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Fungal protein found to cross blood-brain barrier and opens door to better treatment

Fungal protein found to cross blood-brain barrier and opens door to better treatment | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
In a remarkable series of experiments on a fungus that causes cryptococcal meningitis, a deadly infection of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain, investigators at UC Davis have isolated a protein that appears to be responsible for the fungus’ ability to cross from the bloodstream into the brain.


Normally the brain is protected from bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens in the bloodstream by a tightly packed layer of endothelial cells lining capillaries within the central nervous system — the so-called blood-brain barrier. Relatively few organisms — and drugs that could fight brain infections or cancers — can breach this protective barrier.


The fungus studied in this research causes cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, a usually fatal brain infection that annually affects some 1 million people worldwide, most often those with an impaired immune system. People typically first develop an infection in the lungs after inhalation of the fungal spores of C. neoformans in soil or pigeon droppings. The pathogen then spreads to the brain and other organs.


In an effort to discover how C. neoformans breaches the blood-brain barrier, the investigators isolated candidate proteins from the cryptococcal cell surface. One was a previously uncharacterized metalloprotease that they named Mpr1. (A protease is an enzyme — a specialized protein — that promotes a chemical reaction; a metalloprotease contains a metal ion — in this case zinc — that is essential for its activity.) The M36 class of metalloproteases to which Mpr1 belongs is unique to fungi and does not occur in mammalian cells.


The investigators next artificially generated a strain of C. neoformans that lacked Mpr1 on the cell surface. Unlike the normal wild-type C. neoformans, the strain without Mpr1 could not cross an artificial model of the human blood-brain barrier.


They next took a strain of common baking yeast — Saccharomyces cerevisiae — that does not cross the blood-brain barrier and does not normally express Mpr1, and modified it to express Mpr1 on its cell surface. This strain then gained the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier model.


Investigators then infected mice with either the C. neoformans that lacked Mpr1 or the wild-type strain by injecting the organisms into their bloodstream. Comparing the brain pathology of mice 48 hours later, they found numerous cryptococci-filled cysts throughout the brain tissue of mice infected with the wild-type strain; these lesions were undetectable in those infected with the strain lacking Mpr1. In another experiment, after 37 days of being infected by the inhalation route, 85 percent of the mice exposed to the wild-type C.neoformans had died, while all of those given the fungus without Mpr1 were alive.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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When Science Becomes News, The Facts Can Go Up In Smoke - NPR (blog)

When Science Becomes News, The Facts Can Go Up In Smoke - NPR (blog) | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
NPR (blog)
When Science Becomes News, The Facts Can Go Up In Smoke
NPR (blog)
At dinner the other night with an experimental psychologist, we turned to the topic of science in the popular media.
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5 Core Skills of Disruptive, Visual-Thinking Innovators

5 Core Skills of Disruptive, Visual-Thinking Innovators | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
“Visual thinking is the foundation for being creative and solving some of the most complex problems,” explained author and founder of Innovation Studio Lisa Kay Solomon. Solomon and Emily Shepard of...
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Cicada wings inspire new ideas for antibacterial products

Cicada wings inspire new ideas for antibacterial products | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Here’s another reason to love cicadas: A new study has found that tiny structures on cicada wings can kill bacteria through physical and not chemical means.

Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Greg Wurn's curator insight, March 4, 2014 9:20 PM

Interesting, could lead to some very important discoveries in future

Corie Rosen's curator insight, February 29, 8:58 PM

Antibiotic resistance is nothing new; it is a very real threat in the world today. Bacteria are mutating and resisting our best tools at a rate that modern scientists can't keep up with. They say you learn something new everyday, and this was something I had no idea about until now! I flocked to this article because it is definitely an interesting concept. What is even cooler is the fact that a cicada's wings are able to kill gram-negative bacteria (gram-positive aren't affected), such as E. coli, through physical means and not chemical. This means the bacteria are unlikely to become resistant to the affects! Just imagine the ways scientists can utilize this!

 

This article, while not a scientific report, references the study done by scientists and provides links to it, therefore making the article a reliable source of information.

Janice Edgerly-Rooks's curator insight, September 12, 9:36 PM
One wonders why bacteria would make a difference to a cicada's wings. They live underground as immatures which makes me think that antibacterial properties might derive from that part of their life cycle. But they don't have wings, so this is curious indeed.
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Technology: With a unique program, the US government has managed to drive the cost of genome sequencing down to $1,000

Technology: With a unique program, the US government has managed to drive the cost of genome sequencing down to $1,000 | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it

With a unique program, the US government has managed to drive the cost of genome sequencing down towards a much-anticipated target.


The quest to sequence the first human genome was a massive undertaking. Between 1990 and the publication of a working draft in 2001, more than 200 scientists joined forces in a $3-billion effort to read the roughly 3 billion bases of DNA that comprise our genetic material (International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium Nature 409, 860–921; 2001).


It was a grand but sobering success. The project's advocates had said that it would reveal 'life's instruction book', but in fact it did not make it possible to interpret how the instructions encoded in DNA were transformed into biology. Understanding how DNA actually influences health and disease would require studying examples of the links between genes and biology in thousands, perhaps millions, more people. The dominant technology at the time was Sanger sequencing, an inherently slow, labour-intensive process that works by making copies of the DNA to be sequenced that include chemically modified and fluorescently tagged versions of the molecule's building blocks. One company, Applied Biosystems in Foster City, California, provided the vast majority of the sequencers to a limited number of customers — generally, large government-funded laboratories — and there was little incentive for it to reinvent its core technology.


A $7-million award from the NHGRI allowed the company to commercialize a technology called pyrosequencing, which was the first to begin chipping away at Applied Biosystems' monopoly. The funding commitments also ultimately helped to convince private investors to enter the market. Stephen Turner, founder and chief technology officer of Pacific Biosciences in Menlo Park, California, says that his company's 2005 NHGRI grant of $6.6 million helped to attract subsequent venture-capital funding.


The government program has invested $88 million in technologies based on nanopores and nanogaps. The form of this technology closest to the market involves reading bases as they are threaded through a pore (see Nature 456, 23–25; 2008), a method that has long promised to save costs and time by reading DNA while it is processed. It would negate the need for expensive and slow reactions to make lots of copies of the molecule. But solving basic issues, including how to move the DNA through the pore slowly enough, has been a major challenge. The NHGRI has funded work to overcome these hurdles — including $9.3 million given to collaborators of the company now ushering the concept to market, UK-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Nature http://doi.org/rvm; 2014).


Sequencing still needs much improvement, especially in terms of quality. For all of Sanger sequencing's high cost, it remains the benchmark for accuracy. And sequencing costs are no longer dropping as quickly as they were a few years ago.


But researchers are optimistic that another technology will emerge to challenge Illumina. Most think, in fact, that the crucial questions for the field will shift away from technology. Now that sequencing is cheap enough to talk about scanning every patient's genome, or at least the protein-coding portion of it, it is still not clear how that information will translate into improved care (Nature http://doi.org/rvq; 2014). These more complex issues will require another great leap in genomic science — one that could make the trouncing of Moore's law seem easy



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Internet surveillance predicts disease outbreak before WHO

Internet surveillance predicts disease outbreak before WHO | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it

Have you ever Googled for an online diagnosis before visiting a doctor? If so, you may have helped provide early warning of an infectious disease epidemic.

 

In a new study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, Internet-based surveillance has been found to detect infectious diseases such as Dengue Fever and Influenza up to two weeks earlier than traditional surveillance methods, according to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research fellow and senior author of the paper Wenbiao Hu.

 

Hu, based at the Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, said there was often a lag time of two weeks before traditional surveillance methods could detect an emerging infectious disease.

 

“This is because traditional surveillance relies on the patient recognizing the symptoms and seeking treatment before diagnosis, along with the time taken for health professionals to alert authorities through their health networks. In contrast, digital surveillance can provide real-time detection of epidemics.”

 

Hu said the study used search engine algorithms such as Google Trends and Google Insights. It found that detecting the 2005–06 avian influenza outbreak “Bird Flu” would have been possible between one and two weeks earlier than official surveillance reports.

 

“In another example, a digital data collection network was found to be able to detect the SARS outbreak more than two months before the first publications by the World Health Organization (WHO),” Hu said.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Erin Rayment from Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path
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A guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities

A guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities, produced by the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog

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Twitter’s Role In Science Publication And Communication [INFOGRAPHIC] - AllTwitter

Twitter’s Role In Science Publication And Communication [INFOGRAPHIC] - AllTwitter | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Twitter’s Role In Science Publication And Communication [INFOGRAPHIC]

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It's time we fell back in love with science - Telegraph.co.uk

It's time we fell back in love with science - Telegraph.co.uk | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Telegraph.co.uk
It's time we fell back in love with science
Telegraph.co.uk
Back then, science thought big.
Erin Rayment's insight:

Agreed!

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University of Victoria aims to make its research accessible to all - Times Colonist

University of Victoria aims to make its research accessible to all - Times Colonist | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Times Colonist University of Victoria aims to make its research accessible to all Times Colonist From timely talks about sports concussions and the effects of e-cigarettes to exploring enormous trees and microscopic biomedical devices, the third...
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This is important. You have £5.8 billion to spend on science things - The Guardian

This is important. You have £5.8 billion to spend on science things - The Guardian | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
The Guardian
This is important. You have £5.8 billion to spend on science things The Guardian A capital investment of £5.8 billion in science and research over the next five years is quite a lot of money, even on the scale of, for example, HS2 (£17...
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Why Britain needs an innovation bank

Why Britain needs an innovation bank | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Innovative companies make for riskier investments than buy-to-lets, but they are infinitely more important to our future (Why Britain needs an innovation bank http://t.co/gcXTTLUDzq)...
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Doctors Are About to Start Human Trials for Suspended Animation

Doctors Are About to Start Human Trials for Suspended Animation | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
After years of sci-fi-inspired fantasies about the technique, a team of doctors in Pittsburgh are finally ready to start testing out a procedure that involves putting patients in a state of "suspended animation" while they repair their injuries. Put bluntly, they're going to kill people and bring them back to life.

Via TechinBiz
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A small pressure sensor can make the difference between life and death

A small pressure sensor can make the difference between life and death | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it

When people have nerve problems such as those caused by spinal injuries, they can lose the ability to feel when their bladder is full. This means that they don't know when it needs to be emptied, resulting in a build-up of pressure that can damage both the bladder and their kidneys. Now, a tiny sensor may offer a better way of assessing their condition, to see if surgery is required or if medication will suffice.

 

Presently, in order to observe how well the bladder is functioning, a catheter is inserted into the patient's urethra and used to fill their bladder with saline solution. This is understandably uncomfortable for the patient, plus it's claimed to provide an inaccurate picture of what's going on, as the bladder fills up much more quickly than would normally be the case.

 

That's why scientists at Norwegian research group SINTEF are proposing replacing the catheters with tiny pressure sensors. The current prototypes can be injected into the bladder directly through the skin, and could conceivably stay in place for months or even years, providing readings without any discomfort, and without requiring the bladder to be filled mechanically.

 

Patients would be able to move around normally, plus the risk of infection would reportedly be reduced. Currently readings are transmitted from the prototypes via a thin wire that extents from the senor out through the skin, although it is hoped that subsequent versions could transmit wirelessly – perhaps even to the patient's smartphone.

 

Next month, a clinical trial involving three spinal injury patients is scheduled to begin at Norway's Sunnaas Hospital. Down the road, plans call for trials involving 20 to 30 test subjects.

 

Although they're currently about to be tested in the bladder, the sensors could conceivably be used to measure pressure almost anywhere in the body.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Erin Rayment from Tracking the Future
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Brain Implants: The Laser Eye Surgery of the Future?

Brain Implants: The Laser Eye Surgery of the Future? | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it

Brain implants today are where laser eye surgery was several decades ago, fraught with risk, applicable only to a narrowly defined set of patients – but a sign of things to come. 


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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aanve's curator insight, March 20, 2014 3:34 AM
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zwilenkosi's curator insight, March 25, 2014 2:41 PM

new brain implants that could revive your memory and makes you to learn things fast.

 

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What Exactly Is Innovation? - Forbes

What Exactly Is Innovation? - Forbes | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
MensXP.com
What Exactly Is Innovation?
Forbes
Innovation is one of the most bandied about terms in global business today, but exactly what it means can be nebulous.
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The hidden map of science: Pre-publication history of articles tells us that rejection leads to higher citations | Impact of Social Sciences

The hidden map of science: Pre-publication history of articles tells us that rejection leads to higher citations | Impact of Social Sciences | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
The hidden map of science: Pre-publication history of articles tells us that rejection leads to higher citations http://t.co/yyzMUsRl...

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NASA's $17.5 Billion Budget Request for 2015 Would Fund New Science ... - Space.com

NASA's $17.5 Billion Budget Request for 2015 Would Fund New Science ... - Space.com | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Washington Post
NASA's $17.5 Billion Budget Request for 2015 Would Fund New Science ...
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Beyond the bomb: Atomic research changed medicine, biology - Princeton University

Beyond the bomb: Atomic research changed medicine, biology - Princeton University | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
Beyond the bomb: Atomic research changed medicine, biology
Princeton University
Even before the end of World War II, scientists working on the Manhattan Project saw a future for their work beyond military might.
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From Crowdfunding To Open Access, Startups Are Experimenting With ... - TechCrunch

From Crowdfunding To Open Access, Startups Are Experimenting With ... - TechCrunch | Technology transfer and innovation | Scoop.it
From Crowdfunding To Open Access, Startups Are Experimenting With ...
TechCrunch
This revolution has not been as dramatic as with education, in part because of the culture clash between startups and university researchers.
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