New Technique Detects Novel Biomarkers for Kidney Diseases with Nephrotic Syndrome

A groundbreaking study, presented May 25, 2024 at the 61st European Associates (ERA) Congress, has uncovered a significant breakthrough in the diagnosis and monitoring of kidney diseases associated with nephrotic syndrome.1 Using a hybrid technique, researchers identified anti-nephrin autoantibodies as a reliable biomarker for tracking disease progression, opening new avenues for personalized treatment approaches.

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First In-Human Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial to Launch for Refractory Prostate Cancer Patients: Novel Alpha Therapy Targets Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen

A research team at Osaka University will start an investigator-initiated clinical trial for refractory prostate cancer patients after successful development of a new alpha-ray therapeutic agent ([At-211] PSMA-5) and confirmation of its efficacy in animal models. This will be a world-first in-human clinical trial with [At-211] PSMA-5.

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Investigating Origin of Circatidal Rhythms In Freshwater Snails

Snails synchronize rhythms with tides, revealing adaptability to environmental changes

Organisms, including humans, follow a schedule that coordinates important bodily functions such as sleep-wake cycles, metabolism, hormone production, cognitive function, and feeding habits to environmental cycles. While most organisms possess circadian rhythms synchronized with the 24-hour day-night cycle, they have also developed other internal clocks to suit their local environments. Marine animals have evolved circatidal rhythms, aligning activities with the 12.4-hour tidal cycle, complementing circadian rhythms. Researchers from Chiba University have discovered that snails living in downstream tidal areas have biological rhythms synchronized with the tidal cycles, unlike those in nontidal regions. This observation raises the question of whether circatidal rhythms develop due to differences in habitat or are caused by genetic variations between the populations. 

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Most Younger Breast Cancer Patients Can Conceive, Give Birth After Treatment

New research will be presented at 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting

A new study found that most survivors of stage 0 through stage III breast cancer who try to conceive after completing treatment are able to become pregnant and have a live birth. The research will be presented at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, taking place May 31-June 4 in Chicago, Illinois.

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Risk Reduction from HPV Vaccination Goes Beyond Cervical Cancer

New research will be presented at 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting

Results from a new study suggest that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is effective in preventing the development of several types of cancers caused by HPV, most particularly head and neck cancer in males. The research will be presented at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, taking place May 31-June 4 in Chicago, Illinois.

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Artificial Intelligence-Based Patient Navigator May Help Improve Disparities in Colon Cancer Screening

An artificial intelligence-based patient navigator tool demonstrated improved potential in helping to overcome patient attrition that can lead to colon cancer disparities, nearly doubling the rate of completed colonoscopies for people who did not show for their initial appointment. The research will be presented at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, taking place May 31-June 4 in Chicago, Illinois.

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Estrogen-Only Hormone Therapy May Increase Cancer Risk While Estrogen-Progestin Combination May Lower Risk

For people who have been through menopause and have taken menopausal hormone therapy, conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) taken alone may increase the risk of developing and dying from ovarian cancer, while CEE combined with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) does not increase this risk and may reduce the risk of developing uterine cancer. The research will be presented at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, taking place May 31-June 4 in Chicago, Illinois.

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Merkin Prize in Biomedical Technology Awarded to F. William Studier for Development of Widely Used Protein- and RNA-Production Platform

The $400,000 award recognizes the far-reaching medical impacts of Studier’s development, in the 1980s, of an efficient and scalable technology to produce mass amounts of RNA and proteins in laboratories that is widely used today all over the world. 

F. William Studier, PhD

F. William Studier of Brookhaven National Laboratory has won the second annual Richard N. Merkin Prize in Biomedical Technology for his development of an efficient, scalable method of producing RNA and proteins in the laboratory. His T7 expression technology can be used to make large quantities of nearly any RNA or protein and has been for decades, and continues to be, a mainstay of biomedical research and pharmaceutical production. The approach has been used to produce numerous therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines — including the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines credited with extending millions of lives in recent years. “F. William Studier’s brilliant work on the T7 system transformed biomedicine, saving millions of lives globally and improving the chances for further research that will change healthcare delivery,” said Dr. Richard Merkin, CEO and Founder of Heritage Provider Network, one of the country’s largest physician-owned integrated health care systems. “His work exemplifies why I created this prize initiative that honors and showcases amazing innovators like Bill. I’m honored to be celebrating his remarkable achievements.”

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International Team Sheds Light on 250-Year-Old Mystery of the German Cockroach

A team of international scientists, including Virginia Tech entomologist Warren Booth, PhD, has solved the 250-year-old origin puzzle of the most prevalent indoor urban pest insect on the planet: the German cockroach. The team’s research findings, representing the genomic analyses of over 280 specimens from 17 countries and 6 continents, show that this species evolved some 2,100 years ago from an outside species in Asia. The results were published May 20, 2024 in PNAS. The open-access article is titled “Solving the 250-Year-Old Mystery of the Origin and Global Spread of the German Cockroach, Blattella germanica.”

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Study Explains Why the Brain Can Robustly Recognize Images, Even without Color

The findings also reveal why identifying objects in black-and-white images is more difficult for individuals who were born blind with cataracts and had their sight restored.

Even though the human visual system has sophisticated machinery for processing color, the brain has no problem recognizing objects in black-and-white images. A new study from MIT offers a possible explanation for how the brain comes to be so adept at identifying both color and color-degraded images. Using experimental data and computational modeling, the researchers found evidence suggesting the roots of this ability may lie in development. Early in life, when newborns receive strongly limited color information, the brain is forced to learn to distinguish objects based on their luminance, or intensity of light they emit, rather than their color. Later in life, when the retina and cortex are better equipped to process colors, the brain incorporates color information as well, but also maintains its previously acquired ability to recognize images without critical reliance on color cues. The findings are consistent with previous work showing that initially degraded visual and auditory input can actually be beneficial to the early development of perceptual systems.

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