Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Science without borders is needed to solve the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders

Unpublished research at Symposium developed to fast-track prevention, together with treatment as well as cure for the unbearable disease affecting 1 in 3 seniors has been shared by 16 of the top Alzheimer’s scientists of the world.

Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Rohit Varma had welcomed the elite group to the 4th annual Zilkha symposium on Alzheimer Disease & Related Disorders. Varma had stated that he is delighted to host this conference that tends to bring together the best and the brightest physician-scientists from across the globe for studying new, basic, translational as well as clinical efforts in the field of Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative disorders.

He expects that with their wisdom, insight together with hard work they would put an end to the menace of this disease. Rudolph Tanzi of Harvard University, David Holtzman – Washington University, John Trojanowski and Virginia Man-Yee Lee - University of Pennsylvania, Kaj Blennow – University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Roger Nitsche – University of Zurich, Christer Betsholtz – Uppsala Universitet in Sweden and Ronald Petersen – Mayo Clinic college of Medicine are said to be some of the researchers that have joined Keck School of Medicine scientists Berislav Zlokovic and Paul Aisen in presenting their new discoveries.

Symptoms – 15 Years After Sticky Amyloid Proteins – Dull the Brain

According to Aisen, director of the USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute that leads eight clinical trials on the disease, states that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s tends to appear around 15 years after sticky amyloid proteins seem to dull the brain.

Quoting data from the on-going Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study, Aisen had informed that around 80% of the participants having amyloid deposits in their brain but no symptoms of Alzheimer’s have developed symptoms of the disease within the next nine years.

Relatively only about 20% of the people devoid of amyloid deposits had later on developed related symptoms. He further added that he was of the opinion that they needed to carry this study further till they would feel that almost everyone with elevated amyloid would progress to symptomatic AD.

 Moreover it seemed reasonable to anticipate that they tend to start the trashy of anti-amyloid, 15 years prior to the expected onset of symptoms, they would be capable of preventing the development of clinical Alzheimer’s disease. In order to the trace the development of the disease over a period of time, Aisen has been enrolling healthy individuals having no symptoms of Alzheimer’s in clinical studies.

Biomarkers in Blood

In comprehending the disease and its progress would assist in the development of a `liquid bipsy’ blood test which would bring about an insight to the doctors wherein individuals could be at high risk for Alzheimer’s. In future, once the doctors tend to identify that a patient has early build-up of amyloid, they will be capable of prescribing a drug that could destroy the same.

 Thereafter, individuals could take a drug like a BACE- inhibitor in order to prevent amyloid build-up according to Aisen. Aisen had also added that doctors will ultimately be in a position of identifying people likely to develop Alzheimer’s through biomarkers found in blood draws, which will simplify preventive treatment. Director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, Zlokovic had challenged the amyloid hypothesis of Aisen stating that amyloid is not ground zero for neurodegeneration.

Zlokovic had commented that he is a bit worried if they consider Alzheimer’s is exclusively amyloid-derived neurodegeneration. He would state that this is a very complex, multifactorial disease which is motivated by genetic, vascular and environmental factors that all can effect disease inception and progression. He further added that disease inception may or may not include amyloid at all.

Healthy Brain – Healthy Blood Vessels

He explained that according to latest studies, issues in brain circulation like subtle damage to the smallest brain vessels, capillaries, loss of cerebrovascular integrity as well as blood flow changes taking place early could be vital to disease progression and lead to amyloid and tau pathology.

Zlokovic has been performing pioneering research on how leaks in the vascular system of the brain, the blood-brain barrier, tend to cause a flow of issues, inclusive of amyloid build-up. Zlokovic had mentioned that health epidemic of the 21st century is age-linked small vessel disease of the brain. Small vessel disease is said to contribute to around 45% of all dementias all over the world including Alzheimer’s.

Zlokovic recently had installed as the Mary Hayley and Selim Zilkha Chair in Alzhemier’s Disease Research further commented that a healthy brain needs healthy blood vessels. The blood-brain barrier averts the entry into the brain of blood deprived toxic products, pathogens and cells. Over 70 USC researchers over a range of disciplines have been inspecting the health, societal as well as political effects and its implications of Alzheimer’s.

 Zlokovic had informed that they would be looking forward to hosting this symposium again the next year and that it is critical for top experts of Alzheimer’s to come together and share their unpublished discoveries, concept and state-of-the art approaches in order that scientific barriers are eliminated and all tend to work together in arresting and reversing this devastating disease.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Human Stem Cells Model the Kidney Filtration Barrier

Glomerular filtration chip devised by the human stem cells differentiation

Well, it is a relief for the ailing ones especially the kidney patients. The glomerular filtration is the new addition in terms of the kidney related diseases. The best part is that a new chip has been designed which consists of the glomerulus itself and it could bring a smile for the kidney affected persons. The therapeutic therapy has been given a new dimension post this chip manufacturing.

The kidney is one of the most important organ in our body. It is quite essential and performs a lot of functions for our body. The filtering of blood is the most important one and also helps in removing waste elements via urine. It retains the elements in the form of proteins in our body which is beneficial for the circulation of blood and proper metabolism of the body.

THE STRUCTURE

The main thing that helps in achieving all the above mentioned activities is none other than the glomerulus itself. There is a membrane which is thin and separates the matrix. It filters the material. The researches go on in every field. The medical field is no exception. We had recently some of the greatest discoveries in the medical arena. It has really got advanced and helped to cut down the mortality rate by a huge margin by inventing new drugs or machines.

This has been possible with the combination of science and technology which has revolutionised the world. The stem cells were under the microscope for a long time which can convert to podocytes. These can be really very helpful for the medical field. Well, the glomerular filtration was not successful when podocytes were taken into consideration in order to culture cells.

THE SOLUTION

Where there is a way, there is a will. Well, certainly there is and nothing is impossible in this digital world. The solution was figured out by the scientists and developers for the glomerular filtration. The new process is something different where the podocytes which are considered to be mature are formed by separating the stem cells of human which have been induced by pluripotent.

THE WORKING

And it works as a wonder as the success rate is close to 90 percent. Now these were embedded on a chip and a model of the glomerulus of the human as created. In this fashion, the filtration process reached a new height and all the proteins and toxic elements could be differentiated. This chip which has been developed by the researchers will play a promising role in the near future.

This will also play a key role for more research in terms of experiments and other tests. The aspect of biology will get broader and widened now a bit with the development of the glomerular filtration chip. Well, we need to have patience till the chip is finally rolled out for the treatment purposes. The differentiation is the key to develop such a chip which would save kidney patients in future.

Friday, 16 June 2017

New Transplant Technology Could Benefit Patients with Type 1 Diabetes


Technology being used to cure Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is being noticed as a very obvious disease in people across the globe. The disease is the store house of several other diseases, and it slowly degenerates your body. The immediate consequences of diabetes may not be severe, but it has gruesome long term measures and can make you subjected to further health issues. It includes lot of restrictions in terms of food habits.

A diabetic person needs to follow a strict diet, as that would only help him to survive this serious ailment. Several approaches are being developed to free the world from this malicious disease. Many medical developments are taking place in this regard.

Approximate 1.25 million residents of America suffer from type 1 diabetes, which is also denoted as juvenile diabetes. This is disease is known for the body’s inability to generate insulin. In order to bring type 1 diabetes under control; patients are advised to test the level of glucose in their body on a frequent basis, and sometimes they are even advised to inject themselves with insulin, so that a safe balance is maintained and the body remains less prone to diseases. But some patients are reported to suffer from life-threatening consequences because of diabetes that is symptoms of hypoglycemic disorders are found.

To avoid all the fatal consequences of this ailment Garcia and collaborators along with post doctorate researchers and most importantly Jessica Weaver, is out for their venture to locate a restricting measure of diabetes. They are up for an innovative measure that would include transplantation of cells.

They are intending to develop a new hydrogel substance made of polymer, which could be easily degradable. This would be used to deliver cells through injection into the human body and it would consist of a gel based protein identified as vascular endothelial growth factor, that would result in strengthening the blood vessels into the cells transplanted in the body.

Garcia, after the experiment reported that this transplanted cells would require a lot of oxygenation and the connection to the body’s circulatory system should be high so that it grabs the sense of the level of glucose in one’s body and transport the insulin accordingly.

She has also observed that other than transporting insulin it is also capable of forming new blood vessels to nourish the existing cells. In this way, the immune syndrome of one’s body that gets shattered due to diabetes; is restored back.

Though, this measure seems innovative, yet it is not that easy as it sounds. Doctors from several decades have been trying to transplant pancreatic islets into the human body, but about 60 percent of the islets die immediately after they are transplanted because they are separated from the supply of blood while transplanting and are killed by the body’s immune response because of suddenly and directly being injected into the blood stream and fortunately those that survive, die within few months. So, the process is risky and chances of success is very less, but certainly it builds the ground for more innovations in treating type 1 diabetes.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Two Part System Turns Stem Cells into Whatever You Want

Well, the science and technology has taken the world to a different level. Each day we are embraced with a new kind of discovery and invention. This has made our lives more safe and comfortable. We are now living our dreams and a much better life with reduced tensions. Recently, by using the embryonic or stem cells which are adult were used to change the target cell for reproduction. However, it is now as easy as the process is thought to be. To make things easy, a team comprised of international scientist have indulged themselves in this development. They have developed a two-part system which is able to covert the stem cells to the targets and then have the remnants removed. So only the required DNA is left behind in order to replicate.

THE PROCESS OF TWO PART SYSTEM STEM CELLS

There are few complexities with the process as it involves a bit of hard work and perfection. The human pluripotent stem cells can’t be used directly so this is a great disadvantage. This type of cells can mutate to any kind of cells within the human body. But this series of change is a bit complex which the DNA controls, once it gets triggered. In the past, many processes were followed but there were remains of the DNA as usual. So the process is bit complicated and it takes a good amount of time for the scientists.

Due to patience of the scientists, we are able to witness all these wonderful discoveries and inventions which have shaped our life in a great deal. The current method has a change as the DNA in this method is used to turn the colour of the cell green with the usage of blue light. This makes the conclusion that the plasmid of the DNA is placed in the body of the cell and it gets removed completely.

THE INITIATIVE

Well, there are many fields to explore in this world and hence the scientists are doing the same. They are trying their best to go beyond the limits and the effect of conversions after the DNA is removed. The earlier methods took into consideration the DNA to switch the conversions but it was not successful in removing the DNA completely that was placed inside. The new method is somewhat a bit different and it helps in removing the DNA completely. This makes the work or the process function completely and successfully.

THE MATERIALS

The researchers have devoted a lot of time for this and they are currently completing the process with the help of a system known as Tet-On 3G inducible PiggyBac which is basically a plasmid that has been named XLone in order to get the objectives done.

The basic objectives are inserting, activating and removing of the DNA. The system Tet-On 3G inducible PiggyBac takes into consideration to insert the DNA into the DNA of the Cell. With information containing the correct signalling, the Tet-On 3G inducible PiggyBac system allows the stem cells to become sensitive when doxycycline is used to activate the process.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Zika Transmitting Mosquitoes have Resistance to Commonly Used Insecticides

Mosquitoes
The world has witnessed some of the greatest virus that has taken a huge number of lives. The countries of Africa are the worst affected. To help them, the WHO has come forward but when it comes for a new type for virus like the ZIKA or the DENGUE, the WHO has also failed. We were only allowed to stay in dark. But recently a renowned professor from The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University has stated that there is high possibility that the world would be shaken by the outbreak of ZIKA virus. The person himself is not sure where the breakout may be. He believes it can be in States or it can be in any isolated place. But whatever may be in the future, he is ready to fight with all resources.

THE RESOURCES

He has decided to start the most important research and for this he is getting funded by whooping amount of $2000000 from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The main objective is to get the knowledge of the mosquito insecticides and its effectiveness for which it has been used against the ZIKA virus and other dangerous diseases. The primary objective is to eliminate the virus as it has already taken a huge number of lives. So, it has to be stopped before another outbreak creates a chaos in the world. If not eliminate them, the virus has to be controlled in the most efficient manner. This would help in preventing the spreading of the virus. For the researchers, the baffling question is whether the virus is resistant to mosquito insecticides. If they are resistant to mosquito insecticides, then it is a great matter of concern.

THE TESTS

Presley, who has already tested the ZIKA outbreak much before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology in May 2016, has been a part of the committee who has been working for bringing mosquito diseases under control and the transmission of disease. They have been working very hard in order to restore the momentum but it has only got worse.

EXPECTATIONS

However, the time will decide whether the virus have become resistant to the mosquito insecticides. They have been used in the state of Texas and the reports would reveal everything. So, we need to keep our patience as this is a major concern in terms of health and immunity all over the world. If the reports are positive, then it would be very helpful to combat the dangerous effect and threat of the ZIKA virus.

PREVENTION

Brazil was literally taken down by the ZIKA virus last year. The most important and basic thing is that we need to keep the mosquitoes out from the house by taking various methods. It is better to keep windows closed after evening and have the room air-conditioned. The virus keeps on mutating and gets adapted to the changes and this makes the condition even worse.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Scientists Develop Synthetic Cell

Synthetic cells - Towards the giant leap from molecules to life

The cell is one of the most unique creation where on one hand it can be seen as just a group of molecules in a membrane while on the other it is a collection of macro-molecular machine which produces and helps molecules grow, multiply and transfer information. These molecules along with chemical reactions help create life. The mechanism behind this is being studied by Professor Marileen Dogterom of the Bio-nanoscience field, to eventually form synthetic cells by re-creation of cellular machineries. According to her theory, these synthetic cells could provide the insight required to modify and restore human cells which could be used in treatment of cure of diseases easily.

Synthetic cells Extremely Active and Vibrant

Drug research helps in finding out which aspect in the cell is to be treated or worked upon to restore it back to the original version of it that was harmed by the disease. Professor Dogterom says that there will be a lot of trials and errors in drug research as long as the mechanisms in the cell are not fully understood. Once the necessary mechanisms are recreated, there will be a better understanding to how and where diseases originate from. At the same time, this will help reveal how exactly do medications work and how cell mechanisms are repaired. It would, in all probability, lead to more focused drug researches and give an in-depth understanding to disease processes with less detrimental side effects.

The number and intricacy of cell mechanisms that can be reconstructed outside cells has increased vastly in recent years. Dogterom thus is optimistic about the future saying that this will help put together something that has the basic abilities as life within the next two decades. The basic competences of life are the ability to create and use molecules, also known as metabolism, tranfering of cellular information to progeny via DNA and cell evolution and multiplication. Currently the researches are focused on mainly these three competences separately.

How Does Synthetic cells Give Inspiration to Researches?

The combination of these three separate mechanisms might be accessible once they are mastered. Once this combination is achieved there will be a tremendous breakthrough in synthetic cells research, says Dogterom. The research on synthetic cells is very vital and is still a small step in arena of vast possibilities. Dogterom concludes that it is helpful to know what information from the research is relevant to clinicians along with letting the research community know about her works so that both can work hand in hand in the field of researching on synthetic cells. It is inspiring as with their feedback, more progress can be made in this area within a reasonable amount of time.

Synthetic Cells for Building Synthetic Bone Implant

This same research has been applied by scientists to develop synthetic bone tissue that could change the face of bone marrow transplants, which usually produces a lot of undesirable side effects, according to a Medical Xpress report. Patients who require a bone marrow transplant are stereotypically required to undergo radiation treatment. The radiation kills the stem cells in the marrow that would conflict with the donor cells and makes space.

Among the many side effects, patients suffer from nausea, tiredness and infertility resulting from this treatment. As a solution to these problems, a bone-like implant was created using synthetic cells by bio-engineers from the University of California San Diego. This implant allows the donor cells their own space where they can live and grow without any interference from the existing stem cells in the marrow. As a result, the existing stem cells are not required to be killed, thus preventing the use of radiation on patients.

Experiments and researches were conducted on mice, where it was discovered that the implanted bone marrow was fully functional and it allowed the donor cells to grow and live for a long period of time even in the company of host cells. Both the host and the donor cells could travel between the blood circulating through the network of blood vessels formed in the implant tissue and the implant itself. However, there are certain restrictions to its implementation as the bone implants cannot be applied to patients with malignant bone marrow diseases with cancerous cells that have to be killed off.

Raised Stakes in the Quest to Harness Synthetic Life

Craig Venter, a Genomics entrepreneur, has formed synthetic cells that hold the tiniest genomes of any known, independent life form. This discovery is a landmark in his team’s research, spanning about 20 years of time, in making an in-depth study of life’s bare essentials and understanding the process of evolution of life from scratch. He is a co-founder of a company that researches in harnessing synthetic cells for use in the industrial field. His whole research is based on the idea that instead of making a brand new life form, we can build on what already exists and base the research on that.

The first synthetic cells were made in 2010 where an existing bacterial genome was copied and was transplanted into another cell. Unlike those, the minimal cells’ genome is like nothing ever seen in nature and is made up of a whole new and artificial species. In order to test his ideologies, Venter and his team proceeded to build a minimal genome starting from basics by connecting together chemically synthesised DNA segments. With the help of new technologies, they put in efforts in making an exact copy of a genome.

After overcoming many setbacks and obstacles, Venter and his team had a breakthrough where they discovered a gene design which had all the essential genes required for cellular activities such as making proteins, duplicating DNA and constructing cellular membranes. However, their research still had many unsolved puzzles which they yet had to unlock.

This genome designing techniques are believed to be useful by researchers for applications such as editing a genome to include new amino acids. This will be the new favourable approach to conduct therapies. Venter acknowledged that he stumbled upon his find and that it was completely through trial and error instead of being based on a carefully studied approach on how to build an operative genome. However, he said he sees quick improvements in the future and the preferred approach for manipulating life would be the process of genome synthesis from scratch.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Birth Control Made Easier: Scientists Found Sperm’s Power Switch—And a Way to Turn It Off

vasagel
The ancient birth control techniques ranging from using linen to animal bladder sheaths have evolved with time and new age discoveries. The effective and safe contraception or fertility control methods were available from the twentieth century including condoms, IUDs, birth control pills, vasectomy and tubal ligation. Scientists knew very little about the process of fertilization on a molecular level. Discovery of the crucial mechanism of the reproduction can pave the way for new fertility treatments which will eventually improve the fertility rates. Alternatively, it can lead to the production of unisex contraceptive.


In simpler words, sperms need to be kept away from eggs. But putting up a barrier is not the only way. Sperm cells are good in both swimming and drilling. The most common birth control tool is the condom. Proper use of condom actually helps in targeting the swimming portion of the process of pregnancy thereby controlling the sperm cells. But recent discoveries have shown that scientists have been able to find a way to stop the sperm cells in the drilling task. The result would be an effective treatment that would work equally for both men and women.


The sperm cells travel at a high speed to the fallopian tube from the cervix through the uterus moving their tails side to side. It swims around 24000 times of their own length of their body to reach the egg. Now the egg is covered in a thirty-micron thick protective layer known as the zona pellucida which is impossible for the five micron long headed human sperm to penetrate.

The sperm cells then turn into a direction and corkscrewing their head forward pierces through the viscous outer layers of the egg. This process is termed as the " power kick" by the scientists which means a huge amount to calcium ions are dumped into the sperm's tail. A particular enzyme on the tails of these hyperactive sperms responds to progesterone, the female sex hormone, which helps in activation of the power kick which in turn boosts the swimming speed of the sperms. It is believed that progesterone affects the progression the sperms. Scientists in a recent development introduced small electrodes that were attached to the tails of the sperm cells to record their responses to various hormones.


The power kick banks upon the Catsper despite the presence of thousands of different kinds of ion channels. When the sperm gets close to the unfertilized egg the CatSper activates to let in the calcium and encounters the progesterone. Few chemical compounds bind with the CatSper and helps in prevention of the calcium ions dump required for the power kick. There are two most promising compounds that come from plants consumed by the humans - lupeol found in the mangoes, grapes etc.


The previous male contraceptives have either failed or dropped due to its side effects. This new discovery would make a compelling pitch for drug makers. However, vasalgel is an exception here. It is a gel like barrier used to block sperms. It has passed the primate trials and has shown positive results.