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Posts tagged with "Biological News"

  • Biological News

    The Blind Watchmaker’s Workshop

    Did it have to be this way? I mean all of it – biochemistry, the molecules of life. More specifically, as proteins evolve and change, how many paths could they have taken that would have taken them to the same sorts of function? That’s a pretty hard question to answer, since we’re looking at a… Read More
  • Biological News

    Good Craziness and Bad Craziness

    It’s fair to say that there’s a high level of excitement these days in biopharma (and the associated academic disciplines) due to the tools we have at our disposal these days. CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies, new looks at RNA, chromatin, and epigenetics, all sorts of unusual modes for altering cells and whole-animal phenotype… Read More
  • Biological News

    Those Compounds Aren’t What You Think They Are

    There’s a lot of work in the literature on the TrkB receptor, which responds to brain-derived neutrotrophic factor (BDNF). That name certainly makes the ligand protein sound like a pretty big deal, and so it is: BDNF is involved in a lot of neural development pathways, injuries to nerve tissue, and the like, and given… Read More
  • Biological News

    Type 2 Diabetes May Be a Protein Misfolding Disease

    Here’s a paper that will not calm anyone down about the possibility of prion-like diseases. Those, as many will know, are spread by misfolded proteins that, on contact, template others to follow their example. I last wrote about this field a couple of years ago, when examples appeared of transmissable amyloid pathology in humans, spread… Read More
  • Biological News

    Hemophilia: A Proving Ground For Genetic Disease

    There’s very good news for Alnylam (and their partner Sanofi) this morning. They’ve been working on an RNAi approach to hemophilia (fitusiran), targeting expression of antithrombin, a protein which as the name implies which keeps blood from clotting by several different mechanisms. The clinical data that have just come out look very en… Read More
  • Biological News

    Parkinson’s As An Autoimmune Disease: More Evidence

    For many complex diseases, you’ll find that there are a couple of hypotheses floating around them that are hard to prove and hard to disprove: one is that they’re actually caused by some (as yet unrecognized) infectious agent, and the other is that that they’re actually an autoimmune/inflammatory disorder. You can also recognize t… Read More
  • Biological News

    A Heroin Vaccine?

    Drug addiction is a terrible public health problem, and a terrible personal problem for anyone facing it. Giving addicts a better chance to break the drug-taking cycle would be a great benefit, but that’s been an elusive goal. There’s a possible biochemical solution that’s been proposed for years, though, that is recently getting… Read More
  • Biological News

    Thinking About Genetics and Disease

    Robert Plenge has an excellent post here, drawing on this recent paper from authors at Stanford. It’s on the idea of polygenic traits and disease, a very worthwhile subject considering what’s going on in the drug industry these days. I say that because I’ve been making the joke, for some time now, that if you were… Read More
  • Biological News

    ER-beta For Breast Cancer: Think Again

    OK, let’s talk about a breast cancer target, estrogen receptor-beta. It’s been the subject of a great deal of research over the years, but its exact actions have proven difficult to work out. One of the problems has been that there are a number of different antibodies available to locate it in tissue, but they… Read More
  • Biological News

    The Great Untangling

    Here’s a family of proteins that people don’t encounter all that often, but they illustrate how odd and complicated human biology gets to be. The TRP (transient receptor potential) ion channels are a large family (28 members) divided into several groups. Many of them (although not all of them) are involved in sending sensory informati… Read More
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