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Synthetic Biology for Health

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Scientists Develop A Strain Of Genetically Modified Rice That Neutralizes HIV. An international team of researchers has come up with an innovative solution to the HIV pandemic – genetically modified rice. GMO rice has already been developed to tackle malnutrition and climate change. Now scientists from the US, UK, and Spain have developed a new strain to manage HIV symptoms in countries where traditional medicines can be hard to access. The results of a new study were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this week. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 36,900,000 people living with HIV in 2017, 25,700,000 of whom were in Africa. And while the spread of the immunocompromising virus has stalled since the epidemic of the 1980s, there were still 2.1 million people newly infected with HIV in 2015. Right now, exciting new drugs, vaginal implants, and experimental HIV vaccines to prevent and manage the virus are in development – human trials for the latter are expected to start in 2019.

Une thérapie génique approuvée aux États-Unis pour la première fois. La FDA, l'agence américaine qui donne les autorisations pour les médicaments, a approuvé la mise sur le marché de la première thérapie génique dans le monde contre la leucémie. Le traitement baptisé Kymriah utilise des globules blancs du patient qui sont génétiquement modifiés. Ce qu'il faut retenir Un essai clinique sur 63 patients s'est avéré concluant.La FDA (Food and Drug Administration) a autorisé le premier traitement de thérapie génique contre la leucémie.Ce traitement a été mis au point par l'entreprise Novartis.Un essai clinique sur 63 patients s'est avéré concluant.La FDA (Food and Drug Administration) a autorisé le premier traitement de thérapie génique contre la leucémie.

La Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vient d'ouvrir une nouvelle ère pour traiter, et potentiellement guérir, de nombreuses maladies incurables. Des cellules immunitaires du patient sont génétiquement modifiées Bientôt une thérapie génique efficace contre la leucémie ? Des lymphocytes T tueurs de tumeurs. Theconversation. Lorsque vous pensez au cancer, il est probable que vous soyez assaillis par un certain nombre d’images frappantes. Cela peut être les nouvelles photographies-chocs sur les paquets de cigarettes. Ou l’ablation des deux seins choisie par l’actrice américaine Angelina Jolie en raison de prédispositions génétiques à cette maladie.

Ou encore la hausse des cancers de la thyroïde après les retombées radioactives de Tchernobyl. Pourtant, une part non négligeable des cancers, 20 %, est liée à un ennemi auquel on les associe moins spontanément : les infections. Une infection résulte de l’installation d’un autre organisme (par exemple bactéries, champignons, vers intestinaux) dans notre corps et parfois même (dans le cas d’un virus) jusqu’à l’intérieur de nos cellules.

De nombreux virus sont connus pour leur capacité à induire des cancers. Le questionnement sur les liens possibles entre infections et cancer ne date pas d'aujourd'hui. Des vers intestinaux peuvent conduire à un cancer. How Scientists Trained a Virus to Kill Only Cancer Cells Trending. You’ve heard of virus causing cancer. Now here’s a virus that can fight cancer. To selectively destroy cancer cells, scientists in Barcelona, Spain are turning to an unfriendly pathogen – a virus. By genetically modifying a strain of adenovirus, the researchers say they successfully manipulated the expression of certain proteins in cancer cells, which had the effect of reducing cancer growth. This new type of therapy is based on “oncolytic viruses.”

"In this study we have worked with adenoviruses, a family of viruses that can cause infections of the respiratory tract, the urinary tract, conjunctivitis or gastroenteritis but which have features that make them very attractive to be used in the therapy against tumors," said Cristina Fillat, a researcher at the IDIBAPS Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, and the study’s co-senior author. The team also focused on a specific family of proteins, known as cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding (CPEB) proteins.

Première utilisation de CRISPR/Cas9 pour tenter de combattre le cancer. CANCER. Pour la première fois, la technique d'édition génétique Crispr-Cas9 a été utilisée pour tenter de combattre le cancer chez l'homme. Une équipe de chercheurs de la Sichuan University de Chengdu en Chine a injecté le 28 octobre 2016 des cellules génétiquement modifiées pour reconnaître et attaquer les cellules tumorales d'un patient atteint d'un cancer du poumon métastatique. Une première réalisée dans le cadre d'un essai clinique qui devrait inclure au total une dizaine de patients en situation d'échec thérapeutique. L'essai a été autorisé au mois de juillet 2016 par un comité d'éthique chinois. Concrètement, les chercheurs ont prélevé des cellules du système immunitaire, les lymphocytes T, et ont désactivé un gène spécifique avec Crispr-Cas9.

Cet outil d'édition génétique souvent présenté comme le "couteau suisse" de la génétique permet de supprimer, modifier ou ajouter des gènes à la demande. Rendre à nouveau visibles les cellules tumorales Peu de chances de succès CANCER. Sans titre. Homing missiles BIOFILMS are a problem in medicine. When bacteria gang up to form the continuous sheets that bear this name they are far harder to kill with antibiotics than when they just float around as individual cells. Biofilms on devices such as implants are thus difficult to shift, and those growing on the surfaces of human organs are frequently lethal.

But Matthew Chang, a biochemical engineer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, has worked out a new way to attack them. His weapon is a different type of bacterium, which he has genetically engineered into a finely honed anti-biofilm missile. The starting point for this new piece of biotechnology is a common gut bacterium called Escherichia coli. Though this species is best known to the wider world for causing food poisoning, most strains of it are benign, and it is one of the workhorses of genetics. To deal with this film-forming propensity, Dr Chang did a second bit of genetic tinkering. Genetically Engineered Bacteria Could Help Tackle Obesity. People may dislike the idea, but genetically modified bacteria are an incredibly useful scientific tool. By inserting genes for desirable molecules, scientists can convert the organisms into mini-factories that churn out useful therapeutics like insulin and antiviral proteins.

They can even be tweaked to help clean up pollution or even increase soil fertility. And now, scientists may have found yet another use for engineered microbes: tackling obesity. Scientists from Vanderbilt University have programmed a common gut bacterium to produce molecules that have been previously shown to reduce food intake. After administering these microbes to mice on a high fat diet, they ate less, had lower body fat and were less likely to develop fatty liver disease.

We know that obesity is associated with all sorts of health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, but unfortunately treating it is not as simple as advising lifestyle changes. [Via MIT Technology Review and ACS] Engineered Viruses Could Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In the war against antibiotic resistance, which threatens to send medicine spiraling back into the dark ages, scientists are racing to try and find desperately needed replacements before an extra 10 million people worldwide are killed each year due to the problem.

Although we’re still very dependent on antibiotics, some promising alternatives have been proposed recently, and we may now have another on our hands. Scientists from Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel, have engineered viruses in such a way that they not only seek and kill bacteria, but also destroy antibiotic resistance in the bugs they target, rendering them susceptible to drugs. According to the researchers, viruses designed using this novel strategy could have a place in hand sanitizers or cleaning fluids to prevent the spread of drug-resistant microbes in hospitals and other clinical settings, which are hotspots for these life-threatening pathogens. The second phage, called a “temperate” phage, was a little more special. Modified HIV Cures Rare Genetic Disorder In Children. HIV may still be on a global rampage, but at least scientists are attempting to make good out of a bad situation.

This virus, and its relatives, has the ability to permanently insert its own DNA into our genome, which is extremely bad news for our cells and also the main reason that AIDS remains incurable. But scientists are using this deadly skill to their advantage, realizing the potential of exploiting these viruses in order to add in therapeutic genes to diseased cells, a budding technique known as gene therapy. And it seems that this promising technique could be holding up to its expectations, as six boys with a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic disease have just been cured with its help. Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome affects between 1 and 10 million babies born worldwide and is almost exclusively found in males. Bone marrow from seven children enrolled into a clinical trial was then removed before being purified to isolate the desirable immune cells. News Highlights:CRISPR-Edited Human Embryos Raise Ruckus.

Blurring an ethical line, scientists at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou have used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system not on human adult cells or animal embryos, as has been done on many occasions, but on human embryos. To date, scientists have been reluctant to edit human germline cells for fear of passing the revisions—and unknown consequences of those revisions—down to future generations. The Chinese scientists, however, advanced where others had hesitated, having taken the precaution of working with human embryos that they had deemed nonviable.

If the scientists expected to escape controversy, they were mistaken. Concerns and protests have been rising since the scientists’ work appeared April 18 in the journal Protein & Cell. Dr. Daly’s comment highlighted that the study by the Chinese group indicated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system did not perform very well at all in human embryos. A moratorium was also proposed by the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). Genetically Engineered Bacteria Could Help Tackle Obesity. “Organs-on-a-Chip” Aim to Eliminate Animal Testing from Drug Research. “Organs-on-a-Chip” Aim to Eliminate Animal Testing from Drug Research Imagine a future when promising drugs won't take a decade to develop, when early success more often translates to later adoption, and when we no longer need to rely on animal testing. After decades of snail-paced progress becoming the status quo, this would be nothing short of a revolution to the pharmaceutical industry.

At some level, the key to this future increasingly aims to emulate the physiology of the human body with microfluidic chips to better screen the drugs most likely to work for us. Fraunhofer, a German research organization, for example, recently announced they have developed what they call a "synthetic organism on a miniature chip" to stand in for the human body in the testing of new drugs. Fraunhofer's synthetic organism on a chip. How is this achieved? Researchers implant human cells from different organs into wells in the chip and connect them to each other by tiny canals. Image Credit: Fraunhofer. Improved Anti-HIV Antibodies Created Through Genetic Engineering. Many viruses have hundreds of protein ‘spikes’ on their surface that Y-shaped antibodies are able to grab with both ‘arms’ in order to attack it.

HIV, however, only has about 20 spikes which are sparsely arranged on the surface. If the antibody latches on with one arm, it has a difficult time finding another one within reach. Not only is the antibody unable to function properly and attack the virus without a firm grasp, but the decreased efficacy also makes it easier for the virus to evolve and negate the antibody’s efforts entirely.

These factors might be contributing to HIV’s virulence. Galimidi’s team circumvented this obstacle by genetically engineering antibodies that allow both arms to latch onto a single spike. "I think that our work sheds light on the potential therapeutic strategies that biotech companies should be using—and that we will be using—in order to make a better antibody reagent to combat HIV," Galimidi said in a press release.

Genetically Modified Bacteria Could Prevent Obesity. Despite what Dr. Oz may have told you, there aren’t any miraculous supplements that will give any long-term weight loss benefits. At this point, there aren’t even very many FDA-approved medications that effectively treat obesity and related metabolic diseases. However, a group of researchers led by Sean Davies of Vanderbilt University have genetically altered bacteria that reside in the gut, and have been shown to prevent weight gain, even over a month after the treatment ended. The results of the study have been published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers genetically modified a harmless strain of E. coli (Nissle 1917) to produce the compound N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE), which acts as an appetite suppressant. The bacteria was added into the drinking water of mice who were fed high-fat diets over the course of eight weeks. The human gut contains about 100 trillion microorganisms, the majority of which come from around 40 species. Experimental Ebola Treatment Produced In Genetically Modified Plants. Injecting Bacteria Can Shrink Tumors. Artificial virus improves delivery of new generations of pharmaceuticals. Researchers from Wageningen UR, together with colleagues from the University of Leiden, Eindhoven University of Technology and Radboud University Nijmegen, have successfully developed an artificial virus. This virus can potentially be used for the delivery of new generations of pharmaceuticals, consisting of large biomolecules, by 'packaging' them in a natural fashion and delivering them to diseased cells.

The artificial virus was designed according to new theoretical insights into how viruses operate and offers prospects for the delivery of pharmaceuticals, write the researchers in the latest online edition of Nature Nanotechnology. In particular, the researchers believe that the artificial virus technology could be potentially useful for gene therapy. Traditional pharmaceuticals consist of relatively small molecules that typically end up at the desired location without too much trouble. Artificial viral coat proteins Research team ga naar de publicatie. Hadyn Parry: Re-engineering mosquitos to fight disease. Synthetic virology: Andrew Hessel at TEDxDanubia 2014.