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Over the last year, Baker’s mission to #SupportScience has never been more important as we aim to continue to champion those currently working in patient and clinical care. Let’s take a look at some of this month’s key findings!
Worldwide, volunteers are working to develop a vaccine previously used for the prevention of TB as a new treatment for Type 1 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and MS. BCG is a live but weakened version of Mycobacterium Bovis, a relative of M. Tuberculosis and the vaccine has been around for 100 years or more, originally given to children in almost all non-western nations.
The vaccine is proven to boost immunity and, in some situations, BCG might also calm an overactive immune system too. It is this calming effect that led researchers to examine BCG for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
When examining ‘fats’, there are good fats and there are bad fats, more commonly known as ‘trans fats’. Foods containing these are primarily processed or made with ‘trans fat’ from hydrogenated oil. A new study, completed by researchers at Salk Institute has demonstrated how these fats can hinder T Cells from fighting cancer cells.
While scientists know that tumors accumulate fats and are associated with immune dysfunction, the full relationship still isn’t fully understood. However, scientists now know that the tumor microenvironment contain an abundance of oxidized fat molecules which have the ability to suppress killer T cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that slowly takes away the memory and thinking skills and eventually the ability to carry out simple tasks too. It is estimated that on average the disease affects around 6.2 million Americans and the impact is only expected to worsen with the growth of an aging population.
However, a new therapy known as Aduhelm is the first new treatment approved for Alzheimer’s since 2003 and focuses on targeting the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques in the brain; with such plaques a defining pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.
This new treatment could mark a crucial turning point in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University have challenged long-held dogma in biology, showing that mammalian cells can convert RNA sequences back into DNA, a feat more common in viruses than eukaryotic cells.
We know that cells contain machinery that duplicates DNA into a new set that forms into a newly formed cell. But, polymerases were thought to only work in one direction, DNA into DNA or RNA. However, Thomas Jefferson University researchers provide the first evidence that RNA segments can actually be written back into DNA. This discovery opens doors to many other studies that will help us understand the significance of messaging between RNA and DNA.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and Cornell University have collaborated to develop a tiny implant that successfully delivers insulin-secreting cells. Introducing new insulin-producing cells can re-trigger the autoimmune disease process that originally destroyed beta cells in the pancreas of someone suffering with Type 1 diabetes.
Over the years, scientists have tried several varying implants all with different success rates, however its key that the device has small enough openings to prevent the invasion of immune cells while being large enough to take in the nutrients and oxygen as well as release the insulin.
1. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bcg-tb-vaccine-diseases-diabetes-multiple-sclerosis 2. https://www.genengnews.com/news/researchers-reveal-how-killer-t-cells-are-blocked-from-fighting-cancer-cells/ 3. https://www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2021/06/08/Biogen-Aduhelm-will-be-the-catalyst-to-a-new-era-of-innovation-for-Alzheimer-s-disease 4. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210611174037.htm 5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/implant-reverses-type-1-diabetes-in-mice-by-delivering-beta-cells#A-NICE-device