Immunology
A CRISPR on-off switch for genes controls expression without altering DNA
A new gene silencing tool allows scientists to switch genes on and off without altering genetic sequences. The tool, described in a paper published in Cell on April 9, uses a modified CRISPR-Cas9 system to introduce reversible epigenetic changes that control gene expression. Read More
BioTools Innovator seeks to boost startups developing life science tools
BioTools Innovator is calling for applications to its inaugural competition to advance innovation by accelerating the growth of startups developing life science tools. Kathryn Zavala, PhD, managing director, recently discussed the program with ScienceBoard.net. Read More
Will preprints have a lasting effect on publishing beyond COVID-19?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, 25% of all COVID-19-related scientific manuscripts were shared on preprint servers, a steep increase from previous usage and relative to traditional peer-review journals. An international team of researchers explored the critical role of preprint servers in disseminating epidemic-related information in an article published in PLOS Biology on April 2. Read More
2nd-gen stem cell-derived CAR gene therapy is more durable, effective against HIV
A novel second-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based approach targeting HIV infection using the genetic modification of hematopoietic stem cells shows promise in preclinical models. The details of the study were published in PLOS Pathogens on April 1. Read More
Cancer anti-inflammatory drug has potential to treat severe COVID-19
A new study provides evidence that an inexpensive clinical-grade inhibitor that's already approved to treat cancer, called topotecan, can be used to treat severe COVID-19, even in the late stages of the disease. The findings were published in Cell on March 30. Read More
Scientists connect gene to cancer metastasis for the first time
Researchers have identified new functionality of a previously underappreciated gene, leucine-rich repeat neuronal 4 C-terminal like (LRRN4CL), which is overexpressed in melanoma cells. They believe LRRN4CL plays an important role in cancer metastasis to the lungs and describe their findings in Communications Biology on March 23. Read More
Scientists develop ultraspecific CAR T cells that kill only cancer cells
Scientists have devised a two-step engineering circuit that precisely targets solid tumors with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. The engineering feat could be the next step in treating solid tumors using therapeutic T cells, a treatment that has remained out of reach for many cancer patients. The new method was detailed in a Science article on March 12. Read More
What pregnant women need to know about COVID vaccines
Addressing questions about COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant and postpartum women, a leading maternal-fetal medicine specialist explained that it's likely best to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. Read More
SARS-CoV-2 PLpro enzyme may be an effective COVID-19 drug target
A coronavirus enzyme called papain-like protease (PLpro) that's capable of blocking host innate immune responses during infection may be an attractive COVID-19 target for therapy drug candidates, according to a new study published March 16 in Nature Microbiology. Read More
New intestine chips promote precision in preclinical models
A new intestine-on-a-chip platform enables researchers to model host-microbiome relationships to gain new insights into the mechanisms of infectious disease in the body, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infectious Microbiology on March 12. Read More
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