Category Archives: Research

RESEARCH: ‘SINGLE DROP’ BLOOD TESTING ADVANCES

“Even more importantly, we’ve shown you can collect the blood drop at home and mail it into the lab,” said Michael Snyder, PhD, director of the Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine and senior author on the research, which was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering on Jan. 19.

Stanford Medicine (January 19, 2023) – Researchers at Stanford Medicine have shown they can measure thousands of molecules — some of which are signals of health — from a single drop of blood.

Unlike finger-prick testing for diabetes, which measures a single type of molecule (glucose), multi-omics microsampling gives data about thousands of different molecules at once.

finger prick
A single drop of blood can yield measurements for thousands of proteins, fats and other biomarkers, researchers at Stanford Medicine found.

The new approach combines a microsampling device — a tool used to self-administer a finger prick — with “multi-omics” technologies, which simultaneously analyze a vast array of proteins, fats, by-products of metabolism and inflammatory markers.

Prostate Cancer: A PSMA Scan Predicts Recurrence

“We found that the information we could get from PSMA scanning in patients with newly-diagnosed prostate cancer before surgery was at least as reliable and useful as other information from biopsy, PSA levels, or clinical exam for predicting how patients would do after surgery or other treatment,” says Farshad Moradi, a radiologist at Stanford who co-authored the study.

In December, scientists at Stanford University reported promising findings with a new technology that lights up prostate tumors on specialized imaging scans. The approach relies on a minimally-radioactive tracer that travels the body hunting for cancer cells.

Called 68Ga-PSMA-11, and delivered intravenously, the tracer binds exclusively with a protein called prostate- specific membrane antigen (PSMA). Prostate cancer cells contain far more of this protein on their surfaces than normal prostate cells do. Tumors flagged by 68Ga-PSMA-11 show up on an imaging scan like lit matches in a dark room. Doctors are already using PSMA scans to diagnose early metastatic cancer, and the tracer can also be used to ferry drugs directly into malignant tumors.

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EPIGENETICS & AGING: DNA BREAKAGE & REPAIR EFFECTS

Harvard Medical School – A 13-year international study in mice demonstrates that loss of epigenetic information, which influences how DNA is organized and regulated, can drive aging independently of changes to the genetic code itself.

It also shows that restoring the integrity of the epigenome reverses age-related symptoms.

Learn more at https://hms.harvard.edu/news/loss-epi…

Regenerative Medicine: Rotator Cuff Tear Benefit

“The data we analyzed suggested a nearly threefold reduction in revision surgery in patients who received bone marrow aspirate concentrate, compared to those who did not,” says Bradley Schoch, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and principal investigator. “This procedure is growing in use throughout the practice of orthopedic surgery and commonly added as a surgical adjunct to rotator cuff tears.”

Mayo Clinic – Applying regenerative medicine to a common shoulder surgery could have an impact on the need for follow-up revision surgery in some patients, according to a Mayo Clinic study of real-world evidence.



Mayo Clinic researchers analyzed the largest set of data available to determine if adding bone marrow aspirate concentrate to repaired tissue after standard rotator cuff surgery would improve outcomes for patients. Bone marrow aspirate is fluid taken from a patient’s bone marrow that contains concentrated growth factors, stem cells and other specialized cells that may regenerate tissue and cartilage.

The analysis identified 760 patients who had a regenerative intervention added to augment rotator cuff repair surgery. Those patients were compared to 3,888 patients who did not have any biologic intervention at the time of surgery. The data indicated that 114 patients who opted for bone marrow aspirate concentrate at the time of surgery were less likely to need a second surgery.

The results of the Mayo Clinic study are published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

Regenerative Medicine: How It Slows Down Aging

“Diverse aging populations, vulnerable to chronic disease, are at the cusp of a promising future. Indeed, growing regenerative options offer opportunities to boost innate healing, and address aging-associated decline. The outlook for an extended well-being strives to achieve health for all,”

Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist

Regenerative medicine could slow the clock on degenerative diseases that often ravage the golden years, a Mayo Clinic study finds. Life span has nearly doubled since the 1950s, but health span — the number of disease-free years — has not kept pace. According to a paper published in NPJ Regenerative Medicine., people are generally living longer, but the last decade of life is often racked with chronic, age-related diseases that diminish quality of life. These final years come with a great cost burden to society.

Researchers contend that new solutions for increasing health span lie at the intersection of regenerative medicine research, anti-senescent investigation, clinical care and societal supports. A regenerative approach offers hope of extending the longevity of good health, so a person’s final years can be lived to the fullest.

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Research: ‘Rejuvenating The Aging Brain’ (Scripps)

REJUVENATING THE AGING BRAIN

As humans live longer, they’re at increased risk of developing devastating NEURODEGENERATIVE diseases, such as Alzheimer’s—in a treatment landscape with few options and little hope. At Scripps Research, scientists are closer than ever to understanding how these diseases harm the brain and identifying possible drugs to stop them.

“This early preclinical work may identify proteins that protect against cognitive loss. We know it’s a long path to get to a drug, but we’re creating the foundation. We know there’s an entire landscape of potential molecular interactions that maintain healthy synapses, and any of these proteins could be a drug target.”— Hollis Cline, PhD

Science: New Research Into Diseases Of The Brain

Take an animated look inside the neuron, and learn how scientists are addressing brain disease. With approximately 86 billion neurons in the brain, humans contain the most complex communications network imaginable. To address diseases of brain development and degeneration, neuroscientists are investigating how and why this network breaks down, and what can be done to repair it.

One area of study is dendrites, which are the tree-like structures of neurons, that receive electrical impulses. Researchers are carefully mapping out brain circuits and uncovering how connectivity changes can result in defects of the visual system or behavioral problems. The core section of the neuron is the cell body. Genetic engineering tools are revealing how mutations impact brain development and contribute to autism spectrum disorder or rare, inherited forms of neurological disease.

The transmission of nerve impulses occurs along the axon, which is insulated, much like an electrical wire, by a fatty layer called the myelin sheath. Scientists have invented a medicine to stop the immune system from mistakenly attacking this layer, which occurs during multiple sclerosis. Other molecules currently in development instruct the body to regenerate the sheath and repair damage. The axon also transports valuable cellular cargo, such as neurotransmitters, along tracks from one end of the neuron to the other.

Researchers are testing drug candidates for their ability to remove molecular traffic jams when this transport system fails, as often occurs in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The axon terminals make connections called synapses with other cells, using neurotransmitters as signals. Some scientists are evaluating how finely tuning the receptors for these chemicals could ease depression and anxiety.

Others are finding ways to promote the regrowth of lost synapses, which could halt neurodegeneration. From genetics to behavior, neuroscience is accelerating new interventions for the most challenging disorders of the nervous system.

Learn more: https://www.scripps.edu/

MEDICINE: WHY LONG COVID IS STILL NOT UNDERSTOOD

Even mild COVID-19 is at least correlated with a startlingly wide spectrum of seemingly every illness. We need a much better taxonomy to address people’s suffering.

Long Covid – Whole Body Symptoms

From The Atlantic, October 5, 2022:

The cases of long covid that turn up in news reports, the medical literature, and in the offices of doctors like me fall into a few rough (and sometimes overlapping) categories. The first seems most readily explainable: the combination of organ damage, often profound physical debilitation, and poor mental health inflicted by severe pneumonia and resultant critical illness.

This serious long-term COVID-19 complication gets relatively little media attention despite its severity. The coronavirus can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome, the gravest form of pneumonia, which can in turn provoke a spiral of inflammation and injury that can end up taking down virtually every organ. I have seen many such complications in the ICU: failing hearts, collapsed lungs, failed kidneys, brain hemorrhages, limbs cut off from blood flow, and more. More than 7 million COVID-19 hospitalizations occurred in the United States before the Omicron wave, suggesting that millions could be left with damaged lungs or complications of critical illness. Whether these patients’ needs for care and rehabilitation are being adequately (and equitably) met is unclear: Ensuring that they are is an urgent priority.

Read full article at The Atlantic

AGING: HOW BIOMARKERS HELP DIAGNOSE DEMENTIA

Biomarkers are measurable indicators of what’s happening in your body. They can be found in blood, other body fluids, organs, and tissues, and can be used to track healthy processes, disease progression, or even responses to a medication. Biomarkers are an important part of dementia research.

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Covid-19: China Approves The First Inhaled Vaccine

The vaccine, called Convidecia Air, changes the liquid form of the vaccine into an aerosol using a nebuilzer. The vaccine can then be inhaled through the mouth using the nebulizer machine. The needle-free vaccine “can effectively induce comprehensive immune protection in response to SARS-CoV-2 after just one breath,” Cansino said in a statement.

In July, Chinese scientists published a pre-print study showing that people who received one booster dose of Cansino’s inhaled vaccine after two doses of the inactivated jab from Chinese maker Sinovac developed more antibodies than people who received three Sinovac shots. Four weeks after receiving the inhaled booster, 92.5% of people had developed neutralizing antibodies for Omicron.

Those who got three doses on Sinovac’s jab did not demonstrate any neutralizing antibodies for Omicron, either four weeks or six months after getting a booster.

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COMMENTS:

Spray vaccines will be our best chance to stop Covid.

However, there are two big problems that have to be solved.

The first problem is keeping up with the blitzkrieg mutation capacity that Covid has. Our best chance to do that is with the mRNA technology, which permits vaccine generation with minimal delay. However, mRNA vaccines are too fragile to be suitable for a nasal or oral spray. The particles would be destroyed before they could activate the mucosal immune system.

But it is still possible, using laboratory technology to convert this mRNA into peptides and proteins suitable for use as a spray. Using AI to generate three dimensional shapes, surely a  stable molecule of suitable configuration and stability could be eventually generated.

The second appears to have been partially solved by the Chinese, according to the Fortune  article, namely getting an injectable vaccine into a suitable form and dose to survive the bodies mucosal clearance mechanisms and enzymes, designed to keep foreign sprays and mists out of the body, in enough concentration to stimulate the mucosal immune system.

Our bodies have developed a parallel Defense system using a unique immunoglobulin, IGA, and  special support cells. When stimulated, immunity bristles as a first line of defense to deny incoming viruses entrance to the body. This is what is needed to prevent infection from occurring in the first place, so extremely important for a highly infectious and potentially lethal virus such as Covid.

The Chinese, with their autocratic system,  have a better chance of making everybody take this vaccine, even though it requires a cumbersome liquid nebulizer to generate the mist.

Better would be a handheld inhaler, and, hopefully, this is what some dozen pharmaceutical corporations, working on a nasal or inhaled vaccine , are aiming for.

—Dr. C.