Friday, 29 October 2010

High-content analysis achieves 20-fold increase in throughput

GE Healthcare has announced the winner of the first GE Healthcare HCA Award. Supported by BioTechniques, the Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of HCA to scientific understanding and celebrates its positive impact on data quality and quantity, resulting in increased productivity, deeper insights and better decisions.

The winner of the first HCA Award is Dr Michael Freeley from the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), who investigates how white blood cells (T lymphocytes) move in the body during an immune response. Movement of T lymphocytes from the blood stream into target tissues is crucial in an effective immune response against disease-causing organisms, but unregulated migration of T lymphocytes is also a major contributor to auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. A better understanding of this process could ultimately lead to treatments that selectively block this migration in these diseases.

New potential for experimental drug to treat common womb cancer

A targeted drug that has shown promise in treating breast, ovarian and prostate cancer patients with few side-effects may also work for the most common type of womb cancer, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine.

A team from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London have shown that the new type of drug, called PARP inhibitors, can kill womb cancer cells that have a defective PTEN gene.

Studying self-assembled polymer/DNA particles

The Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is using the NanoSight LM10-HS system to study self-assembled polymer/DNA particles for drug delivery.

The main research interests of Dr Jordan Green of the Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory are in cellular engineering and nanobiotechnology. Knowledge of particle size is of particular value in the characterization of different drug delivery systems. Having had previous experience using dynamic light scattering techniques, Dr Green and his team now also use the complementary technique of nanoparticle tracking analysis from NanoSight. NTA provides insight into their samples particularly those with polydisperse behaviour.

A new role for an old protein

Hypertension is the leading contributor to global mortality, and is known to depend on the interaction of environmental and heritable factors. However, the genetic variations identified so far only explain 1-2% of the difference in blood pressure in the population, suggesting the presence of many more variations yet to be discovered.

A new genetic variation has just been identified by an international team of researchers, led by the University of Glasgow and Istituto Auxologico Italiano of Milano. This new genetic variation is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension, and also a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease events. Indeed, each copy of the variation – of which a person can have a maximum of two – was associated with a 7.7 per cent reduction of strokes, myocardial infarctions (heart attack) and coronary deaths.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

New system for versatile fragment-based design

LOx offers a new pharmacophoric linking approach, integrated with Scopius, the largest available curated 3D compound and fragment database

InhibOx Ltd today announces LOx 2.0 - a flexible new system to identify and optimize drug lead candidates through preserving and linking critical features with new scaffolds. Lox 2.0 carries fragment-linking tools a stage further and delivers a powerful approach for drug discovery scientists seeking to alter the core scaffold of a lead series to maximize activity, optimize physical properties and to create novel intellectual property.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Developing improved animal models of autism

Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering (SAGE) Labs to use Proprietary Technologies to Create Genetically Engineered Rat Models to Better Understand Autism and Identify New Therapeutic Approaches

Sigma Life Science, the biological products and services research business of Sigma-Aldrich, today announced a partnership between its SAGE Labs division and Autism Speaks to create genetically engineered knockout rats to aid identification of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of autism. 

ScreenTape Degradation Value: a new standard for RNA QC

Lab901 has announced the availability of a new technical note entitled ‘The ScreenTape Degradation Value (SDV), a new standard for RNA QC.’

The ScreenTape system is the first fully automated, walk-away solution for gel electrophoresis. Customers simply load their samples and the ScreenTape consumable into the compact TapeStation instrument and, within 1 minute per sample, fully analysed results for protein, RNA and DNA samples are displayed.

Researchers are awarded the life-long honour of EMBO membership

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) today announced the recognition of outstanding research contributions by 63 life scientists from 14 countries. The researchers are awarded the life-long honour of EMBO membership, joining almost 1500 of the world’s leading molecular biologists.

“EMBO Members are the basis for the organization’s international reputation and our most valuable asset,” said Maria Leptin, EMBO Director. “We welcome this year’s group of exceptional scientists and look forward to their fresh input and ideas to advance the life sciences.”

Each year, the EMBO membership nominates and elects new members based on scientific excellence. Forty-nine from this year’s election work in countries across Europe and become EMBO Members. Fourteen of those elected work in the United States, Japan and Taiwan and are honoured as EMBO Associate Members. International mobility has been key for many of the new members and associate members as they progressed in their scientific careers, fostering innovative and collaborative research globally.

Automating the culture of clinically applicable cells

The Automation Partnership (TAP), a leader in the design and development of innovative automation for life science applications, today announced the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine at Loughborough University is using TAP’s new CellBase CT to automate the culture of clinically applicable cells in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) environment.

Beijing biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility completed

ATMI, Inc today announced that it has further extended its global biopharma manufacturing footprint with the opening of a new Chinese manufacturing facility as part of a joint venture with Austar, a Hong Kong-based comprehensive service provider to the China pharmaceutical industry.

X-MAN cell-models predict that a subset of KRAS mutated cancers respond to EGFR therapy

Horizon Discovery announced today the results of a clinical study published by two of its Scientific Advisory Board members, in which the company’s X-MAN (gene-X, Mutant And Normal) cell-models were used to predict that a subset of KRAS mutated cancers respond to EGFR therapy.

The study, published by Professor Alberto Bardelli (University of Torino) and Sabine Tejpar (University of Leuven) in the Journal of The American Medical Association1 used X-MAN predictive human disease models to drive a detailed retrospective analysis of colon cancer patients who are prescribed, or excluded from Erbitux therapy based on the presence or absence of a diagnostic marker called ‘mutant KRAS’.

Rheology and spectroscopy in simultaneous measurements

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today introduced Rheonaut, a compact FT-IR module for its Thermo Scientific HAAKE MARS rheometer platform. The company will showcase the new Rheonaut module at the K show, the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. The event takes in Düsseldorf, Germany, from Oct. 27 – Nov. 3, 2010.

German-based Resultec analytical equipment developed the Rheonaut module for exclusive resale by Thermo Fisher Scientific. When used with the HAAKE MARS rheometer platform, it helps users understand the causes of rheological properties on a microscopic level. Dynamic rheometry and FTIR spectroscopy can be employed simultaneously to monitor a structure development during the reactive processing of a sample and to detect interactions in contrast when used in parallel. This enables customers to optimize their products by adapting formulations more quickly.

New imaging technology predicts fracture risk

A new method for identifying which bones have a high risk of fracture, and for monitoring the effectiveness of new bone-strengthening drugs and techniques, has been developed by scientists at the University of Cambridge.

The method, developed by Dr Graham Treece of the Department of Engineering and Dr Ken Poole of the Department of Medicine, uses CT imaging to accurately measure the thickness of the cortical bone - the hard outer layer of compact bone which surrounds the spongy trabecular bone. The thickness of cortical bone is a key indicator of the risk of fracture.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Study on effects of anti-obesity drug on the brain paves way for more effective treatments

Scientists have revealed that an anti-obesity drug changes the way the brain responds to appetising, high-calorie foods in obese individuals. This insight may aid the development of new anti-obesity drugs which reduce the activity in the regions of the brain stimulated by the sight of tasty foods.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge discovered that the anti-obesity drug sibutramine reduced brain responses in two regions of the brain, the hypothalamus and the amygdala, both of which are known to be important in appetite control and eating behaviour. Their findings are reported today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Consolidating HbA1c testing onto an immunoassay platform

As diabetes rates soar, consolidating HbA1c testing onto an immunoassay platform can solve throughput problems and reduce costs.

Roche offers free evaluation kit for the Tina-quant [a] HbA1c Generation 2 assay – an efficient, accurate, cost effective hbA1c testing solution that is easily consolidated onto several Roche platforms.

Diabetes is often in the news these days and almost all of us will know someone with the disease. Its prevalence in England alone is staggering – in 2004/5 3.3 per cent of the population were diagnosed diabetics, this increased to 4.1 per cent in 2008/91 and continues to grow. Reports from the National Heart Forum predict that type 2 diabetes rates are almost set to double by 20202. But the level of people with undiagnosed diabetes is also worrying.

Muscle strength gene variant linked to falls

Research published online in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences shows for the first time that a variant of the gene ACTN3 – already linked with muscle strength and power in elite athletes – is a risk factor for falling in older females.

But the scientists stress that falls are caused by a wide range of factors and that having this gene variant alone is not enough to cause elderly women to tumble.

All of us have two copies of the ACTN3 gene - inherited from our parents - which affects how the ACTN3 protein is expressed in muscle fibres, which in turn affects muscle power and strength.

Synthesis of difficult peptide sequences

Biotage, a supplier of tools and technology for medicinal and analytical chemistry, has announced the second installment in its series of webinars focusing on peptide synthesis.

The free events are in part a result of the research collaboration with Professor Knud J Jensen at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, in developing new applications on the Biotage Syro Wave Parallel Peptide Synthesizer in the field of synthetic peptide and protein chemistry.

The collaboration builds on Professor Jensen’s previous research in developing novel chemistries for applications of solid-phase peptide synthesis.

Video demonstrates configurable direct drive robot

Agilent Automation Solutions has released an online streaming video that provides a visual insight into how its Agilent Direct Drive Robot (DDR), at the centre of a highly flexible BioCel System, advances high-throughput screening for drug discovery research and genomic applications.

The new 5-minute video ( shows how the Agilent DDR is fast, precise, and designed with safety in mind. State-of-the-art direct drive technology reduces the number of moving parts, resulting in a robotic arm that has increased reliability and speed, moving smoothly with precision and accuracy. The innovative one-person, one-touch design of the Agilent DDR is shown to enable fast and easy robotic configuration teaching, minimizing setup time and the need for dedicated personnel.

Safe aspiration of liquid waste

The compact Vacusafe laboratory vacuum system from INTEGRA sets a new standard for simple, reliable and safe aspiration of waste liquids.

Unlike many "home-made" aspiration systems made from non-optimised parts, the Vacusafe is a dedicated product for the convenient and safe disposal of almost any liquid waste. The Vacusafe E has a range of important safety features including a dependable liquid waste level sensor to prevent overfilling of the bottle and two hydrophobic filters that block potentially dangerous aerosols from entering the laboratory workspace.

Selection guide for apoptosis assay kits and reagents

AMSBIO has announced an expanded range of assay kits and reagents for the detection and analysis of apoptosis.

A new selection guide has been created by AMSBIO to provide researchers with a quick and easy way to identify and select the best tools to measure apoptosis.

Accessible online, the guide provides detailed information on AMSBIO's comprehensive range of Apoptosis Assay kits and reagents for microscopy, flow cytometry, screening and electrophoresis. The guide also enables selection of optimal Apoptosis Assay based on the type of tissue fixation, tissue type and the volume of samples required for measurement.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Rapid culture method identifies Salmonella species in duck eggs in two days

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced that its Oxoid Salmonella Precis culture method provides fast and reliable detection of Salmonella species in food, animal feed and environmental samples. In light of the recent outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 in Ireland, linked with the consumption of duck eggs, food testing laboratories require methods which can rapidly and accurately identify salmonella species in food. The Oxoid Precis method delivers dependable analytical results in just two days, which is up to three days faster than conventional Salmonella culture methods.
Syngene, a manufacturer of image analysis solutions, is delighted to announce its G:BOX Chemi XT imaging system is being used by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London to help understand the cellular basis of how tumours develop and progress.

Researchers in the Section of Cell and Molecular Biology at the ICR are using a G:BOX Chemi XT system to accurately analyse protein gels stained with Coomassie blue and agarose gels of DNA stained with GelRed. The system is also used to image chemiluminescent Western blots labelled with ECL. The information from the gels and blots is helping to determine the involvement of enzymes controlling inositol lipid signalling pathways in processes underlying tumour generation and progression.