New Imaging Reveals Previously Unseen Vulnerabilities Of HIV

Imagine that HIV is a sealed tin can: if you opened it, what would you find inside? An international team led by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Melbourne think they know. For the first time, they have visualized what the “open can” of the human immunodeficiency virus looks like, revealing a previously unknown virus shape and a very detailed image of the vulnerabilities of the virus.
Published April 10 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe,  this major breakthrough was made possible through the use of a molecular “can opener” to expose parts of the virus envelope that can be targeted by antibodies.

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Bio-Link

Bio-Link is an Advanced Technology Education National Center of Excellence funded by the National Science Foundation. Our main offices are based at the City College of San Francisco, in San Francisco, CA.

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Expansion of BioPharma: Opportunities and Investments

Article | July 11, 2022

Biopharmaceutical innovations are among the most ingenious and refined achievements of modern medical science. New concepts, techniques, and therapies are emerging, such as the cell therapy Provenge, which can be used to treat cancer, and gene therapies, which provide even more amazing promises of disease remission and regenerative medicine. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge boom in the pharmaceutical industry. This is because more and more attention is being paid to increasing manufacturing capacity and starting new research on drug development. Biopharma: Leading the Way in the Pharma Sector In the past couple of years, the biopharmaceutical sector has deepened its roots across the medical and pharmaceutical industries, on account of the transformation of pharmaceutical companies towards biotechnology, creating opportunities for growth. Also, growing advancements in technologies such as 3D bioprinting, biosensors, and gene editing, along with the integration of advanced artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality are estimated to further create prospects for growth. According to a study, the biopharmaceutical sector makes nearly $163 billion around the world and grows by more than 8% each year, which is twice as fast as the traditional pharma sector. Massive Investments Directed Towards Biopharma Investing in biotech research and development (R&D) has yielded better returns than the pharma industry average. Hence, a number of pharmaceutical companies are shifting their presence toward biopharma to capitalize on the upcoming opportunities by investing in and expanding their biotechnology infrastructure. For instance, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., an American manufacturer of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, and software services, announced an investment of $97 million to expand its bioanalytical laboratory operations into three new locations in the U.S. With this investment, the company will add 150,000 square feet of scientific workspace and install the most advanced drug development technologies to produce life-changing medicines for patients in need.

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MedTech

Next-Gen Gene Therapy to Counter Complex Diseases

Article | October 7, 2022

Gene therapy has historically been used to treat disorders with in-depth knowledge caused by a single genetic mutation. Thanks to the introduction of new generation technologies, the potential of gene therapy is expanding tAo treat diseases that were previously untreatable. Evolution of Gene Therapy One of the major success stories of the twenty-first century has been gene therapy. However, it has not been the same in the past. The field's journey to this point has been long and mostly difficult, with both tragedy and triumph along the way. Initially, genetic disorders were thought to be untreatable and permanently carved into the genomes of individuals unfortunate enough to be born with them. But due to the constant technological advancement and research activities, gene therapy now has the potential to treat various genetic mutation-causing diseases with its ability to insert a new copy and replace faulty genes. Gene Therapy is Finding New Roads in the Medical Sector Gene therapy can help researchers treat a variety of conditions that fall under the general heading of epilepsy, instead of only focusing on a particular kind of disorder brought on by a genetic mutation. Following are some of the domains transformed by gene therapy. Neurology – Gene therapy can be used for the treatment of seizures by directly injecting it into the area causing an uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Furthermore, by using DNA sequences known as promoters, gene therapy can be restricted to specific neurons within that area. Ophthalmology – Genetic conditions such as blindness can be caused due to the mutation of any gene out of over 200 and resulting in progressive vision loss in children. With advanced gene therapies such as optogenetics, lost photoreceptor function can be transferred to the retinal cells, which are responsible for relaying visual information to the brain. This might give patients the ability to navigate in an unknown environment with a certain level of autonomy. The Future of Gene Therapy The news surrounding gene therapy has been largely favorable over the past few years, with treatment after treatment obtaining regulatory approvals, successful clinical trials, and garnering significant funds to begin development. With more than 1,000 clinical trials presently underway, the long-awaited gene therapy revolution might finally be here.

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MedTech

Better Purification and Recovery in Bioprocessing

Article | July 11, 2022

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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5 Biotech Stocks Winning the Coronavirus Race

Article | April 13, 2020

There are quite a few companies that have found ways to grow their business during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for a number of biotechs now working on developing a potential treatment for, or vaccine against, the virus; shares of such companies have largely surged over the past couple of months. Although many of these treatments and vaccines are still have quite a way to go before they're widely available, it's still worth taking some time to look through what's going on in the COVID-19 space right now. Here are five biotech stocks that are leading the way when it comes to addressing COVID-19. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) wasn't among the initial wave of companies to announce a potential COVID-19 drug. However, investor excitement quickly sent shares surging when the company announced that its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Kevzara, could help treat COVID-19 patients.

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Bio-Link

Bio-Link is an Advanced Technology Education National Center of Excellence funded by the National Science Foundation. Our main offices are based at the City College of San Francisco, in San Francisco, CA.

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DNA origami joins forces with molecular motors to build nanoscale machines

Scopeofbiotechnology | July 18, 2019

For decades, researchers have chased ways to study biological machines. Every mechanical movement from contracting a muscle to replicating DNA relies on molecular motors that take near undetectable steps. Trying to see them move is like trying to watch a soccer game taking place on the moon. Now, with DNA origami helicopters, researchers have captured the first recorded rotational steps of a molecular motor as it moved from one DNA base pair to another. Every year, robots get more and more life like. Solar-powered bees fly on lithe wings, humanoids stick backflips, and teams of soccer bots strategize how to dribble, pass, and score. And, the more researchers discover about how living creatures move, the more machines can imitate them all the way down to their smallest molecules. “We have these amazing machines already in our bodies, and they work so well,” said Pallav Kosuri. “We just don’t know exactly how they work.” For decades, researchers have chased ways to study how biological machines power living things. Every mechanical movement — from contracting a muscle to replicating DNA — relies on molecular motors that take tiny, near-undetectable steps. Trying to see them move is like trying to watch a soccer game taking place on the moon.

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Preclinical Study: Probiotic-Derived Molecule May Suppress Fatal Brain Inflammation

bioengineer | May 14, 2019

The existence of certain microorganisms in your gut may bolster the immune system’s ability to fend off a herpes viral attack that can cause fatal brain inflammation, reports a new City of Hope-led study. Researchers say the findings are the first to suggest that an envelope molecule from a bacterium called Bacteroides fragilis (B. fragilis) might be useful against viral inflammatory diseases. Called capsular polysaccharide A (PSA), the envelope molecule appears to promote protective, anti-inflammatory responses during a viral infection, said Ramakrishna Chandran, Ph.D., and Edouard Cantin, Ph.D., authors of the study and virology and immunology experts at City of Hope. “This mouse study shows that B. fragilis PSA can temper the immune system so that infection does not result in an uncontrolled, potentially fatal inflammatory response in the brain,” Cantin said. “Although herpes simplex encephalitis is a rare brain inflammation disorder, the lessons we learned here might, with more research, be applicable to other viral infections such as other herpesviruses, influenza virus, West Nile virus and maybe even viral respiratory diseases – conditions where inflammation begins to jeopardize the health of your body and brain function.” Herpes simplex encephalitis affects about 2,000 people in the United States each year and has a high mortality rate if symptoms are not recognized and patients aren’t treated promptly; survivors usually have serious neurological conditions. About 70% of untreated individuals die, according to multiple scientific reports.

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DNA origami joins forces with molecular motors to build nanoscale machines

Scopeofbiotechnology | July 18, 2019

For decades, researchers have chased ways to study biological machines. Every mechanical movement from contracting a muscle to replicating DNA relies on molecular motors that take near undetectable steps. Trying to see them move is like trying to watch a soccer game taking place on the moon. Now, with DNA origami helicopters, researchers have captured the first recorded rotational steps of a molecular motor as it moved from one DNA base pair to another. Every year, robots get more and more life like. Solar-powered bees fly on lithe wings, humanoids stick backflips, and teams of soccer bots strategize how to dribble, pass, and score. And, the more researchers discover about how living creatures move, the more machines can imitate them all the way down to their smallest molecules. “We have these amazing machines already in our bodies, and they work so well,” said Pallav Kosuri. “We just don’t know exactly how they work.” For decades, researchers have chased ways to study how biological machines power living things. Every mechanical movement — from contracting a muscle to replicating DNA — relies on molecular motors that take tiny, near-undetectable steps. Trying to see them move is like trying to watch a soccer game taking place on the moon.

Read More

Preclinical Study: Probiotic-Derived Molecule May Suppress Fatal Brain Inflammation

bioengineer | May 14, 2019

The existence of certain microorganisms in your gut may bolster the immune system’s ability to fend off a herpes viral attack that can cause fatal brain inflammation, reports a new City of Hope-led study. Researchers say the findings are the first to suggest that an envelope molecule from a bacterium called Bacteroides fragilis (B. fragilis) might be useful against viral inflammatory diseases. Called capsular polysaccharide A (PSA), the envelope molecule appears to promote protective, anti-inflammatory responses during a viral infection, said Ramakrishna Chandran, Ph.D., and Edouard Cantin, Ph.D., authors of the study and virology and immunology experts at City of Hope. “This mouse study shows that B. fragilis PSA can temper the immune system so that infection does not result in an uncontrolled, potentially fatal inflammatory response in the brain,” Cantin said. “Although herpes simplex encephalitis is a rare brain inflammation disorder, the lessons we learned here might, with more research, be applicable to other viral infections such as other herpesviruses, influenza virus, West Nile virus and maybe even viral respiratory diseases – conditions where inflammation begins to jeopardize the health of your body and brain function.” Herpes simplex encephalitis affects about 2,000 people in the United States each year and has a high mortality rate if symptoms are not recognized and patients aren’t treated promptly; survivors usually have serious neurological conditions. About 70% of untreated individuals die, according to multiple scientific reports.

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