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Genomics Week in Brief: Week ending 30th September

Welcome back to Week in Brief! Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in the scientific world this week.

Researchers have been hard at work untangling the biology of various viruses…

  • Researchers have discovered a link between the antiviral drug molnupiravir and specific mutational signatures in the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Nature).
  • And speaking of SARS-CoV-2, an antiviral peptide named ‘Yongshi’ may play a role in preventing the virus from entering host cells (Scientific Reports).
  • Killer T-cells found in those over 60 resemble those found in newborns and are not as efficient at detecting viruses as the cells found in younger adults and children. This finding could inform age-specific viral treatments (Nature Immunology).
  • Researchers have developed a hydrogel-based therapy for HIV that slowly releases antiviral drugs over a six-week period. Adopting this treatment would mean that patients would not have to take pills every day (JACS).

Curious about what’s going on in the human brain?

  • In a rare study of brain tissue from living donors, scientists have identified unique cellular changes associated with Alzheimer’s (Cell).
  • A method for tracking the growth and development of brain cells has been created by scientists from Rockerfeller University. The tool essentially gives cells an ID tag, allowing them to be followed as they mature (Cell).

As ever, we have a number of updates from the cancer genomics world…

  • Over 1,000 children suffering from kidney cancer have had their tumours sequenced as part of a collaboration between the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the Little Princess Trust. The data forms part of a comprehensive resource for analysing childhood cancer (Wellcome Sanger Institute).
  • The first cell model of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has been developed. The model will be integral in understanding this common childhood cancer (Blood).
  • A protein has been identified that could be used as a treatment target for pancreatic cancer. Inhibiting this protein could stop the growth of tumour cells (Gastroenterology).

What other interesting research has gone on this week?

  • Scientists have developed an algorithm that can perform more accurate genetic risk-scoring for those from diverse backgrounds, paving the way for better personalised treatments for major diseases (Nature Genetics).
  • A collaboration between researchers from Imperial College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies has resulted in a new method that can test for multiple biomarkers at once. The new technology could transform the landscape of testing and treatment for a range of diseases (Nature Nanotechnology).
  • Ultrasound technology to make the blood-brain barrier more permeable could be a key step forward in the delivery of gene therapies to the brain (Gene Therapy).
  • The source of genes driving antibiotic resistance in Yemen’s cholera outbreak – the largest of its kind – has been identified (Nature Microbiology).
  • Researchers have discovered a mutation linked to Moyamoya disease, the leading cause of strokes in young children (Nature Cardiovascular Research).

Check out last week’s Genomics Week in Brief here.