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  • Biological News

    The Mirror World

    Now this is a paper that’ll make your head spin. It’s from the Zhu group at Tsinghua University, and the head-spinning will be both because of the subject matter and the amount of work involved. So let’s get chiral – first, a bit of background for readers who don’t think about this stuff all the… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    How Not to Be That Chemist

    I enjoyed this Twitter thread very much from “Bob the Grumpy Med Chemist”. It leads off with a document that pops up periodically on the internet, a guide to sabotage that was put out by the OSS (precursor to the CIA) during the second World War. Along with practical suggestions about how to literally gum… Read More
  • Biological News

    One Lost Methyl Group = Huge Amounts of Food Production

    I don’t do a lot of posts on plant biochemistry here, but this news is pretty notable, and it illustrates several points that apply across other fields as well. This new paper has as its background the role of a particular methyl group in the structure of RNA molecules: N6-methyladenosine. The presence or absence of this… Read More
  • Infectious Diseases

    A New Small Molecule Candidate for Malaria

    Here’s a new paper with a surprise: a small molecule that appears to be very effective against malaria, with what may be a high barrier to developing resistance (C&E News coverage here). It’s from a large multicenter (multicontinent) team, and the chemical matter has its origins at Sanofi. The idea was to search for human… Read More
  • Biological News

    More Protein Folding Progress – What’s It Mean?

    I last wrote about Deepmind’s efforts to predict protein folding and structure here, with their AlphaFold software. AlphaFold really performed very strongly in the 2020 protein folding challenge, and that got a lot of attention. Well, they’ve recently published a great deal of detail on how they did this, released their source code, and… Read More
  • Covid-19

    How Well Does the J&J Vaccine Work Against the Delta Variant?

    That’s a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds, because frankly, we have answers that seem to disagree with each other. Let’s have a look: For one, there’s this letter in the NEJM from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess hospital and from Janssen (J&J’s pharma branch). That’s a look at immunity in… Read More
  • Cancer

    Radiation and Immunotherapy Together

    Cancer immunotherapy has been a huge topic in recent years, and deservedly so. But there are some types of tumors that respond much better than others, which means that there are also some that hardly respond at all. A great deal of effort is going into trying to find ways to make these immunologically “cold” Read More
  • Covid-19

    Too Many Papers

    If you do a search in PubMed for the words “Cov-2 main protease screen inhibitors”, you get 295 hits. That’s as of this morning, of course – there will be more as time goes on. That represents a great deal of work done in a relatively short time (all of the citations, naturally, are from… Read More
  • Biological News

    A Fifty-Year-Old Cancer Drug Doesn’t Do What You Think

    5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has been around a long time now (over fifty years), and it’s a standard oncology drug (particularly in colorectal treatment regimes). But try going around and asking people how it works. If you’re talking to a clinician and want to seem up on the lingo, just say “What’s 5-FU’s MOA?” (mechani… Read More
  • Biological News

    Why Are Women and Men So Different in Autoimmune Disease?

    That last post on vaccine reactions mentioned autotimmune disease several times, and that brings up a question that’s been outstanding for many decades now. If you look at the distribution of most autoimmune syndromes in the population, you find many obvious differences between male and female incidence rates. Guillain-Barré (discussed yest… Read More