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Archive - Jun 5, 2019

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ExoFest 2019 Will Describe Latest Exosome and Extracellular Vesicle Research--Annual One-Day Event Hosted by System Biosciences (SBI) & UCSF Features Experts in the Field; Will Be Held June 6 at UCSF’s Genentech Hall

On June 5, 2019, System Biosciences (SBI), a leading provider of exosome research tools and services, announced that the 2nd Annual Exosome Research Festival – ExoFest™ 2019 – will be held June 6, 2019 at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in Byers Auditorium, Genentech Hall, from 8:30 am to 5 pm. ExoFest is a one-day meeting to bring together scientists with an interest in exosome and extracellular vesicle research. This year’s symposium is co-organized by SBI and Dr. Lynn Pulliam and Dr. Sharanjot Saini of the UCSF Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “We are excited to bring together leading experts in the field of exosome research for our second annual ExoFest conference, where we’ll celebrate the latest exosome discoveries and share information about new tools and techniques, which is a core focus of our work at SBI.” Once thought to be little more than a way for cells to off-load waste, exosomes (small extracellular vesicles ranging in size from 30 – 200 nm) are a rapidly expanding area of study in basic research, biomarker discovery, and therapeutic delivery. These extracellular vesicles function as signal carriers and tissue re-shapers through their cargo of RNA, proteins, and lipids, and are involved in a wide range of healthy, as well as pathogenic processes such as cancer, inflammation, immunity, CNS function, and cardiac cell function. Exosomes are found in a wide range of biofluids, including serum, plasma, ascites fluid, urine, saliva, and tissue culture media, and are considered a rich source of material for biomarker discovery, for example in liquid biopsy diagnostic development.

Exosome-Based Screening Analysis of Cervical Mucus May Enable Early Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer, Leading to Earlier Intervention & Increased Survival; Clemson-Led Collaboration Employs Special Chromatography Method for Rapid Isolation of Exosomes

A team of researchers from Clemson University and Prisma Health–Upstate, both in South Carolina, are working to create a screening process to detect ovarian cancer in the early or pre-cancerous stages, according to a June 4, 2019 release from Clemson University. Their goal of the researchers is to make this screening as simple and easy for women as getting a pap smear. The idea is to identify the pre-cancerous changes by analyzing the makeup of the cervical mucus. Dr. Larry Puls (right in photo), the Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Prisma Health Cancer Institute; Terri Bruce (center in photo), Director of the Clemson University Light Imaging Facility and Research Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, and Ken Marcus (left in photo), PhD, Professor of Chemistry at Clemson and 2019 University Researcher of the Year, have been working together for more than a year to create this process. Through their research of cervical mucus, exosomes, and chromatography, the scientists are working to find a way to detect and identify pre-cancerous changes in a diagnostic setting. And now they are putting their screening tool to the test through trials. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no simple, reliable way to screen for ovarian cancer, especially in women who do not show symptoms. And none of the usual cancer exams work as a screening tool to catch the disease in the pre-cancerous stage, Dr. Puls said. “People have looked at pelvic exams, blood tests, and transvaginal ultrasonography as screening tools and none of it has worked as we would like,” Dr. Puls said. “To this day, there is no adequate screening protocol for ovarian cancer and that’s part of the reason why it’s such a lethal disease. We can’t find it early enough.”

Oncologist & Cancer Survivor David Johnson, MD, of UT Southwestern Honored As “Giant of Cancer Care” by OncLive at ASCO 2019

When David Johnson, MD, talks about his part in cancer drug development, he says, “I played a small role.” Others don’t use the word “small” to describe his contributions. They use the word “giant.” According to a June 3, 2019 release from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern, Dr. Johnson was honored as one of 15 Giants of Cancer Care (https://www.giantsofcancercare.com/recipients/2019) recognized at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago on Friday, May 30. The award was given by OncLive, the website for the Oncology Specialty Group (https://www.onclive.com/publications/obtn/2010/april2010/oncology_specia...). Past inductees have included leading cancer experts from Harvard Medical School, Stanford, Yale, and the National Cancer Institute. Dr. John Minna, Professor and Director of the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was among the oncologists honored as a Giant of Cancer Care in 2015. The honor comes as Dr. Johnson prepares to step down after nine years of service as UT Southwestern’s Chair of Internal Medicine. He holds the Donald W. Seldin Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine. He is an oncologist who has been on all sides of cancer: he’s an attending physician, a leading expert in clinical trials, an enthusiastic supporter of cancer research, and a former cancer patient himself. Dr. Johnson was in his early 40s, treating cancer patients in Tennessee, when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. “It came as somewhat of a shock to say the least,” he said. He soon had the chemotherapy he had prescribed for hundreds of patients in the past. He lost his hair and was hit with every side effect: neuropathy, neutropenia, fever, infections, and more.

“Only the Stressed Die Young”* Molecular Switch in Flies Is Decisive for Long Life and Stress Resilience; Transcription Factor Must Be Tightly Controlled As Too Little Leads to Longer Life, But Reduced Stress Resistance; Too Much Leads to Early Aging

The survival and fitness of multi-cellular organisms have been tightly associated with their capacity to renew their tissues. This is particularly important for tissues that are permanently exposed to and challenged by the external environment, such as the epithelium, which lines our digestive tract. Researchers led by Professor Dr. Mirka Uhlirova from CECAD (Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research at the University of Cologne) collaborated with the laboratory of Dr. Tony Southall from Imperial College London to identify the transcription factor Ets21c as a vital regulator of the regenerative program in the adult intestine of the fruit fly Drosophila. Moreover, their work highlighted the existence of trade-off mechanisms between stress resilience and longevity. The results were published online on June 4, 2019 in Cell Reports. The open-access article is titled “Ets21c Governs Tissue Renewal, Stress Tolerance, and Aging in the Drosophila Intestine.” While primarily involved in nutrient absorption and digestion, the intestinal epithelium also serves as a selective barrier that restricts the passage of pathogens and toxic substances. The renewal of the intestine is accomplished by stem cells which proliferate and differentiate to maintain tissue integrity and it functions throughout an organism's lifetime. In contrast, stem cell malfunctions have been linked to tissue degeneration or cancer development. The new research contributes to a better understanding of the molecular underpinnings of the regenerative processes under favorable as well as stress conditions.