For people with certain BRCA mutations, activating the immune system could be promising treatment — ScienceDaily

Treatments that harness the immune system to fight cancer have greatly improved outcomes for some people with cancer. Scientists are learning more about why some people respond much better than others to these drugs.

One major factor is something called tumor mutation burden (TMB) — the number of DNA changes a tumor has. Studies from researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering and elsewhere have shown that tumors with high TMB tend to respond better to immune checkpoint inhibitors. In 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of tumors with a type of genetic defect called mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency.

MMR is one of several DNA repair pathways that cells use to fix mistakes in DNA. Mutations in this pathway lead to faulty DNA repair and therefore to higher TMB. Next to MMR, the most commonly mutated DNA repair pathway is called homologous

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New insights into how the CRISPR immune system evolved — ScienceDaily

With new insights into how the genetic tool CRISPR — which allows direct editing of our genes — evolved and adapted, we are now one step closer to understanding the basis of the constant struggle for survival that takes place in nature. The results can be used in future biotechnologies.

In 2020, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for their discoveries of the molecular mechanism behind CRISPR-Cas and the use of the technology as a genetic tool. Although CRISPR-Cas has found many uses in biotechnology and medicine, it originates in nature, where it functions as a microbial immune system.

Just as our immune system remembers the pathogens we have been exposed to earlier in life, CRISPR-Cas provides microorganisms with an ability to respond quickly to viruses they have previously encountered by storing a small amount of the viral DNA in their own genome.

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Engineered immune cells elicit broad response to HIV in mice, offering hope for vaccine — ScienceDaily

Unlike so many other deadly viruses, HIV still lacks a vaccine. The virus — which continues to infect millions around the world — has proven especially tricky to prevent with conventional antibodies, in part because it evolves so rapidly in the body. Any solution would require coaxing the body into producing a special type of antibody that can act broadly to defeat multiple strains of the virus at once.

This week, scientists at Scripps Research moved closer to attaining that holy grail of HIV research with a new vaccine approach that would rely on genetically engineered immune cells from the patient’s body.

In experiments involving mice, the approach successfully induced broadly neutralizing antibodies — also called bnabs — that can prevent HIV infection, says principal investigator James Voss, PhD, of Scripps Research. The study appears in Nature Communications.

Voss and his team showed in 2019 that it was possible

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Kids mount a COVID-19 immune response without detection of the SARSCoV-2 virus, case study finds — ScienceDaily

Children in a Melbourne family developed a COVID-19 immune response after chronic exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus from their parents, a new case report has found.

The research, led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and published in Nature Communications, showed that despite close contact with symptomatic infected parents, including one child sharing the parents’ bed, the children repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19 and displayed no or minor symptoms.

MCRI’s Dr Shidan Tosif said compared to adults, children with COVID-19 usually have very mild or asymptomatic infection, but the underlying differences between children’s and adults’ immune responses to the virus remained unclear.

The study looked at the immune profile in a Melbourne family of two parents with symptomatic COVID-19 and their three primary school aged children. Before COVID-19 took hold in Australia, the parents attended an interstate wedding without their children. After returning, they developed a cough, congested nose,

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Chronic alcohol use reshapes the brain’s immune landscape, driving anxiety and addiction — ScienceDaily

Deep within the brain, a small almond-shaped region called the amygdala plays a vital role in how we exhibit emotion, behavior and motivation. Understandably, it’s also strongly implicated in alcohol abuse, making it a long-running focus of Marisa Roberto, PhD, professor in Scripps Research’s Department of Molecular Medicine.

Now, for the first time, Roberto and her team have identified important changes to anti-inflammatory mechanisms and cellular activity in the amygdala that drive alcohol addiction. By countering this process in mice, they were able to stop excessive alcohol consumption — revealing a potential treatment path for alcohol use disorder. The study is published in Progress in Neurobiology.

“We found that chronic alcohol exposure compromises brain immune cells, which are important for maintaining healthy neurons,” says Reesha Patel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Roberto’s lab and first author of the study. “The resulting damage fuels anxiety and alcohol drinking that may

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Parasitic worms offer ‘the missing link’ on the dual nature of a key immune regulator — ScienceDaily

De’Broski Herbert has a philosophy that’s guided his career researching helminths, or parasitic worms, and their interaction with their hosts’ immune systems: “Follow the worm.”

“The mantra of my lab since its inception has been that parasitic worms manipulate their hosts in very interesting ways to maintain their survival,” says Herbert, an associate professor of pathobiology in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t care about staying in your body very long because it is transmitted so easily. Worms aren’t spread so easily, so they have to figure out how to persist.”

That focus has revealed a key insight about an immune signaling molecule, the cytokine IL-33, that is important not only in parasite infections, but in a range of other health conditions, such as asthma, obesity, and eczema. In a new study published in Science Immunology, Herbert and colleagues made insights that explain how IL-33 can both help

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Mid-range level of immune protein associated with lowest risk — ScienceDaily

The causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — including genetic and environmental factors — are not entirely understood. Many studies have already shown that serious maternal infection during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for offspring in both people and animals. New research however, shows that the lowest risk for ASD is associated with mid-levels of an immune marker measured at birth — whereas too much or not enough were linked to increased risk.

The report from researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden appears in Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier. The study hinges on the idea that the developing brain may be particularly vulnerable to disturbances in immune signaling and exposure to inflammation.

“We studied a set of molecules called acute phase proteins that are part of the innate immune system, which is our first line of defense against infections and is always monitoring the body for signs

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Misguided immune cells can contribute to vascular damage — ScienceDaily

Heart attacks strike suddenly and have a range of different triggers. Researchers from Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) were able to uncover a further underlying cause. Studying arterial deposits (plaque) in patients with acute coronary syndrome, the researchers found that, in some patients, these were characterized by activated immune cells which, as a result of altered flow conditions within the vessel, had accumulated on the interior arterial wall, causing damage to the arterial lining. The researchers’ report on this novel immune system-mediated pathophysiological mechanism has been published in the European Heart Journal.

Acute coronary syndrome (also known as heart attack) is a life-threatening condition which is characterized by impaired blood flow to the heart and is caused by a blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries. Arterial deposits (known as plaque) represent a major contributing factor, as they can give rise to

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How the immune system deals with the gut’s plethora of microbes — ScienceDaily

The gut is an unusually noisy place, where hundreds of species of bacteria live alongside whatever microbes happen to have hitched a ride in on your lunch. Scientists have long suspected that the gut’s immune system, in the face of so many stimuli, takes an uncharacteristically blunt approach to population control and protection from foreign invaders — churning out non-specific antibodies with broad mandates to mow the gut’s entire microbial lawn without prejudice.

But now, new research published in Nature suggests that the gut’s local immune system can be quite precise, creating antibodies that appear to home in on specific microbiota.

“It was thought that the gut immune system worked sort of like a general-purpose antibiotic, controlling every bug and pathogen,” says Gabriel D. Victora, an immunologist and head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Dynamics . “But our new findings tell us that there might be a bit more specificity

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SAP Startles The Market And Shows That Tech Is Not Immune To COVID-19 (NYSE:SAP)

Europe’s largest software company SAP (SAP) released their third quarterly report of the fiscal year 2020 on Monday, and the market did not like it, sending SAP’s stock down 22%. Just like other tech stocks, SAP’s stock price recovered at an incredible pace after the COVID-19 dip and hit a new all-time high just months later, but now SAP’s stock is ready to break this year’s lows.

What went wrong at SAP?

There were two surprises for the market at SAP’s third quarterly report:

  1. Cloud backlog is actually shrinking QoQ.
  2. SAP’s guidance for the coming years was cut significantly.

Let’s start with the cloud backlog. Like many other software companies, SAP built an extensive cloud platform over the last few years for enterprises. The cloud has been SAP’s growth darling, and investors saw the cloud net bookings – and so cloud backlog – grow significantly every single year. Since COVID-19

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