(Physorg) – Duke researchers have developed a new method to precisely control when genes are turned on and active. The new technology allows researchers to turn on specific gene promoters and enhancers—pieces of the genome that control gene activity—by chemically manipulating proteins that package DNA. This web of biomolecules that supports and controls gene activity is known as the epigenome.
Why Is the Scientific World Abuzz about an Unpublished Paper? Because It Could Permanently Change Human DNA
(National Post) – Scientists around the world are anticipating the results of a Chinese study that would mark the first time DNA in a human embryo has been modified in a way that would carry into future generations. Although the embryos would be for study only, and not intended for implantation, the research would mark a significant milestone: the first time human DNA had been altered so substantially that it would change the “germ line” — the eggs or sperm of any child produced from the embryo.
(Wired) – Many of the recent advances in IVF have been about selecting sperm, eggs, and embryos with the greatest chance of creating a successful pregnancy. But researchers and companies are working on a set of more experimental approaches that attempt to improve an embryo’s odds by hacking reproductive biology itself.
(Yale News) – Inside the microscopic world of the mouse hair follicle, Yale Cancer Center researchers have discovered big clues about how stem cells regenerate and die. These findings, published April 6 in the journal Nature, could lead to a better understanding of how the stem cell pool is maintained or altered in tissues throughout the body.
(Times of India) – When Don Bosco, a security personnel, and his wife, Sarala Devi, went to Shrusti Global Diagnostic Private Limited, west Bengaluru, in 2007, they were suggested IVF for having a child. When IVF failed, they suggested surrogacy. “I spent over Rs 5 lakh on the process. We had a baby in 2008, but she showed no development. In 2009 we realized that the baby was suffering from autism,” Don Bosco said.
Then, Sarala started having the side effects of the treatment. She passed away in 2014. To his shock, a DNA test later showed that his daughter’s DNA didn’t match with his.
(Nanotechnology Now) – A group of MIPT researchers together with their colleagues from Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Australia and the Netherlands have carried out the first systematic study analyzing the safety of so-called upconversion nanoparticles that may be used to treat skin cancer and other skin diseases. This study is one of the most important steps on the path to new, safe and effective methods to diagnose and treat cancer.
(CBS News) – Anne Wojcicki, founder and CEO of 23andMe, is one of the pioneers in the booming genomics industry. Wojcicki’s company was the first to bring genetic testing to the home frontier with her direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits. While 23andMe has run into its fair share of challenges, the company seeks to empower the public and change the way we think about our health and genetic makeup.
(ARA News) – As the war and security situation continue to deteriorate in Syria, children’s abductions and human trafficking have become a common scene in the city of Damascus in the last few months. The Syrian capital, which has suffered multiple crisis-related issues over the past four years, now faces an unprecedented phenomenon, that of “human organ trafficking”.
(Fox News) – Sperm cryopreservation, or sperm freezing, has actually been around since the early 1950s, when the first resulting human pregnancies were recorded. Although there are no statistics available on the number of men doing it, experts say it’s on the rise.
(The Telegraph) – A British mother is among nearly 100 women who have had babies by a Danish sperm donor carrying a severe genetic disorder. Sperm from the unnamed man, identified only as Donor 7042, was used in fertility clinics around the world despite him carrying a defective gene that can cause the disease neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1).
(Nanotechnology Now) – A test that costs less than a $1 and yields results in minutes has been shown in newly published studies to be more sensitive and more exact than the current standard test for early-stage prostate cancer. The simple test developed by University of Central Florida scientist Qun “Treen” Huo holds the promise of earlier detection of one of the deadliest cancers among men. It would also reduce the number of unnecessary and invasive biopsies stemming from the less precise PSA test that’s now used.
(Union Times San Diego) – Working with cultures of induced pluripotent stem cells from a patient, Salk scientists led by gene therapy expert Inder Verma repaired the genetic defect that causes the disease. Infants born with this inherited condition have virtually no immune resistance, and can be killed by infections easily defeated by normal immune systems. Researchers were able to generate what appear to be mature NK, or “natural killer” immune cells, the first time this has been done. They also generated progenitors of T cells. This doesn’t repair all the immune system, but it’s a big step in that direction.
(Nanotechnology Now) – A research team showed that a nanotherapeutic medicine can halt the growth of artery plaque cells resulting in the fast reduction of the inflammation that may cause a heart attack, according to a study led by researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published April 3 in Science Advances.
(Medpage Today) – A federal advisory group has released a draft version of its National Pain Strategy, which seeks to redefine the way pain is perceived and treated in the U.S. The strategy ultimately derives from a mandate in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which asked the Department of Health and Human Services to “increase the recognition of pain as a significant public health problem.”
(Medical Xpress) – Brazilian researchers at D’OR Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) have taken what they describe as an important step toward using the implantation of stem cell-generated neurons as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Using an FDA approved substance for treating stomach cancer, Rehen and colleagues were able to grow dopamine-producing neurons derived from embryonic stem cells that remained healthy and functional for as long as 15 months after implantation into mice, restoring motor function without forming tumors.
(Baltimore Sun) – Nearly 800 former research subjects and their families filed a billion-dollar lawsuit Wednesday against the Johns Hopkins University, blaming the institution for its role in 1940s government experiments in Guatemala that infected hundreds with syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases. The lawsuit seeks to hold Hopkins responsible for the experiments because its doctors held key roles on panels that reviewed and approved federal spending on the experiments.
(Medical Xpress) – A good bedside manner does count after all, new Stanford research shows. A strong emotional fit between how a patient ideally seeks to feel and their doctor makes it more likely that the patient follows the doctor’s health advice, according to a study by Stanford psychology Associate Professor Jeanne Tsai and Tamara Sims, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford and lead author of the study. Tsai directs the Culture and Emotion Lab at Stanford.
(Associated Press) – The two-year study at New York’s sprawling Rikers Island jail complex concluded with a bold recommendation to remove health workers entirely from the most contentious issue they face – whether to put an inmate in solitary. That’s because many doctors believe the confinement, which involves 23-hour stretches of isolation, could harm inmates.
(Science Daily) – A blood test undertaken between 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy may be more effective in diagnosing Down syndrome and two other less common chromosomal abnormalities than standard non-invasive screening techniques, according to a multicenter study led by a UCSF researcher.
(Washington Post) – Then in the fall, a small California biotech company named Genervon began extolling the benefits of GM604, its new ALS drug. In an early-stage trial with 12 patients, the results were “statistically significant,” “very robust” and “dramatic,” the company said in news releases. Such enthusiastic pronouncements are unusual for such a small trial. In February, Genervon took an even bolder step: It applied to the Food and Drug Administration for “accelerated approval,” which allows promising treatments for serious or life-threatening diseases to bypass costly, large-scale efficacy trials and go directly to market.