Molecular Mechanism Shoots Drugs When Specific Antibody Detected

Researchers from the University of Montreal, Canada and University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy have developed a molecular “slingshot” capable of firing a drug into the nearby environment when triggered by a biochemical marker. The slingshot is actually a helix of synthetic DNA the ends of which are designed to stick to a particular antibody. When both ends of the slingshot grab onto the antibody being targeted, the structure…

Molecule link to diabetic kidney disease


Edinburgh scientists have identified a key molecule linked to kidney disease in people with diabetes.

Blocking the protein prevents kidney damage associated with diabetes in rats and mice, the study also found.

Edinburgh University scientists said the findings could lead to new therapies.

Diabetes results in high levels of blood sugar and affects 415 million people globally. It is the leading cause of kidney failure.

About 40% of people with diabetes eventually develop kidney disease.

The protein, called P2X7R, plays an important role in inflammation and the immune system and has previously been linked to kidney diseases not associated with diabetes.

This is the first time it has been shown to cause diabetic kidney disease.

Significant advance

The researchers found high P2X7R levels in kidney biopsies from people with diabetes, while it was almost undetectable in biopsies from people without diabetes.

Higher P2X7R was linked to poor kidney function and increased tissue scarring.

In follow-up experiments,…

AI-Powered Breath Detector Diagnoses 17 Different Diseases


Our breath contains a slew of information about our health in the form of molecules whose existence and concentration can serve as biomarkers for disease. Typically breath sensors focus on a single biomarker and therefore are limited in their scope and screening ability. A worldwide scientific collaboration headed by a team from Technion−Israel Institute of Technology has developed a breath sensor capable of detecting many different molecules and correlated these biomarkers to 17 different diseases.


Small fat-burning molecule could help combat global epidemic of obesity

A small molecule could provide valuable help in combating the global epidemic of obesity. When it was fed to obese mice, the animals’ metabolism sped up and their excess weight was shed. It is doing so by recruiting the help of a body’s own genes in countering the effects of a high-fat diet. The research team conducting the study believes their findings may provide a new unexplored therapeutic approach to fighting excessive weight gain in cases where diets or exercise have no effect. The study was led by Julien Santo, Celia Lopez-Herrera and Cécile Apolit of a French biotechnology company, and is published in Springer Nature’s International Journal of Obesity.

A high-fat diet may contribute to obesity in some individuals. Treatment in such situations has focused on behavioral changes, which is highly challenging to achieve for the general population on a long term basis. This study introduces the concept of recruiting the help of our genes in countering the effects of a high-fat diet, instead of focusing on reducing the intake of high-fat food.

Researchers know that the structure of some genes that help to produce certain proteins can actually change when someone constantly eats too much high-fat food. In the process, the person can become overweight or obese, or develop other lifestyle-related metabolic disorders such as diabetes or heart problems. In many cases, the same gene can produce two or more alternate proteins, based…

Heat-Activated Molecular Switches for Precise Controlled Delivery of Bacterial Therapeutics


Microbial therapeutics is a growing field which uses engineered bacteria to fight various diseases and health conditions. Researchers from California Institute of Technology have now developed a temperature sensitive engineered microbial system. These microbes could, in theory, be administered to patients with specific diseases. Once the bacteria reach the site of interest, precise ultrasound pulses can be given to gently heat specific areas in the tissue that will activate release of therapeutics.
The researchers’ paper, published in Nature Chemical Biology, describes the engineering of these microbes using a process called ‘directed evolution’. The team first looked for naturally occurring genes that were temperature sensitive, and identified genes that could be activated at temperatures between 42 and 44 degrees. The investigators then evolved those genes and engineered them to be able to activate at lower temperatures of 36-39 degrees. By using these genetic switches, the researchers were able to turn the genes off and on based on temperature changes….