On April 18, 2016, JSR Corporation announced the formation and establishment of its Life Sciences Division, JSR Life Sciences (JLS). The newly formed JLS has been established as a business unit for parent company, Tokyo-based JSR Corporation, a company with more than 50 years of success in material and polymer chemistries including marketing latex and magnetic beads to life sciences and diagnostic companies worldwide. Eric R. Johnson will lead the global operation for the Life Sciences business and assume responsibility of all operations as Senior Executive Officer of JSR Corporation and Head of the Life Sciences Division. In that capacity he will lead JLS in integrating the global operations of the US, Europe, Asia, and Japan. “We know that we need to engage experts and markets outside of Japan and we see the US and Europe as key regions for the growth of our life sciences businesses,” said Mitsunobu Koshiba, President and Representative Director of JSR Corporation. “Assigning Johnson as the head of JLS is a strategic move that will facilitate our going beyond traditional markets to drive growth for JSR.” The company is leveraging its material and polymer expertise to expand into the life sciences industry in the two major industry categories of bioprocessing and diagnostic and research products. In bioprocessing, JLS focuses on large-scale purification and chromatography products, including the recent launch of Amsphere™ A3, a protein A chromatography resin for downstream processing. In 2015, JSR expanded its capabilities through the acquisition of a majority stake in contract development and manufacturing organization KBI Biopharma, Inc. In diagnostics and research products, JLS has established a liquid biopsies business that recently launched ExoCap™ Kit for the isolation and purification of exosomes from plasma or serum.
A five-year study shows that Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) to treat prostate cancer offers a higher cure rate than more traditional approaches, according to researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study – the first trial to publish five-year results from SBRT treatment for prostate cancer – found a 98.6 percent cure rate with SBRT, a noninvasive form of radiation treatment that involves high-dose radiation beams entering the body through various angles and intersecting at the desired target. It is a state-of-the-art technology that allows for a concentrated dose to reach the tumor while limiting the radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissue. “The high cure rate is striking when compared to the reported five-year cure rates from other approaches like surgery or conventional radiation, which range between 80 to 90 percent, while the side effects of this treatment are comparable to other types of treatment,” said Dr. Raquibul Hannan (photo), Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and lead author for the study. “What we now have is a more potent and effective form of completely noninvasive treatment for prostate cancer, conveniently completed in five treatments.” Conventional treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer include: prostatectomy, the surgical removal of the prostate gland, which can be done with minimally invasive techniques and robotic assistance; brachytherapy, in which doctors implant numerous small radioactive seeds about the size of a grain of rice into the prostate gland using multiple large needles inserted through the skin in the operating room.
In an article dated March 31, 2016, Germany-headquartered Particle Metrix, developers of versatile particle characterization solutions for the life sciences, report on the work in the Liu Laboratory at Augusta University (Augusta, Georgia) which is studying exosomes where size and concentration are critical parameters. The article is reproduced here: Dr. Yutao Liu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cellular Biology & Anatomy at Augusta University. The research goal of his group is to identify potential biomarkers for several human diseases. As a human genetics research lab, his group is interested in studying how exosomes and their contents contribute to the development of glaucoma, such as primary open-angle glaucoma and exfoliation glaucoma. The scientists use human aqueous tumor and serum samples to explore exosomes and their contents. They are further interested in studying the role of exosomes in serum and other body fluids in relation to aging, smoking cessation, and other age-related disorders. The Liu aboratory collaborates with many researchers interested in the study of exosomes. Dr. Liu’s group began to study exosomes in 2012. In the early days, the researchers learned that it was very critical to know the size and the concentration of nanoparticles in their study samples prior to the characterization of protein and RNA contents. Dr. Liu selected the ZetaView® system from Particle Metrix as it provided quick, efficient, and reliable measurements of particle size and concentration. Dr. Liu said “Its innovative design with 11-position measurement throughout the cell enables the high accuracy and reliability of the actual measurement by avoiding measuring the same particles repeatedly. In addition, ZetaView measures zeta potential with the same instrument.
It is with great pleasure that the International Organizing Committee invites you to be part of the 5th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from May 4-7, 2016. It is our honor to organize this meeting where scientists from around the globe gather to share the latest information on extracellular vesicles, including exosomes. The ISEV was funded in 2011 as the authoritative international community for extracellular vesicle (EV) research. It focuses on all aspects of extracellular vesicle investigations, including exosome investigations. Over the past few years, ISEV meetings have received an increasing number of abstracts due to the outstanding quality of these events. The scientific program (http://isev.org/isev2016/agenda/2016program-2/) of ISEV2016 includes a broad range of educational and scientific sessions covering the entire spectrum of topics relevant to EV research. For the first time, we have expanded our Pre-Meeting Education day program (http://isev.org/isev2016/agenda/2016pre-meeting-education-day/) to parallel sessions on two different topics (“New Developments of EV Isolation and Analysis” and “EV Therapeutics”). The ISEV is proud to announce prominent plenary speakers (http://isev.org/isev2016/agenda/2016program-2/plenary-speakers-isev2016/) highlighting important aspects of EVs and cancer (Klaus Pantel and David C. Lyden), EVs and viruses (Leonid Margolis and Robert C. Gallo) and EVs in cell biology (Francisco Sanchez-Madrid). Parallel symposium sessions, posters, and short oral poster presentations will provide platforms to present the newest developments in the field. Between oral and poster presentations, there will be sufficient time for networking and exhibition visits.
Researchers have discovered a link between the BRCA1 gene mutation and lower levels of a hormone that is an indicator of the number of eggs left in a woman’s ovaries, according to research published online on April 19, 2016 in Human Reproduction, one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals. The open-access article is titled “Anti-Müllerian Hormone Serum Concentrations of Women with Germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutations.” In the first large study looking at BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations and levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in women who carry the mutated genes, the group of international researchers found that carrying the BRCA1 mutation was associated with AMH concentrations that were, on average, 25% lower than those in non-carriers. The effect was not seen in women with the BRCA2 mutation. Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips, a consultant medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in East Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) and the first author of the study, said: “This means that women in their mid-30s, who carry the BRCA1 mutation, have, on average, ovarian reserves similar to those of non-carriers who are two years older.” Although AMH is a reliable marker of ovarian reserve, Professor Phillips said: “It’s important to remember that AMH is only one indicator of a woman’s potential fertility; the ability to conceive and carry a baby to full term is affected by many other factors as well, including egg quality and whether the fallopian tubes are unobstructed, neither of which is measured by AMH. Women with low AMH levels can sometimes still have a baby and, conversely, women with high AMH levels are sometimes unable to do so.
The investigational drug abaloparatide-SC (subcutaneous) may help increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and reduce their risk of fracture, new industry-sponsored research suggests. The results of the subgroup analysis within the ACTIVE clinical trial were presented Friday, April 1, at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston. "Abaloparatide-SC increased bone mineral density and reduced the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures consistently in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis regardless of their baseline patient characteristics, including age, bone mineral density, and whether or not they had prior fractures," said lead study author Felicia Cosman, M.D., Endocrinologist and Osteoporosis Specialist at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, New York, and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University in New York City. "If approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), abaloparatide-SC may have the potential to reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis across a broad range of patient characteristics," said Dr. Cosman, who is also a consultant to Radius Health, Inc., in Waltham, Massachusetts. The researchers investigated patients enrolled in the randomized, double-blind, multinational phase 3 ACTIVE trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 80 micrograms of abaloparatide-SC in preventing fractures in otherwise healthy, ambulatory, postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Overall, 2,463 patient between 49 and 86 years of age were randomized to take one of three medications for 18 months: 80 micrograms of abaloparatide-SC, 20 micrograms of subcutaneous teriparatide (an FDA-approved prescription drug known to increase bone density and strength), or placebo.
Proteins play a large role in DNA regulation, but a new study finds that DNA molecules directly interact with one another in a way that's dependent on the sequence of the DNA and epigenetic factors. This could have implications for how DNA is organized in the cell and even how genes are regulated in different cell types, the researchers say. Led by Aleksei Aksimentiev, Ph.D., a professor of physics at the University of Illinois, and Taekjip Ha, Ph.D., a professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University and an adjunct at the University of Illinois Center for the Physics of Living Cells along with Dr. Aksimentiev, the researchers published their work online on March 22, 2016 in the journal Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “Direct Evidence for Sequence-Dependent Attraction Between Double-Stranded DNA Controlled by Methylation.” "We are still only starting to explore the physical properties of DNA. It's not just a string of letters," Dr. Aksimentiev said. "It's a complex molecule with unique characteristics. The prevailing hypothesis is that everything that happens inside the nucleus, the way the DNA is organized, is all the work of proteins. What we show is that direct DNA-DNA interactions may play a role in large-scale chromosome organization as well." Using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on the Illinois campus, Dr. Aksimentiev and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Jejoong Yoo performed detailed simulations of two DNA molecules interacting in a charged solution such as is found in the cell. The supercomputer allowed them to map each individual atom and its behavior, and to measure the forces between the molecules.
Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago studying chinook salmon have provided the first evidence that "cryptic female choice" (CFC) enhances fertilization success and embryo survival. CFC involves females using physical or chemical mechanisms to control which male fertilizes their eggs after mating, and is known to occur in a number of species. In 2008, Department of Anatomy researchers Dr. Patrice Rosengrave and Professor Neil Gemmell were the first to show that CFC occurred in salmon. When these fish spawn, eggs and sperm are shed simultaneously into the surrounding water with ovarian fluid being secreted with the eggs. The scientists demonstrated that ovarian fluid helped or hindered sperm swiftness depending on the male it came from. Now, after conducting a series of competitive and non-competitive fertilization experiments, the pair and colleagues have provided the first evidence that CFC contributes to reproductive success. Dr. Rosengrave says they found that not only does a particular female's ovarian fluid give a bigger boost to some male's sperm and not others, these speedier sperm have a significantly higher chance of winning the race to fertilize eggs and the resulting offspring have a better survival rate as embryos. "Additionally, after assessing the genetic quality of the males we found embryo survival was linked to being sired by higher-quality fathers," she says. The findings may have wider implications for our understanding of animal, or even human, reproduction, she adds. "There could well be equivalent mechanisms at play in environments such as mucus on vaginal or uterine walls." The research was published online on March 23, 2016 in the UK journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In a small clinical trial led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers say that a promising single-dose dengue vaccine, developed by scientists at the NIH, was 100 percent effective in preventing human volunteers from contracting the virus, the most prevalent mosquito-borne virus in the world. The findings, published on March 16, 2016 in Science Translational Medicine, could be the final puzzle piece in developing a vaccine that is effective against dengue, which infects nearly 400 million people across more than 120 countries each year. While most of those who are infected with dengue survive with few or no symptoms, more than two million people annually develop what can be a dangerous dengue hemorrhagic fever, which kills more than 25,000 people each year. The new open-access article is titled “The Live Attenuated Dengue Vaccine TV003 Elicits Complete Protection Against Dengue in a Human Challenge Model.” Preventing dengue has been a particular challenge. A three-dose vaccine called Dengvaxia received limited licensure in 2016 in Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil. That vaccine produced antibodies against dengue in a clinical trial and protected against dengue during the first year after vaccination. But two years after vaccination, children who were under the age of nine when they received the vaccine were hospitalized for dengue at a significantly higher rate than those who received the placebo. For this reason, the researchers, led by Anna P. Durbin, M.D., an Associate Professor in International Health at the Bloomberg School, were concerned that measuring antibodies alone may not truly indicate the ability of the vaccine to protect against dengue.
In the last decade, scientific research showed exponential growth in scientific publications on exosomes. According to a March 16, 2016 press release, BCC Research reveals in its new report that these tiny sub-cellular vesicles may offer unlimited potential in diagnostics and therapeutics, especially in oncology treatments. The new report is titled Exosome Diagnostics and Therapeutics: Global Markets (BIO149A) analyzes the technologies for exosome diagnostics and therapeutics with breakdowns of new and existing diagnostic methods. Analyses of global market drivers and trends, with data from 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of CAGRs through 2021 also are provided. Exosomes are small membrane-bounded sacs/vesicles (approximately 30-100 nm in diameter), that are released by both healthy and cancerous cells. Substances from cell cytoplasm, such as genomic DNA, various RNA species, proteins, and lipids are encapsulated into exosomes and are shed into the extracellular environment. Research has showed that all fluids in the human body contain exosomes, which can transfer cytoplasmic ingredients to other cells either locally or at distant sites. Once reaching the recipient cells, cytoplasmic ingredients can alter cell biology. The market for the exosome approach can be divided into three main categories: diagnostics, therapeutics, and research tools sectors. The global market should reach about $16.1 million and more than $111 million in 2016 and 2021, respectively, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47.3%. Diagnostics as a segment should remain the largest and fastest-growing sector, growing from $10 million in 2016 to $100 million in 2021, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 58.5%.