April 2022- Volume 18, Issue 4

In this Issue

Editor's Focus

Gut bacteria are shown as green, pink, and yellow lines in a drawing of a person's small intestine.

A microbial signal from the gut promotes obesity

A microbial signal from the gut promotes obesity

Gut microbes produce a metabolite that inhibits the conversion of fatty acids into energy and leads to weight gain in mice.
A snake with bright yellow scales bares its fangs against a dark background.

Snakebite antivenoms step into the future

Snakebite antivenoms step into the future

Traditional snakebite antivenom relies on a century-old technology. To find safer and more effective treatments for one of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases, scientists are designing new therapies, ranging from camel nanobodies to human recombinant antibodies and small molecule drugs.

Editors Insight

Translating the complicated science behind COVID-19 immunity will remain important as new SARS-CoV-2 variants emerge.

A pandemic lost in translation

A pandemic lost in translation

As the science on vaccination and natural infection-based immunity against COVID-19 variants continues to evolve, accurately communicating study results and their limitations has never been more important.

Pharmacology

Wax in a lava lamp condensing.

Biotech start-ups and condensate targeted drugs

Biotech start-ups and condensate targeted drugs

Membraneless droplet like organelles known as condensates are changing the way some scientists approach drug discovery.
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A mysterious cellular tango

A mysterious cellular tango

Researchers no longer think that proteins blindly swim through the cytoplasm hoping to bump into one another. Instead, they intentionally aggregate with other biomolecules, forming membrane free, transient organelles called condensates.
Evidence shows that tailoring recruitment strategies to specific populations results in higher participation and greater diversity in clinical trials.

Scientists and communicators team up to increase clinical trial participation

Scientists and communicators team up to increase clinical trial participation

Clinicians, researchers, and communicators are developing more effective strategies to disseminate information about clinical trials to reach a wider audience. They ultimately expect that this will lead to more inclusive trials.

Cancer

A brain outlined in light colors sits against a black background.

Brain cancer meets its match with focused ultrasound treatment

Brain cancer meets its match with focused ultrasound treatment

Biomedical engineer Natasha Sheybani uses soundwaves to disrupt the blood-brain barrier and improve immunotherapy for glioblastoma patients.
Pills fallen out of a medicine bottle sit on a table with a stethoscope.

The cold shoulder of cancer: Understanding the resistance to treatment

The cold shoulder of cancer: Understanding the resistance to treatment

There are now more cancer treatment options than ever before. However, almost all of them face the same major challenge: eventually, they stop working. There are several unique ways in which cancer cells evade death. Now, scientists are inventing new technologies to target these mechanisms and overcome resistance.

Antibody Therapeutics

Omicron has more mutations relative to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain than any previous variant. While the delta strain only has two mutations in the RBD, omicron has 10.

Omicron mutations help it evade antibodies

Omicron mutations help it evade antibodies

COVID-19 has gotten a little better at infecting cells and dodging antibodies with each set of mutations in new variants. Omicron is the best at dodging antibodies, but its modified structure sacrificed virulence for antibody resistance.
Empty clinical research laboratory.

A new biotech company gears up to target GPCRs with antibodies

A new biotech company gears up to target GPCRs with antibodies

The company plans to develop more specialized, antibody-based GPCR drugs to treat a myriad of diseases. They recruited a leader in overseeing successful clinical trials to get the job done.

Metabolism

Three women stretch on yoga mats on a grassy area outside.

A workout for the brain to fight Parkinson's disease?

A workout for the brain to fight Parkinson's disease?

Exercise may improve cellular power plants gone haywire to ward off Parkinson’s disease. But researchers are still trying to understand how.
Healthy foods like an orange, almonds, and salad site near a scale with a stethoscope on top.

A new weight loss strategy turns fat into energy

A new weight loss strategy turns fat into energy

By using extracellular vesicles to target specific neurons in the hypothalamus, scientists induced weight loss in a mouse model of obesity without altering its diet or exercise.
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