Biological Dynamics to Present Data Demonstrating Clinical Utility of ExoVerita™ Exosome-Isolation Platform for Detection of Early-Stage Cancers at Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC 2023)

Biological Dynamics, a company developing and commercializing its ExoVeritaTM platform for early disease diagnostics, announced that Harmeet Dhani, MD, MSc, Medical Director will present at the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC 2023) in Santa Clara, California. Dr. Dhani’s PMWC presentation on Thursday, January 26th is part of the Clinical Utility of Liquid Biopsies track and will be given at 10:15 AM PST. The track focuses on how liquid biopsy technologies facilitate detection of early-stage cancer, which could help contribute to improving patient outcomes rates and reduce the need for invasive diagnostic procedures. Biological Dynamics’ ExoVerita platform targets extracellular vesicles (EVs) in blood, isolating exosomes to detect biomarkers of early-stage cancers. Its first product is an assay for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) assay that identifies exosomal PDAC-associated protein biomarkers, detecting Stage 1 and 2 pancreatic cancers with high sensitivity, a key advantage of the technology. Dr. Dhani’s presentation will discuss the implication of exosomes, the ExoVerita technology platform, review a subject case study, and provide an overview of the preliminary data in multi-cancer early detection and the ExoLuminate registry trial (NCT05625529) which enrolled its first subject in December.

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Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC 2023) Opens in Silicon Valley

On Wednesday, January 25, the three-day Precision Medicine World Conference 2023 (PMWC 2023) “Celebrating 14 Years of Precision Medicine Innovation” opened in Santa Clara, California, the heart of Silicon Valley, with day-long sessions in six different topic tracks. These included Gene & Cell Therapies, AI & Data Science in Clinical Practice, Early Oncology Applications, Sequencing Techniques & Applications; and two showcase sessions—one on AI & Data Sciences and Genomic Profiling, and the other on Clinical Diagnostics and Clinical & Research Tools. The opening day also included presentation of three of this year’s PMWC 2023 Luminary Awards. These awards recognize the recent contributions of prominent figures who have accelerated precision medicine into the clinic. The Day 1 session saw Luminary Awards presented to Todd Golub, MD, Allyson Berent, DVM, and Terry Pirovolakis.

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New Study Deepens Understanding of Regulation of Circadian Rhythms in Mammalian Central Clock

Circadian rhythms are inherent cycles of approximately 24 hours that regulate various biological processes, such as sleep and wakefulness. A research group at Nagoya University in Japan has recently revealed that neural networks play an important role in the regulation of circadian rhythms through the mediation of an intracellular molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). This finding may pave the way for new strategies to treat sleep disorders and other chronic  health conditions affected by disruption of the circadian rhythm. The study was published on January 4, 2023 in Science Advances. The open-access article is titledNetwork-Driven Intracellular cAMP Coordinates Circadian Rhythm in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.”

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CABBI Team Achieves First Precision Gene Editing in Miscanthus; Results Should Accelerate Efforts to Tap Huge Bioenergy Potential of This Highly Productive, But Genetically Complex Perennial Grass

For the first time, researchers have successfully demonstrated precision gene editing in miscanthus, a promising perennial crop for sustainable bioenergy production. A team at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a Bioenergy Research Center (BRC) funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, edited the genomes of three miscanthus species using CRISPR/Cas9–a far more targeted and efficient way to develop new varieties than prior methods. The results will accelerate efforts to tap the huge potential of this highly productive, but genetically complex grass as a source for biofuels, renewable bioproducts, and carbon sequestration. The study, published on December 28, 2022 in Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts, was led by three CABBI miscanthus researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama — Faculty Investigator Kankshita Swaminathan, PhD, Research Associate Anthony Trieu and former Postdoctoral Researcher Mohammad Belaffif, PhD–and Nancy Reichert, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences at Mississippi State University. The open-access article is titled “Transformation and Gene Editing in the Bioenergy Grass Miscanthus.”

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Regen BioPharma Leverages Exosome Technologies to Broaden Its Survivin Cancer Immunotherapy Portfolio

On January 20, 2023, Regen BioPharma, Inc. (OTC PINK: RGBP) and (OTC PINK: RGBPP), a biotechnology company advancing a diverse pre-clinical pipeline spanning cell therapies, RNA vaccines, RNA and DNA therapeutics, and small molecule drugs announced the filing of a provisional patent application covering the use of survivin-engineered dendritic cells and exosomes for stimulation of anti-cancer immunity. The intellectual property provides additional means of stimulating specific elements of the immune system to selectively seek and destroy cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. 

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ARVO Foundation Announces 2023 Bert M. Glaser, MD Award for Innovative Retina Research; Recognized Work Explores Role of Exosomes in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Miguel Flores-Bellver, PhD

On January 19, 2023, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Foundation congratulated Miguel Flores-Bellver (photo), PhD, recipient of the 2023 Bert M. Glaser, MD Award for Innovative Research in Retina. The award recognizes an early-career investigator who has made a novel discovery that impacted the understanding and/or treatment of a retinal disease or condition. Dr. Flores-Bellver is a research instructor in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, and a principal investigator at the CellSight-Ocular Stem Cell and Regeneration Program. He is also Director of The Human Stem Cells Exosome Lab (ExoSight). His team’s research aims to better understand the early events involved in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), with a focus on the possible role of exosomes.

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New Drug Target for Ewing Sarcoma

ETV6

Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have discovered a new drug target for Ewing sarcoma, a rare kind of cancer usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Their experiments show that the cells causing this cancer can essentially be reprogrammed with the flick of a genetic switch. Shutting down a single protein forces the cancer cells to take on a new identity and behave like normal connective tissue cells, a dramatic change that reins in their growth. This discovery suggests researchers may be able to stop Ewing sarcoma by developing a drug that blocks the protein known as ETV6. Ewing sarcoma causes tumors to grow in bones or the soft tissues surrounding them. Once a tumor begins to spread to other parts of the body, it can be very difficult to halt the disease’s progression. Even for patients with positive outcomes, treating Ewing sarcoma often causes toxic side effects. New treatments are badly needed, says CSHL Professor Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD, who led the research on ETV6.

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UCLA Chemists Are First to Synthesize Sea Sponge Molecule That Could Fight Parkinson’s; In Producing Enantiomer of Lissodendoric Acid A, Team Used Method (Employing Cyclic Allene) They Say May Help Accelerate Wider Process of Drug Discovery

Neil Garg, PhD

Organic chemists at UCLA have created the first synthetic version of a molecule recently discovered in a sea sponge that may have therapeutic benefits for Parkinson’s disease and similar disorders. The molecule, known as lissodendoric acid A, appears to counteract other molecules that can damage DNA, RNA and proteins, and even destroy whole cells. And, in an interesting twist, the research team used an unusual, long-neglected compound called a cyclic allene to control a crucial step in the chain of chemical reactions needed to produce a usable version of the molecule in the lab–an advance they say could prove advantageous in developing other complex molecules for pharmaceutical research. Their findings were published on January 19. 2023 in Science. The article is titled “Total Synthesis of Lissodendoric Acid A Via Stereospecific Trapping of a Strained Cyclic Allene.” “The vast majority of medicines today are made by synthetic organic chemistry, and one of our roles in academia is to establish new chemical reactions that could be used to quickly develop medicines and molecules with intricate chemical structures that benefit the world,” said Neil Garg (photo), PhD, UCLA’s Kenneth N. Trueblood Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and corresponding author of the study. 

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How Pancreatic Cancer Defies Treatment; New Work Suggests Epigenetic Modulator SMARCD3 May Be “Exciting New Target for Potential Therapies”

Pancreatic cancer cells (nuclei in blue) are shown growing as a sphere encased in membranes (red). (Credit: National Cancer Institute).
Pancreatic cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the United States, after lung and colorectal, though far less common. It is also among the hardest to effectively treat, with pancreatic cancer stem cells quickly developing resistance to conventional and targeted treatments, such as chemotherapy and emerging immunotherapies. As a result, the 5-year survival rate for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is just 10%. In a new paper, published January 18, 2023 in Nature Communications, an international team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, reveal another way in which the most-resistant pancreatic cancer cells defy treatment by leveraging a member of a group of proteins that ordinarily might suppress tumors to instead help cancer cells evade therapy and grow more quickly. The open-access article is titled “Smarcd3 Is an Epigenetic Modulator of the Metabolic Landscape in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.”

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Probiotic Markedly Reduces S. aureus Colonization in Phase 2 Trial; NIH Study Provides New Insights on Role of Gut in Staph Colonization

MRSA (yellow) being ingested by neutrophil (purplish blue). (Credit: NIAID).
A promising approach to control Staphylococcus aureus bacterial colonization in people–using a probiotic instead of antibiotics–was safe and highly effective in a Phase 2 clinical trial. The new study, reported in The Lancet Microbe, found that the probiotic Bacillus subtilis markedly reduced S. aureus colonization in trial participants without harming the gut microbiota, which includes bacteria that can benefit people. The research was conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health led by Michael Otto, PhD, an NIH Senior Investigator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The Lancet article is titled “Probiotic for Pathogen-Specific Staphylococcus aureus Decolonisation in Thailand: A Phase 2, Double-Blind, Randomised, Placebo-Controlled Trial.”

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