Cell Biology
A 'Pac-Man' like CRISPR system could enable larger gene edits
A new CRISPR tool utilizes Cas3 to remove larger than normal stretches of DNA both quickly and accurately. The tool, described in an October 19 article in Nature Methods, could help fill a void in current gene editing capabilities.  Discuss
Validating drug repurposing workflows may help identify new COVID-19 treatments
A research team has strengthened COVID-19 drug repurposing workflows through independent in vitro validation followed by clinical pharmacology data assessments, with the goal of launching clinical studies of currently approved drugs. The protocol was published in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science on October 14.  Discuss
RNA targeting could prevent replication of SARS-CoV-2 virus
What if you could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from reproducing itself? Researchers from Florida hope to do just that by creating a compound that targets and binds to RNA regions on the SARS-CoV-2 genome and disrupts its replication. The research was described in a September 30 article published in ACS Central Science.  Discuss
New in vitro models reveal importance of lung stem cells in SARS-CoV-2 infection
Researchers have developed a new 2D lung organoid in vitro model as a physiologically relevant platform to aid drug development and explore the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Details were published online in Cell Stem Cell on September 18.  Discuss
New technique reins in inflammatory response of adjuvants
Adjuvants are often added to vaccines as a method for promoting an immune response in recipients. But what happens when that immune response goes haywire, causing too much inflammation? Researchers believe that adding an "immune potentiator" to adjuvants that strengthens the immune reaction and modulates excess inflammation could lead to vaccines that are better tolerated in humans, according to a September 9 article in Science Advances.  Discuss
Protein engineering creates highly potent experimental SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
A bioengineering technique that utilizes various naturally occurring sequences and de novo design of messenger RNA (mRNA) components was applied to develop an mRNA-based vaccine that could be highly effective against SARS-CoV-2, according to a new article published in Advanced Materials on September 2.  Discuss
New small-molecule drug targets hard-to-reach cancer-linked enzyme
Researchers have developed a new class of small-molecule drugs that show promise against a subset of pediatric leukemia with the NUP98-NSD1 chromosomal translocation. The findings were published in Nature Chemical Biology on August 31.  Discuss
SARS-CoV-2 spike protein hinges like leg joints to seek receptors
New research demonstrates that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein may be more flexible than previously thought, with hinges similar to leg joints to seek receptors on a host, according to a new article published in Science on August 18. Understanding molecular dynamics of how the spike protein functions could have implications in therapeutic and vaccine design.  Discuss
Microbe-based platform aims for sweet spot between biologics and gene therapy
A microbe-based therapeutics platform that has been in development for nearly 30 years is gaining traction for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The company that is developing the platform, Precigen ActoBio, is advancing a lead candidate through clinical trials with the long-term goal of finding a sweet spot between biologics and gene therapies.  Discuss
Can agtech infrastructure be redeployed for pandemic preparedness?
Marshalling research equipment and expertise of the world's agricultural technology (agtech) laboratories could protect against future pandemics or epidemics, according to a new article published in Nature Biotechnology.  Discuss
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