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Genomics Week in Brief: Week Ending 17th May

We know there’s never a quiet week in the genomics world, that’s why in Week in Brief we’ve sourced the latest news for you! Check out the updates from the last seven days below.

The blood-brain barrier has been a notorious obstacle for drug development, but researchers have made progress in tackling this challenge…

Scientists have replicated the blood-brain barrier by combining brain and blood vessel organoids. This new model could allow for a better understanding of how drugs can be transported across the membrane (Cell Stem Cell).

An adeno-associated virus has been engineered by researchers from the Broad Institute to more easily pass through the blood-brain barrier. The delivery vehicle effectively transported a gene therapy to the brain in humanized mice models (Science).

And the above isn’t the only gene therapy update…

Looking for a new treatment for back pain? A study in mice shows that a gene therapy delivered by naturally-derived nanocarriers can repair discs in the spine (Biomaterials).

Scientists have been hard at work investigating cancer treatments…

A Phase III study has shown that giving non-small cell lung cancer patients immunotherapy both before and after surgery significantly increases the chance of event-free survival (NEJM).

Researchers have identified a pathway that leads to apoptosis in cancer cells after chemotherapy, even when p53 is non-functional. The results of the study shed new light on the response to cancer treatments (Science).

The detection and identification of biomarkers could transform care for a range of diseases…

A new study has been launched that will follow inflammatory bowel disease patients across a four-year period to collect genomic and clinical data, in a bid to identify biomarkers for use in personalised medicine strategies (Wellcome Sanger Institute).

Scientists have developed a blood test for stroke detection that combines the presence of blood-based biomarkers with a clinical score. The test could lead to earlier interventions for stroke patients (Stroke: Vascular and Interventional Neurology

That’s not the only exciting research that has been published this week…

A study has revealed new genetic variants associated with clonal haematopoiesis, which in turn is linked to several age-related conditions. These findings may inform new treatments and diagnostic tests (Nature Genetics).

Researchers have discovered that the ‘softness’ of a protein can influence how quickly the molecule can enter the nucleus, impacting gene expression and cellular mechanics (Nature Physics).

In a study in zebrafish, researchers have identified a protein that is key in maintaining asymmetry in the brain, which is crucial for proper brain function (Science).

Finally, researchers have determined that AlphaFold2 can make accurate predictions when modelling ligand binding sites. This finding strengthens the potential of the use of AI in drug discovery (Science).

Check out last week’s Week in Brief here.