NurExone Announces Plan to Submit Pre-Investigational New Drug Meeting Request to U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Company Is Developing Non-Invasive Biologically-Guided Exosome Therapy for Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

On November 2, 2022, NurExone Biologic Inc. (TSXV: NRX) (FSE: J90), a biopharmaceutical company developing biologically-guided exosome therapy (“ExoTherapy”) for patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries, was pleased to announce the Company’s plan to submit a Pre-IND meeting request to the FDA. Prior to submission of a New Investigational Drug (IND) application, in September 2022, the Company submitted a request for an Initial Targeted Engagement for Regulatory Advice on CBER Products (INTERACT) meeting, which is an informal, non-binding meeting that is offered by the U.S. FDA to companies at an early stage in product development. In an official response to the Company’s INTERACT meeting request, the FDA informed NurExone that the Company is beyond the stage of participating in this informal meeting and is instead appropriate for the next type of formal meeting, known as a Pre-IND meeting in connection with the development of ExoPTEN, NurExone’s first ExoTherapy product.

Read more

Diabetic Status Modifies Impact of an NAFLD-Associated SNP

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common disease that affect nearly billion people globally and so early identification of susceptible individuals is critical for precision hepatology. In this issue, Takebe et al. use human liver organoids and perform en masse population-based phenotypic analysis under insulin insensitive conditions to investigate key NASH-genetic factors. In the image, multiple flying butterflies with liver-like wings suggest liver organoids at “population” scale. Some butterflies are caught by the “NASH” spider web, which illustrates steatohepatitis-like phenotype. This is a metaphor that genetic association can be better captured in a certain metabolic state, enabling efficient evaluation of genetic markers for common disorders like NASH. (Credit: Institute of Research, TMDU)

Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) find that a point mutation in the glucokinase regulatory protein gene protects against liver disease in nondiabetic patients but predisposes diabetic patients to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Context is known to influence many spheres. And now, researchers from Japan have found that a patients’ health context—that is, the other conditions a patient has—can determine whether a specific gene mutation is helpful or harmful. Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) have revealed that a genetic mutation with a controversial connection to liver disease confers different levels of risk depending on whether patients have diabetes.

Read more

Decoding Secretome-Mediated Neuron-Immune Cellular Interaction Network

Neuron cells are directly associated with neurodegenerative diseases. However, they are not isolated. They interact/communicate with surrounding cells through physical contact, signal-ligand pathway, and other means to realize neural functions cooperatively. Recent studies have shown that the nervous system and the immune system have close interaction/communication with each other, and the immune cells in the brain …

Read more

Ancient Disease (Leprosy) Has Potential to Regenerate Livers, Study Finds

Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest and most persistent diseases but the bacteria that cause it may also have the surprising ability to grow and regenerate a vital organ. Scientists have discovered that parasites associated with leprosy can reprogram cells to increase the size of a liver in adult animals without causing damage, scarring or tumors. The findings suggest the possibility of adapting this natural process to renew aging livers and increase healthspan–the length of time living disease-free–in humans. Experts say it could also help regrow damaged livers, thereby reducing the need for transplantation, which is currently the only curative option for people with end-stage scarred livers.

Read more

Efficient mRNA Delivery by Branched Lipids

Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are biological molecules that transfer the information coded by genes in the nucleus to the cytoplasm for protein synthesis by ribosomes. mRNA sequences can be designed to encode specific proteins; the most well-known example of this are the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. mRNA molecules are large and chemically unstable, so a vector must be utilized to deliver mRNA to the cells. One of the most advanced technologies for the delivery of mRNA are lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), which are composed of ionizable lipids, cholesterol, helper lipids, and polyethylene glycol. A team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Yusuke Sato and Professor Hideyoshi Harashima at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, and by Kazuki Hashiba at the Nitto Denko Corporation have developed a novel branched ionizable lipid which, when included in LNPs, greatly increases the efficiency of mRNA delivery. Their results were published on November 9, 2022 in Small Science. The open-access article is titled “Branching Ionizable Lipids Can Enhance the Stability, Fusogenicity, and Functional Delivery of mRNA.

Read more

“Love Hormone” Oxytocin Revealed to Have Heart-Healing Properties

The neurohormone oxytocin is well-known for promoting social bonds and generating pleasurable feelings, for example from art, exercise, or sex. But the hormone has many other functions, such as the regulation of lactation and uterine contractions in females, and the regulation of ejaculation, sperm transport, and testosterone production in males. Now, researchers from Michigan State University show that in zebrafish and human cell cultures, oxytocin has yet another, unsuspected, function: it stimulates stem cells derived from the heart’s outer layer (epicardium) to migrate into its middle layer (myocardium) and there develop into cardiomyocytes, muscle cells that generate heart contractions. This discovery could one day be used to promote the regeneration of the human heart after a heart attack. The results were published September 30, 2022 in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. The open-access article is titled “Oxytocin Promotes Epicardial Cell Activation and Heart Regeneration After Cardiac Injury.” “Here we show that oxytocin, a neuropeptide also known as the ‘love hormone,’ is capable of activating heart repair mechanisms in injured hearts in zebrafish and human cell cultures, opening the door to potential new therapies for heart regeneration in humans,” said Dr. Aitor Aguirre, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Michigan State University, and the study’s senior author.

Read more

Copper a Clue in Fight Against Cancer

For cancer cells to grow and spread around the human body, they need proteins that bind copper ions. New research about how cancer-related proteins bind the metal and how they interact with other proteins, opens up potential new drug targets in the fight against cancer. Human cells need small amounts of the metal copper to be able to carry out vital biological processes. Studies have shown that the level of copper in tumor cells and blood serum from cancer patients is elevated, and the conclusion is that cancer cells need more copper than healthy cells. Higher levels of copper also mean more active copper-binding proteins. “Therefore, these proteins are highly important to study when it comes to understanding the development of cancer and deeper knowledge about them can lead to new targets for treatment of the disease,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, PhD, Professor of Chemical Biology at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

Read more

High-Quality, Haplotype-Phased Genome Reconstruction Reveals Unexpected Haplotype Diversity in Economically Important Japanese Pearl Oyster Pinctada fucata; Knowledge May Guide Enhancements of Disease Resistance in Faltering Pearl Industry

Pearl oysters are an important aquaculture animal in Japan, as they produce the beautiful pearls that are sought after for necklaces, earrings, and rings. In the early 1990s, this aquaculture industry was bringing in approximately 88 billion yen (~626 million US dollars) annually. But, in the last 20 years, a combination of new diseases and red tides has seen production of Japan’s pearls drop from around 70,000 kg a year to just 20,000 kg. Now, researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), in collaboration with a number of other research institutes including K. MIKIMOTO & CO., LTD, Pearl Research Institute, and Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, have constructed a high-quality, chromosome-scale genome of pearl oysters, which they hope can be used to find resilient strains. The research was published on November 10, 2022 in DNA Research. The open-access article is titled “A High-Quality, Haplotype-Phased Genome Reconstruction Reveals Unexpected Haplotype Diversity in a Pearl Oyster.”

Read more

The X Chromosome Is Silenced in Some Male Cancers

Cancer cells acquire genetic anomalies that allow them to grow and proliferate unchecked. Researchers have now found another difference between cancer cells and normal cells: the X chromosome, typically only inactivated in XX female cells, can be inactivated across different male-derived cancers. This work was published November 9, 2022 in Cell Systems. The open-access article is titled “Somatic XIST Activation and Features of X Chromosome Inactivation in Male Human Cancers. “To balance the expression of genes between the sexes, in normal development, one copy of the female X chromosome is inactivated at random across the human body. We wanted to know if this process that occurs in normal development goes awry in genetically unstable male or female cancer cells,” says senior author Srinivas Viswanathan (@srviswanathan), MD, PhD, a cancer geneticist and medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Bostom.

Read more