Squid tentacles are loaded with hundreds of suction cups, or suckers, and each sucker has a ring of razor-sharp ‘teeth’ that help these mighty predators latch onto and take down prey. Researchers report that the proteins in these teeth could form the basis for a new generation of strong, but malleable, materials that could someday be used for reconstructive surgery, eco-friendly packaging and many other applications.
Ali Miserez and colleagues explain that in previous research, they discovered that sharp, tough squid sucker ring teeth (SRT) are made entirely of proteins. That makes SRT distinct from many other natural polymers and hard tissues (such as bones) that require the addition of minerals or other substances to perform the right activities, they say. The team already had identified one “suckerin” protein and deciphered its genetic code. They also found that this protein could be remolded into different shapes. But what about the other suckerins in SRT?read more
Insulin pumps result in better blood sugar control than multiple daily injections in people with type 2 diabetes
Insulin pumps are portable devices attached to the body which deliver constant amounts of rapid or short acting insulin via a catheter placed under the skin. Previous randomised trials comparing the efficacy of insulin pump therapy and multiple injections in people with type 2 diabetes have not provided consistent evidence, and the benefits of pump therapy continue to be debated.
The OpT2mise trial enrolled 495 adults (aged 30-75 years) with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes to a 2 month run-in period, where their insulin multiple daily injection treatment was optimised. After the run-in phase, the 331 participants whose HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin; an indicator of blood sugar control over the past 2 or 3 months) remained above the target range (≥ 8·0% and ≤12%) were randomly assigned to pump therapy or to continue with multiple injections.read more
Researchers have conducted the first-ever analysis of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, revealing an urgent need to increase the number of agents entering the AD drug development pipeline and progressing successfully towards new therapy treatments.
A comprehensive look at all clinical trials underway shows:
- There are relatively few drugs in development for Alzheimer’s disease.
- The failure rate for AD drug development is 99.6 percent for the decade 2002-2012.
- The number of drugs has been declining since 2009.
“Our goal was to examine historical trends to help understand why Alzheimer’s disease treatment development efforts so often fail,” said Jeffrey L. Cummings, M.D., ScD, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “With an estimated 44 million people living worldwide with the condition, the study shows that the Alzheimer’s disease drug development ecosystem needs more support given the magnitude of the problem.”read more
A study led by Alfonso Valencia, Vice-Director of Basic Research at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and head of the Structural Computational Biology Group, and Michael Tress, researcher at the Group, updates the number of human genes -those that can generate proteins- to 19,000; 1,700 fewer than the genes in the most recent annotation, and well below the initial estimations of 100,000 genes. The work, published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, concludes that almost all of these genes have ancestors prior to the appearance of primates 50 million years ago.read more
Now, research led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) adds another piece to the puzzle, demonstrating that the transcription factor IRF4 (interferon regulatory factor 4) plays a key role in brown fat’s thermogenic process, regulating energy expenditure and cold tolerance. The findings appear in the July 3 issue of the journal Cell.
“The discovery several years ago that brown fat plays an active role in metabolism suggested that if we could manipulate the number or activity of these fat cells, we could force our bodies to burn extra calories,” explains the study’s senior author Evan Rosen, MD, PhD, an investigator in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Now that we have identified a major factor driving this process, we can look for new approaches to exploit this for therapeutic benefit.”read more