Researchers Find Way to Enhance Effects of Immunotherapy in Glioblastoma

When cancer strikes, it may be possible for patients to fight back with their own defenses, using a strategy known as immunotherapy. According to a new study published in Nature, researchers have found a way to enhance the effects of this therapeutic approach in glioblastoma, a deadly type of brain cancer, and possibly improve patient outcomes. The research was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) as well as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which are part of the National Institutes of Health. "The promise of dendritic cell-based therapy and other immunotherapies for brain cancer has been upheld for some time, but an important implication of this work is a demonstrated capacity to significantly improve the clinical impact of immunotherapy for patients with this very difficult disease," said Duane A. Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the University of Florida in Gainesville and co-lead author of the study.
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Inovio Pharmaceuticals Receive $16 Million HIV Grant From NIAID

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO) announced today that the company and its academic collaborators, including the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), were awarded a new five-year $16 million Integrated Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development Program grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This five-year program grant was awarded based on the clinical successes of Inovio's PENNVAX® HIV vaccine program. The grant will fund research to expand PENNVAX coverage of HIV strains as well as to further enhance antibody responses generated by the vaccine.
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Mutant Protein Brings Gene Therapy for Hemophilia a Step Closer

Researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA, have identified a mutant human protein that has shown promise for treating the inherited bleeding disorder hemophilia. Published in the journal Blood, the study reveals how the protein - named FIX-Padua - successfully relieved symptoms of hemophilia in three dogs with severe forms of the disease.
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Scientists Discover DNA Vaccine that Alleviates Chronic Inflammation in the Body

An international team of scientists including CureLab Oncology, Inc. (Boston), University of Camerino (Italy), and Boston University have serendipitously discovered a DNA vaccine, which systemically alleviates chronic inflammation in the body. Since osteoporosis is an inflammatory disease, preventive and therapeutic effects of the new vaccine were demonstrated on mouse models with osteoporosis. A paper reporting these results is published in the latest issue of the journal Gerotarget (the geriatric section of Oncotarget). An online preprint of the paper is available on the journal’s website.
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New Protein Booster May Lead to Better DNA Vaccines and Gene Therapy

Scientists have discovered a new way to manipulate how cells function, a finding that might help advance an experimental approach to improving public health: DNA vaccines, which could be more efficient, less expensive and easier to store than traditional vaccines. Their approach, based on research results published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, improves upon an existing laboratory technique, transfection, widely used to study how cells and viruses work.

Jaquelin Dudley, a professor of molecular biosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, and her team have developed a method for boosting the amounts of certain proteins a host cell produces when genes are delivered by transfection. Coaxing cells to produce novel proteins, such as those associated with viruses, is a key feature of DNA vaccines. Dudley's method causes cells to produce novel proteins at levels 5 to 20 times as high as with previous methods.
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Study of Potential HIV ‘Cure’ Wins FDA Nod

Researchers received the go-ahead from federal regulators to test a gene-editing technique in humans that could jam a doorknob used by the AIDS virus and produce a "functional cure" for the disease. The trial at the City of Hope medical center will take blood-producing stem cells from patients infected with HIV and use a kind of molecular scissors — enzymes called zinc finger nucleases — to edit a protein that the virus uses to infect cells. The method was developed by Richmond's Sangamo BioSciences Inc.
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Aldevron Presents: Epo-R Antibodies: A Paradigm for Antibody-Specificity Testing

Title: Epo-R Antibodies: A Paradigm for Antibody-Specificity Testing
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM CDT

Space is limited! Reserve your Webinar Seat at:

This complimentary 30-minute presentation with Dr. John Thompson, of Aldevron, will be live and followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. Register today to reserve your seat or to receive notification of the available recording.
Click below to read the complete webinar description.
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Study Confirms Long-Term Benefits of Melanoma Immunotherapy

A long-term follow up of people on an international clinical trial has confirmed the benefit of immunotherapy for certain patients with advanced (stage 3 or 4) melanoma. More than 18 percent of patients were still alive five years after being treated with ipilimumab (Yervoy) in combination with a chemotherapy drug called dacarbazine. This compared to fewer than nine per cent who were treated with chemo alone. Ipilimumab is one of a new class of cancer treatments that target the immune system, and works by homing in on a molecule found on immune cells called CTLA-4. This relieves the molecular 'brakes' on a patient's immune system, allowing it to attack their cancer.
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Early Immunotherapy Helps Kids Beat Peanut Allergy

Very young children who have shown reactivity to peanuts had a high rate of "sustained unresponsiveness" after stopping oral immunotherapy, researchers reported here. A total of 29 out of 30 patients were able to consume 5 g peanut protein in a food challenge 4 weeks after stopping oral immunotherapy, which had been given for at least 1 year, said Brian P. Vickery, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a press conference at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology annual meeting. Sustained unresponsiveness is a term that has been introduced to describe an individual's ability to undergo a food challenge without becoming symptomatic and then have the food introduced into the diet ad libitum.
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Synthetic Biology Yields New Approach to Gene Therapy

Bioengineers at The University of Texas at Dallas have created a novel gene-delivery system that shuttles a gene into a cell, but only for a temporary stay, providing a potential new gene-therapy strategy for treating disease. The approach offers distinct advantages over other types of gene therapies currently under investigation, said Richard Taplin Moore MS'11, a doctoral student in bioengineering at UT Dallas. He is lead author of a study describing the new technique in the Jan. 30 issue of the journal Nucleic Acids Research.
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