Mobile Menu

Genomics week in brief: Week ending 18th March

Check out the latest Genomics Week in Brief – full of intriguing news and research from the genomics space!

Top stories from the past week:

  • A case study describes how an allogenic stem cell transplant has successfully cured HIV in a mixed-race woman for the first time. Having previously cured two men of the condition, these new results provide hope that the transplants could be effective across populations (Cell).
  • A clinical trial has shown that using chemotherapy and immunotherapy before surgery is effective in treating lung cancer (Nature Medicine).
  • Scientists have developed a new viral diagnostic test using CRISPR-based “glow in the dark” detection technology (ACS Central Science).
  • A study has shed light on how whole genome doubling, a common cancerous mutation, drives development of the disease (Nature).
  • Researchers have identified a potential drug target against pulmonary hypertension. Suppression of the ATIC gene led to decreased disease progression in mice (European Heart Journal).
  • A new mouse genetic model of Down’s syndrome has been developed, which improves upon the current standard (Biological Psychiatry).
  • The X-linked epigenetic regulator UTX, which is expressed at higher levels in females, boosts natural killer cell function – potentially explaining why viral infections are often more severe in males (Nature Immunology).
  • Using a new computational approach named “Raresevoir”, researchers have identified new genetic associations to a number of rare conditions, including three that were previously unexplained (Nature).
  • A significant number of women suffering from unexplained infertility carry genetic variants that confer increased risk of heart problems and cancer (New England Journal of Medicine).
  • An “egg-based” vaccine approach may confer higher resistance to COVID-19 infection than mRNA vaccines. The low cost technology can be produced easily, compared to the current standard, meaning low- and middle-income nations may be able to manufacture vaccines locally (Science Translational Medicine).
  • A “designer DNA drug” may be able to treat paralysis in ALS patients, by restoring function of the stathmin-2 protein (Science).
  • Researchers have successfully used a CRISPR-based system to cure retinal pigmentosa in mice (Journal of Experimental Medicine).

In other news:

  • NICE have announced recommendations that infants suffering from spinal muscular atrophy be given a one-off gene therapy to treat the disease (NICE).
  • The UK Government has committed £3.5 billion to the science and technology sector. The plans include a significant investment in artificial intelligence and supercomputing (UK Government).
  • Scientists have, for the first time, determined the 3D structure of a human olfactory receptor, shedding light on how the sense of smell works (Nature).