Is a Low-Cost Blood Test for Alzheimers on the Horizon?

BioSpace | August 02, 2019

One of the many problems facing researchers working to develop treatments for Alzheimers disease is the lack of good diagnostic tests. Although there are some biomarkers, such as ApoE4, that show a connection to the disease, they are not reliable predictors or diagnoses. Even physician diagnosis is suspect some studies have shown that community doctors only diagnose Alzheimers accurately 50 to 60% of the time, which is roughly equivalent to a coin-toss. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a high-precision assay that can accurately identify amyloid in the brain using immunoprecipitation and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. One of the problems that immediately comes to mind about this test is the current unanswered questions about amyloid in the brain and its role in Alzheimer’s disease. For the last several decades, researchers have focused on clearing or preventing the accumulation of amyloid, a type of protein, from accumulating in the brain, because it was thought that the disease was caused by clumping of this protein. Unfortunately, most researchers have concluded that this is ineffective. Current thinking is that amyloid accumulation definitely plays a role in the disease, but in and of itself is not the cause of the disease. It is, however, a significant risk factor, and a blood test that can identify amyloid deposits before brain scans do would be beneficial for physicians diagnosing the disease and for biopharma companies conducting clinical trials.

Spotlight

The study of human diseases relies heavily on the analysis of dissociated human cell lines grown in culture. However, an increasingly acknowledged problem is that cells grown in vitro can be misidentified or become contaminated with other unrelated cell lines . Misidentification of cell lines produces misleading results, confusion, and added costs to research . Journals and funding agencies now require researchers to ascertain that the cell lines they have used are authentic, and to identify strategies for ensuring they remain so over the course of a study .

Spotlight

The study of human diseases relies heavily on the analysis of dissociated human cell lines grown in culture. However, an increasingly acknowledged problem is that cells grown in vitro can be misidentified or become contaminated with other unrelated cell lines . Misidentification of cell lines produces misleading results, confusion, and added costs to research . Journals and funding agencies now require researchers to ascertain that the cell lines they have used are authentic, and to identify strategies for ensuring they remain so over the course of a study .

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Kane Biotech Announces New Collaboration Agreements for Prosthetic Joint Infection, expanding its DispersinB® applications

Kane Biotech Inc. | February 11, 2022

Kane Biotech Inc. announces that it has signed collaboration agreements with Dr. James Doub, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology, and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) to study the use of DispersinB® with Prosthetic Joint Infection (PJI) patients. The group is securing funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for pre-clinical work to be done by Josh Wenke, a Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at UTMB. PJI’s are one of the most serious complications of joint replacement surgery. Conservative estimates are that approximately 1–2% of all prostheses will become infected over the life of the implant [1]. The financial burden of treating these infections is staggering. It is estimated that they will cost the US healthcare system $1.62 billion in 2020 [1]. In addition, patients have significant morbidity and mortality as a direct result of our current medical and surgical management to treat these infections [2]. In one study, the five-year mortality for prosthetic joint infections is over 20% [2]. “These collaborations are of utmost importance given our shared strategies for managing complex musculoskeletal infections and finding cures for the debilitating morbidity associated with PJI. We are highly optimistic of advancing this field scientifically and clinically for the benefit of patients across the globe” Marc Edwards, CEO of Kane Biotech “The Institute of Human Virology has been testing the use of bacteriophage therapeutics in treating recalcitrant PJIs with some early signals of success,” explained Dr. Doub, who is also Director of Infectious Diseases Ambulatory Practice at the University of Maryland Medicine Center. “However, DispersinB®, has properties that bacteriophages do not have which include superior application as a preventative therapeutic, broader spectrum of activity, and a much easier regulatory (FDA) path.” Dr. Doub is a consultant for Kane Biotech. Dr. Nanda Yakandawala, Vice President of Research and Development at Kane, in collaboration with Dr. Doub and Josh Wenke, Ph. D, recently submitted a R-21 grant application to NIH to fund pre-clinical work to be performed by Dr. Wenke. About University of Texas Medical Department Established in 1891 as the University of Texas Medical Department, UTMB was the nation's first public medical school and hospital under unified leadership and has evolved into a modern academic health science center with multiple campus locations and almost 1,000 faculty members educating approximately 3,500 students. Since the beginning, UTMB has been at the forefront of medical research, with researchers studying the viruses common to a sub-tropical island climate. Today, our world-renowned investigators generate a portfolio exceeding $160 million, and work in state-of-the-art laboratories developing diagnostic tools, cures and vaccines to benefit the global community. About Kane Biotech Kane Biotech is a biotechnology company engaged in the research, development, and commercialization of technologies and products that prevent and remove microbial biofilms. The company has a portfolio of biotechnologies, intellectual property (81 patents and patents pending, trade secrets, and trademarks) and products developed by the company's own biofilm research expertise and acquired from leading research institutions. StrixNB™, DispersinB®, Aledex™, bluestem™, bluestem®, silkstem™, goldstem™, coactiv+™, coactiv+®, DermaKB™ and DermaKB Biofilm™ are trademarks of Kane Biotech Inc.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Tantu and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Partnership to Engineer a Living Biotherapeutic for Gastrointestinal Healing

Ginkgo Bioworks | September 07, 2021

Tantu, a company engineering living biotherapeutic products to treat gastrointestinal diseases, and Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced a partnership to accelerate the research and development of Tantu's therapeutic genes. Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp., serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products using biology. Tantu is working to create an orally administered, living biotherapeutic that will produce and apply anti-inflammatory therapeutic proteins directly into diseased sites in the gut, resulting in improved gut barrier function and faster mucosal healing in patients where systemic anti-inflammatory therapies are not enough. Ginkgo plans to apply its automated foundry to accelerate the traditionally slow steps of candidate strain construction and genomic integration and validation with the aim of accelerating Tantu's first program and potentially helping them reach clinical proof of concept in patients faster. "Each year, 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder and current treatments don't sufficiently promote gastrointestinal healing, meaning many patients need to undergo invasive surgeries to improve their quality of life," said Neel Joshi, co-founder of Tantu. "A therapeutic to aid intestinal mucosal healing could transform patient care for a significant patient population." "We are excited to partner with a pre-seed company like Tantu with the goal of reducing their time-to-market because we view it as an opportunity to invest in the biotech industry through the startups that are driving forward so much innovation," said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. "Working with Tantu provides Ginkgo with the opportunity to leverage its expertise in pharmaceuticals to support the development of a potentially transformative therapeutic for the millions struggling with digestive disorders." Companies across numerous industries use Ginkgo's cell programming platform to find more effective, environmentally friendly ways to create products including food ingredients, fragrances, cosmetics, medicines, and more. By enabling the design of organisms that can produce valuable biological products, Ginkgo helps accelerate the development of innovative, bio-based solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. About Tantu Therapeutics Tantu is developing living biotherapeutic products to treat gastrointestinal diseases. Its lead therapeutic candidate is an engineered microbe that produces anti-inflammatory and healing agents from inside the gut lumen – something that no clinically approved therapeutic currently does. Tantu's local delivery strategy is designed to improve patient outcomes by reducing reliance solely on systemic anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. Tantu's living biotherapeutic products are being designed to complement proven approaches to further improve patients' health and quality of life. About Ginkgo Bioworks Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. In May 2021, Ginkgo announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG), which, if completed, will result in Ginkgo, through a parent entity, Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings, Inc., becoming a public company. The extraordinary general meeting of Soaring Eagle's shareholders in connection with the transaction has been scheduled for September 14, 2021 and the transaction is expected to close shortly thereafter, subject to customary closing conditions.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Taysha Gene Therapies Announces New Additions to Leadership Team to Deepen Manufacturing and Communications Capabilities

Taysha | December 30, 2020

Taysha Gene Therapies, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSHA), a patient-driven gene therapy organization focused in on creating and commercializing AAV-based quality treatments for the treatment of monogenic infections of the focal sensory system in both uncommon and huge patient populaces, today reported new increases to its authority group with the arrangements of Greg Gara as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Kimberly Lee, D.O., as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. Taysha Gene Therapies, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSHA), a patient-centric gene therapy organization zeroed in on creating and commercializing AAV-based qgene therapies for the treatment of monogenic infections of the focal sensory system in both uncommon and huge patient populaces, today declared new increases to its authority group with the arrangements of Greg Gara as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Kimberly Lee, D.O., as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations.

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