:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-12-2013
Scientists have been using Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) as a gene therapy vector for a number of years. Depite the fact that there are over 80 clinical trials that involve the use of AAVs worldwide (Wikipedia), AAVs lack the stability and specificity to deliver a gene to a specific target such as particular subregions of the brain.
In a new study taking place at Rice University, researchers have made use of computational and bioengineering methods to create new, benign viruses that can deliver DNA payloads to specific cells.
Their technique is premised upon an algorithm that predicts how parts of very large viruses can recombine by homing in on the viral protein sequences that work well together. According to senior scientist Jonathan Silberg, the researchers are using a hybrid approach to design and select the ideal mix of viruses which will deliver its gene payload in the most efficient manner.
“We’re treating them like Legos,” Silberg said. “We’re taking distantly related viruses that nature might not recombine very efficiently and looking for self-contained pieces of these proteins that can be swapped.”
To read more about this story see Rice writes rules for gene-therapy vectors.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-10-2011
GenomeWeb News is reporting that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will award up to $15 million next year in grants to fund Diabetes Research Centers that will conduct a range of ‘omics-based and other interdisciplinary and translational research efforts.
Click here for more.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-07-2011
Stem cell scientists, do not despair! Despite concerns over iPSC-derived teratomas and altered genomic and epigenomic states, researchers at UC Davis have written a roadmap for finding solutions to the problems identified with iPSCs which has been published last week in the journal Cell.
According to Paul S. Knoepfler, UC Davis associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy:
iPSCs offer the potential to treat many diseases as an alternative or adjuvant therapy to drugs or surgery. Problems that have been identified with their use likely can be overcome, allowing iPSCs to jump from the laboratory dish to patients who could benefit from them.
To read more click here.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-03-2011
Yesterday, we told you about a study that found that family physicians are ill-prepared when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients based on their genomic data. As a follow up to that story, I’d like to bring your attention to a recent post by W. Gregory Feero, MD, PhD on KevinMD which talks about the overwhelming growth of genomic data and how the pace of discovery is far exceeding the capacity of the health care system’s IT infrastructure.
According to Dr. Feero, medical record keeping in the United States is a far cry away from being able to house the hundreds of petabytes of genomic data that will eventually need to be stored in their systems. Furthermore, upgrading to compatible systems are bound to be prohibitively expensive. He also postulates that the falling cost of genome sequencing might make it cheaper to sequence individual data on an as-needed basis as opposed to storing the data en-masse.
For further reading visit Data overload and the pace of genomic science
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-02-2011
Ten years after the mapping of the human genome—the biologic blueprint that makes each of us who we are—US physicians admit being ill-prepared to address the day-to-day challenges of this rapidly emerging area of personalized medicine. That is one of the surprising conclusions of a landmark study of 800 US physicians conducted by CAHG, a leading professional healthcare communications agency.
Click here to read more.