photoreceptor in the retina called a rod. The rod outer segment contains photosensitive disk membranes that carry rhodopsin, the biological pigment in photoreceptor cells of the retina responsible for the first events that result in the perception of light.

Using cryo-electron tomography, the scientists compared the structures of the rod outer segment in the mutant mice to those in normal mice.

“This is one of the few places in the world where you could do this,” said Wensel. The Center, run by Chiu, has powerful cryo-electron microscopes that make tomography possible. To achieve the three-dimensional reconstruction, Dr. Juan T. Chang (http://www.bcm.edu/pda/index.cfm?PMID=8208) in Chiu’s Center froze the photoreceptors purified by then-graduate student Jared Gilliam in a special way that made it possible to perform electron microscopy. During the microscopy session, the frozen samples were carefully tilted allowing the researchers to take many two-dimensional images that were used in the computer reconstruction of the three-dimensional map.

The light-sensing outer segments of photoreceptors in the retina are connected to the machinery responsible for protein production in the inner segment by a thin cylindrical bundle of microtubules known as the connecting cilium.

“There is a huge flux of material from the inner segment to the outer segment of the photoreceptor,” said Wensel. “When there is a defect, then the animal or patient goes blind.”

The three-dimensional structure showed that there are vesicles (small sacs) tethered to membrane filaments.

“It looks as though these vesicles that are tethered contain material that will fuse to the plasma membrane and go up the membrane to the outer segment,” said Wensel.

In studies of a mouse model of a disease called Bardet Biedl syndrome, developed by the laboratory of Dr. James Lupski (http://www.bcm.edu/genetics/index.cfm?pmid=10944) professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM, Wensel and first author Gilliam saw something that was almost shocking – a huge accumulation of these vesicles. The Bardet Biedl genes contain the code for a BBsome that forms a membrane coat that makes transport possible through the connecting cilium to the outer coat.

“We would now surmise that the BBsome coat is required for fusion of the plasma membrane or transport up to the outer segment,” said Wensel. “It gives us a whole new model for how this works. We need to do more now to nail it down.”

“It suggests that aberrant trafficking of proteins is responsible for photoreceptor degeneration,” said Gilliam, who is now a postdoctoral associate at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/Researchers-create-3D-map-of-rod-sensory-cilium-architecture-affected-by-mutation.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

Researchers create 3D map of rod sensory cilium architecture affected by mutation

Researchers create 3D map of rod sensory cilium architecture affected by mutation

Using a new technique called cryo-electron tomography, two research teams at Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) have created a three-dimensional map that gives a better understanding of how the architecture of the rod sensory cilium (part of one type of photoreceptor in the eye) is changed by genetic mutation and how that affects its ability to transport proteins as part of the light-sensing process.

Almost all mammalian cells have cilia. Some are motile and some are not. They play a central role in cellular operations, and when they are defective because of genetic mutations, people can go blind, have cognitive defects, develop kidney disease, grow too many fingers or toes or become obese. Such mutations cause cilia defects known in the aggregate as ciliopathies.

“The major significance of this report lies in our being able to, for the first time, look in three dimensions at the structural alterations in ciliopathies,” said Dr. Theodore G. Wensel (http://www.bcm.edu/biochem/index.cfm?pmid=3795), chair of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM and corresponding author of the report that appears in the journal Cell (www.cell.com). The report is spotlighted on the issue’s cover.

In collaboration with the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging (http://ncmi.bcm.edu/ncmi/), led by Dr. Wah Chiu (http://www.bcm.edu/biochem/index.cfm?pmid=3715), professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM, Wensel and his colleagues established such three dimensional images for cilia in three examples of mice known to have cilopathies.

These mice have genetic mutations that lead to defects in the structure of the rod outer segment. The rod outer segment is part of the photoreceptor in the retina called a rod. The rod outer segment contains photosensitive disk membranes that carry rhodopsin, the biological pigment in photoreceptor cells of the retina responsible for the first events that result in the perception of light.

Using cryo-electron tomography, the scientists compared the structures of the rod outer segment in the mutant mice to those in normal mice.

“This is one of the few places in the world where you could do this,” said Wensel. The Center, run by Chiu, has powerful cryo-electron microscopes that make tomography possible. To achieve the three-dimensional reconstruction, Dr. Juan T. Chang (http://www.bcm.edu/pda/index.cfm?PMID=8208) in Chiu’s Center froze the photoreceptors purified by then-graduate student Jared Gilliam in a special way that made it possible to perform electron microscopy. During the microscopy session, the frozen samples were carefully tilted allowing the researchers to take many two-dimensional images that were used in the computer reconstruction of the three-dimensional map.

The light-sensing outer segments of photoreceptors in the retina are connected to the machinery responsible for protein production in the inner segment by a thin cylindrical bundle of microtubules known as the connecting cilium.

“There is a huge flux of material from the inner segment to the outer segment of the photoreceptor,” said Wensel. “When there is a defect, then the animal or patient goes blind.”

The three-dimensional structure showed that there are vesicles (small sacs) tethered to membrane filaments.

“It looks as though these vesicles that are tethered contain material that will fuse to the plasma membrane and go up the membrane to the outer segment,” said Wensel.

In studies of a mouse model of a disease called Bardet Biedl syndrome, developed by the laboratory of Dr. James Lupski (http://www.bcm.edu/genetics/index.cfm?pmid=10944) professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM, Wensel and first author Gilliam saw something that was almost shocking – a huge accumulation of these vesicles. The Bardet Biedl genes contain the code for a BBsome that forms a membrane coat that makes transport possible through the connecting cilium to the outer coat.

“We would now surmise that the BBsome coat is required for fusion of the plasma membrane or transport up to the outer segment,” said Wensel. “It gives us a whole new model for how this works. We need to do more now to nail it down.”

“It suggests that aberrant trafficking of proteins is responsible for photoreceptor degeneration,” said Gilliam, who is now a postdoctoral associate at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/Researchers-create-3D-map-of-rod-sensory-cilium-architecture-affected-by-mutation.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

UNSW-developed nanoparticle could improve effectiveness of chemotherapy for neuroblastoma

UNSW-developed nanoparticle could improve effectiveness of chemotherapy for neuroblastoma

In a world-first, researchers from the Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney have developed a nanoparticle that could improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy for neuroblastoma by a factor of five.

Neuroblastoma is an aggressive childhood cancer that often leaves survivors with lingering health problems due to the high doses of chemotherapy drugs required for treatment. Anything that can potentially reduce these doses is considered an important development.

The UNSW researchers developed a non-toxic nanoparticle that can deliver and release nitric oxide (NO) to specific cancer cells in the body. The findings of their in vitro experiments have been published in the journal Chemical Communications.

“When we injected the chemo drug into the neuroblastoma cells that had been pre-treated with our new nitric oxide nanoparticle we needed only one-fifth the dose,” says co-author Dr Cyrille Boyer from the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW.

“By increasing the effectiveness of these chemotherapy drugs by a factor of five, we could significantly decrease the detrimental side-effects to healthy cells and surrounding tissue.”

This synergistic effect between nitric oxide and chemotherapy drugs had previously been reported in other cancer cell lines, but the delivery compounds were potentially toxic and had very poor stability, or shelf life.

In contrast, the UNSW-developed nanoparticle is non-toxic and has a shelf life that has been extended from two days to more than two weeks: “Drug storage is critical and this is a substantial improvement over previous nitric oxide-carrier compounds,” says Boyer.

Nitric Oxide is an important cellular signalling molecule involved in many physical and mental processes, and deficiencies have been associated with heightened susceptibility to cancer, liver fibrosis, diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases.

“If we can restore nitric oxide with these nanoparticles this could have implications for all the illnesses associated with NO deficiencies, including diabetes and neurodegenerative,” he says.

The key medical challenge, says Boyer, has been figuring out a way to deliver appropriate doses to specific sites within the body, without provoking an adverse reaction. The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine – which crosses science, engineering and medicine – is investigating multi-disciplinary solutions.

Boyer says that while biologists have experimented with nitric oxide, mixing it with cancer cells and observing the reactions, “no one has tried to develop a platform to specifically deliver nitric oxide – that is, where you want it, when you want it”.

The next step is to test the nanoparticle on other cell lines, such as lung and colon cancer cells, and to proceed to in vivo tests. The team also included researchers from the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia based at UNSW’s Lowy Cancer Research Centre.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121121/UNSW-developed-nanoparticle-could-improve-effectiveness-of-chemotherapy-for-neuroblastoma.aspx!

Full story

Electrophysiology: an interview with Dr Kaylene Young

Electrophysiology: an interview with Dr Kaylene Young

Please could you give a brief introduction to electrophysiology?

Bioelectricity is an essential part of our make-up. All cells in our body communicate by electrical activity. If an electrical charge is applied to one of our muscles it will interpret that electrical activity as a signal telling it to contract. When doctors send patients for an electrocardiogram test, they are measuring the electrical impulses emitted by cells with every heart beat.

Electrophysiology is a technique that uses specialist equipment to measure bioelectrical currents very precisely, allowing scientists to measure the electrical activity, not of an entire organ, but of a single cell, or even a small region of a cell.

What can electrophysiology teach us about cell function?

Each cell has an outer membrane, internal fluid and multiple organelles (cell’s equivalent of organs). While the cell is a contained system, its function is altered by the signals that it receives from other cells, in the form of bioelectricity.

Electrophysiology equipment allows researchers to measure bioelectricity at the individual cell level, in order to understand how cells communicate and respond to stimuli such as drugs or toxins. These measurements of a cell’s function are made in real-time, providing information about which components of the cell respond and how quickly they respond to a stimulus.

Can electrophysiology teach us about the cellular basis of diseases?

Yes, electrophysiology is one of the most suitable techniques for these types of studies. It allows researchers to determine precisely how a disease process is exerting its effect and having a consequence for cell function. This type of information is particularly beneficial when developing suitable therapeutic treatments.

Is electrophysiology also useful for testing drug treatments?

Absolutely! Therapeutic agents often function by activating or blocking channels, pores or transporters on the surface of cells. This effectively changes the electrical activity of the cell. Electrophysiology can be used to directly evaluate how effective a drug is at activating or blocking its target, and how specific the effect is on a variety of cell types.

You have recently been reported as saying that “electrophysiology is rapidly becoming an essential component of neuroscience research”. Why do you think this is the case?

There are multiple neuroscience research groups at UTAS who are eager to use the new electrophysiology equipment, in particular the neuroscience groups of the Menzies Research Institute managed by Dr Kaylene Young, Prof David Small, A/Prof Tracey Dickson and Dr Lisa Foa.

The brain contains billions of nerve cells, yet these cells do not work alone – they form a connected network. Healthy brain function relies on information being sorted and then faithfully transferred to the most appropriate brain region. This information transfer is seen by individual brain cells as an ion flux, which is an electric current.

Some diseases cause brain cells to receive too much or too little electric input from surrounding cells. Either situation can disrupt the cell’s function, and even result in its death and removal from the network. As neuroscientists we are trying to understand the disease process, and intervene to protect and even restore brain function. Therefore it is essential that we understand how brain cells are being electrically stimulated normally, and how this changes as part of a disease’s pathology.

Also, as we better develop cell replacement therapies, and start to implement them, it is going to be very important to ensure that the new replacement cells become correctly wired into the brain network. Electrophysiology allows us to measure all of these things.

Do you think electrophysiology will also become an important component in other research fields?

All of the cells in the body communicate via ion flux (electrical current) – only the size of the current is often larger in nerve cells. Once the equipment is fully operational in the Institute, it is envisaged that the list of users will expand to include other researchers within the Institute, such as the Muscle Diabetes Research Group led by Professor Steve Rattigan, Dr Steve Richards and Dr Michelle Keske.

The University of Tasmania’s Menzies Research Institute has recently been awarded a grant from the Ramaciotti Foundations. Please could you outline how you plan to use this grant?

In conjunction with the Ramaciotti Foundation, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania aims to establish a multi-user, state-of-the-art mammalian cell electrophysiology facility. This will be the first equipment of its kind in Tasmania, and the facility will be available for use by researchers within the University of Tasmania, as well as partner organisations including The Antarctic Division and CSIRO.

What impact do you think this research will have?

The new equipment will be used for various research projects that each aim to improve human health. Four of the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania neuroscience groups plan to use the equipment as soon as it is established in the building.

Dr Young’s laboratory focuses on promoting the generation of new cells within the adult brain, and she will use the equipment to examine the ability of the newly generated cells to electrically integrate into the pre-existing circuitry.

Prof. David Small’s research aims to understand Alzheimer’s Disease pathology and electrophysiology equipment will allow him to better assess how the pathology negatively affects brain cell function.

Research in Dr Foa’s laboratory aims to improve our understanding of the mechanisms that control calcium signalling (calcium ion flux), as this has direct implications for a wide variety of developmental conditions including mental retardation, autism and schizophrenia and also regeneration after injury.

A/Prof. Dickson investigates how the brain responds to trauma and disease, and has a particular interest in developing and testing novel therapeutics to determine how effective they are in preventing or slowing the progression of brain damage.

How do you think the future of research using electrophysiology will progress?

This equipment will allow us to examine aspects of cell function that would have previously gone un-noticed. Researchers are constantly finding new ways to use this technology and new applications for it in investigating what are very small cellular changes, but have very large consequences for how our bodies function.

Would you like to make any further comments?

We would like to thank the Ramaciotti Foundation for their generous support.

Where can readers find more information?

More information about the researchers at Menzies Research Institute Tasmania that will be using this equipment is available on the Institute website.

http://www.menzies.utas.edu.au/article.php?Doo=ContentView&id=698

About Dr Kaylene Young

Kaylene Young BIG IMAGEHONOURS

Dr Kaylene Young was the recipient of a Sir John Monash Science Scholarship, and graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Science (hons) degree in 2000.

PHD

As the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award, she was extremely fortunate to pursue her interest in adult brain stem cell biology, by undertaking graduate training in Prof Perry Bartlett’s laboratory, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (University of Melbourne), where she was co-supervised by A/Prof Elizabeth Coulson.

She spent the final 18 months of her PhD assisting in the successful establishment of the Queensland Brain Institute, at the University of Queensland, where she trained new students and staff to purify brain stem cells and maintain them in culture.

POSTDOC

In 2004 she moved to the United Kingdom to work as a postdoctoral research fellow at University College London (UCL). Her early research in the UK revealed that there are multiple types of stem cells in the mature brain that generate a variety of different types of new nerve cells.

Following this work she was awarded an international Career Development Award in Stem Cell Research, which allowed her to remain at UCL and study a cell type called Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells (OPCs), which are the largest actively dividing cell population in the mature brain. She discovered that OPCs generate significant numbers of new insulating cells for the mature central nervous system, a discovery that is likely to be extremely important for future therapies aimed at treating multiple sclerosis (loss of insulating cells).

GROUP LEADER

In 2011 she was appointed as a research group leader at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania within the Neurodegeneration Division. Having successfully applied for an international project grant, she spent the eighteen months of this position learning how to make electrical recordings from brain cells, receiving expert training in her collaborator, Prof David Attwell’s laboratory (also UCL).

The Ramaciotti Equipment Grant that was recently awarded to the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania will allow the institute to purchase the equipment that is required to make these recordings. At the Menzies Research Institute they conduct a significant amount of nervous system research. Nerve cells and many other cell types require well regulated electrical activity for their function. The new equipment will be set up as a core facility and Kaylene will be training many of the staff and students to use it. They will measure the electrical activity of cells, determine how this changes as disease symptoms progress, and determine how well potential drug treatments can restore normal electrical activity to those cells.

Kaylene was recently awarded an NHMRC career development award to allow her to build the capacity of her laboratory and pass on her newly acquired expertise to others in the Institute.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121121/Electrophysiology-an-interview-with-Dr-Kaylene-Young.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 bulimia nervosa therapy for patients with eating disorders

New bulimia nervosa therapy for patients with eating disorders

An eating disorders research team led by Stephen Wonderlich, a Director of Clinical Research at the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (NRI), has developed a successful bulimia nervosa therapy that can provide patients an alternative for treating this debilitating disorder.

Wonderlich, also a University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, says the new treatment is psychological in nature and focuses on eating- and emotion- related behavior through the arduous process of dealing with, and hopefully eliminating, their bulimic symptoms.

The therapy was developed over a period of more than 10 years with 80 patients treated in a randomized, controlled trial based at NRI in Fargo and at the University of Minnesota, Department of Psychiatry, with co-PI Carol B. Peterson.

James Mitchell, Wonderlich’s colleague at NRI and also Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and chair of Neuroscience, participated in developing this therapeutic treatment.

In a manuscript explaining the research, the objective is described as comparing a new psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa–titled “Integrative Cognitive-Affective Therapy– with an established treatment from England.

“In a scientifically controlled comparison with the treatment developed by Chris Fairburn at Oxford University, which is the most scientifically supported treatment available for adult individuals with bulimia nervosa, this new treatment performed comparatively well,” said Wonderlich, who also is a partner with Mitchell and surgeon Luis Garcia at the Sanford Eating Disorders and Weight Management Center, Fargo.

“We had one of the lowest dropout rates in a scientific trial ever with this population,” Wonderlich said. “In other words, just about everyone who started the trial completed the treatment, which with these patients is important, just getting people to complete the treatment.”

Wonderlich said the trial was well-run with research teams at each site, Fargo and Minneapolis, and an evaluation team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“When we did the scientific comparison, there was no difference between our treatment and the established treatment in terms of outcomes–they were comparable, or equal, in their efficacy,” he said. “This is good news for the field because now there is another promising alternative treatment available which is a little different in nature than the Oxford treatment.”

“Basically, what we’re trying to do is get people (with bulimia nervosa) to eat differently,” Wonderlich said, “but you also have to look at the way they view the world and function in it. The Oxford treatment focuses on the bulimic individual’s overvaluing of body shape and weight as well as dietary restriction, while our treatment focuses on eating behavior as well as what we would call emotional variables and relationship variables.”

“Our treatment is basically saying that we think that emotional processes–feeling badly–are very important in triggering bulimic behaviors,” he said. “People actually engage in the bulimic behaviors because they feel better momentarily. ”

The treatment is based on research conducted with NRI colleagues Ross Crosby and Scott Engel in which patients used personal digital assistants such as the Palm Pilot to document their feelings and behaviors, a key part of the therapy.

“Now we will use cell phones or smart phones,” Wonderlich said. “Basically, we’re asking patients to report how they feel and observe the increase in negative emotions leading up to the behavior; what we want to know is what are things that make people feel badly, and then help them recognize that, and change their responses to those negative emotions.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121118/New-bulimia-nervosa-therapy-for-patients-with-eating-disorders.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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Full story

Page 1 of 812345...Last »
Copyright © 2017 Medical Technology & Gadgets Blog MedicalBuy.net. All rights reserved.
Proudly powered by WordPress. Developed by Deluxe Themes