Tech & Science Science takes a step toward coding virus-resistant human cells

19:10  01 may  2018
19:10  01 may  2018 Source:   engadget.com

Every time this woman goes shopping, her guide dog takes her to a dog shop without her knowing

  Every time this woman goes shopping, her guide dog takes her to a dog shop without her knowing We’ve already established that dogs can be cheeky and fib if it gets them treats.But one guide dog has taken it a step further: every time his owner takes him out shopping, he steers her towards a shop called ‘Cool Dog Gear’.

Ford’s smart windows can help blind passengers take in the view. It converts the view into vibrations that they can feel on the window.

[7 Absolutely Horrible Head Infections]. A step toward universal protection. the journal Science . In other words, the vaccine appears to lead to the release of powerful T- cells that can fight off multiple This is important, because if a virus becomes resistant to a vaccine, the vaccine is no longer useful.

a close up of a coral © Provided by Engadget In 2016, scientists unveiled one of the most ambitious genetic engineering efforts yet: Genome Project-write wanted to do nothing less than create (not just edit) human cells immune to all known viruses.  There was a rough start that included dramatic funding shortfalls, but it now looks like the initiative is getting underway in earnest. Harvard's Wyss Institute and French immunotherapy company Cellectis have formed a partnership that will see Cellectis supply genome engineering tools to a Wyss team led by George Church. They'll use custom enzymes to remove redundant codons (nucleotide "triplets" that produce amino acids for specific proteins) and prevent viruses with those codons from hijacking cells to produce copies of themselves.

Human Consciousness: What Are the Ethics of Experimenting with Brain Tissue?

  Human Consciousness: What Are the Ethics of Experimenting with Brain Tissue? Human brain surrogates are enabling researchers to understand more about various neurological disorders. © Catalyst Images This avenue of research is incredibly exciting as it provides scientists with a much more accurate representation of brain function than studying the brains of animals. Often, a significant number of treatments that are developed in animals fail to work in people.

But the experiment, published Thursday in Science , is also a significant step toward a much grander project: recoding life. “That will take a lot longer,” Söll said. Cells translate the letters three at a time; each of the 64 possible triplets, called a codon, codes for one of 20 amino acids (which get built

In the last two decades alone, scientists have been able to go from synthesizing the genome of a relatively small virus , Hepatitis C, to creating what researchers refer to as the "first synthetic cell " from a unicellular organism.

It's an important deal, but you won't want to pop open the champagne just yet. STATnoted that the project needs to make a whopping 400,000 changes to the 20,000 genes in the human genome (for context, Church's team made 321 changes to E. coli bacteria). And this won't be affordable in the near term -- it would currently cost about $30 million to recode a human genome, and even the plans to reduce that cost by a thousand fold would still make it a non-trivial exercise. There's a good reason why Genome Project-write gave itself 10 years to reach its goal, and there's no certainty the group will accomplish its goal in time.

Still, it's easy to see why they want to try. Virus-proof cells could be used for stem cell therapies that could fend off dangerous viruses like HIV. There are broader applications, too. Scientists could replace codons that are more likely to produce cancerous tumors, and the approach could be used in non-human cells (such as virus-resistant crops). It wouldn't mark an end to illnesses, but you might be far less likely to contract an illness or to deal with its effects.

BusinessWire, STAT

Ebola outbreak declared: 17 hemorrhagic fever deaths reported in Republic of Congo .
WHO has set up an emergency response team and a group of medical professionals from Doctors Without Borders have reached the Bikoro region.Two out of five suspicious samples in the country have tested positive for Ebola, notes a report by the WHO released earlier this week. The five samples tested were taken from the IIkoko Iponge hospital near Bikoro, in the northwestern part of the Congo along Lake Tumba.

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