Biotechnology cancer Gene Therapy rare diseases

IU Advances Fight Against Hepatitis B with ‘Virus-Cracking’ Molecules

Indiana University researchers have made an important step forward in the design of drugs that fight the hepatitis B virus, which can cause liver failure and liver cancer. It's estimated that 2 billion people worldwide have had a hepatitis B virus infection in their lifetime, with about 250 million -- including 2 million Americans -- living with chronic infection. Although a vaccine exists, there is no cure. The study, published Jan.
Biotechnology cancer Clinical Trials Immunotherapies

For cancer patients with HIV, immunotherapy appears safe

A new category of immunotherapies called checkpoint inhibitors that has been highly effective against many different cancers appears safe to use in patients with both advanced malignancies and HIV, a population excluded from earlier trials of such therapies, according to an early-phase trial. Study Principal Investigator, Dr. Thomas Uldrick of the HIV & AIDS Malignancy Branch at the National Cancer Institute, will present late breaking results from the first 17
Biotechnology Prodrug rare diseases Vaccines

Zika Virus Protein Mapped to Speed Search for Cure

A recently-published study shows how Indiana University scientists are speeding the path to new treatments for the Zika virus, an infectious disease linked to birth defects in infants in South and Central America and the United States. Cheng Kao, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, has mapped a key protein that causes the virus to reproduce and spread. "Mapping
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How Prenatal Maternal Infections May Affect Genetic Factors in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researchers find activation of maternal immune system during pregnancy disrupts expression of key genes and processes associated with autism and prenatal brain development For some infections, such as Zika, the virus passes through the placenta and directly attacks the fetus. For others, such as the H1N1 influenza, the virus induces maternal immune activation (MIA) by triggering a woman’s immune system during pregnancy. Both Zika and MIA mechanisms may lead to
Cell Therapy Genomes Vaccines

Cytomegalovirus Infection Relies On Human RNA-Binding Protein

Viruses hijack the molecular machinery in human cells to survive and replicate, often damaging those host cells in the process. Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine discovered that, for cytomegalovirus (CMV), this process relies on a human protein called CPEB1. The study, published October 24 inNature Structural and Molecular Biology, provides a potential new target for the development of CMV therapies. “We found that CPEB1,
Vaccines

Neurodevelopmental Model Of Zika May Provide Rapid Answers

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a rare birth defect linked to the Zika virus, now alarming health experts worldwide. The team, led by Forrest Goodfellow, a graduate student in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, developed a neurodevelopmental chick model that could
cancer Cancer Discovery Cell Therapy Vaccines

UMN researchers find distinct differences in structure, features of retroviruses

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers in the Institute for Molecular Virology and School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota report that most types of retroviruses have distinct, non-identical virus structures. Researchers analyzed seven different retroviruses including two types of HIV as well as HTLV-1, a virus that causes T-cell leukemia. They also examined retroviruses that infect birds, mice, chimpanzees and fish, that can cause cancer
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A New Way to Nip AIDS in the Bud

When new AIDS virus particles bud from an infected cell, an enzyme named protease activates to help the viruses mature and infect more cells. That’s why modern AIDS drugs control the disease by inhibiting protease. Now, University of Utah researchers found a way to turn protease into a double-edged sword: They showed that if they delay the budding of new HIV particles, protease itself will destroy the virus instead of