Showing posts with label Bio Tech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bio Tech. Show all posts

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Exenatide for weight reduction !...

Exenatide, ( 39-amino-acid peptide an insulin secreta gogue with glucoregulatory effects) a compound belonging to "incretin mimetics" was approved for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2 in April, 2005, but not for type 1.

Exenatide is a synthetic version of exendin-4, a hormone found in the saliva of the Gila monster. It displays biological properties similar to human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a regulator of glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. According to the package insert, exenatide enhances glucose-dependent insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta-cell, suppresses inappropriately elevated glucagon secretion, and slows gastric emptying, although the mechanism of action is still under study.
Recently it has been found that along with the treatment for type 2, the compound has been found to reduce the weight of non diabetic obese people.
Michael Trautmann, MD, a Principal Investigator with Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, recently reported that in combination with diet and exercise, the diabetes drug exenatide helped nondiabetic, obese individuals lose over three times more weight than those receiving a placebo, or dummy treatment, for 6 months. Drug therapy is considered important adjunctive treatment to diet and exercise in the successful management of obesity, Trautmann said. "To date, however, there are few effective drugs that help obese people lose weight", which is very important fact. and as the drug is already an established one, the only side effect like mild or moderate nausea and diarrhea are to be taken care off.
As per the claims of the authors : individuals who received exenatide lost more weight in 24 weeks than controls did. Those who received the medication lost an average of more than 11 pounds (5.06 kg), whereas the controls lost just 3.5 pounds (1.61 kg). This difference was statistically significant and noted as early as week 8. Only exenatide-treated subjects lost more than 10 percent of their body weight (seven of 73 subjects, or 9.6%). The plausible explaination for the action of this drug is "decreased food intake and increased feelings of fullness". Congrats Dr.Mikeand group....[these findings are being presented in the The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., June 10 - 13th, 2009.]

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Genetic basis of psoriasis revealed.....

As we know psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune cells mistakenly attack the skin, is becoming more problematic with nearly 10 to 30 percent of patients (an estimated 7 million people suffer from psoriasis in US) with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. which occurs when inflammation attacks the joints, causing pain and disability. Thanks to Dr. Anne Bowcock, a professor of genetics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louisand and his group have made significant gains in understanding the genetic basis of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that can be debilitating in some patients.

This basic understanding of psoriasis is of significance becoz of the fact that, now one will be
able target treatments to psoriasis patients based on the genetic alterations that have contributed to their disease. The two groups (Bowcock and her colleagues in Spain) found that the absence of two skin genes - LCE3B and LCE3C - increases the risk of psoriasis.

Both genes normally are activated after an injury to the skin. The researches suspect the absence of the genes could lead to an inappropriate immune response, which may cause the inflammation that is a hallmark of the disease. Until now, all of the genes linked to psoriasis have been involved in the immune system. But psoriasis is a disease of the immune system and the skin, and it makes sense that we would eventually find genes in the skin that are involved in the disease.

Though the new variants uncovered by the researchers each make only a small contribution to the overall genetic risk of the psoriasis, its a good beginning. This finding is important, because newly discovered variants have been associated with other inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Hope additional studies will help to tease apart the ways in which these diseases are connected at the level of DNA and this information will also aid in the search for more targeted drugs that can zero in on particular genetic defects that cause the diseases. More....

For Psoriasis picture, see the slide no., 4 of slide show of skin problems.

Obesity may be contagious !

When I read this title, I was amazed and went into the details, which are really interesting. According to Professor Nikhil Dhurandhar (Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Louisiana), a common cold virus can interfere with our normal body processes and make us fat - he has reached this rather astonishing conclusion following ten years of research with both animals and humans into the virus, Adenovirus-36. His findings are of great improtance becoz of the fact that the airborne "adenovirus" germ may be contributing to the obesity epidemic - the highly infectious cold-like virus is known to cause coughs, sore throats, diarrhoea and conjunctivitis. These results are substantiated by the fact that 1000 patients, whose obesity appears to be linked to infection with the virus.

Blood samples taken from patients attending an obesity clinic were tested for antibodies to Adenovirus-36 and it was found that 20% of the patients had encountered the virus at some point and were significantly heavier than their antibody negative counterparts.

Other research showed that obese people were nearly three times more likely to have the virus than a non-obese person and even amongst the non-obese group, those with the virus were heavier than average. Dr. Dhurandhar explain his conclusion in the following lines : virus goes to the lungs and spreads to various organs such as the liver, kidney, brain and fat tissue and the Adenovirus-36 virus reaches the fat tissue it replicates making more copies of itself and in the process increases the number of fat cells and this may explain why people gain weight when infected with the virus. The virus lingers for up to three months, during which time it multiplies fat and is contagious to others and is possibly encountered in early chilhood. Though many Obesity experts, say the virus is not the reason why there is a major epidemic of obesity but may be instead a small contributing factor and all avenues must be explored but the basic message remains that people need to eat less and exercise more. Any way something interesting and if it happens to be proven one more SERENDIPITY to the existing truths.....

Whistling For Attention

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Insulin from plants ?

With the increasing diabetic patients the requirement of insulin is also increasing. As we are aware that most insulin products are produced by bacteria in a fermenter, this is an expensive process. Now thanks to Sembiosys a Canadian company, for its novel discovery that is "when human insulin genes were inserted into Safflowers plants, the plants produced a compound called pro-insulin." Enzymes then converted this into a type of insulin called SBS-1000. Something interesting , because this SBS-1000 is identical to human insulin (Sembiosys compared its effects with insulin from other sources in healthy volunteers). Hope further studies will substantiate the conclusion and there by help to produce insulin at a cheaper rate . More.....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Structure of key Ebola protein solved.....

The Ebola virus can cause hemorrhagic fever that is usually fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, outbreaks have caused more than 1,000 deaths, mostly in Central Africa, since it was first recognized in 1976. Approved treatments for these infections are currently lacking. The Ebola VP35 protein is multifunctional, acting as a component of the viral RNA polymerase complex, a viral assembly factor, and an inhibitor of host interferon (IFN) production. Mutation of select basic residues within the C-terminal half of VP35 abrogates its dsRNA-binding activity, impairs VP35-mediated IFN antagonism, and attenuates EBOV growth in vitro and in vivo. Because VP35 contributes to viral escape from host innate immunity and is required for EBOV virulence, understanding the structural basis for VP35 dsRNA binding, which correlates with suppression of IFN activity, is of high importance.

A team led by Gaya Amarasinghe, an assistant professor in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, has recently solved the structure from a key part of the Ebola protein known as VP35. This protien interferes with the natural resistance of host cells against viral infections. when viruses infect cells, the host immune system can fight to eventually clear the virus. But with Ebola infections, the ability of the host to mount a defense against the invading virus is lost
I think this if not controlled will be like deadly epidemic AIDS (and even worst than this...), because of the fact that the VP35 protein interferes with the host's innate immune pathways that form the first line of defense against pathogens. With the advent of technologies like combination of X-ray crystallography and nucleic magnetic resonance spectroscopy the team has achieved the structure by using non-infectious protein samples. Hope this template (known structure) will help the drug discoverers to identify and design drugs that potentially bind with VP35 and their by substantiate anti-viral drug discovery. Congrats to Gaya Amarashinghe and his team. More ....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Genetic modification of E. coli, a bacterium to produce long-chain alcohols essential in the creation of biofuels- a new avenue of biofules ?

Alcohols were never synthesized beyond five carbons. Now, James Liao, UCLA professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and his team have figured out a way to engineer proteins for a whole new pathway in E. coli to produce longer-chain alcohols with up to eight carbon atoms. This research is of interesting because of the fact that, longer-chain alcohols with five or more carbon atoms, pack more energy into a smaller space and are easier to separate from water. Thus making them less volatile and corrosive than the commercially available biofuel ethanol. The greater the number of carbon atoms, the higher the density of the biofuel.

Encouraged by the fact that organisms typically produce a large number of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In their research, Liao's team examined the metabolism of amino acids in E. coli and changed the metabolic pathway of the bacterium by inserting two specially coded genes. One gene, from a cheese-making bacterium, and another, from a type of yeast often used in baking and brewing, were altered to enable E. coli's amino acid precursor, keto acid, to continue the chain-elongation process that ultimately resulted in longer-chain alcohols.

Though this new frontier of biofuels production from organisms has the potential to address significant issues in global warming, the scientific significance of successful genetic modification could also mean great benefits beyond the environment. Hope this reaerch will go a longway in finding solution to the alternative ways for biofuels and also may have its impact in the fields of Polymer science and Drug manufacturing . More....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Deep Insight into the World Gene Therapy Market

A new market research report related to the Biotechnologies and Genetics industry about the trends in "antisense drugs".....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Genes and Proteins Interact……

If we think back how, the killer illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's begin and are they anything to do with fundamental mechanisms of epigenetic control ? Dr. Stephen Michnick and group says, "control of genes is subject to both inherited and environmental factors, so that genes may be read differently and up to what a person eats or even what their grandmother ate” - something we all, try to find comparisons between our children with our parents.

In the PLoS study, the researchers identified proteins they described as gene grammarians. Gene grammarians are linked to a larger complex of proteins that determine whether a gene can be read – or not – based on DNA structure. The scientists found gene grammarians can determine whether cells have different functions and can identify the different levels of susceptibility – or resistance – individuals could have to specific diseases.

The study provides insight into the fundamental mechanisms of epigenetic control – gene expression that are controlled by heritable but potentially reversible changes in DNA – which provides a new avenue towards understanding environmental effects on the human genome and I hope this study will have some impact on genetically transmitted deceases……

Friday, December 19, 2008

Classification of cleaning enzymes…..

When ever I see a advertisement with “real enzymes” for any dish wash bar/liquids or soap powder, used to wonder what are these enzymes and how they really work and is there any difference between them (for dish washing bar and soap powders). Thanks to Guillermo et. al., who have come up with a interesting way of differentiating the types of enzymes by a method, which is based on the acid hydrolysis of the enzymes to their amino acid constituents. It is really interesting, since their first tentative introduction as minor additives in cleaning products.they have become major players. Cleaning enzymes have almost reduced the use of bleaching agents (hypochlorite solution). The advantage of these enzymes (over the bleaching agents) is better fabric care, during washing. I am sure this test will have its impact in the future, on the magical ability of the enzymes to remove so many types of marks and stains by its equally impressive way of classifying the enzymes involved.

Four types of enzymes:

1. Proteases- attack protein-rich stains such as grass and blood;

2. Amylases- remove stains that contain starch from dishes and fabrics

3. Lipases- hit fats and edible oils and

4. Cellulases- removes the fuzz balls that form on cotton

Hope this experiment will go a long way in adding more enzymes…….

Sunday, December 14, 2008

DNA strands as fibre optic cables?

DNA strands can be easily converted into tiny fibre optic cables that guide light along their length. Optical fibres made this way could be important in optical computers, which use light rather than electricity to perform calculations, or in artificial photosynthesis systems that may replace today's solar panels, claims Bo Albinsson

Though the result is similar to natural photonic wires found inside organisms like algae, where they are used to transport photons to parts of a cell where their energy can be tapped. In these wires, chromophores are lined up in chains to channel photons. It is really interesting though there are pros and cons about the claim. Hope further research in the same, will definitely substantiate the claim…..

Does individual DNA genotype, has anything to do with rapid development of AIDS?

Yes, says Stephen O'Brien and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute in Frederick. By studying the time it took for the subjects to develop AIDS-related diseases and relating it to their genetic information, the team found that some mitochondrial DNA genotypes are associated with rapid development of AIDS. For example, subjects with specific sets of variations known as U5a1 and J haplogroups progressed to AIDS at twice the average rate of the studied population. In contrast, people with the H3 haplogroup progressed more than twice as slowly.

I am sure this research could go a longway in determining, when an individual should start HIV therapy (start HAART earlier than currently recommended) and also help the doctors choose the best combination of drugs.

Source :;jsessionid=JGPSvrMJKJ6LppdFfHJKwzpJG4HLsPDnnFnFxlgCXkPW0bp0bSVN!-595418120!181195629!8091!-1

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nano fungus ! ....

Everything Nano…now it is the turn of fungus. German researchers, Alexander Eychm├╝ller and Karl-Heinz Peacute have discovered that they can coat the thin fronds that grow from Penicillium and other fungi with nanoscopic particles of a noble metal. They found that fungal threads coated with 200 nm gold particles appear reddish brown, as does a solution of such gold nanoparticles, providing evidence that the nanoparticulate nature of the particles is maintained during growth rather than aggregation to form larger units taking place. For more….

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decoding of Neanderthal genome……

Lactose intolerance, bulging brains in humans and lacking of a mutation associated with increased fertility - the answers for all these questions are being answered by microcephalna gene mutation. Neanderthal genome researchers, have half done the job and I am sure this will shed light on the evolution of modern humans after their ancestors split from Neanderthals, more than 600,000 years ago and hope they will achieve the success soon.....

Monday, December 8, 2008

Euphoria over Stem Cell Therapy.....

Now a days, I have seen many advertisements in papers, news channels and web sites regarding many clinics claiming to treat multiple diseases with the stem cells, boasting that there is no risk. And I have heard from one of my close friend, that a clinic from US claimed to treat a paraplegia patient suffering for 4 years. He spent lot of money without any result and with lots of physical and mental trauma. Its really interesting now ISSCR, (International Society for Stem Cell Research) has come to the rescue of many patients with its novel idea, by publishing the guidelines for the clinics In my opinion, the awareness should first start from medical practitioners…..

Can Antisense drugs revolutionize the drug discovery ?

Antisense therapy, is an important technology for drug discovery and development. It is broadly used by the pharmaceutical industry as a tool for functional genomics and as highly specific drugs for a wide range of diseases (Anticancer, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases) The most interesting factor of antisense drugs is “specificity” in contrast to the traditional drugs (which binds to the proteins and charge interactions so often ending with undesirable side effects). With the combined efforts of human genome programme and bioinformatics, we may soon have a lesser number of targets, I think this interesting field may revolutionize the drug discovery. But the real concern is, there are a few players as of now. In my opinion, something like High Throughput Screening (HTS), with co-ordination of educational and private institutes may help to have more drug contenders (as for as my knowledge goes, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham did try for antitubercular drugs, for the drug resistant strain). Let us hope, something happen in the near future…..