Showing posts with label bio technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bio technology. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Sheffield Engineers Discover Some Sugars are Good for You


Innovative Technique - Formation of Blood Vessel with Sugar

For years we have been cautioned to keep away from sugar. However a latest research has come up with some amazing discoveries which could in fact be very beneficial to all. A research carried out by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the School of Clinical Dentistry at the University of Sheffield together with the Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials Research at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore in Pakistan, has disclosed that sugar could be helpful in supporting new blood vessel formation which is also called as angiogenesis.

The formation of new blood vessel is vital in the process of wound healing since the blood vessels are inclined in carrying blood in every area of the body that tends to eventually supply the body with oxygen and the nutrients needed for the upkeep of health.

The latest technique of stimulating the formation of the blood vessel with sugar utilised a mixture of simple as well as economical sugar added to a hydrogel bandage. This method which has been effective tends to be much simpler as well as lucrative than the more traditional techniques like adding in expensive short-lived growth factors. This latest method considered as well as established by the research group, functions due to specific group of sugars has the capability of stimulating skin healing.

2 Deoxy-D-Ribose

Professor Sheila MacNeil from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield stated that all over the world people tend to live longer and have been experiencing more non-healing skin wounds related to age, poor blood supply together with diabetes. This tends to be complex to treat and is also expensive for healthcare system to handle.

The latest skin healing method utilising simple sugars has the potentials to assist healing of the wound in a very simple manner which means that patients tend to need less treatment; clinicians can treat more number of patients with the possibilities of savings which can be achieved by national healthcare systems.

Preliminary discovery done by Dr Muhammed Yar from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore at the time of his research to comprehend how tumours tend to stimulate new blood vessels and he observed that a naturally occurring sugar – 2-deoxy-D-ribose is said to increase when tumours encouraged new blood vessels to be prepared.

Ground-Breaking Discovery

The team working with Professor Sheila MacNeil together with professor Ian Douglas from the University of Sheffield then investigated the ability of this group of sugars in order to stimulate the formation of new blood vessels as well as the stimulation of wound healing with together produced amazing results.

This ground-breaking discovery is a significant step in developing simple robust as well as economical wound dressing which could be utilised in the treatment of poor-healing wounds like chronic ulcers in the case of the elderly and diabetic ulcers.

The research paper had been in print in Materials today Communications in a paper titled `Deoxy-sugar releasing biodegradable hydrogels promote angiogenesis and stimulate wound healing’, by Muhammad Yar, Lubna Shahzadi, Azra Mehmood, Muhammad Imran Raheen, Sabinian Roman, Aqif Anwar Chaudhry, Ihtesham ur Rehman, C.W. Ian Douglas together with Professor Sheila MacNeil.

Enormous growth had been envisaged by the Faculty of Engineering in the past four years which is a home to 5,400 students together with more than 1,000 staff which makes it one of the largest Institutes in the country. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, around 93 percent of the research had been rated internationally excellent or world prominent.

Sheffield - Most Leading Universities

The University of Sheffield is said to be one of the most leading universities in the world with almost 27,000 of the most intelligent students from across 140 countries, education beside over 1,200 of the best academics from all over the world. As member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading research led institutions in UK, Sheffield provides world-class teaching as well as research excellence through a wide range of restraints.

 Integrated with the influence of discovery as well as understanding, the staffs together with the students have been dedicated in identifying innovative methods of transforming the world which we tend to live in. Moreover, Sheffield is said to be the only university to be featuring in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisation to Work For 2017 and had been voted as No. 1 University in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education for 2014.

Besides this it has also won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for exceptional involvement to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, cultural, economic as well as social life. Sheffield also has six Nobel Prize winners in the midst of earlier staff as well as students and its graduates are said to be holding position of immense responsibility and influence all across the globe. It has thus contributed in making substantial impact in their selected fields.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Uses of Captured CO2

We’ve all heard of CO2, it is the gas that we breathe out. We also may have heard that CO2 emissions are a major concern to the atmosphere and us at large. So what do we do to control this progression into our ultimate destruction?

Recently scientists have found ways by which CO2 can be captured and transformed into something that is useful and not harmful. By this I mean that now those harmful CO2 emissions that we so dread, can now be mixed with other materials thereby making it not only more stronger but also and most importantly it will also reduce the CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

They say that we as humanity should never sleep on the problem of pollution, well with this solution we can control CO2 emissions by actually sleeping. This may sound that I have taken a trip down the crazy lane but by sleeping you can actually control CO2 emissions. But let me tell you how. Scientists have now come up with a technology that is fitted into your pillow that allows the CO2 breathed out by us to be captured into our pillows thereby reducing the CO2 emissions in the air.

It is not only in pillows that can capture CO2 emissions but also other everyday items such as the soles of our shoes, the spines of our books or even the concrete of our buildings and roads are all made of or can contain our CO2 emissions.

So how can all this be done we might ask ourselves. Well CO2 which is a technically unreactive gas can be made to react with petrochemical raw materials which are used in making a lot of plastics. In this new form CO2 can account for upto 50% of the materials used to make up plastics. Also while using CO2 in this way, the CO2 emissions not only get used but also the resulting CO2 from the process also gets absorbed by the process. The resultant materials are also found to be alot stronger than if CO2 were not used.

Other companies are now using CO2 emissions to make jet fuel and diesel through carbon engineering . While somewhere else CO2 emissions are being captured and used in making soda ash which is an important ingredient in making fertilizer, dyes and synthetic detergents.

Scientists claim that through this process, by the year end the process would have reduced CO2 emissions by 3.5 million tonnes in the atmosphere which is like taking 2 million cars off the road.

But of course all the captured CO2 is very small compared to the actual amount that it is in the air and that could, nay will potentially harm us. Scientists have discovered that CO2 emissions account for 12 to 14 gigatonnes of toxic waste emissions a year. That is roughly 12 to 14 billion tonnes a year.
We burn a burn a lot of fossil fuels a year to provide for gas, coal and oil and all this adds to the CO2 emissions in the air among other undesirable gases. Although through the process of capturing CO2 emissions we are reducing it in the atmosphere, the process is used only in a very small scale and therefore is very expensive.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

TU Delft Researcher Makes Alcohol Out Of Thin Air

Method of Producing Alcohol from Thin Air

Ming Ma, a TU Delft PhD student of Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, haslocated a method of producing alcohol from thin air.. He has found out a way of efficiently and accurately controlling the process of electro-reduction of CO2 in producing a wide range of useful products comprising of alcohol.

 With the possibility of utilising CO2as a means of resource in this manner could be just essential in dealing with climate change. His PhD defence took place on September 14th. For the purpose of modifying atmospheric CO2 concentration, carbon capture together with utilization CCU can be a practicable alternative strategy to carbon capture and sequestrations –CCS.

The electrochemical reduction of CO2 to fuels together with value-added chemicals has drawn significant attention as a capable solution. In this course of development, the captured CO2 is utilised as a means of resource and transformed to carbon monoxide – CO, methane – CH4, ethylene and also liquid products like formic acid –HCOOH, methanol – CH3OH and ethanol C2 H5OH. The great energy density hydrocarbons tend to be utilised directly and conveniently as fuels in the existing energy infrastructure.

Feedstock in Fischer-Tropsch

Besides the production of CO2 seems to be interesting as it could be utilised as feedstock in the process of Fischer-Tropsch, which is a strong technology used extensively in industry in the conversion of syngas CO and hydrogen H2 into useful chemicals like methanol and synthetic fuels like diesel fuel.

Ming Ma, in his PhD theory, while working in the group of Dr Wilson A. Smith had defined that the processes that seemed to occur at the nanoscale when various metals were utilised in the electro-reduction of CO2. For instance, while utilising copper nanowires in the electro-reduction procedure would lead to production of hydrocarbons though nanoporous silver could develop CO.

Moreover, as per the discovery of Ma, the process could be quite accurately regulated by altering the lengths of the nanowires as well as the potential of the electrical. On modifying these conditions one is capable of generating any carbon based production or alternatively combinations in any desired ratio, thereby producing the resources for the three follow up processes mentioned above. On utilising metal alloys in the procedure, would lead to more stimulating results.

Formic Acid – Favourable usage in Fuel Cells

Though platinum tends to produce hydrogen on its own, and gold tends to generate CO, an alloy of these two metals tend to unexpectedly produce formic acid – HCOOH, in relatedly huge quantities where formic acid is said to have the possibilities of a very favourable usage in fuel cells. After this, the next step for the team at the Smith Lab for solar Energy Conversion and Storage at TU Delft is to look for means of enhancing the selectivity of individual products as well to start the designing of scaling up the procedure.

Smith had received an ERC Starting Grant to work on that to improve the understanding of the complicated reaction mechanism to obtain an improved control of the CO2electro catalytic process. The other task in the lab is directed on solar driven splitting of water wherein the simple solution tends to make hydrogen production from solar water splitting more efficient and cheaper. With cheap efficient and stable photo electrode would help in improving water splitting with solar energy.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

New Tool Offers Snapshots of Neuron Activity

Get to see the neuron activity with a snapshot taking tool

Scientists have always wondered how the human brain works and this has led to various huge budget researches. A number of cognitive processes take place within few seconds or minutes with the help highly efficient and fast paced neuron activity in the brain. It was a dream of the neuroscientists to find some way to capture and study how the neurons works in tandem to successfully perform wide variety of tasks within the shortest amount of time. A team of scientists has just built such tool which is capable of taking snapshots of the neuron activity and this feat is regarded nothing than scientific marvel.

Team behind the development of snapshot tool

A team of researchers from MIT and Stanford University has come up a noble solution to map the activity of the neurons in the brain. They had developed a smart and influential way of labeling the neurons as they turn active which in turn helps in creating a snapshot of the activity in real time. Their approach has been applauded by many as offers new exciting insights into the core functioning of the neurons. It has found to be extremely precise and capable than the currently used cell labeling techniques as it is helps in capturing the activity performed by the neurons over a time, hours or even days.

FLARE is the new age for labelling neuron activity

Researchers developed a technique called FLARE which they demonstrated on the mice to showcase how the neuron activity is mapped by this tool. Herein a red fluorescent protein which is also known as mCherry present in the motor cortex of the mice is turned as they started running on the treadmill. The future prospects of this tool are immense as it can be used for the cell belling in the light-sensitive proteins known as DREADDS. This will in turn allow the neurons to be controlled effectively in the small molecule drugs in future. The best thing about this tool is that its component has the potential to be delivered using the viral vectors which enhances the overall scope of its application.

Understanding the neuron activity using the snapshots by careful labelling is being seen as the first step towards the future where scientists will be able to manipulate multiple set of the neurons. This will allow them to perform specific set of tasks which was impossible for a really long time. An example will help in illustrating this point, using this technology researchers will be able to investigate the way in which brain during quick decision making, they will be able to find the strong emotions associated with it as well as helps I determining the behaviour which will be appropriate for specific situation.

FLARE will be extremely useful in studying as well as treating various diseases in future which even includes the Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists will be able to employ this tool to identify the diseased neuron and treat them specifically so a patient left with the healthy neurons only.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Flawed Fish Jaws Shed Light on Hearing Loss in Humans


Genetic Mutation – Malformation of Jaw

As per USC research in Scientific reports, the same genetic tweak which tends to cause malformed jaws in the case of fish could be responsible for some issues in hearing in humans which seems to have some evolutionary origins. Scientists are of the belief that the arrangements which seem to support the jaws of primeval ancestral fish gave rise to three tiny bones towards the middle ear of humans as well as other mammals which transmit sound vibrations where the bones are known as malleus, incus and stapes.

 In zebra fish, a genetic mutation could result in malformation of the jaw and hence USC researchers speculated if an equivalent genetic change could activate hearing defects in mice and humans. To comprehend the query, Camilla Teng, USC PhD student coordinated along with the other colleagues in the USC Stem Cell laboratories of Gage Crump, Rob Maxson, and Neil Segil and with clinical experts in radiology, audiology and genetics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

They researched on two genes JAG1 and NOTCH2 which were mutated in most patients with Alagille syndrome - AGS which a genetic condition causing several symptoms in various parts of the body inclusive of the liver.

Hearing Loss – Deficits in Sensory Cells of Inner Ear

A person with Alagille syndrome tends to have less than normal number or small bile ducts in the liver which is the organ in the abdomen between the chest and hips that makes blood proteins, bile storing energy and nutrients, combats infection as well as eliminates harmful chemicals from the blood.At least in half of the patients, the syndrome tends to affect hearing loss besides liver, eye, heart and skeletal defects.

Though some of this could be hearing loss due to deficits in the sensory cells of the inner ear, the researchers have been speculating on the conductive hearing loss that involves essential components of the middle ear like the vibrating bones.

With the introduction of mutations in mice, the researchers observed flaws in the incus as well as the stapes bones together with corresponding hearing loss. Thereafter they attended Alagille Alliance meetings in 2011 and 2014 performing hearing tests later on 44 human patients affected with Alagille syndrome to determine if their hearing loss had been conductive, sensor in neural or mixed.

Conductive Hearing Loss

As predicted by their discoveries in zebra-fish and mice, they observed conductive hearing loss had been the most common type which had affected almost one third of all ears. The CT scans of 5 AGS patients showed a more considerable complex picture, an unexpected variety of basi cflaws in the middle ear having variable effects on hearing.

One out of the five patients had a stapes flaw precisely related with conductive hearing loss.Teng commented that their study emphasized a generally unnoticed phenotype of Alagille Syndromes.

According to Teng, the study provided some insight on generally overlooked issue arising among individuals with Alagille syndrome. She stated that if patients tend to be conscious of possible conductive hearing loss earlier in life, they can seek medical aidin time for abetter quality of life.

Peering Into Fish Brains to See How They Work


Transparent Fish – Work in the Dark

The main focus in the research of the latest group at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience is transparent fish and the capability to work in the dark. One of the important challenges faced by neuroscientists wanting to comprehend how the brain works is essentially reckoning out how the brain is wired together and how neurons tend to interact.

NTNU neuroscientists and Nobel laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser resolved this issue by studying how to record from individual neurons in the rat brain when the rats tend to move freely in space. They utilised the recording in order to make the findings that had attained them the Nobel Prize.

They were in a position to understand that certain neurons in the entorhinal cortex fired in a manner that created a grid pattern which could be utilised in navigating like an internal GPS. Emre Yaksi, the latest teamhead of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience utilised a diverse approach to the issue of viewing what tends to go on within the brain.

Rather than studying rats or mice, Yakshi resorted to around 90 various types of genetically modified zebra-fish which he could breed in creating various fish with preferredphysiognomies.

Comprehending Universal Circuit Architectures in Brain

Young larval zebra-fish are said to be totally transparent and hence Yakshi needed only a systematic optical microscope to view what tends to occur inside their heads. Some of the fishes of Yakshi seem to have a genetic modification which makes their neurons light up while they direct signal to another neuron and he has informed that this is what tends to make circuits and connections visible to researchers.

He commented that they are interested in comprehending the universal circuit architectures in the brain which can perform interesting computation. Though fish are quite different from humans, their brains tend to have identical structures and in the end fish also have to find food, they also have to find a mate, they have to avoid dangers and they build brain circuits which can generate all these behaviours just the way humans tend to do.

When Yaksi had come to Kavli Institute in early 2015 together with a team of researchers they had a 900 kg anti-vibration table which was the size of a billiards table. The table had been big and heavy and was needed in the laboratory to reduce vibration when they had to use the highly sensitive optical microscopes to peer into the brains of the zebra-fish.

Zebra-Fish Genetically Adapted

The larval fish tend to be quite small that a slight vibration from cars or trucks passing by the streets could make the microscopes bounce away from their miniature brain targets. Zebra-fish brains are quite small, around 10,000 to 20,000 neurons which is a figure dwarfed by the human brain that tends to have an estimated neurons of 80 billion.

However the measurement that Yaksi together with his colleagues tend to make marks in huge quantities of data. According to him, a 30 minute of recording could generate data which tends to take about a week to process the same. It was for this purpose, the research group of Yaksiis a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, physicists and life scientists who seemed to be trained to develop and utilise computational tools in analysing these huge datasets.

Since few of the zebra-fish tend to be genetically adapted in order that their neurons light up with a fluorescent protein when the neurons are active, Yaksi and his colleagues tend to work frequently in low light or darkness. This is particularly obvious when he takes visitors in the subdued darkness of the laboratory where several of the fanciest microscopes are confined in boxes open towards the front, developed to restrict the amount of external light.

Research – Causes of Seizures/How Seizures Prevented

Yaksi had informed that other zebra-fish are genetically modified to shine a blue light in their brain which tends to activate certain neurons enabling the researchers to plan connections between neuron. Major part of the study being done by the group of Yaksiis basic research with findings which tend to improve our understanding of the brain computation though does not specifically have any instant clinical implications.

However, Nathalie Jurisch-Yaksi, wife and colleague of Yaksi is working with medical doctors in order to develop genetically modified zebra-fish which could be helpful in shedding light on brain disease like epilepsy.According to Yaksi, most of the people in his lab are doing basis research attempting to ask how does the brain works, how is it connected, how is it built.

 Nonetheless, Nathalie is working at NTNU with medical doctors and they are trying to reach out to clinicians. For instance he stated that if a brain disorder like epilepsy tends to have a genetic component, that same genetic mutation could be developed in the transgenic group of zebra-fish facility in order that the team could research on the causes of seizures in a diseased brain and how the seizures can be prevented.

Kavli Institute – Excellent Science Environment

The Kavli Institute had been on an institute-wider retreat, when he had come to Trondheim for interview for the position, so Yaksi had the opportunity of meeting not just group leaders but also technicians, master’s students, PhD candidates and everyone. He informed that what was most impressive besides the excellent science environment was that people had been happy and satisfied with what was being done and it was a good atmosphere.

 Though the science had been the most serious part of his decision to move to Trondheim, he informed that he was excited to be a part of the Kavli Institute since he and his wife desired to live in a smaller town as well as close to nature.

He had stated that Trondheim seems to be a unique place and one can do really good science and yet be close to nature, which was a big thing for him and his wife. Going to London or another big city was never an option and they did not desire to deal with big city life. He also informed that when May-Britt Moser had asked him at the time of his interview on what he knew regarding Scandinavia. His reply had been that he did not know much though he had added that he and his wife loved being outdoors.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Engineered Bacterium Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane Fuel

Methane Fuel

Bacterium Turns Carbon Dioxide into Fuel with Enzymatic Step

Scientists have brought about a bacterium which tends to take carbon dioxide from the air, turning it into fuel with a single enzymatic step. The process is said to draw on sunlight in producing methane and hydrogen within the bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris, in essence withdrawing combustion. The said engineered bacteria tend to guide scientists to an improved carbon-neutral biofuels.

Their results had been published recently by the researchers in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. According to co-author Caroline Harwood, professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, the report flourished from her work studying an enzyme known as nitrogenase. She commented that they were interested in the enzyme nitrogenase since it does a remarkably difficult reaction.

 The enzyme, in nature tends to serve as a catalyst to assist certain bacteria turn inert atmospheric nitrogen gas into reactive ammonia through a process known as nitrogen reduction or nitrogen fixation. The enzyme tends to utilise adenosine triphosphate –ATP which is a compound that assists as an energy exchange in cells.

Enzyme Type of Promiscuous

The nitrogen reduction reaction tends to have a big energy barrier and seldom occurs on its own without the enzyme. Researchers have been speculating if they could tweak nitrogenase to operate with other stable as well as inert molecules.

Harwood has commented that it has been somewhat appreciated recently that this enzyme is a type of promiscuous and tends to do other reactions, efficiently.Some of her co-workers succeeded in isolating and changing nitrogenase to use the most oxidized type of carbon, carbon dioxide as the initial material in producing the most reduced kind of carbon, methane.

However, this altered enzyme was dully produced in test tube at tiny scales that was not adequately good for a process which could someday produce industrial quantities of biofuels. Harwood had stated that they want to see if they could get a real living organism for this conversion. A form of the R palustris bacterium which had been modified to crank out the engineered nitrogenase at full blast had been prepared by the team.

Modified Nitrogenase Unable to Fix Nitrogen

The bacterium in its natural state tends to absorb sunlight in order to produce ATP so that light can assist in generating the energy to power the enzyme in the modified cells. The researchers discovered that the modified nitrogenase could not fix nitrogen though it could produce methane and hydrogen when the bacteria were illuminated.

But the latest nitrogenase is not anywhere as efficient in producing methane from carbon dioxide since it makes ammonia from nitrogen gas. Harwood has remarked that the normal enzyme tends to make about a couple of hydrogen from each molecule of ammonia and the changed enzyme tends to make a thousand of hydrogen for every molecule of methane.

An associate lecturer from the department of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Daniel Lessner, not involved in the research had stated that the findings draw out a clear pathway in producing methane, the foremost constituent of natural gas from the living organisms. He had studied a class of bacteria known as methanogens which tend to produce methane, naturally.

But they tend to use various starting materials such as acetate. He commented saying that the methanogens need other microbes in providing them with the other electron donors and what is needed then is not just one microorganism but multiple microorganisms.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Google Partners with Glaxosmithkline on $700 Million BioElectronic Venture


Google to Partner with GlaxoSmithKline – Bioelectronics Medicines

As per a recent joint announcement, the parent company of Google will be partnering with GlaxoSmithKline – GLAXF, which is the leading pharmaceutical firm of British and would be launching new company developing bioelectronics medicines. The two companies intend to put in as much as $700 million for the next seven years in the new venture which would be named Galvani Bioelectronics.

The life science division of Alphabet, Verily would own 45% of the venture and Glaxo with 55%. Bioelectronic medicine is said to be a new field of research aimed on implanting minute devices which could change electrical signal in the nerves in treating chronic conditions. Several biological processes tend to be controlled through electrical signals which are transmitted from the nervous system to the organs of the body.

Glaxo had stated that the early-stage research in its laboratories recommend that distortions of those signalling pathways were involved in many long-term ailments comprising of diabetes asthma and arthritis. The assurance is that these devices are much more effective as well as economical for the patient than the prevailing treatments. In August 2015, Google had officially launched a standalone business devoted to life science a few days after the company had announced the corporate restructuring which had developed Alphabet and rebranded it as Verily in December.

New Technologies from Early Stage R&D to Clinical Testing

Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin had mentioned in a post announcing the new division last year that they would continue to work with the other life sciences companies in order to move new technologies from early stage R&D to clinical testing and hope to transform the way they detect, prevent and manage disease. Earlier, Alphabet had partnered with Johnson & Johnson – JNJ, in the development of enhanced robotic tools for surgeries.

 The efforts tend to be ambitious for a company which has been building its name assisting people search the Internet instead of helping doctors explore for cures. Initial attempts of improving smart contact lenses and a Star Trek-style diagnostic device had been disapproved as more of hype than reality, by some in the scientific group. However, for Google, there is real money at stake here. Verily together with Nest and Google Fiber seems to be the three businesses in Alphabet’s risky `Other Bets’ division which is said to be really generating some revenue.

Possibility for New Beneficial Modality/Old-Style Medicines/Vaccines

A net loss of around $859 million on that division had been reported by Alphabet which had also comprised of expensive activities such as self-driving cars for the quarter ending in June. Glaxo has stated that Galvani Bioelectronics would be bringing together the knowledge of drug discovery of Glaxo and development with the expertise of Verily in reducing low-power electronics, building software for clinical applications and data analytics. Initial process would be concentrated on developing miniature electronic devices in testing out the concept in humans for the first time, according to Glaxo.

Glaxo’s head of vaccines and chairman of Galvani Bioelectronics, Moncef Slaoui, stated that the treatment would work on attaching tiny electronic devices to individual nerves and if successful the approach would provide the possibility for a new beneficial modality together with old-style medicines and vaccines. Kris Famm who tends to head up Bioelectronics research at Glaxo would be the president of the new company with Andrew Conrad as the chief executive of Verily who would be on Galvani’s board.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

This FDA-Approved Medical Syringe Fills Bullet Wounds in 20 Seconds


Xstat Rapid Hemostasis System – Designed to Control Haemorrhaging

Around 30 – 40% of civilian death from traumatic injury is due to haemorrhaging and 33 – 56% of them tend to die prior to reaching the hospital according to the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research.The best option of survival is to staunch the flow of blood as rapidly as possible. Hence a newly approved medical device has come up. The Xstat Rapid Hemostasis System is mainly a syringe filled with tiny sponges which is now made available to people. It has been designed to control haemorrhaging especially for bleeding which cannot be stopped with a tourniquet.

The sponge filled syringe tends to fill gunshot wounds within 20 seconds and the device which had been formerly limited to military use, has received approval for use on the general population in America. Recently the Food and Drug Administration had cleared the syringe which is designed to prevent the flow of blood from an open wound, for use on adult and adolescent citizens. The Xstat had been initially developed for use by the military, wherein the risk of traumatic injury and bullet wounds was higher than in the civilian population.

Sterile Sponges of Cellulose

It was earlier organized in 2014, though the FDA has now finished evaluating the device and has made it available for use by first responders in case of an accident, shooting or natural disaster. In the Xstat syringe there are 92 tablet-sized sterile sponges made up of cellulose which is intended to stop the bleeding in wounds that do not stop easily by any other means.

Bleeding can usually tend to be effectively slowed with simple tourniquet which restricts the flow of blood to the injury. However a bullet wound or any other deep injury would be difficult to close. In such a situation, the Xstat is inserted into the wound and activated to release the sponge wherein each sponge tends to have an x-ray marker so that doctors can ensure that they are all removed from the body later on.

The Verge reports that the syringe tends to work on wounds that cannot be stopped with the use of a tourniquet which is a compression tool developed to control haemorrhaging. These may be wounds in the groin or the armpit.

Control on Severe Life Threatening Bleeding

As per io9, the Xstat Rapid Hemostasis System tends to work by filling a wound with a group of sponges which tends to expand rapidly thereby blocking the flow of the blood and provides pressure cause the bleeding to stop. According to Dr William Maisel, acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA’s Centre for Devices and Radiological Health had mentioned in a press release issued by RevMedX which manufactures the devices, that `when a product is developed for use in the battlefield it is usually intended to work in worst case scenario where advanced care would not be immediately available.

 It is exciting to see this technology transition in helping civilian first responders control some severe life threatening bleeding at the time of the trauma scene’. Each applicator tends to absorb around a pint of blood and works up to four hours which provides adequate time for the injured person to receive surgery for the wound.

Friday, 24 July 2015

This Biotech Discovery Means You’ll Never Need a Painful Flu Shot Again


Dissolving Needle Technology - MicroHyala

Diseases are infectious and are the major cause of death all over the world and hence the need of safe and effective vaccines is of great importance. Though the vaccinations are given with subcutaneous or intramuscular injection that has been administered by medical personnel having technical skills, it is also accompanied with the risk of needle related disease as well as injuries.

Besides this antigen solution need cold chain storage as well as transportation system and hence the development of vaccine which could be easy to use and administered, together with superior in stability of formulations is essentially important.Getting vaccinated is now no longer a painful ordeal since a group of researchers in Japan have tested a new `dissolving needle’ which seems to be a painless patch that one can stick to the arm and which tends to work well.

The dissolving needle technology is known as MicroHyala. Scientists have created a new micro needle patch that is made of dissolvable substance which makes flu vaccination safer, easier and painless by eliminating needle connected risks of injuries and diseases. Flu vaccination are delivered utilising micro needles which dissolve in the skin and protects a person against infection much better than the standard needle delivered vaccine according to researchers.

Readily Adaptable for General Practical Use

Transcutaneous microneedle delivery device that meets the requirements of the only application’ vaccination system, has been developed. The technique is readily adaptable for general practical use especially in developing countries with inadequate public health resources.

However microneedles which are made of metal, stainless steel or silicon tend to pose risks of fractures, with fragments left in the skin. Hence the development of a dissolving microneedle patch has been fabricated from hyaluronic acid a component of skin tissue. Researcher from Osaka University in Japan state that their dissolvable patch which is the only vaccination system of its kind tends to make vaccination less painful. Microneedles on MicroHyala tend to penetrate the stratum corneum that acts as a physical barrier on the outer layer of the skin and are dissolved by water in the skin.

The MicroHyala efficiently delivers the various substances which can be loaded in the microneedles to ample immune-competent cells like Langerhans cells, dermal dendritic cells and keratinocytes in the epidermis as well as dermis beneath the stratum corneum. They found that when they used the MicroHyala in delivering the flu vaccination, it was quite effective as the standard needles.

The New Microneedle Patch

Most of the vaccinations are administered under the skin or into the muscle with the use of needles. Though this is an effective method in delivering a vaccination, it needs medical personnel with technical skills, bringing about the risk of needle related diseases and injuries.The new microneedle patch is made of dissolvable material which eliminates the needle connected risks.

It is easy to use without the requirement of trained medical professionals and makes it appropriate for use in developing countries, especially where healthcare means tends to be limited. Professor Shinsaku Nakagawa, one of the authors of the study from Osaka University states the `their novel transcutaneous vaccination using a dissolving microneedle patch is the only application vaccination system which is readily adaptable for widespread practical use’.

He further added that since the new patch is easy to use, they believe that it will be particularly effective in supporting vaccination in the developing countries.MicroHyala, the new micronneedle patch is dissolvable in water and the miniature needles are made of hyaluronic acid which is a naturally occurring material which cushions the joints. When a patch is applied like a plaster, the needles tend to pierce the top layer of the skin and dissolve into the body taking the vaccine with them.
Designed to Dissolve in the Skin
The new system was compared by the researchers with the traditional needle delivery by vaccinating two groups of people against three strains of influenza namely A/HINI, A/H3N2 and B. There was no sign of any bad reaction to the vaccine to any of the subjects, indicating that it is safe to be used in humans. The patch also seemed effective wherein the people, who were given the vaccine using the micro needles, had an immune reaction which was equal or stronger than those that were injected with the vaccine. Nakagawa said that they were excited to see that their new micro needle patch was effective as the needle delivered flu vaccine and in some cases it was even more effective.

 The earlier research had assessed the use of micro needles made of silicon or metal though they were not considered to be safe. The materials used for micro needles also tend to run the risk of breaking off in the skin and could leave tiny fragments behind. With the new dissolvable patch this risk is eradicated since the microneedles have been designed to dissolve in the skin.

Nakagawa states that they have shown that the patch tends to be safe and works well. Besides this, it is also painless as well as easy for non-trained individuals to use it and that it could bring about a major change in the way vaccine is administered globally. The research had been published in the journal Biomaterials – SAR AKJ SAR.

Friday, 22 May 2015

How DNA Sequencing Is Transforming the Hunt for New Drugs

DNA Sequenced – For Development of Medicines

Manufacturers of drug have commenced amassing hugetroves of human DNA, hoping to shorten the time it would take in identifying new drug candidates which according to some could be a way of transforming the development of medicines. These attempts would help researchers in recognizing rare genetic mutation through scanning of large databases of volunteers who tend to agree in having their DNA sequenced, providing access to thorough medical records.

This is made possible by the lower cost of genetic sequencing which took the government funded scientist around $3 billion and 13 years in sequencing the first human genome by 2003. The cost was nearly $1,500 per genome as of last year which is down from $20,000 five years back.A deal signed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. with Pennyslvania’s Geisinger Health System in January 2014 to sequence partial genomes of around 250,000 volunteers, is laying claims to the discoveries based on the new approach.

Company executives have informed Reuters that they utilised data from the first 35,000 volunteers to confirm the promise of 250 genes on the target list for drugs focused at common medication conditions which comprise of high level of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Regeneron Recognized New Gene Targets – Obesity

Regeneron informs that it has also recognized several dozen new gene targets which include a novel gene that plays a role in obesity. Biogen Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Roche Holding AG are working on identical projects which use DNA as well as patient health data to discover new drug targets or predict the effects of drugs.

These have been inspired by earlier successes in cancer with drugs like Pfizer’s lung cancer treatment Xalkori that gained approval in 2011 and targets mutation in tumours eliminating the disease. Recently, Vertex Pharmaceutical changed the treatment of cystic fibrosis with Kalydeco that targeted the diseases’ primary genetic cause.

 Earlier, the discovery of such genes was a difficult procedure which involved several years of research into isolated population. For instance, in 1991, researchers discovered a rare mutation in a gene known as Angpt13 which instigated low levels of artery-clogging cholesterol and triglycerides amid families in the remote Italian village of Campodimele. This took additional two decades together with several groups of scientist to thoroughly comprehend the potential cardiovascular benefits connected to mutations in that gene.

First Step – Recognizing Target Genes

The Regeneron Genetics Centre, since last autumn has sequenced the DNA of over 35,000 Geisinger patients and is now on the track in sequencing 100.000 by the end of this year. The company has already identified 100 people with similar cholesterol affecting mutations to the ones first observed in Compodimele and other areas.

Dr George Yancopoulos, chief scientific officer of Regeneron comments that `one would no longer have to find that one rare family in Italy because it is in the database’.Recognizing target genes is a first step but does not guarantee that a drug could be developed on a genetic lead or if it could be effective and safe enough to be used. Regeneron is sequencing exomes which is a protein making genes comprising of 1 to 2 percent of the genome, a search which costs around $700 for each person.

Others prefer looking at the whole genome costing around $1,500 per person. One of the first scientists, Craig Venter, to sequence the human genome is of the belief that the whole genome approach would be meaningful over a period of time.

He has stated that he would rather have a gold mine with a deep vein of gold and modern industrial equipment to mind it rather than sit there with a pan in a stream looking for gold. Both would find gold and it’s a question of how much you find.

Anticipating Winning Regulatory Approval for Cholesterol Lowering Drug

Regeneron is pushing for the Geisinger database in becoming a cornerstone of that attempt and intends creating a consortium of drug-makers to finance it. In response, Yancopoulos stated that the company hopes to regainsome of its investment. Regeneron has been identified by Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in charge of the precision medicine project, among a short list of potential contributors to the one million strong DNA study.

Others include Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic and the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin and a decision is anticipated by early fall. Attraction of big payoff is strong for drug companies. Regeneron together with its partner Sanofi are looking forward in winning regulatory approval for a cholesterol lowering drug which works in blocking the PCSK9 gene. Pfizer and Amgen have also developed identical treatments.

Those born with non-functioning forms of PCSK9 tend to have very low cholesterol and the new drugs have the same effect and are considered poster child for treatment. This tends to take advantage of faults in the genome that could prove beneficial to the rare individuals carrying them. Wall Street analysts project that by 2019, Regeneron/Sanofi’s PCSK9 drug would be generating revenues of around $4.4 billion.

Regeneron has also partnered with academic centres in studying families having extreme genetic disorders that have led to the discovery of various new candidate genes according to Dr Aris Baras running the Regeneron’s genetic centre.