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New model could improve vaccine, immunotherapy design
October 28, 2020 -- A new model used to predict the outcomes of pathogen detection systems as a function of innate immunity may lead to more effective cancer immunotherapies and vaccines against existing and novel pathogens, according to results published in Cell Systems on October 27.  Discuss
Deep-learning approach easily identifies druggable protein sites
October 27, 2020 -- A deep-learning algorithm was able to automatically identify binding sites on proteins that could be good targets for drug candidates, according to research published October 27 in Communications Biology. The algorithm, called Binding Site Neural Network (BiteNet), could help researchers sort through the almost 20,000 proteins in the human genome to find the ones that are most promising.  Discuss
New COVID-19 immunogen could help with early diagnosis
October 26, 2020 -- A new assay that detects the unique SARS-CoV-2 orf8 protein in the sera of COVID-19 patients in the early stage of the infection is a strategic step in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research published online October 20 in mBio.  Discuss
Patient-specific airway stem cells developed to model lung diseases
October 26, 2020 -- Researchers have successfully created airway basal stem cells in vitro from induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can be used to study acquired and genetic airway diseases, according to an article published in Cell Stem Cell on October 23.  Discuss
Who should get the 1st COVID-19 vaccines?
October 26, 2020 -- Once a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be administered to the public, who should receive it first, given that its supply will be initially limited? A new perspective published in Science on October 21 fleshes out different COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategies that would ensure optimal protection from the disease under conditions of vaccine scarcity.  Discuss
Researchers identify 'ancient' DNA weapons against cancer
October 22, 2020 -- Researchers have identified silent ancient DNA elements buried in the human genome that when "reactivated" can initiate an immune response toward cancer cells. They also identified a key enzyme, normally used by cancer cells to evade immune responses, that can be leveraged against them. The research was published in Nature on October 21.  Discuss
Researchers discover important 2nd SARS-CoV-2 receptor
October 21, 2020 -- Researchers have identified a second receptor that might be important in SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, according to a new report published in Science on October 20. This cofactor helps facilitate virus-host cell interactions in cells with low levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, the primary receptor on host cells, and might explain the increased pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2.  Discuss
A 'Pac-Man' like CRISPR system could enable larger gene edits
October 20, 2020 -- 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
October 19, 2020 -- 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
New methods could improve AAV quality for viral vector manufacturing
October 16, 2020 -- Developing well-characterized adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) is a significant obstacle for the biomanufacturing industry. A group of analytical researchers is trying to overcome this challenge by developing novel analytical methodology specifically designed for AAVs.  Discuss
How are asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers different from symptomatic patients?
October 15, 2020 -- A new retrospective study reveals that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients may have higher levels of lymphocytes, specifically T cells, compared to symptomatic COVID-19 patients despite carrying similar viral loads. The results were published in mSphere on October 7.  Discuss
New method reclaims resolution of single-cell RNA-seq
October 14, 2020 -- A new approach to RNA sequencing can enable scientists to extract 10 times more information from a single cell, including gene expression and subtle differences between healthy and diseased cells. The study, published in Immunity on October 13, reveals the power of the improved Seq-Well method and provides evidence of its efficacy in five inflammatory skin diseases.  Discuss
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