First CRISPR/Cas9 Therapeutic Clinical Trials Starting
The increasingly popular CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system has been approved for use in cancer therapy. CRISPR is a DNA sequence that codes for the Cas9 complex, which is able to cut incredibly specific portions of DNA, allowing them to be openly accessed and modified cheaply and easily. This CRISPR/Cas9 cancer therapeutic is intended to target 3 parts: first editing the cancer cells where it will induce the display of a protein that can trigger an immune response, second editing killer T-cells to express a protein that will be able to attack the modified cancer cells, and last also editing killer T-cells to shut down a protein that normally inhibits their attack on cancer cells. Read more about it in Nature.
Mosquito Saliva Helps Viruses Infect Us
This study by Dr. Clive McKimmie shows why mosquito transmitted infections spread more quickly through the body than direct injection with plain virus. Mosquito saliva contains additional proteins that trigger an inflammation at the bite resulting in neutrophils and macrophages swarming to the area. Viruses like Zika and Dengue are able to take advantage of this by infecting those macrophages, which then continue to travel throughout the body and spread infection over a much wider range. By infecting these cells which travel long distances, viruses are able to proliferate much more successfully by avoiding the localized immune response.
Researchers Using Antibodies Need to Tighten Up on Validation
Nature and BioTechniques reported that more than one third of junior researchers spend no time validating antibodies. Performing experiments without proper antibody validation is an incredibly risky move because they such finicky reagents, and can wind up costing time and money spent on research that may be invalidated. Researchers should spread the word and encourage one another to practice antibody validation techniques in order to retain the quality of their work. How exactly this should be done will hopefully be answered in September, as the Global Biological Standards Institute will be meeting to discuss the problem and seek an adequate solution.
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