Topical treatment wipes out herpes with RNAi

first_imgHarvard Medical School researchers have succeeded in developing a topical treatment that, in mice, wipes out herpes virus, one of the most intractable sexually transmitted human diseases. Judy Lieberman, professor of pediatrics and a senior investigator at the Immune Disease Institute, has overseen the development of the treatment that uses RNA interference, or RNAi, to disable key genes necessary for herpes virus transmission. That cripples the virus in a molecular two-punch knockout, simultaneously disabling its ability to replicate, as well as the host cell’s ability to take up the virus.What’s more, the treatment is just as effective when applied anywhere from one week prior to a few hours after exposure to the virus. In that sense, the basic biology of this prophylactic enables a real-world utility.“People have been trying to make a topical agent that can prevent transmission — a microbicide — for many years,” says Lieberman. “But one of the main obstacles for this is compliance. One of the attractive features of the compound we developed is that it creates in the tissue a state that’s resistant to infection, even if applied up to a week before sexual exposure. This aspect has a real practicality to it. If we can reproduce these results in people, this could have a powerful impact on preventing transmission.”These findings will be published in tomorrow’s edition of Cell Host & Microbe.The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 536 million people worldwide are infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the most common strain of this sexually transmitted disease. Women are disproportionately affected. This is especially serious, since the virus can easily be passed from mother to child during birth, and untreated infants face risks of brain damage and death. While HSV-2 alone isn’t life-threatening in adults, infection does increase a person’s vulnerability to other viruses such as HIV.In order for the herpes virus to infect the host, two conditions must be met. First, the virus must be able to enter and take over host cells. Second, the virus must then reproduce itself. Lieberman’s topical treatment uses RNAi to foil both these events.RNAi, a biological process that was identified barely a decade ago, has transformed the field of biological research. A breakthrough that earned the Nobel Prize in 2006, RNAi is a natural cellular process that occurs in all cells of all multicellular organisms to regulate the translation of genetic information into proteins. This natural process can be manipulated by researchers to switch off specific genes, and there is much current research and development work to harness RNAi for therapeutics.Many in the field think RNAi-based drugs may be the next important new class of drugs. By introducing tiny RNA molecules into cells, researchers can target a gene of interest and, in effect, throw a wrench into that gene’s ability to build protein molecules. For all intents and purposes, that gene is now disabled.While RNAi has profoundly accelerated the ability of scientists to probe and interrogate cells in the petri dish, therapeutic breakthroughs have proved far more problematic. Researchers have had a difficult time delivering these tiny RNA molecules and ensuring that they actually penetrate the desired cells and tissues in a living organism.Modifying a delivery technique that Lieberman developed in 2005, she and postdoctoral fellow Yichao Wu and junior researcher Deborah Palliser (who now heads her own laboratory at Albert Einstein College of Medicine) treated mice with strands of RNA that were fused to cholesterol molecules, which made it possible for the molecules to pass through the cell membranes. When applied in the form of a topical solution, these RNA molecules could then be fully absorbed into the vaginal tissue, protecting the mice against a lethal dose of administered virus.One RNA molecule in the topical solution targeted a herpes gene called UL29, which the virus needs to replicate. Knocking out UL29 inactivates the virus.Another RNA molecule targeted Nectin-1, a surface protein found on cells in the vaginal tissue. Nectin-1 acts as a kind of host gatekeeper to which the virus binds to pass into the cell. Without Nectin-1, the virus simply can’t infect cells.Either RNA molecule delivered by itself would be sufficient to block the virus, but together in this RNAi cocktail, the host tissue becomes like a fortress that pulls up the drawbridge to block the enemy’s entrance, and also has a full-fledged battle plan to slaughter the enemy if they make it through.“As far as we could tell, the treatment caused no adverse effects, such as inflammation or any kind of autoimmune response,” says Lieberman. “And while knocking out a host gene can certainly be risky, we didn’t see any indication that temporarily disabling Nectin-1 interfered with normal cellular function.”Lieberman was recently awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Life Science Center to collaborate with a corporate partner to build on these results to develop a topical microbicide that might be suitable for human use.In addition, she’s investigating how this same approach might be used to treat HIV in a multi-institutional program funded by the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

The String Cheese Incident Announces Two-Night Denver Run

first_imgContinuing their 25th-anniversary celebration, The String Cheese Incident has announced a two-night Denver run over Thanksgiving weekend.On Friday, the band announced that they will offer up two performances at Denver, CO’s new Mission Ballroom, set for Friday and Saturday, November 29th and 30th.The band notes that the Mission Ballroom Incidents will be the final shows of 2019 as they’ll be focusing on songwriting through the early part of next year. SCI will be back on the road playing shows in June 2020.Next up for SCI is a three-night run at Eugene, OR’s Cuthbert Amphitheater on September 27th-29th. The band will then head to the Bay Area for a pair of two-night runs at San Francisco’s Fillmore (10/2 & 10/3) and Oakland’s Fox Theatre (10/4 & 10/5). Cheese will also offer up three-night runs at Austin, TX’s Stubb’s on October 31st-November 2nd and Chicago, IL’s Auditorium Theatre on November 7th-9th.Fans can now enter a ticket request here and ends on Monday, August 26th at 12 p.m. (MST).Tickets for The String Cheese Incident’s Mission Ballroom run go on sale to the general public beginning on Friday, August 30th at 10 a.m. (MST).For a full list of The String Cheese Incident’s upcoming tour dates, ticketing, and more information, head to the band’s website.last_img read more

Jocelyn Bioh’s Romantic Comedy Nollywood Dreams Sets Full Casting for Off-Broadway Run

first_imgSandra Okuboyejo(Photo provided by DKC/O&M) MCC Theater has announced complete casting for Nollywood Dreams, a new play by Jocelyn Bioh set to make its world premiere next month. The previously announced production, directed by Saheem Ali, will begin previews on March 19 and open on April 13 at the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.The cast will include Sandra Okuboyejo (Hamilton) as Ayamma, Charlie Hudson III (A Raisin in the Sun) as Gbenga, Ade Otukoya (Shades of Blue) as Wale Owusu, Emana Rachelle (Insecure) as Fayola, Zenzi Williams (Bioh’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play) as Adenikeh and Lortel nominee Nana Mensah (Man From Nebraska) as Dede.Set in 1990s Lagos, Nigeria, where the Nollywood film industry is exploding and taking the world by storm, the play centers on Ayamma (Okuboyejo), who has dreams of stardom while working at her parents’ travel agency alongside her lovable and celebrity-obsessed sister Dede (Mensah). When Ayamma lands an audition for a new film by Nigeria’s hottest director Gbenga Ezie (Hudson), she comes head to head with Gbenga’s former leading lady, Fayola (Rachelle). Tensions flare just as sparks start flying between Ayamma, the aspiring ingénue, and Wale (Otukoya), Nollywood’s biggest heartthrob.Nollywood Dreams will feature scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design by Palmer Hefferan and projection design by Alex Basco Koch.The production is scheduled to play a limited run through April 26. Nollywood Dreams Related Shows View Commentslast_img read more

Enforced safety measures for BinckBank Tour in Belgium and Netherlands

first_img Related The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has imposed a series of measures on the organisers of the BinckBank Tour in Belgium and The Netherlands, due to safety failings noted during the 2019 edition.UCI noted that the event, which took place between 10-18 August 2019, ‘provoked concerns among riders due to the dangerous nature of the course.’ The UCI and Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), the association representing riders, have held several discussions on how to improve the safety conditions of the event.Based on a report of the UCI Commissaires’ Panel, and having heard from the organisers, the UCI identified various situations constituting breaches of the UCI Regulations. These concerned event organisation and safety, and specifications for organisers. Due to these breaches, the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) made the following rulings:The presence in 2020 of a Technical Advisor, appointed by the UCI and at the cost of the organisers.The implementation of a plan of action devised by the UCI and approved by the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in preparation for the 2020 BinckBank Tour.An evaluation of the standard of quality and safety of the organisation of the event, which will remain part of the UCI WorldTour Calendar in 2020. A decision regarding the status of the event will then be made based on that evaluation.In addition, a fine was imposed on the organisers as part of a procedure of acceptance of consequences.The UCI added that… ‘it would like to underline the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by the organisers during this procedure and their willingness to improve the safety conditions of their event in order to meet the regulatory safety requirements of an event on the UCI WorldTour, the leading series of men’s professional road cycling.’Since 2017, UCI regulations have been modified to allow the UCI to preside over race safety – firstly through new rules concerning drivers, which have made it possible to sanction several drivers for dangerous behaviour during races. Since 2019, a section specific to breaches on the part of organisers has enabled the UCI to make disciplinary rulings on, most notably, safety failings. This was invoked for the first time in the present case, and ‘other procedures are ongoing’.The possibility of imposing sanctions on organisers is part of a series of initiatives adopted by the UCI in recent years, in partnership with professional road cycling’s various stakeholders. In an ongoing effort to promote rider safety initiatives have included: the extreme weather protocol; the deployment of UCI Technical Advisors; guidelines for vehicle circulation in the race convoy; and a reduction in the number of riders in races.www.binckbanktour.comwww.uci.orglast_img read more

Trailblazing Johnson County pediatrician Kathleen Shaffer retiring after 36 years

first_imgKathleen Shaffer is retiring after 36 years as a pediatrician in Johnson County.Being a woman in pediatrics may not seem particularly noteworthy in 2018. But when Kathleen Shaffer, MD, started her career back in 1982, she was the only female physician in private practice in the field in Johnson County.And while a lot has changed in the landscape of pediatrics over her 36 years, Shaffer said one thing has stayed consistent: The need to form close relationships with young patients and their families.“When you see a physician, you’re allowing them into a very private space, and it is such an honor to be invited into that private space (by the family),” Shaffer said. “I will miss that connective-ness; it’s deeper in some ways and different than a friendship because there’s more responsibility, I think, on the physician’s part — of the care they’re delivering, advice that you’re giving.”Nearly equally cherished by Shaffer is that strong sense of camaraderie and shared knowledge with her colleagues at Johnson County Pediatrics and in other private practices. For instance, pediatricians in the area consult with each other on particularly complex illnesses.“That keeps all of us very engaged in problem-solving, even when it wasn’t a patient that we particularly saw,” Shaffer said. “I’ve often said that, as a physician, we’re often a puzzle master. Different problems will be presented, and our job is to see if they’re connected, and are all those problems related to each other, or do they need to be handled independently? But as a pediatrician, often, you can gather the different things going on and find out it is one problem.”Those strong ties first began with three colleagues who, along with her, were the first pediatricians at Johnson County Pediatrics: Dr. Gerald Wigginton, Dr. Bryan Nelson and her husband, Dr. Stan Shaffer. Shaffer first began practicing April 1, 1982, as an associate at Johnson County Pediatrics.Traditionally, women who went into medicine stayed in the “protective environment” of a teaching hospital — for instance, Children’s Mercy Hospital houses medical students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Shaffer said. In that way, women doctors could care for patients during the day while being ensured they could return home to be wives and mothers.“A third of my residency class were women; my generation of physicians were kind of the first ones to say, ‘Well, let’s take on being in private practice,” Shaffer said. “I give credit to my senior partners that they were willing to do that.”“There wasn’t a lot of support; you had to figure out your own support,” she said.In fact, Shaffer recalls she was six months pregnant when she interviewed to work at Johnson County Pediatrics — far outside the tradition that women leave work and stay home after having children.As a Doctor of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Shaffer is also proud of her whole family’s dedication to medicine. Stan Shaffer is now working with midwives across the world, including Mexico, Peru and India, to establish safe birthing practices in countries that are poor with resources.Shaffer said she’s glad their two grown children, Christopher Shaffer and Brynn Everist, were “not scared off” from becoming physicians themselves, considering their parents were both doctors who often had to leave home to go see a patient. Christopher is a pediatric anesthesiologist in San Francisco, and Brynn is a pediatrician in Kansas City, Kan.Their family also does a lot of mission work in Haiti, she said.“I think that gave them such a view of the effect a doctor can make,” Shaffer said, adding that stories from work in Kansas City “didn’t resonate” quite as much as seeing the powerful impact of medicine in low income countries.last_img read more

Mobile momentum- stay ahead of the game

first_img 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Andrew Tilbury Andrew Tilbury is the Chief Marketing Officer of Bluepoint and oversees Bluepoint’s integrated marketing strategy and product management including brand management, media relations, interactive marketing, and product management. Tilbury … Web: www.bluepointsolutions.com Details Mobile banking has become one of the most rapidly growing services that consumers expect from their financial institution.  Today, consumers increasingly rely on the availability and feature set of mobile banking apps to decide which institution to use.  This is a paradigm shift that large retail banks are embracing and credit unions have been quick to adopt; yet credit unions should be vigilant about becoming complacent in their mobile drive, missing the opportunity to add new mobile services and adjust to this new reality.  Ignoring this trend could put the future of your credit union at risk as other, savvier financial institutions respond with mobile services that will make your credit union look obsolete and out-of-touch with technology advancements.Banking is bound to become a mobile-first business.  Consider these facts.  By 2017, nearly half of U.S. bank account holders will be active mobile banking users (Forrester Research).  A report released earlier this year shows that the mobile banking service offered by a financial institution was a key driver in changing banks for 60% of smartphone or tablet users (AlixPartners).  Another study from 2013 found that one in three consumers who conduct their banking on a smartphone view mobile banking as the primary reason why they stay at their current bank (Yodlee Interactive).  When you add all this together, the conclusion that mobile will become the prime decision factor for a consumer selecting a financial institution is inevitable.Whereas branch locations and ATM availability were once the key factors in choosing a financial institution, recent data shows the rapid pace of change towards a mobile-first industry.  Since 2009, the number of consumers using mobile banking has increased 46%, and since 2011 the number of consumers using mobile deposit has doubled (SWACHA).  The pace of this trend is only set to increase as more and more financial institutions focus more on their mobile offerings as ways to attract Gen Y consumers and, eventually, their younger siblings.Mobile services are not just about the traditional banking activities like checking balances and transferring funds.  Newer services such as mobile deposit, p2p payments, mobile bill pay and more are now available on the feature-rich apps and are quickly redefining what consumers consider as standard mobile banking features.  As the competition for mobile-first consumers heats up, expect more innovation, newer features, and aggressive marketing of mobile apps from financial institutions looking to capitalize on the mobile trend and differentiate themselves in the market through their mobile services.Demand is driving product innovation and consumer adoption is validating the more successful mobile strategies in the marketplace.  Credit unions need to keep pace with mobile innovation that we are seeing among traditional banks, Internet banks, and other financial institutions.  If they become complacent, they will be unprepared to compete for the consumer that demands a compelling mobile experience rich in features, convenience, and innovation from their financial institution.last_img read more

Stern wants to sit as a senior judge

first_imgStern wants to sit as a senior judge S tern wants to sit as a senior judgeFormer 15th Circuit Judge Kenneth D. Stern wishes to serve as a senior judge.Any persons having knowledge bearing upon the fitness or qualifications of Stern to serve as a senior judge should send, on or before May 15, written comments to Thomas D. Hall, Clerk, Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee 32399, or by email at [email protected], or by telephone to Judge Dorian K. Damoorgian, chair of Review Board Four, (561) 242-2033. April 15, 2013 Regular Newslast_img

Men host No. 2 Buckeyes; struggling women on road

first_imgMen host No. 2 Buckeyes; struggling women on roadTobias Wernet is Minnesota’s only ranked player at No. 101; Ohio State has seven players in the ITA top-125. Samuel GordonApril 14, 2011Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrint The No. 24 Minnesota menâÄôs tennis team welcomes Penn State and No. 2 Ohio State this weekend for what will be the final two regular season home matches of the year.The Buckeyes are in the midst of a 72-match win streak in the Big Ten. Seven players on their 12-man roster are ranked in the ITA Top 125, with freshman Blaz Rola currently ranked fifth nationally.Penn State, conversely, is still searching for its first Big Ten win of the season.âÄúWe have four matches left in the regular season. We have to treat each one as if itâÄôs the only match left on our schedule,âÄù head coach Geoff Young said.For the first time all season, the Gophers have a player ranked in the ITA top 125. Tobias Wernet came in at No. 101 in the latest poll. The senior leads the team in wins with 13 and comes into the weekend on a five-match win streak.âÄúI care about the team,âÄù Wernet said when asked about what the ranking means to him.Wernet, along with fellow seniors Sebastian Gallego and Derek Peterson, will be honored before the Ohio State match on Senior Day. Reeling women on roadThe Gophers womenâÄôs team will play Penn State and Ohio State this weekend before returning home next weekend to finish the season.Since defeating BYU on Feb. 18, Minnesota is 1-10, losing eight consecutive matches from Feb. 20 to April 2.Injuries have been the story for the Gophers this season. Since March 4, Minnesota has played with a full lineup just twice in nine matches, going 1-1.Penn State is 6-12 on the season and is coming off a 6-1 loss to Michigan.While the Ohio State women arenâÄôt as dominant as their male counterparts, the Buckeyes come into the weekend with an 11-9 record and ranked No. 64 in the country.last_img read more

Sometimes, computer programs seem too human for their own good

first_imgDIGITAL assistants such as Siri and Cortana are increasingly common on phones and computers. Most are designed to give their users the impression that a humanlike intelligence lies behind the program’s friendly voice. It does not, of course. But dozens of experiments over the years have shown that people readily build strong bonds with computerised helpers which are endowed with anthropomorphic features, whether visual or vocal.Developing an emotional relationship with a piece of software can, however, cut both ways. As a study published in Psychological Science by Park Daeun, of Chungbuk National University in South Korea, and her colleagues, shows, one emotion sometimes involved in machine-human interaction is embarrassment. Read the whole story: The Economistlast_img

Prime-boost Ebola vaccine yields immune response at 1 year

first_imgA prime-boost Ebola vaccine regimen that is well into clinical trials shows immune response 1 year after vaccination, the longest so far for experimental vaccines against the disease using that strategy, researchers reported today.The trial involved two vaccine candidates, a priming dose of the adenovirus vectored Ad26.ZEBOV developed by Johnson & Johnson and a booster dose of MVA-BN-Filo from Bavarian Nordic. A team based at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom published its findings today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).World Health Organization (WHO) advisors have said different types of vaccines will likely be needed to protect people against Ebola. A different vaccine, VSV-EBOV, developed by NewLink Genetics and Merck, has shown good effectiveness in clinical trials in West Africa and has emerged as the frontrunner and offers a tool for outbreak response. Health experts, however, are eyeing other strategies that are likely to afford protection over a longer period for preemptive immunization of key groups such as healthcare workers.The Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN-Filo regimen has received funding support from both the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the European Innovative Medicines Initiative Ebola + Program, a public-private consortium that includes the University of Oxford and other research groups.Company officials have applied to the WHO for emergency use evaluation, but so far the agency hasn’t announced a decision.Phase 1 trial involved 87 adultsThe new findings describe the results of a phase 1 trial at Oxford University that enrolled 87 healthy adults ages 18 to 50 years and began in December 2014. The volunteers completed the 12-month follow up in March 2016. Participants were randomized to four groups, each with 18 subjects—3 of whom received placebo and 15 who got the vaccine.No serious events were recorded for day 240 through day 360. All of the vaccine recipients maintained Ebola-specific immunoglobulin G response at day 360. The team had previously shown that the immune response to Ebola persisted for 8 months.Researchers said though no correlate of protection has been established yet, Ebola virus glycoprotein-specific antibodies appear to play an important role in immunity and that a preemptive strategy for using the prime-boost regimen for at-risk populations may offer advantages over single-dose vaccines.They included the caveat that one limitation of their study is that it was conducted in a European population, in whom immune response might differ from populations in sub-Saharan Africa.See also:Mar 14 JAMA abstractMar 14 JAMA press releaseJan 17 CIDRAP News story “As Ebola interest ebbs, experts push for optimal vaccines, readiness”last_img read more