New Way To Treat Addiction
U.S. - Researchers from the University of Buffalo have developed a new nanoparticle that can disable a gene involved in many forms of addiction.

The team of researchers has discovered a way to "turn off" the signal sent by the brain protein DARPP-32 neurons, which indicates the drug addiction. The short interfering ribonucleic acids (siRNA), cellular components were fixed on nanoparticels of gold using nano-rods.

Modified and stabilized, these bars microscopic penetrate better into the cells. In the case of siRNA, the nano-bar may carry 40% of the acid through the blood-brain barrier, a result judged very high by the researchers. The "nano-bar complex siRNA" is able to extinguish the signal of the gene, remain stable and cross this barrier without being affected in its effectiveness.

This technique could allow the treatment of addiction. In vivo tests should be made in the hope of adding a new pharmaceutical agent to the existing arsenal in the fight against addiction. It could also be applied to Parkinson's disease, cancer and, in general, any condition requiring medication administration in the brain.

More information:
See the paper, Nanotechnology approach for drug addiction therapy: Gene silencing using delivery of gold nanorod-siRNA nanoplex in dopaminergic neurons , in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.


Human Stem Cells Free Of Foreign DNA
U.S. researchers have developed a method to produce human induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, which contain no foreign, potentially harmful DNA. The report of this work are published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

Stem cells are induced pluripotent human adult cells that were "reprogrammed" into embryonic stem cells.

This result is important for the use of these cells in basic research in biology and is a key step in view of producing induced pluripotent stem cells used in medical therapy without the risk that elements inserted into their genome interfere with the development normal cell. When researchers in the early days reprogrammed adult and fetal cells so they become induced pluripotent stem cells, they used viruses to insert the processed key genes in the nucleus can trigger the reprogramming process.

Jungying Yu and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) now describe an alternative to this approach. They added genes to circular DNA fragments called plasmids generally independent of cellular chromosomes. Then they introduced the plasmids into human foreskin cells by a process called nucleofection. The proteins expressed by genes carried by plasmids were then able to reprogram cells into iPS cells. Finally, the iPS cells began to lose their plasmid during cell division and researchers were then able to isolate which carried no more.

In their article, the authors state that other teams have recently reported methods with the same objective, but that their process is currently the only producing iPS completely devoid of human vectors and transgenic sequences.
Article: Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Free of Vector and Transgene Sequences
Authors: Junying Yu, Kejin Hu, Kim Smuga-Otto, Shulan Tian, Ron Stewart, Igor I. Slukvin, James A. Thomson
Journal Publication: Science
Source: EurekAlert
Credit: UW-Madison



Therapeutic Cloning Has Cured Parkinson's Disease In Mice
U.S. researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York) have successfully treated Parkinson's disease in mice through therapeutic cloning. The discovery is published in the medical journal Nature Medicine.

Therapeutic cloning or "nuclear transfer of somatic cells (SCNT)” involves inserting the nucleus of a differentiated somatic cell donor to a recipient enucleated oocyte.

This cell develops to the blastocyst stage from which to isolate embryonic stem cells (ES) which themselves can be differentiated cell lines defined. The cells obtained are genetically identical to the donor, they are therefore spared by the immune system and thus avoiding the problems of rejection.

This new study shows that therapeutic cloning can treat Parkinson's disease in mice. Researchers have taken skin cells from the tail of the animal to obtain dopaminergic neurons (nerve cells damaged in disease Parkinson) called autologous (from the same organism and transplant this one). The mouse model of Parkinson's disease who received these neurons presented a consistent neurological improvement. In contrast, when neurons were transplanted in an animal not compatible, the cells did not survive and the animal showed no sign of improvement.

Source: Nature Medicine, Eurekalert



Gene Therapy Shows Promising Results Against HIV
The uses gene therapy to treat HIV patients shows promising results in clinical trial phase 2.

The results on 74 volunteers show that the technique is safe and has reduced the effects of viruses on the immune system. The research was conducted by the University of California (USA) and results are published in the medical journal Nature Medicine.

Gene therapy could theoretically afford to replace it with a single treatment the anti-viral combination therapies administered to HIV-positive life.

The team led by Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu, University of California at Los Angeles (USA) conducted the test on 74 volunteers infected with HIV. These were divided into two groups by drawing lots.

Stem Cells
Patients were well received either placebo or blood stem cells carrying a molecule called "OZ1", a kind of enzyme ( "ribozime"), designed to prevent viral replication by targeting two proteins of the virus for its proliferation .

The use of blood stem cells is to ensure future generations of cells containing the same genetic program modified for therapeutic purposes.

The molecule OZ1 did not cause any unwanted side effects during the trial.

After 48 weeks, no statistical difference in viral load (concentration of virus in the blood) between the two groups. After 100 weeks, the number of CD4 +-cells, which decreases immune from the virus - was higher in the group treated with gene therapy than in placebo.

According to Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu

"Gene therapy is a treatment that is administered only once and allow the body to defend themselves against the virus without the ongoing contribution of anti-viral field. "

"The treatment is far from perfect and is not as effective as anti-viral therapies, but the current study is a proof of concept, that advertise and administer a single gene in the patient's stem cells that reinjected it into the blood reduces virus replication. "

A long-term monitoring would still be necessary, according to Dr. Mitsuyasu, to ensure that there is no danger to the patient.

Source: University of California - Los Angeles

Large Quantity Of Laboratory Stem Cells Produced From Small Number Of Blood Stem Cells

Large Quantity Of Laboratory Stem Cells Produced From Small Number Of Blood Stem Cells
A team from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), University of Montreal has managed to produce a large quantity of laboratory stem cells from a small number of blood stem cells obtained from bone marrow.

The multidisciplinary team headed by Dr.Guy Sauvageau did so a giant step towards the development of a revolutionary treatment using stem cells. This world premiere will advance research on stem cells and could have important implications in several areas for which there is currently no treatment.

Each year in North America, nearly four thousand people waiting in vain for a bone marrow transplant due to lack of compatible donor. We know that stem cell transplantation of bone marrow can be used to reconstitute the bone marrow recipient. The main difficulty is to obtain a sufficient number of stem cells compatible. Thanks to Dr. Sauvageau and his team a few years, these patients may get a new bone marrow.

"This could include grafting all adults from the existing banks of umbilical cord blood, including stem cell content is currently limiting the widespread use in adults," says Dr. Sauvageau.

Organ transplants without side effects: the medicine of the future?
Currently, transplant recipients are condemned to take medication against rejection of the transplanted organ to suffer side effects throughout their lives. However,

"There are studies in mice showing that stem cells from bone marrow can prevent rejection typically directed against solid organs," says Dr. Sauvageau.

Rejection occurs because the immune cells, produced by the bone marrow, attack the transplanted organ as if it were an invader. By extrapolation from laboratory studies, it is likely that grafting of hematopoietic stem cells taken from the donor organ and developed in the laboratory would prevent rejection of organ. Hence the importance of having large amounts of hematopoietic stem cells thereby is able to combine stem cells compatible with the organ transplant.

Proteins multiplying stem cells
To produce large quantities of hematopoietic stem cells in the laboratory, the team of Dr. Sauvageau has identified ten proteins from seven hundred candidates. These ten proteins are naturally present within the hematopoietic stem cells. And researchers can use each to force these cells to multiply in the laboratory.

"The next step is to verify if this also works in humans. And everything is already in place “Guy Sauvageau resumed.

These tests will be conducted at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont in Montreal, one of the leading centres in the country where stem cells transplants are performed.

"If one of the ten proteins can increase hematopoietic stem cells in humans, then we can obtain the quantities of cells needed to perform transplants. And then it will be "mission accomplished.”

Many researchers around the world are now trying to harness the regenerative power of other types of stem cells to treat diseases like Alzheimer's or diabetes. The research team IRIC could also help them reach their goal.

The work of the team of Dr. Sauvageau has been funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research of Canada and the results are published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell dated April 17. (Reference below)
Article: A Functional Screen to Identify Novel Effectors of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Activity
Journal Publication: Cell



A Protein To The Regeneration Of The Kidney
Spain - A team from the Spanish Research Network failure (REDinREN) was able to establish why the kidney is able to grow significantly to offset the loss of another kidney, due to illness, accident or of organ donation.

The team of Dr. Ortiz de Jimenez Diaz Foundation in Madrid has seen, in mice, only 2 to 4 hours after removal of both kidneys, a receptor on the cell surface of the remaining kidney and Tweak protein coupled receptor that is growing.

Tests on mice genetically modified to lack the protein Tweak, indicate a virtual absence of the phenomenon of growth of the kidney remaining after removal of the other. If we inject these animals the missing protein, growth returns to normal kidney.

REDinREN was therefore associated with U.S. companies producing Tweak for tests on human patients. In the case of ablation, the remaining kidney would grow easier. In the case of damage to a kidney regeneration it would be easier.

If Tweak promotes the proliferation of kidney cells, it also accelerates the development of tumor cells. The development of antibodies will be necessary for the development of a treatment or even the creation of kidneys in vitro from stem cells.



The Infertile Obese Women Explained ?
Australia - Dr Robk University of Adelaide have found the reason for infertility in obese women.

By studying cases of ninety-six women seeking assistance for reproduction in a private clinic between February 2006 and April 2007, Dr. Robk could target an alteration of the ovaries in obese patients, tainting their eggs are unable to into embryos.

Obese women, even young and with regular menstrual cycles, take longer to conceive. Dr. Robk wanted to understand whether environmental degradation of the egg can contribute. His study found that "obese women have a high fat and inflammation in the fluid surrounding the egg, which may affect the development of the latter".

These are fats that alter the egg and are therefore harmful to its development. Inflammation would also jeopardize the survival of the embryo formed. These findings were confirmed by measurements of levels of hormones and metabolites content in the follicular fluid of ovarian cancer patients (accumulation of cells in the ovaries).

Dr. Robk concluded: "Obesity is known to change the fat into the bloodstream and cause inflammation that affects the overall health of a person". Our research shows that obesity is also changing the environment of the ovary which nourishes the developing ova.



Stimulators Of Ovulation Do Not Increase Cancer Risk
Denmark - ovulation induction, used in the treatment of female infertility, would not affect cancer risk, according to a study conducted by Professor Jensen.

The study was conducted among 50,000 women with infertility problems to show the link between this type of treatment and cancer risk. By comparing the number of ovarian cancer in women who used to induce ovulation than women who had never taken the team of Prof. Jensen has found no additional risk to the first group women.

Infertility is often caused by a hormonal imbalance that disturbs the production of eggs on a regular basis. The ovulation-inducing drugs stimulate the ovaries to increase chances of ovulation. But this weakens the ovarian stimulation that cannot heal properly after egg production.

The study, however, must be refined with advancing age in women followed since age 60 is the age where occur most of the major cancers and that many women have not followed this age.

The inductions of ovulation are very effective and would be responsible for the increase in multiple pregnancies.



Infertility Due To Changes In Reproductive Organs?
Israel - Dr Hasson of the University of Tel Aviv issued a new theory about the declining fertility of human couples. The evolution of reproductive organs would make sperm more aggressive face of ova more protectionist.

To Dr. Hasson, thousands of years of evolution have altered the complementarity of the reproductive organs of men and women. "The rate of human infertility is much higher than expected. At present, developments should have improved our success rate. Something else happens," says he.

For thousands of years, women's bodies has forced the sperm to be more competitive and therefore more aggressive. But this aggressiveness alters the blocking process that occurs when the egg is fertilized by one sperm.

The new force of sperm that the blocking process has no time to implement and a second sperm can enter the egg. The egg is then destroyed by the polyspermy and fertilization stopped.

"To avoid the fatal consequences of polyspermy, female reproductive tract has evolved to become a formidable barrier to sperm". This fuels an arms race "between the sexes that causes the decline of fertility," describes Dr. Hasson.

An estimated 10% of couples experiencing fertility problems. The lifestyle and environmental causes are often cited to justify this reduction.


Important Step Towards Cure Diabetes Through Embryonic Stem Cells
American researchers have managed to make embryonic stem cells behave as cells of the pancreas can produce insulin. Published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, this study marks an important step in using stem cells to treat diabetes.

Treating diabetes is a promise based on embryonic stem cells, scientists are trying to actually find a formula to transform embryonic stem cells into pancreatic beta cells, these cells produce insulin in response to the presence of sugar in the blood, they are defective or absent in patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. This feat would allow patients to produce insulin again, but researchers have not succeeded so far.

However, Dr. Emmanuel Baetge and colleagues at the biotech company Novocell of San Diego (California) managed to make embryonic stem cells behave like pancreatic beta cells in mice. For years this group has indeed tried, using the same factors that induce pancreas development in the embryo, transform embryonic stem cells into pancreatic cells in a petridish. They had previously reported that they were able to obtain insulin-secreting cells but these cells do not respond to the presence of glucose, gold is an essential characteristic of pancreatic beta cells.

The researchers then stepped back and instead of trying to obtain mature pancreatic cells cultured in a petridish, they used cells "immature" still under development. These immature cells called the endoderm are equivalent to cells of the pancreas of an embryo aged 6 to 9 weeks. They transplanted these human stem cells that had not completed their development in a mouse, hoping the animal would produce the missing factors to complete the development of the organ. One month after transplantation the researchers were able to detect C-peptide of human origin (this protein is a derivative of insulin production). Two months after transplantation, the mice increased the production of human C-peptide response to glucose, demonstrating thsat the transplanted cells were indeed functional. Finally the researchers damaged beta cells of mice with a toxin. This treatment usually makes the diabetic mice, except that in this case the mouse does not become diabetic showing that the transplanted cells could replace pancreatic beta cells defective.

Other researchers working in this field readily acknowledge that this study is a breakthrough in the fight against diabetes. Dr. Baetge moreover said that the company Novocell was in contact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the U.S. authority responsible for regulating food and drug) to determine what additional security tests were needed before proceeding clinical trials on humans.

Dr. Teresa Ku of the Beckman Research Institute in Duarte (California) who also works in this area recognizes that this work is very important in this research field. She said the best solution would be to achieve fully differentiated cells in a culture dish.

Source: ScienceNOW Daily News



Cure Diabetes : Hope To Transplant Pancreatic Cells
U.S. researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have developed a technique for transplanting pancreatic cells secreting insulin, which causes only a very moderate response of the immune system. This discovery could have important repercussions on how to treat type 1 diabetes. This work was published in the online version of the journal Gene Therapy.

The type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease incurable. In patients suffering from this disease, the immune system attacks the beta cells producing insulin in the pancreas. Insulin helps to lower blood glucose (sugar) in blood. People with type 1 diabetes must constantly monitor their blood sugar and need daily injections of insulin.

Transplantation of pancreatic cells represents a promising alternative. Cells taken from deceased donors are injected into the patient. These new cells replace destroyed cells. The disadvantage of this method is that patients must take powerful immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection. Most transplant patients still end up rejecting the transplanted cells.

In this study the researchers have successfully transplanted cells make invisible recipient's immune system and protecting the rejection. They managed this by using the natural usability of a virus (adenovirus) to escape the immune system. Pancreatic cells producing insulin were transfect with three genes of adenovirus.

These modified cells were then transplanted to diabetic mice. These transplanted mice were able to maintain glucose levels in normal blood until three months after transplantation. In normal cells grafted restore normal blood sugar levels but only for a few days.

Professor Harris Goldstein, who is the principal investigator of the study, acknowledges that the concept is valid but admits he must improve technology in achieving a combination of all genes that prevent rejection.

Source: EurekAlert



Life appeared on Earth there are 3.5 million years. Primitive organic molecules were transferred into organic molecules, with a favourable composition of atmospheric gases. They then evolved into cells, organism’s basic living world. Therefore, living beings have been born through protein synthesis, carried out by RNA enzymes, and multicellular organization, permitted by the system of duplication.

The life of a person, animal or plant, is punctuated by inevitable stages during its formation and its existence. It starts with fertilization, natural process made possible by the encounter of a male gamete and a female gamete. The embryo thus formed grows, and becomes a fetus as it grows. At birth, he takes his status of being alive and going through new phases: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age and death. Sociologists have also developed theories based on different life stages of an individual to describe his lifestyle and needs. Furthermore, the concept of life is very important in philosophy and in certain religious principles, so that its interruption by death remains a taboo in our society.

Biologically, life is defined by the presence in an individual function to its growth, motility, reproduction, but also metabolism, consumption and transformation of energy and a spontaneous response to external stimuli. The life support resides in cell division. There are indeed in a cell, the genetic material that encodes the different characteristics of a living being. It is carried by genes, arranged on chromosomes, consisting of DNA.

Actions that govern human life have been studied by scientists seeking to understand and reproduce the behaviour. Thus, the first artificial living beings were created in the 40s, and are in fact robots capable of performing mechanical actions. The robots first appeared shortly after and the concepts of artificial intelligence with them, since the best machines have programs that allow them to chain movements and react to certain environmental changes.

Moreover, researchers have identified the process of formation of life. They are now able to create beings perfectly viable, similar to natural individuals. Cloning techniques have been implemented. They are based on very sophisticated biological techniques, which use the genetic material of a cell, which can be modified to give birth to an individual with characteristics chosen. These processes are still exposed by ethics, since they constitute a challenge to the spontaneity of nature and the random creation of living beings.



A Molecule of Life Found In a Comet
United States - U.S. researchers have discovered in samples of dust from comet Wild 2, traces of glycine, the basic component of proteins necessary for life on earth.

"Our discovery strengthens the theory that some of the basic elements of life were formed in space and were projected on the Earth long ago by impacts of meteorites and comets" said Jamie Elsila researcher center of NASA Goddard, in a statement.

In 2004, the U.S. probe Stardust was sent to less than 250 km from the comet Wild 2 to draw, with panels containing airgel, cometary dust, which were then enclosed in a capsule and parachuted to Earth in January 2006.

After studying these samples, U.S. researchers have discovered the presence of glycine, "an amino acid used by organisms to make proteins" and hence essential to the emergence of life on Earth.

"The discovery of glycine in a comet reinforces the idea that the basic bricks of life are common in space, and underpins the argument that life could be much more widespread in the universe than is think" said Carl Pilcher, director of the Astrobiology Institute of NASA.

After many months of research, the Center Goddard says that the presence of this amino acid on the comet Wild 2 is not due to terrestrial contamination; glycine would therefore be of extraterrestrial origin. This finding reinforces the theory that the first amino acids have arrived on Earth with meteorites or comets, and therefore could allow the emergence of life on other planets.



Discovery Of A Gene Involved In Hair Loss
Tokyo, Japan - Scientists have identified a gene linked to hair loss. This study could enable the development of new treatments against baldness and anticipation of hair loss among young men.

The gene Sox21 had already been linked to the formation of nerve cells, but this new study seems to reveal that he also maintains the hair. This discovery could help scientists for developing new treatments.

Researchers have uncovered its properties in experiments conducted on mice which also carry this gene. They blocked the activity of the gene in mice and found that the rodents began to lose their hair from his head about 15 days after birth, before ending up completely naked in a few weeks. "It is quite possible that the gene is also due to partial baldness in humans," said Dr. Yumiko Saga, National Institute of Genetics, Tokyo.

Hair has a growth phase very long, 2 years or more, followed by a short resting phase two or three months. But when some men get older, this pattern is reversed to the point that sometimes the resting phase is so long that new hair does not grow and therefore can not replace 100 to 150 hairs lost daily. Japanese researchers believe the gene Sox21 governs this cycle.

Dr. Bessam Farjo, medical director of the Institute of Trichology, thinks this study could help find a treatment against hair loss. The study says "It will also target men may lose their hair so that we can treat them before it happens". At the moment there is no cure but instead of pills or lotions preventive facilitate regrowth. At the age of 60 years, over two thirds of men are affected by hair loss.


Hope In The Fight Against HIV !
Genetics HIV, disease or human immunodeficiency, will be about a watershed: Two cases of patients infected with HIV excitement among scientists, genetics and there would be no stranger.

In Germany, a man with HIV has undergone a bone marrow transplant, and since doctors found no trace of infection. An American, reached by HIV for 10 years, has undergone a bone marrow transplant with strains deemed resistant to HIV treatment for his leukemia, and also among doctors observed a disappearance of the infection, and this for two years and a cure for his leukemia.

The gene is the cause of these disappearances "miracle" of infection: the mutant gene CCR-5 was identified as resistant to HIV, the donor bone marrow carries this gene.

Canadian scientists have isolated genes that could prevent HIV infection, which reinforces the idea that genetics could help stem the epidemic.



Why Our Genes Are Also Aging ?
Certainly, we see our skin wrinkle, reducing our physical potential, but why our gene activity is reduced with age it? New research has shown that a protein best known for his role in increasing life during a low calorie diet, also maintains the stability of the mammalian genome.

This protein is called SIRT1 and works by keeping certain genes turned on or off. When the DNA begins to be damaged, the protein SIRT1 are expected to leave their posts and work to repair DNA. Change Working SIRT1 with age that gene activity changes.

Researchers have seen in the brains of mice and also in other tissues. When the protein SIRT1 do more work, gene activity is "almost anything". This brings hope that we can find a way to "turn the tide" and make sure to replenish the protein SIRT1.

An interesting thing to note in the context of this genetic research is the strong resemblance between what happens in yeast and mammals. This is very encouraging for progress in this field.

Sources: Imaginascience, Sciencentric



The p53 Gene Provide Protection Against Cancer
Genetic Scientists claim to have discovered a missing link which explains how a cell works to defend against cancer. This would be the p53 gene with the capacity to block or not the development of cancerous tumors. This discovery is a good step in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer.

This research has just been published in "Genes and Development" and was conducted by scientists in Singapore and the University of Dundee in Scotland.

The p53 gene was found there a little over 30 years and plays a crucial role in maintaining our body, ordering the damaged cells to "commit suicide" or stop dividing, thus stopping the spread of a cell potentially cancerous. In more than half of all cancers, this gene is damaged or inactive, leaving the path wide open for the development of cancerous cells.

In the latest research, scientists used a genetic turn to turn green zebra fish with their p53 gene was active. What researchers found is that in addition to creating the protein p53, the p53 gene produces a protein isoform that acts as switches as alternative and complementary to the p53 protein.

The zebrafish shares the p53 gene with the human

Normally, the zebra fish can survive with low doses of radiation since the presence of active p53 gene stops the multiplication of cells whose DNA is damaged. What scientists have observed is that the zebra fish without "switch alternative" died as a result of exposure to radiation.

This breakthrough in the fight against cancer is very important because understanding how cells react when in the presence of cancer cells is crucial. It is clear that the p53 gene plays an important role in controlling cancer development.

Source: BBC News


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