Caterpillar could be a solution to plastic pollution

| April 25, 2017

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Scientists have found that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene: one of the toughest and most used plastics, frequently found clogging up landfill sites in the form of plastic shopping bags.

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Vericel Corporation

Founded in 1989, Vericel (formerly Aastrom Biosciences), is dedicated to the development of patient-specific expanded cellular therapies for use in the treatment of patients with severe diseases and conditions. The company markets two cell therapy products in the United States, Carticel® (autologous cultured chondrocytes), an autologous chondrocyte implant for the treatment of cartilage defects in the knee and Epicel® (cultured epidermal autografts), a permanent skin replacement for the treatment of patients with deep dermal or full thickness burns greater than or equal to 30% of total body surface area. Vericel is also developing MACI, a third-generation autologous chondrocyte implant for the treatment of cartilage defects in the knee, and ixmyelocel-T, a patient specific multicellular therapy for the treatment of advanced heart failure due to ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

OTHER ARTICLES

Learning How FoxA2 Helps Turn Stem Cells into Organs

Article | March 18, 2020

Scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discovered early on in each cell, FoxA2 simultaneously binds to both the chromosomal proteins and the DNA, opening the flood gates for gene activation. The discovery, “Gene network transitions in embryos depend upon interactions between a pioneer transcription factor and core histones,” published in Nature Genetics, helps untangle mysteries of how embryonic stem cells develop into organs, according to the researchers. “Gene network transitions in embryos and other fate-changing contexts involve combinations of transcription factors. A subset of fate-changing transcription factors act as pioneers; they scan and target nucleosomal DNA and initiate cooperative events that can open the local chromatin. However, a gap has remained in understanding how molecular interactions with the nucleosome contribute to the chromatin-opening phenomenon,” write the investigators.

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Better Purification and Recovery in Bioprocessing

Article | August 2, 2021

In the downstream portion of any bioprocess, one must pick through the dross before one can seize the gold the biotherapeutic that the bioprocess was always meant to generate. Unfortunately, the dross is both voluminous and various. And the biotherapeutic gold, unlike real gold, is corruptible. That is, it can suffer structural damage and activity loss. When discarding the dross and collecting the gold, bioprocessors must be efficient and gentle. They must, to the extent possible, eliminate contaminants and organic debris while ensuring that biotherapeutics avoid aggregation-inducing stresses and retain their integrity during purification and recovery. Anything less compromises purity and reduces yield. To purify and recover biotherapeutics efficiently and gently, bioprocessors must avail themselves of the most appropriate tools and techniques. Here, we talk with several experts about which tools and techniques can help bioprocessors overcome persistent challenges. Some of these experts also touch on new approaches that can help bioprocessors address emerging challenges.

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Closing bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome using long-read sequencing

Article | February 12, 2020

In our lab, we focus on the impact of the gut microbiome on human health and disease. To evaluate this relationship, it’s important to understand the particular functions that different bacteria have. As bacteria are able to exchange, duplicate, and rearrange their genes in ways that directly affect their phenotypes, complete bacterial genomes assembled directly from human samples are essential to understand the strain variation and potential functions of the bacteria we host. Advances in the microbiome space have allowed for the de novo assembly of microbial genomes directly from metagenomes via short-read sequencing, assembly of reads into contigs, and binning of contigs into putative genome drafts. This is advantageous because it allows us to discover microbes without culturing them, directly from human samples and without reference databases. In the past year, there have been a number of tour de force efforts to broadly characterize the human gut microbiota through the creation of such metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs)[1–4]. These works have produced hundreds of thousands of microbial genomes that vastly increase our understanding of the human gut. However, challenges in the assembly of short reads has limited our ability to correctly assemble repeated genomic elements and place them into genomic context. Thus, existing MAGs are often fragmented and do not include mobile genetic elements, 16S rRNA sequences, and other elements that are repeated or have high identity within and across bacterial genomes.

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Defense biotech research looks to eliminate bacteria causing traveler’s diarrhea, reduce jet lag duration

Article | April 9, 2020

World traveler‘s will rejoice at the idea of a seemingly magical device that would guarantee they never suffer from the all-too-familiar stomach issues that come from traveling internationally while reducing jet lag at the same time. But it’s not just privileged globetrotters that would benefit from a device that eliminates the bacteria associated with the so-called Montezuma’s Revenge. In 2016, more than 230,000 children around the world died from some of the same types of bacteria as those that cause traveler’s diarrhea, and the bacteria mainly come from unsafe “drinking water, poor sanitation and malnutrition,” according to Oxford University’s Our World In Data portal. On Monday, DARPA announced it was researching an “implantable or ingestible bioelectronic carrier” that would eliminate the five major bacteria associated with traveler’s diarrhea.

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Spotlight

Vericel Corporation

Founded in 1989, Vericel (formerly Aastrom Biosciences), is dedicated to the development of patient-specific expanded cellular therapies for use in the treatment of patients with severe diseases and conditions. The company markets two cell therapy products in the United States, Carticel® (autologous cultured chondrocytes), an autologous chondrocyte implant for the treatment of cartilage defects in the knee and Epicel® (cultured epidermal autografts), a permanent skin replacement for the treatment of patients with deep dermal or full thickness burns greater than or equal to 30% of total body surface area. Vericel is also developing MACI, a third-generation autologous chondrocyte implant for the treatment of cartilage defects in the knee, and ixmyelocel-T, a patient specific multicellular therapy for the treatment of advanced heart failure due to ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

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