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Tal Iram (via Tel Aviv University)

Stan­ford study sug­gests brain flu­id trans­fer from young to old mice can im­prove mem­o­ry

The human brain has a waterfall around it, according to Tal Iram, a postdoc in neuroscience at Stanford.

That waterfall, the cerebrospinal fluid, is a salty and metallic stew of nutrients and proteins that are vital to the brain and nervous system, but is mostly known as the simple cushion that surrounds the brain and protects it from bumps and bruises.

However, a new study suggests that the cushiony waterfall stew may play an active role in aging and memory.

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Alex Aravanis, Illumina chief technology officer

Il­lu­mi­na and Deer­field link arms to dri­ve 'ge­nomics-first' drug dis­cov­ery

After years of partnering with the pharma industry, Illumina is now making its own foray into drug discovery. The DNA sequencing company is entering a 5-year collaboration with Deerfield Management to use its genomic tools and AI-driven platform to identify new therapeutic targets and bend the curve on high failure rates.

The inklings of the partnership began in 2020 when Illumina bought BlueBee, a cloud computing company which was also in contract with Deerfield at the time, Matt Nelson, VP of genetics and genomics at Deerfield Discovery and Development, told Endpoints News.

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Still-in-stealth biotech part­ners with Sloan Ket­ter­ing sci­en­tists to make per­son­al­ized can­cer ther­a­py more ‘pub­lic’

One of the obstacles of personalized medicine is that it is, well, personalized. With cancer therapies especially, personalized treatments take money, time, resources and access — all of which are finite.

But some scientists instead want to take a more “public” approach to what has traditionally been a therapy tailored to individual tumors. The vast majority of neoantigens — mutated protein bits exclusively made by cancers — are “private,” meaning that they are unique to a single tumor and person. So while their specificity makes them a good target, private neoantigens may be too specific.

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Prachee Avasthi (L) and Seemay Chou (R), Founders of Arcadia

Can this tick bi­ol­o­gist and her team of ‘weirdo sci­ence’ en­thu­si­asts change the fu­ture of sci­en­tif­ic re­search?

It’s rare, though far from unheard of, for scientists to leave prestigious academic appointments. But Seemay Chou’s departure made a larger splash than most.

One cool, cloudy San Francisco afternoon last September, she hit publish on a Medium post titled “Why I am building Arcadia.” It doubled as a public resignation letter from her professorship at UCSF, where she was just months from tenure, and a roadmap to the grand $500 million experiment she planned next.

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Hongkui Deng (Nature)

Ax­olotls, chem­i­cal cock­tails, and a new route for stem cell ther­a­py — maybe

Axolotls are way ahead of stem cell scientists. When the frilly, smiling salamanders native to Mexico City lose a limb, they turn back the clock on their adult cells, ‘reprogramming’ them back into stem cells, and ultimately, regrow their entire limb.

In some cases, axolotls have regenerated parts of their brains, their spines, and even their hearts.

Earlier this month, a group of Chinese scientists led by Hongkui Deng reported in Nature that they were able to use only chemical compounds to reprogram human cells into stem cells. The fun part? The chemically induced cells shared similar properties with axolotl limb regeneration cells.

Ming Li (Memorial Sloan Kettering)

New T cell im­mune re­sponse dis­cov­ery points to 'out-of-box' can­cer ther­a­py op­tions

Researchers have identified a class of T cells with an unconventional tumor-homing mechanism that could point the way to new types of cancer immunotherapies.

In immune checkpoint therapy, monoclonal antibodies prevent PD-1, a “checkpoint protein” on certain tumors from binding to the T cell and turning the T cell off. The T cells can thus remain on and destroy cancerous cells presenting with certain tumor antigens.

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Li Gan, senior author (Cornell University)

A po­ten­tial tar­get for Alzheimer's treat­ment? Re­searchers un­earth new im­mune re­sponse path­way

Most Alzheimer’s drugs, including Biogen’s aducanumab (Aduhelm) and Eli Lilly’s donanemab, target amyloid plaques, misfolded protein clumps that build up in the brain, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. However, researchers from Weill Cornell have uncovered an alternate immune response pathway that could be a potential target for new therapies.

In addition to amyloid plaques, Alzheimer’s patients also experience the buildup of tau proteins inside their neurons. In healthy neurons, tau proteins help stabilize microtubules that transport neurotransmitters from one end of the neuron to the other. However, in Alzheimer’s patients, tau proteins stick together and form tangles in the neurons that block that transport process.

David Baker (University of Washington)

‘A ma­jor step for­ward': Sci­en­tists un­veil new ap­proach for de­sign­ing pro­tein drugs against any tar­get

When Longxing Cao arrived as a postdoc at the University of Washington in 2017, David Baker’s lab was already known as the leader in a niche field of designing new proteins from scratch.

The idea was to replace, or supplement, the usual method for designing new proteins, i.e. borrowing from evolution. To come up with most new biologic therapies for cancer or infectious disease, for example, researchers generally filter out the best antibodies mice or humans develop against a virus or bits of a tumor. Maybe they’ll tinker with it a little.

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Can Mod­er­na ac­tu­al­ly make a vac­cine for the com­mon cold? (And should it?)

Moderna has spent the last year and a half, since their Covid-19 shots first neared authorization, steadily announcing new vaccine projects. Most of these have been welcomed by vaccinologists and public health researchers, who long struggled to get industry interested in certain pathogens such as Nipah or EBV, despite the threat they posed.

But on Tuesday, the mRNA biotech disclosed a new program that had some in the vaccine world scratching their chins.

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Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo Nordisk Foundation CEO

No­vo Nordisk, Gates Foun­da­tion pledge $90M to fund an­tivi­ral re­search for the next pan­dem­ic

When the next pandemic hits, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Open Philanthropy and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation don’t want the world to be scrambling to develop oral antiviral drugs — or poor countries to be struggling to access them.

That’s why the three charity groups are pooling together $90 million to fund a new initiative called Pandemic Antiviral Discovery, or PAD.

The goal is simple: to help researchers identify and develop Phase II-ready antiviral candidates targeting “pandemic threat viruses, including coronaviruses, paramyxoviruses, and orthomyxoviruses.”

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