A research article published recently in Nature suggests that, at least in some cases, reducing the amount of protein in a diet can help tip the balance in favour of normal cells and suggests ways to modify macrophages to out-compete cancer cells.
In recent years, the field of synthetic biology has emerged as a revolutionary branch of science, blending engineering principles with biology to reshape the way we understand and interact with living organisms. This groundbreaking discipline combines the power of genetics, biochemistry, and computer science to design, construct, and optimize new biological systems. With its vast potential to address critical global challenges, synthetic biology has garnered immense attention from researchers, innovators, regulators and policymakers alike.
Pattern recognition is one of the mechanisms by which the immune system discriminates pathogens from self. Immune cells are not simply identifying common pathogenic patterns, but instead, respond to fragments of pathogens released during unsuccessful pathogenic adaptation activities.
As pathogens evolve, they develop ingenious survival strategies. Perhaps some of the most fascinating are the pathogens that have hit upon the strategy of taking up residence in the very cells tasked with their termination: phagocytic immune cells. This strategy also makes the task of clearing infections using drugs very challenging.
Preserving maternal RNA transmitted by an oocyte to its progeny is an essential aspect of oogenesis, yet not much is known about how this is achieved in mammalian species. In a recent issue of Science, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Gottingen, Germany [Cheng et al. (2022)] uncovered the MARDO, a novel structure that may help answer this longstanding question.
The tumour microenvironment (TME) is a dynamic, highly heterogeneous structure consisting of both transformed (mutated) cells, non-transformed cells (including immune cells, stromal cells and blood vessels) and microbes. These cells are held in an extracellular matrix of proteins and other factors secreted by the cells. An increased understanding of the TME is behind many of the latest advancements in cancer therapy.
The goal of precision medicine is to understand the factors that contribute to the variability in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the drugs. It is now clear that the gut microbiome plays a critical role in the markedly different responses of individuals to identical drug therapy.
Great strides have been made in recent years in treating some cancers, such as melanoma. But despite huge efforts, little progress has been made in improving the odds for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). 95% of individuals receiving a diagnosis of PDAC survive less than 18 months. It is the worst prognosis of any cancer, making it set to be the second biggest cause of cancer mortality by 2030. Why is PDAC so difficult to treat and what strategies are being developed?
Just a decade ago, for the millions of people living with rare genetic diseases, there seemed little hope that an effective treatment could be developed. One of the main obstacles is the massive costs of drug development; for many rare genetic diseases, there aren't even enough patients to conduct a formal clinical trial. But changes to the regulatory framework and the development of gene therapy platform technologies that, once proven safe, may be rapidly turned to a wide number of disparate diseases, is offering hope.
Immunomodulatory drugs, such as Immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have transformed cancer care. However, as with other cancer drugs, ICIs are associated with significant adverse events which can even be fatal. How do these occur and what is being done to reduce their severity?