Modeling Ebola in Mice A genetically diverse group of mice represents the complete spectrum of human outcomes from Ebola virus infection.

Researchers investigating host responses to Ebola have long faced a significant disadvantage: the virus kills conventional lab mice, but does not produce the hemorrhagic fever or other classical symptoms that occur in humans. The lack of a mouse disease model has hampered studies on the pathology and immunology of Ebola infections, as well as the development of treatments.

A team led by Angela Rasmussen and Michael Katzeof the University of Washington and Atsushi Okumura of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rocky Mountain Laboratories has tested responses to Ebola in 47 genetically diverse mouse lines, demonstrating considerable variability in disease outcomes. The results, reported today (October 30) in Science, lay the groundwork for analyses of genetic differences in susceptibility to Ebola.

The study “confirms what a lot of people are starting to appreciate,” said David Threadgill, a geneticist at Texas A&M University who was not involved in the research. “Looking at single mouse strains, which is historically what’s done, completely misses the vast majority of biology,” he added.

Threadgill was among the scientists who first proposed creating the mouse collection used in the study, called the Collaborative Cross (CC). The CC consists of hundreds of genotypically distinct mouse lines bred from eight original strains—five lab strains and three inbred strains originating from wild populations. While lab strains are largely derived from a single subspecies, Mus musculus domesticus, CC mice represent much of the genetic variation present in three subspecies, and have almost four times as many single-nucleotide polymorphisms as conventional lab strains.


Full story at TheScientist

Tea And Citrus Products Could Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk, New University of East Anglia Research Finds

Tea And Citrus Products Could Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk, New UEA Research Finds  

Tea and citrus fruits and juices are associated with a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Research published today reveals that women who consume foods containing flavonols and flavanones (both subclasses of dietary flavonoids) significantly decrease their risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women.

The research team studied the dietary habits of 171,940 women aged between 25 and 55 for more than three decades.

The team found that those who consumed food and drinks high in flavonols (found in tea, red wine, apples and grapes) and flavanones (found in citrus fruit and juices) were less likely to develop the disease.


Read full story on BioSpace

Body clock: ‘Rush hour’ transformation discovered

A pair of “rush hours” every day rapidly change the way tissues throughout the body work, scientists have discovered.

The animal study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, monitored the function of cells, in 12 tissues, through the day.

It found large shifts in activity just before dawn and dusk.

Experts said the findings could help time medication to hit sweet-spots in the body clock.

The body’s internal clock is known to drive huge changes – it alters alertness, mood, physical strength and even the risk of a heart attack in a daily rhythm.


Full story on BBC News


Next Generation: Freeze-Dried Gene Networks

Next Generation: Freeze-Dried Gene Networks

Researchers devise a way to preserve bits of paper containing synthetic gene networks, which can be easily stored and widely distributed. Rehydrated, transcription and translation “come to life.”

The technique: Imagine pulling a small piece of paper out of your desk drawer, adding a drop of water, and within hours having a reconstituted biological system functioning on your benchtop. It turns out that such molecular magic might be possible, thanks to a new strategy to embed synthetic gene networks—built to detect the presence of glucose or a pathogen, say, or produce a protein of interest—on freeze-dried paper.

Boston University’s James Collins, an early leader in the field of synthetic biology, and his colleagues added all the necessary ingredients—transcription and translation enzymes, along with DNA encoding genes that dictated a particular function—onto a bit of paper, then freeze-dried it. Up to a year later, the synthetic gene network could be rehydrated and kicked into gear.

“It turned out that this worked really well,” said Collins. “These samples would work as well as the fresh-from-frozen stock, and as well as inside a cell.”

“I honestly didn’t think it was going to work,” said Keith Pardee, a postdoc in Collins’s Wyss Institute lab who led to work, which was published today (October 23) in Cell. “Our simplest system contains 35 proteins and the ribosomes, and I thought there’s just no way we’re going to be able to freeze-dry this and have each one of these proteins to come back at levels that are compatible enough to reconstitute transcription and translation. But I thought I just have to try because if it works it would be so cool. And it did.”

Read full story at TheScientist

What Happens When Chemists Don’t Wash Their Hands

Serendipitous discoveries tend to happen in unexpected ways. But the stories of the serendipitous discoveries of three different artificial sweeteners are, in their basic components, identical.

All three were discovered when a scientist put his hand to his mouth and tasted something unusually sweet.

Saccharin, 1897, Johns Hopkins University

Cyclamate, 1937, University of Illinois

Aspartame, 1965, G.D. Searle & Co

Full story on Yahoo Finance

Brain scans show cause of seasonal affective disorder

Scientists say they have identified the underlying reason why some people are prone to the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

People with Sad have an unhelpful way of controlling the “happy” brain signalling compound serotonin during winter months, brain scans reveal.

As the nights draw in, production of a transporter protein ramps up in Sad, lowering available serotonin.

The work will be presented this week at a neuropsychopharmacology conference.


Full story on BBC News

The Ocular Microbiome

Researchers are beginning to study in depth the largely uncharted territory of the eye’s microbial composition.

When researchers started using modern molecular diagnostic tools such as PCR and genome sequencing to study the microbes living on and in the human body, they found much more complex ecosystems than previous generations had imagined. The Human Microbiome Project undertook a massive effort to characterize microbial communities from five sites—the gut, mouth, nose, skin, and urogenital tract. But it did not include many areas of the body that harbor microbial life, including the surface of the eye.

Ophthalmologists have treated pathogenic eye infections for several decades, and the advent of contact lenses has made such infections more common. But little is known about the bacteria that live on the surface of a healthy human eye, and how this microbial makeup differs when a pathogenic strain takes over. Many bacteria known to live on the eye are difficult to culture, making them virtually invisible to researchers. Adapting sequencing technologies to study the ocular microbiome has opened up new avenues for understanding what’s really happening under the eyelids.


Read full story at The Scientist

Cambridge Biomedical announces appointment of Anthony Davis as Director of Quality Assurance.

Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 16, 2014

Cambridge Biomedical Inc announces the appointment of Anthony Davis as Director of Quality Assurance.

Anthony brings extensive experience with Quality Assurance and Compliance Systems from working with market leaders in the Life Sciences sector, including global responsibility for Quality Systems for a major biotech company based in Massachusetts.

Dr. John Reddington, Chief Operating Officer for Cambridge Biomedical commented that “ Our appointment of Anthony to this position within Cambridge Biomedical demonstrates our continuing commitment to quality in meeting the critical bioanalytical needs of our partners”.

Cambridge Biomedical
Since 1997, Cambridge Biomedical has partnered with our clients by providing a diverse range of services from pre-clinical to post market. Including; assay development, optimization, validation and diagnostic testing. Conveniently located to support the North East pharmaceutical development market, yet with a national and global reach. Our personalized project management, approach along with a focus on delivering quality results and regulatory submission ready documentation and rapid turnaround times, ensure we meet our client’s product development timelines.

Press Release

Low vitamin D levels could make childbirth more painful








TUESDAY, Oct. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Low vitamin D levels could make childbirth more painful, according to a new study.

Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy, especially among high-risk women, including vegetarians, those with little sun exposure, and members of ethnic minorities, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says.

The new study included 93 pregnant women whose vitamin D levels were checked before childbirth and who received an epidural for pain during labor. The researchers measured how much pain medication each of the women required during delivery


Full story

Type 2 diabetes drug switched on and off by blue light

Diabetes drugs encourage the pancreas to release insulin to control blood sugar levels, but many of them cause side effects, affecting other organs such as the brain and heart. Some drugs, meanwhile, encourage too much insulin release, causing blood sugar levels to drop too much. Now, scientists have created a type 2 diabetes drug that can be switched on and off by blue light, potentially improving treatment.
human body with pancreas and diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the body builds resistance to insulin, requiring more insulin to bring down blood glucose levels. As such, the pancreas needs to produce more insulin than it normally would.

The researchers – from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London in the UK and LMU Munich in Germany – publish their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

They note that type 2 diabetes, which impairs an individual’s control over their blood sugar levels, affects about 350 million people around the world. The disease can lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, causing potential damage to the kidneys, nerves and retinas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012, 29.1 million people in the US – 9.3% of the population – had diabetes.

The disease involves a disturbance of normal glucose homeostasis caused by a failure of the pancreas’ beta cell mass to compensate for increased insulin resistance. However, in their new study, the researchers show that their prototype drug – called JB253 – stimulates insulin release from pancreatic cells when exposed to blue light.


Full story at MNT