HIV-positive donor’s kidney, liver given to to HIV-positive patients

(CNN)There is new hope for potential transplant recipients living with HIV. Doctors at Johns Hopkins announced Wednesday they successfully performed the first liver transplant from an HIV-positive donor and the first U.S. kidney transplant from the same donor. The surgeries happened a couple of weeks ago.

The recipients, whose names will remain anonymous, are also HIV-positive. The patient who received the donated kidney has been living with HIV for more than 30 years, suffers from hypertension and autoimmune problems, and had been on dialysis. That patient had been on the organ donation waiting list for years, doctors said.

Dengue virus disables the immune system by blocking mass transit

Proteins never get to where they need to be to start an antiviral attack.


The Dengue virus comes in four distinct but related varieties called serotypes, and they’re all bad. Rather than inducing tolerance for each other, infection with one Dengue serotype actually makes people more sensitive to the other three. Victims infected by a second serotype can develop hemorrhagic fevers, which can be fatal. Somewhere around 400 million people are infected with Dengue annually—more than any other mosquito-borne ailment. There is no cure.

Dengue is also in the same family as Zika and is spread by the same mosquitos, so learning more about one could have broad applications for the other. This week, researchers published a paper in Nature describing how the Dengue virus avoids one arm of our immune system.


Read at Ars Technica

How to Transform Your Coffee Into a Wonder Drug

There’s a right way to dose yourself with coffee so that you get the most of its performance-enhancing benefits.


Coffee lovers of the world know that their morning cup contains a substance to be reckoned with. Caffeine is so effective at juicing our energy and productivity that until 2004, its intake was restricted by the International Olympic Committee. But the original performance-enhancing drug doesn’t just provide a jolt to athletes.

“In many ways, it is the drug of work,” says Stephen Braun, a medical writer and author of Buss: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine. “When caffeine was first introduced to Europe in the late 17th century, it was seen by business owners as a miracle drug that turned formerly dozy workers into productive cogs in the industrial machine.”

But while caffeine is best known for its ability to keep us awake and alert—more than a few of you are likely reading this piece with a cup of coffee in one hand—research suggests it can sharpen performance across an astonishing range of tasks. As with most things, though, it’s easy to overdo it and negate those positive effects. Here’s how, and when, to dose yourself with coffee just right.

Read at Bloomberg

Alcohol: Studies showing benefits of drinking flawed, research warns

Experts have questioned the idea that drinking alcohol can prolong life


Studies which suggest that drinking alcohol moderately has health benefits are flawed, according to new research.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking alcohol, for example a glass of wine, can cut the risk of heart disease.

However, a study reviewing 87 past research papers concluded that the idea that drinking at a reasonable level was flawed.

Canadian researchers claimed that the studies were biased, poorly designed and pointed to positive effects that were unlikely in reality.

The team behind the study published in the ‘Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs’ also highlighted concerns about groups of “abstainers” who were compared to moderate drinkers, despite giving up drinking due to ill health.

This meant that those who were classed as drinking occasionally, at fewer than one drink per week, lived the longest.


Read at The Independent


Development of novel Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and Immunoprecipitation (IP)/Western-Blot assays to characterize antibody therapies

Dr Ralf Geiben Lynn, Senior Research Scientist at Cambridge biomedical has authored our latest whitepaper on the Development of novel Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and Immunoprecipitation (IP)/Western-Blot assays to characterize antibody therapies.



Biotech industry is in a boom, and we at Cambridge Biomedical are proud that we can contribute to it. The arrival of new antibody therapies feels like a fresh ocean breeze at Biarritz, France, which we can still feel here in Boston. In our role as a bioanalytical assay CRO, we are involved in the development of novel therapeutic antibodies that show examples of how the industry creates sustainable growth, which drive this boom.


There are multiple new antibodies that boost the immune system and that are part of novel therapeutic interventions. Some of these antibodies enhance T-cell immune responses: Pembrolizumab (Keytruda, MK-3475, Merck) is approved to treat metastatic melanoma. New applications may include lung cancer and mesothelioma. Nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol Myer Squibb) reduced non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, renal-cell cancer in a clinical trial. Pidilizumab (CT-OII, Cure Tech) MPDL328OA (Roche) and BMS936559 (Bristol Myers Squibb) are also tested for other novel applications.


Click here to read the complete white paper.

Mother’s Microbiome Shapes Offspring’s Immunity

The maternal gut microbiome guides neo- and postnatal immune system development, a mouse study shows.


Pregnant mice expose their unborn pups to maternal gut microbes, which can affect the development of the innate immune system after birth, according to a study published today (March 17) in Science. The results challenge the notion that a pup’s own gut microbiome drives immune system development, suggesting that the molecular metabolites of the maternal microbiota are transferred to pups during gestation. This transfer of maternally derived microbial metabolites prepares the offspring’s immune system for exposure to the large variety of microbes that eventually populate the gut.


Link to article

Biomarkers can help guide immune-suppressing treatment after organ transplantation

Recently discovered biomarkers may provide valuable new approaches to monitoring immunosuppressive drug therapy in organ transplant recipients–with the potential for individualized therapy to reduce organ rejection and minimize side effects, according to a special article in the April issue of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, official journal of the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

“Biomarkers should help to tailor immunosuppressive therapy to the needs of the individual patient,” according to the review by an international Expert Committee. The initial “Barcelona Consensus Statement” includes a preliminary set of recommended tests for use in biomarker-based immunosuppressive drug management after organ transplantation. The lead author is Mercè Brunet, PhD, of Hospital Clinico de Barcelona.


Link to article

Cambridge Biomedical Spring 2016 Newsletter

Cambridge Biomedical continues its expansion and we are seeking Senior Scientists and Research Associates to join our dynamic team. If you know of anyone in the Boston area who would be interested in joining our team please let us know or visit our website.

Did you know that Cambridge Biomedical also provides logistics and project management support for your trials? We have extensive experience in working with clients and multiple partners to ensure that your trials run smoothly. Our range of services includes development and manufacturing of kits, sourcing of material, co-ordination with external labs and preparation of consolidated reports, all under GLP/GCLP regulatory guidance. If you would like to discuss these services in more detail please contact us and we will be delighted to assist you.

Click here to view the full newsletter

A pair of drugs can dramatically shrink and eliminate some breast cancers in just 11 days

A pair of drugs can dramatically shrink and eliminate some breast cancers in just 11 days, UK doctors have shown.

They said the “surprise” findings, reported at the European Breast Cancer Conference, could mean some women no longer need chemotherapy.

The drugs, tested on 257 women, target a specific weakness found in one-in-ten breast cancers.

Experts said the findings were a “stepping stone” to tailored cancer care.

The doctors leading the trial had not expected or even intended to achieve such striking results.

They were investigating how drugs changed cancers in the short window between a tumour being diagnosed and the operation to remove it.

But by the time surgeons came to operate, there was no sign of cancer in some patients.

Prof Judith Bliss, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said the impact was “dramatic”.

She told the BBC News website: “We were particularly surprised by these findings as this was a short-term trial.

“It became apparent some had a complete response. It’s absolutely intriguing, it is so fast.”


Link to article

Who Sleeps?

Who Sleeps?

Once believed to be unique to birds and mammals, sleep is found across the metazoan kingdom. Some animals, it seems, can’t live without it, though no one knows exactly why.


Some sleep researchers are fond of saying that all animals sleep; that sleep is maladaptive because it takes time away from activities that appear more adaptive, such as mating, seeking food, and looking out for predators; and that no one knows the function of sleep. A good case can be made that each of these statements is false.

To say whether an animal sleeps requires that we define sleep. A generally accepted definition is that sleep is a state of greatly reduced responsiveness and movement that is homeostatically regulated, meaning that when it is prevented for a period of time, the lost time is made up—an effect known as sleep rebound. Unfortunately, the application of this definition is sometimes difficult. Can an animal sleep while it is moving and responsive? How unresponsive does an animal have to be? How much of the lost sleep has to be made up for it to be considered homeostatically regulated? Is the brain activity that characterizes sleep in humans necessary and sufficient to define sleep in other animals?


Link to article