Bacterial signaling systems as platforms for rational design of new generations of biosensors
by Checa SK, Zurbriggen MD, Soncini FC. "Bacterial signal-responsive regulatory circuits have been employed as platform to design and construct whole-cell bacterial biosensors for reporting toxicity. A new generation of biosensors with improved performance and a wide application range has emerged after the application of synthetic biology concepts to biosensor design. Site-directed mutagenesis, directed evolution and domain swapping were applied to upgrade signal detection or to create novel sensor modules. Rewiring of the genetic circuits allows improving the determinations and reduces the heterogeneity of the response between individual reporter cells. Moreover, the assembly of natural or engineered modules to biosensor platforms provides innovative outputs, expanding the range of application of these devises, from monitoring toxics and bioremediation to killing targeted cells." http://1.usa.gov/JTBbQj
(via Medical Xpress) Recent clinical studies have indicated that long-term usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of various cancers — some up to 30 per cent. Previous studies have shown that cancer cells are less likely to divide if the white blood cells can be prevented from contacting the precursor cancer cells, suggesting that white blood cells – the immune cells – have the ability to promote disease by providing some kind of growth signal. A new study published in Current Biology from teams at Bristol and Sheffield Universities in the UK , show that at least in part, taking drugs like aspirin, which are generally taken for cardiovascular problems, prevent the development of cancer by starving the cancer cells of this source of white blood cell early-growth support. Learn more...
This paper from 2010 gives a background on development of microfluidics-based diagnostics of infectious diseases. So called Mchip technologies offer the promise of portable advanced disease assay methods for less than $100. This paper covers the background of how the devices work. If you do not have a subscription to Nature you will have to pay for full access. Read more...
Kenta Biotech, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Zurich-Schlieren, Switzerland, focusing on the development of innovative fully human monoclonal antibodies for the prevention and treatment of life-threatening infections, has announced that it is relocating from Bern to Bio-Technopark in Zurich-Schlieren, the Silicon Valley of Swiss Biotechnology. Founded in 2006 as a Berna Biotech (today Crucell Switzerland AG) spin-off, Kenta Biotech is entering a new era in its development of innovative treatment of life-threatening infections. A strategic move for Kenta Biotech, and a good win for Zurich but a sad loss for Bern.
(Phys.org) -- As the interface between the cell and its environment, the cell membrane, which consists of fats and proteins, fulfils a variety of vital functions. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich have performed the first comprehensive analysis of the molecular structure of this boundary layer, and revealed precisely how it is organised. In yeast cells, the entire membrane is made up of independent domains, each containing just one or a few protein types. If a protein is relocated to an inappropriate domain, it may even fail to function. The study shows that the membrane is a kind of patchwork quilt and should help scientists to gain a better understanding of basic cellular processes. Learn more...
Tonight at the World Science Festival, astrophysicist Paul Davies and quantum computing innovator Seth Lloyd will talk about the growing field of quantum biology—why it works, what it means, and how it might shape our future. The Bad News: The Festival is happening in New York City and tonight's panel is sold out. The Good News: You can watch a live webcast of the event online at 8:00 Eastern time. Learn more
This UC Berkelyreport from 2011 highlights the development of the basic mechanics of a lab on a chip. This major milestone in microfluidics could soon lead to stand-alone, self-powered chips that can diagnose diseases within minutes. Learn more...
The recent withholding of approval for transgenic eggplant in India by the Minister for Environment highlights the complications in bringing consensus in regulatory processes. In principle, Indian ability to effectively regulate biotechnology-derived products in healthcare and agriculture should provide a competitive advantage given the lower costs in carrying out such validation, driven by abundant available scientific and clinical labor and the consequent lower total costs of various validation procedures. Currently, the cost of regulations in OECD countries typically leads the private sector to confine regulatory validation to products that have a sufficiently large global market potential. This is a key reason for large multinationals and industrialized country public research bodies not to advance research for neglected diseases, small acreage crops, and low-value agriculture products. If India gains sufficient regulatory capacity, then the products approved in India have the potential to reach other developing countries that have similar product needs in the areas of health and agriculture.
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