16.02.2016

Articles on gene therapy against breast cancer

Delft scientists received two grants last week from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) for research on the immune system of bacteria and on magnetism.
Part of the immune system of bacteria, such as the widespread Escherichia coli, consists of proteins that recognize virus-DNA, bind to it and cut it into bits. For their project, entitled Deciphering the antiviral genome programming skill of bacteria, the two researchers received over half a million Euros from (FOM).
Joo and Brouns want to study the interaction between the Cas proteins and the virus DNA by labelling the molecules with a fluorescent dye.
The grant is part of the subsidy scheme called the Projectruimte, which is created to fund ‘small-scale projects of fundamental research with an innovative character’.
For his proposal ‘Sub-atomic spin resolution through magnetically functionalized scanning probe tips’, Otte received a grant of 400,000 Euros. Otte compares the tip of his scanning tunnelling microscope with the needle of a turntable. When entrepreneur Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar came up with an idea for an airbag that would prevent injuries from falls a few years ago, he went looking for assistance with the design process and ended up in Delft. Can fuel cells in cars help stabilise the electricity grid when more sun and wind energy makes it harder to maintain the balance between production and demand? The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science opened a lab earlier this month where astronomical instruments and advanced cryogenic electronics are developed; the Cryolab. This journal is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics. Historically the elixir of life has only ever existed in the realm of Hollywood writers struggling for inspiration. However, gene therapy company BioViva recently claimed that its own CEO, Elizabeth Parrish, has undergone some of its experimental anti-aging treatments and has actually become biologically younger. In September 2015, then 44 year-old Parrish received two of her own company’s experimental gene therapies: one to protect against loss of muscle mass with age, another to battle stem cell depletion responsible for a diverse range of age-related diseases and infirmities. At the time, the self-treatment was met with a mixture of praise for bravery and criticism for a lack of scientific process and in some cases expertise. However, now six months since undergoing the treatments, Parrish claims to have become the first human being to be successfully rejuvenated by gene therapy, which reportedly reversed 20 years of normal telomere shortening. And in January, 2015, Stanford University School of Medicine reported that it had developed a technique to increase the length of human telomeres. Telomeres are short segments of DNA which cap the ends of every chromosome, acting as ‘buffers’ against wear and tear. A person’s telomere score is calculated according to telomere length of white blood cells (T-lymphocytes).


Parrish’s treatment was originally intended to demonstrate the safety of the latest generation of the therapies.
In September 2015, telomere data taken from Parrish’s white blood cells by SpectraCell‘s specialised clinical testing laboratory in Houston, Texas, immediately before therapies were administered in another location, believed to be Columbia.
In responding to the results Parrish, a long time supporter of gene therapies, said: “Current therapeutics offer only marginal benefits for people suffering from diseases of aging. Since her first gene therapy injections BioViva has received global interest from both the scientific and investment communities. Alzheimer’s disease has no cure and evidence points at microglial epigenetic changes being the cause of the inability to remove misfolded proteins in neurons.
They will be using a very sensitive light microscope, a ‘total internal reflection fluorescence microscope’.
Sander Otte of the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience (Faculty of Applied Sciences) also received funding to develop more advanced microscopy techniques.
Atoms are placed into their designated positions through atom manipulation, where the apex of the STM tip is used to move atoms around.
They came back with a working wind turbine that they now want to install somewhere on campus.
In February 2011, a team of scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston published a Nature paper in which they detailed the reversing of the ageing process in mice with a treatment that also focused on the lengthening of Telomeres. This result is based on the average T-lymphocyte telomere length compared to the American population at the same age range.
But if early data is accurate, it is already the world’s first successful example of telomere lengthening via gene therapy in a human individual. The tests revealed that Parrish’s telomeres were unusually short for her age, leaving her vulnerable to age-associated diseases earlier in life. This implies that Parrish’s white blood cells (leukocytes) have become biologically younger. Meanwhile, BioViva will be testing new gene therapies and combination gene therapies to restore age related damage. Earlier this month BioViva became a portfolio company of Deep Knowledge Life Sciences (DKLS), a London-based investment fund which aims to accelerate the development of biotechnologies for healthy longevity. This proposed study will evaluate the effect the use of hTERT (human telomerase reverse transcriptase) to reverse biomarkers and symptomatology of aging with special target of the microglia cells in Alzheimer’s patients. This could represent a clinical breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment that would be immediately available in the clinical setting.
Promising preclinical and clinical results with immune checkpoint inhibitors using antibodies directed against cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 and programmed cell death protein 1 have re-energized the field of immune-based therapies in melanoma.


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Chirlmin Joo of the bionanoscience group (Faculty of Applied Sciences) and microbiologist Dr.
We build structures atom-by-atom, using low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy”, said Otte, who works primarily with cobalt and iron atoms. These findings were independently verified by the Brussels-based non-profit HEALES (HEalthy Life Extension Company), and the Biogerontology Research Foundation, a UK-based charity committed to combating age-related diseases. It remains to be seen whether the success in leukocytes can expanded to other tissues and organs, and repeated in future patients.
However, similar to chemotherapy or targeted therapies, immune checkpoint blockade responds in only subsets of melanoma patients.
Stan Brouns of the Wageningen University want to find out how these molecules, called CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins, recognize virus-DNA in the cellular jungle of microbial host DNA.
For now all the answers lie in the cells of Elizabeth Parrish, ‘patient zero’ of restorative gene therapy.
A number of factors, including gene mutations, altered cell-signaling pathways and tumor heterogeneity can contribute to therapy resistance.
The relative density of each sample is indicated at the bottom of each band, normalized to the actin level in each individual sample. Recent studies have highlighted the role of inflammatory tumor microenvironment on therapy resistance of cancer cells. Cancer cells either alone or in conjunction with the tumor stroma can contribute to an inflammatory microenvironment.
Multimodal approaches of targeting the tumor microenvironment, in addition to malignant cells, may be necessary for better therapy responses.



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