Syndicate content

Archive - Jul 2020

Date

July 13th

Biocon Describes Clinical Study Enabling Approval of Itolizumab for COVID-19 in India; Novel Anti-CD6 Monoclonal Antibody Reduces Release of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines, Controls “Cytokine Storm,” & Reduces COVID-19 Mortality

On July 13, 2020, Biocon Ltd. (BSE code: 532523, NSE: BIOCON), an innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals company, headquartered in Bengaluru, Karntaka, India, presented key insights into the results of the pivotal study that demonstrated its novel biologic, itolizumab, significantly reduced mortality in moderate to severe ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) patients hospitalized with COVID-19, in India. This led to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approving this novel biologic therapy for restricted emergency use in India. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon, said: “Itolizumab is a ‘Made in India,’ ‘Innovated in India,’ first-in-class anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody, which has a seven-year proven track record of safety as doctors in India have been prescribing this biologic therapy to treat acute psoriasis. As itolizumab has been approved in India and given that we are in the middle of a medical emergency, the regulator has approved Biocon’s product for emergency use based on compelling data from a pivotal clinical trial involving a cohort of 30 patients. The two-arm, randomized study met both the primary and secondary endpoints, with the Itolizumab arm demonstrating statistically significant advantage over the control arm, culminating in the drug’s approval for restricted emergency use by the DCGI. The study results show that itolizumab’s unique mechanism of action can bring down mortality in moderate to severe ARDS patients due to COVID-19.”

July 13th

International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) Announces 39 Scholarship Winners for ISEV 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 20-22) on Extracellular Vesicles, Including Exosomes

On July 13, 2020, the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) Annual Meeting (ISEV2020), including exosomes, is now VIRTUAL (July 20-22); and will feature over 600 Discussions (Plenary Addresses, Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Education Sessions). The program can viewed here (https://www.isev.org/mpage/2020Program) and registration can be done here (https://www.isev.org/mpage/2020Registration). For past annual meetings, the ISEV has awarded meeting scholarships to outstanding young investigators. This year, in addition to the Young Investigator Scholarship category, ISEV has introduced three new scholarship categories: New Parent Member Scholarship (with children up to 8 years of age); Travel Scholarship for Attendees Working in World Bank Low-Income Countries; and Scholarship for Student Hardship (this category is for students who faced exceptional hardship in their careers to achieve their goals). This year’s 39 scholarship winners are listed below, together with their academic affiliations, and the titles and numbers of their abstracts for the meeting. LINA ANTOUNIANS, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada, Abstract Title: “Epigenetic Regulation of Fetal Hypoplastic Lungs by Amniotic Fluid Stem Cell Derived Extracellular Vesicles” (OT10.4). ISHARA ATUKORALA (photo), La Trobe University, Australia, Abstract Title: “Ubiquitin E3 Ligase NEDD4 Is a Novel Regulator of Exosome Biogenesis and Secretion” (OT09.1). SOUNAK BAGCHI, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, USA, Abstract Title: “Bioengineered Exosomes As Novel Drug Carriers for Targeting HIV-1 Infection in the CNS” (OS29.2).

Gut Microbiota May Provide Clues for Detecting, Preventing, and Treating Type 2 Diabetes (T2D); Reduced Potential of Butyrate Production Noted in Prediabetes or Untreated T2D; Butyrate Produced Mainly by Beneficial Bacteria in Digestion of Dietary Fibers

The individual mix of microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract provides vital clues as to how any future incidence of type 2 diabetes can be predicted, prevented and treated. This is demonstrated in a population study led from the University of Gothenburg. That a person’s gut microbiota can contribute to type 2 diabetes has been shown in previous research, led by Fredrik Bäckhed, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The present study, published online on July 10, 2020 in Cell Metabolism (https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(20)30312-0), describes newly discovered clues in the microbiota as to how bacteria may contribute to type 2 diabetes and potentially predict who will develop disease based on an individual’s gut microbiota. The Cell Metabolism article is titled “The Gut Microbiota in Prediabetes and Diabetes: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study.” By studying people who have not yet developed type 2 diabetes, the researchers were able to rule out the possibility that the gut microbiota was affected by the disease or its treatment. The majority of previous studies in this field have compared healthy individuals with patients. What has emerged is that in individuals with raised fasting blood glucose levels or reduced glucose tolerance, a condition known as prediabetes, as well as in people with untreated type 2 diabetes, the gut microbiota is changed.

July 12th

International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, Including Exosomes, July 20-22: Plenary Speakers, Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Education Sessions; FOCUS: EDUCATION SESSIONS

The International Society for ExtracellularVesicles (ISEV) AnnualMeeting (ISEV2020), Including Exosomes, Is Now VIRTUAL (July 20-22); and will feature over 600 Discussions (Plenary Addresses, Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Education Sessions). The program can viewed here (https://www.isev.org/mpage/2020Program) and registration can be done here (https://www.isev.org/mpage/2020Registration). As eminent Yale Medical School Professor and 30-Year Chief of Allergy & Immunology Philip Askenase, MD, has said, “Exosomes are a sensational biologic discovery and they seem to be involved in nearly all biological and clinical processes.” Among its myriad stimulating and timely offerings, the ISEV 2020 virtual meeting will be offering 23 Educational Presentations, featured in 6 different sessions during the 3-day meeting. These sessions are intended to convey significant background information on the ever-widening impact of extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, on virtually all aspects of biology and medicine The 23 10-minute educational presentations will be delivered by world leaders in their fields. Below is an outline of the schedule for the Education Sessions, with descriptions of the 23 different presentations and backgrounds on the distinguished presenters and session moderators. Each of the six Education Sessions will include a 15-minute Q&A discussion at its end.

EDUCATION SESSION 1 (MONDAY 2:00 PM EDT—2:48 PM EDT)

July 11th

International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, Including Exosomes, July 20-22: Plenary Speakers, Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Educational Sessions; FOCUS: FEATURED ABSTRACTS

The International Society for ExtracellularVesicles (ISEV) AnnualMeeting (ISEV2020), Including #Exosomes, Is Now VIRTUAL (July 20-22); and will feature over 600 Discussions (Plenary Addresses, Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Educational Sessions). The program can viewed here (https://www.isev.org/mpage/2020Program) and registration can be done here (https://www.isev.org/mpage/2020Registration). As eminent Yale Professor Philip Askenase, MD, has said, “Exosomes are a sensational biologic discovery and they seem to be involved in nearly all biological and clinical processes.” Among its myriad stimulating and timely offerings, the ISEV 2020 virtual meeting will include 12-minute oral presentations of four Featured Abstracts that have been selected for their high quality and significance. Featured Abstracts 1 and 2 will be presented on Monday, June 20; Featured Abstract 3 will be presented on Tuesday, June 21; and Featured Abstract 4 will be presented on Wednesday, June 22. Each Featured Abstract presentation will be followed by a 5-minute Q&A session, moderated by a leader in the field. Featured Abstract 1 is titled “Ral GTPases Promote Metastasis By Controlling Biogenesis and Organotropism of Extracellular Vesicles,” and will be presented by Shima Ghoroghi, from Dr. Jacky Goetz’s Lab for Tumor Biomechanics, University of Strasbourg, France. Featured Abstract 2 is titled “Towards Reference Intervals of Extracellular Vesicles in Human Plasma by Flow Cytometry,” and will be presented by Bo Li, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.

Circadian Clocks of Individual Cells: Two New Studies from Dr. Joseph Takahashi’s Lab at UTSW Suggest Cellular Rhythms Are Guided by Both Heritable and Nonheritable Components; Researchers Focus on Long-Period (28 Hours) & Short-Period Cells (21 Hours)

Two new studies led by University of Texas (UT) Southwestern (UTSW) scientists outline how individual cells maintain their internal clocks, driven both through heritable and random means. These findings, published online on May 1, 2020 in PNAS (https://www.pnas.org/content/117/19/10350 ) and on May 27, 2020 in eLife (https://elifesciences.org/articles/54186), help explain how organisms’ circadian clocks maintain flexibility and could offer insights into aging and cancer. The open-access PNAS article is titled "Noise-Driven Cellular Heterogeneity in Circadian Periodicity" and the open-access eLife article is titled "Epigenetic Inheritance of Circadian Period in Clonal Cells." Scientists have long known that organisms across the spectrum of life have internal clocks--with cycles about as long as a day--that govern behaviors including sleeping, eating, and immune response. However, individual cells also have their own clocks when removed from the organism, with periods that can vary substantially, stretching up to several hours longer or shorter. How cells maintain these different lengths of internal rhythms has been unknown given that these cells should be the same at the genetic level, explains Joseph Takahashi (photo) (https://profiles.utsouthwestern.edu/profile/105885/joseph-takahashi.html), PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center, a member of UTSW’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. To investigate this question, Dr. Takahashi and his colleagues worked with mouse cells that were genetically altered so that they glowed whenever a prominent circadian clock gene called Per2 was turned on.

July 10th

Bats Offer COVID-19 Hints; Living Long Lifespans in Highly Crowded Environments and Constantly Exposed to, But Largely Tolerant of, Myriad Viruses, These Only Flying Mammals Have Mutated or Eliminated Certain Genes That Influence Inflammation

Bats are often considered patient zero for many deadly viruses affecting humans, including Ebola, rabies, and, most recently, the SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Although humans experience adverse symptoms when afflicted with these pathogens, bats are remarkably able to tolerate viruses, and, additionally, live much longer than similar-sized land mammals. What are the secrets to the longevity and virus resistance of bats? According to researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, bats' longevity and capacity to tolerate viruses may stem from their ability to control inflammation, which is a hallmark of disease and aging. In a Perspective piece published in the July 7, 2020 issue of Cell Metabolism, the researchers--including University of Rochester biology professors Vera Gorbunova, PhD, and Andrei Seluanov, PhD--outline the mechanisms underlying bats' unique abilities and how these mechanisms may hold clues to developing new treatments for diseases in humans. The open-access article is titled “The World Goes Bats: Living Longer and Tolerating Viruses.” The idea for the paper came about when Dr. Gorbunova and Dr. Seluanov, who are married, were in Singapore in March 2020 before COVID-19 travel bans began. When the virus started to spread and Singapore went into lockdown, they were both quarantined at the home of their colleague Brian Kennedy, PhD, Director of the Centre for Healthy Aging at the National University of Singapore and co-author of the paper. The three scientists, all experts on longevity in mammals, got to talking about bats. SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have originated in bats before the virus was transmitted to humans. Although bats were carriers, they seemed to be unaffected by the virus.

July 9th

Study of Giant Ant Heads Using Simple Models May Aid Bio-Inspired Designs

[This article was written by Ananya Sen, a graduate student in Microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Sen is also a science writer and her articles can be found at http://ananyasen.web.illinois.edu/. This article was originally published by the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (https://beckman.illinois.edu/about/news/article/2020/07/09/study-of-gian...). Permission to reprint this article in BioQuick News has also been granted by Ms. Sen.] Researchers use a variety of modelling approaches to study form and function. By using a basic biomechanical model for studying body form and center of mass stability in ants, new research by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign identifies the benefits of “simple models” and hope that it can be used for bio-inspired designs. “Most organisms are constrained in their shape and size because they are juggling different needs such as the ability to fly, forage for food, and reproduce,” said Andrew Suarez, PhD, a Professor of Entomology and Head of the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Ants are unique because they live in colonies and divide their responsibilities. Therefore, they don’t have the body constraints that other insects do.” “Ants have a wide range of head sizes relative to their body,” said Philip Anderson, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Some ants have such extremely large heads that even though they look like their heads should pitch forward, they don’t.

Cancer-Derived Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) May Carry Cancer-Associated Signatures of Palmitoylated Proteins, New Study Shows; Findings Support Further Study to Assess Possible Utility As Liquid Biopsy for Cancer Diagnosis & Monitoring

A new study sheds light on proteins in particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs), which are released by tumor cells into the bloodstream and promote the spread of cancer. The findings suggest how a blood test involving these vesicles might be used to diagnose cancer in the future, avoiding the need for invasive surgical biopsies. The research is a large-scale analysis of what are known as palmitoylated proteins inside EVs, according to Dolores Di Vizio (photo) (https://bio.cedars-sinai.org/diviziod/index.html), MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery, Biomedical Sciences and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Di Vizio is co-corresponding author of the study, published online on June 10, 2020 in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. The open-access article is titled “Comprehensive Palmitoyl-Proteomic Analysis Identifies Distinct Protein Signatures for Large and Small Cancer-Derived Extracellular Vesicles.” EVs have gained significant attention in the last decade because they can contain proteins and other biologically important molecules whose information can be transferred from cell to cell. EVs are known to help cancer metastasize to distant sites in the body, but exactly how this happens is not clear. To learn more about this process, Dr. Di Vizio and the research team looked into a process called palmitoylation, in which enzymes transfer lipid molecules onto proteins. Palmitoylation can affect where proteins are located within cells, what their activities are, and how they might contribute to cancer progression. The investigators examined two types of EVs, small and large, in samples of human prostate cancer cells. Using centrifuges, they separated the EVs from the other cell materials and analyzed the levels of palmitoylation and the types of proteins present.

Italy’s Rigenerand Launches 3D Bioreactor Development for cGMP Production of Extracellular Vesicles Exosomes

On June 8, 2020, Rigenerand SRL (https://rigenerand-biotech.com/), a biotech company in Italy that both develops and manufactures medicinal products for cell therapy applications, primarily for regenerative medicine and oncology, announced it has commenced development of a novel 3D bioreactor and pipeline, specifically designed for the incremental production of extracellular vesicles including exosomes (collectively termed EVs) in a cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) environment. Rigenerand’s project development will be supported with part of a grant of EUR 4.4 million (almost $5 million) from Horizon 2020 for the H2020-EU.1.2.2.-FET Proactive program, awarded to the Biogenic Organotropic Wetsuits project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/952183). This project comprises a consortium of companies involving Rigenerand. The Biogenic Organotropic Wetsuits (Grant Agreement ID: 952183) project involves eleven organizations across seven countries in Europe. Rigenerand will contribute to the consortium its combination of expertise, technology, and innovation focused on biomaterials, prototypes production, and industrialization of cell culture devices and 3D cell cultures. Rigenerand will start developing novel ways of improving current EV cGMP production technologies. These technologies ultimately aim to produce EV clinical batches to be used as drug substances for cell-free therapy medicinal products.