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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-14-2013
Researchers have discovered a unique monoclonal antibody that can effectively reach inside a cancer cell, a key goal for these important anticancer agents, since most proteins that cause cancer or are associated with cancer are buried inside cancer cells. Scientists from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Eureka Therapeutics have collaborated to create the new human monoclonal antibody, which targets a protein associated with many types of cancer and is of great interest to cancer researchers.
Unlike other human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, which can target only proteins that remain on the outside of cancer cells, the new monoclonal antibody, called ESK1, targets a protein that resides on the inside of the cell.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-07-2013
What makes us happy? Family? Money? Love? How about a peptide?
The neurochemical changes underlying human emotions and social behavior are largely unknown. Now though, for the first time in humans, scientists at UCLA have measured the release of a specific peptide, a neurotransmitter called hypocretin, that greatly increased when subjects were happy but decreased when they were sad.
The finding suggests that boosting hypocretin could elevate both mood and alertness in humans, thus laying the foundation for possible future treatments of psychiatric disorders like depression by targeting measureable abnormalities in brain chemistry.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-04-2013
Building on earlier pioneering work by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, an international consortium of university researchers has produced the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism to date. Scientists could use the model, known as Recon 2, to identify causes of and new treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes and even psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Each person’s metabolism, which represents the conversion of food sources into energy and the assembly of molecules, is determined by genetics, environment and nutrition.
The researchers presented Recon 2 in a paper published online March 3 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Long segments of RNA—encoded in our DNA but not translated into protein—are key to physically manipulating DNA in order to activate certain genes. These non-coding RNA-activators (ncRNA-a) have a crucial role in turning genes on and off during early embryonic development, researchers say, and have also been connected with diseases, including some cancers, in adults.
In an online article of the journal Nature, a team of scientists led by Wistar’s Ramin Shiekhattar, Ph.D., detail the mechanism by which long non-coding RNA-activators promote gene expression. They show how these RNA molecules help proteins in the cell to create a loop of DNA in order to open up genes for transcription. Their experiments have also described how particular ncRNA-a molecules are related to FG syndrome, a genetic disease linked to severe neurological and physical deficits.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-06-2013
Cells communicate in many ways. The can communicate through direct contact (juxtacrine signaling), over short distances (paracrine signaling), or over large distances (endocrine signaling). Until now, endocrine signaling research has focused primarily on hormones which can transverse relatively large distances in order to convey their message to target cells. Now, scientists at UCLA have discovered a previously unknown method of long distance cell-to-cell communication that does not involve the use of hormones.
In a study published in the American Journal of Translational Research, Dr. Keith Norris, senior author of the research and assistant dean for clinical and translational science at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and his team found that cells located on the inside of a hormonally impervious membrane were able to receive messages regulating their calcium signaling pathways from cells located outside the membrane.