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We're a little crazy, about science!

Archive for September 11, 2015

Smart cells teach neurons damaged by Parkinson’s to heal themselves

UNC smart cells teach neurons damaged by Parkinson's to heal themselves

These are white blood cells reengineered by scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill deliver exosomes (red) loaded proteins that stimulate the growth of damaged nerve fibers (green and yellow). Researchers at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy this technique can be developing into a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Image credit goes to: Elena Batrakova/UNC Eshelman School Of Pharmacy

As a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created smarter immune cells that produce and deliver a healing protein to the brain while also teaching neurons to begin making the protein for themselves.

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An antibody that can attack HIV in new ways

An antibody that can attack HIV in new ways

Broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein are being evaluated as therapeutics to prevent or treat HIV-1 infection. Structural analysis of one such antibody, 8ANC195, revealed a new conformation of the envelope protein. The image shows the X-ray crystal structure of 8ANC195 in complex with the gp120 subunit of the envelope protein. The background shows schematic representations of HIV-1 virus particles studded with envelope proteins being recognized by 8ANC195 antibodies.
Image credit goes to: Louise Scharf/Caltech

Proteins called broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are a promising key to the prevention of infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. bNAbs have been found in blood samples from some HIV patients whose immune systems can naturally control the infection. These antibodies may protect a patient’s healthy cells by recognizing a protein called the envelope spike, present on the surface of all HIV strains and inhibiting, or neutralizing, the effects of the virus. Now Caltech researchers have discovered that one particular bNAb may be able to recognize this signature protein, even as it takes on different conformations during infection–making it easier to detect and neutralize the viruses in an infected patient.

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