Friday September 21, 2018

Scientists discover new treatment for bone loss

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New York: Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Florida, have developed a method to manipulate a protein that could result in the development of new bone-forming cells in patients suffering from bone loss.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, focused on a protein called PPARy (known as the master regulator of fat) and its impact on the fate of stem cells derived from bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells).

Since these mesenchymal stem cells can develop into several different cell types — including fat, connective tissues, bone and cartilage — they have a number of potentially important therapeutic applications.

The scientists knew that a partial loss of PPARy in a genetically modified mouse model led to increased bone formation.

To see if they could mimic that effect using a drug candidate, the researchers designed a new compound that could repress the biological activity of PPARy.

The results showed that when human mesenchymal stem cells were treated with the new compound, which they called SR2595, there was a statistically significant increase in osteoblast formation, a cell type known to form bone.

“These findings demonstrate for the first time a new therapeutic application for drugs targeting PPARy, which has been the focus of efforts to develop insulin sensitisers to treat type 2 diabetes,” said Patrick Griffin, director of the Translational Research Institute at Scripps Florida.

“We have already demonstrated SR2595 has suitable properties for testing in mice. The next step is to perform an in-depth analysis of the drug’s efficacy in animal models of bone loss, ageing, obesity and diabetes,” Griffin added.

In addition to identifying a potential new therapeutic for bone loss, the study may have even broader implications.

“Because PPARG is so closely related to several proteins with known roles in disease, we can potentially apply these structural insights to design new compounds for a variety of therapeutic applications,” said David P. Marciano, first author of the study. (IANS)

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High Immunity Protein at Birth Cuts Childhood Malaria Risk

For the study, published in the Journal of Scientific Reports, the team examined 349 Mozambican pregnant women and their newborn babies up to two years of age

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A teenager caressing the newborn. Pixabay

Newborn babies who are born with a high level of an immune-related protein in their blood cells are less likely to develop malaria throughout their early childhood, a study revealed.

The research showed that babies born with a high level of a certain type of immunity proteins cytokine, known as IL-12, in their umbilical cord blood had a higher resistance to the development of malaria in the first two years of their life.

“The finding suggests that there is a strong link between levels of this IL-12 protein obtained from the umbilical cord blood and the development of malaria in early childhood,” said lead author Yong Song, from Curtin University in Australia.

With more than 90 per cent of malaria infections occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, childhood malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, resulting in 500,000 deaths annually.

Malaria is caused by parasites that are spread to people through mosquito bites.
Malaria is caused by parasites that are spread to people through mosquito bites. (VOA)

The team also investigated how newborn babies develop high levels of IL-12 in the cord blood.

“We found that the inbred quantity of these small proteins was not only influenced by children and mother’s genetic variation, but was also dependent on the immune system conditions of the mother during pregnancy,” Song noted.

Also Read: FDA Approves Drug to Stop Some Malaria Relapses

For the study, published in the Journal of Scientific Reports, the team examined 349 Mozambican pregnant women and their newborn babies up to two years of age.

“The study could have significant implications for future vaccine design techniques that could assist with the prevention of malaria in high-risk countries such as Mozambique,” said co-author Brad Zhang, Associate Professor from Curtin’s School of Public Health. (IANS)

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