Plague vaccines show promise in preclinical studies | Exposure to cigarette smoke before and during pregnancy affects fetal brain | Genetically modified mouse allows study of rare breast cancer
January 11, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Plague vaccines show promise in preclinical studies
Ashok Chopra and his colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston report in the Nature journal npj Vaccines that they have developed three potential vaccines against the plague that have worked in animal models without dangerous side effects. A different vaccine candidate that involves the bacterium's antigens was highly protective in nonhuman primates, Chopra said.
Kaiser Health News (1/10) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Exposure to cigarette smoke before and during pregnancy affects fetal brain
Secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke affects fetal brain development in all stages of pregnancy, including preconception, according to a study published in Toxicological Sciences. The exposure was associated with damage to the rat fetal brain in areas involved with learning, memory and emotional response, the researchers found.
United Press International (1/5) 
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Genetically modified mouse allows study of rare breast cancer
Deletion of the CCN6 gene from mammary glands in mice caused them to develop tumors with the same characteristics as human metaplastic breast cancer. "Now we have a new mouse model, and a new way of studying metaplastic carcinomas, for which there's no other model," said researcher Celina Kleer.
United Press International (1/6) 
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Researchers get a tad closer to knowing how DNA form affects function
Researchers get a tad closer to knowing how DNA form affects function.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics are studying a family with a strong history of syndactyly, a rare congenital condition in which fingers are fused together, and the research has shed light on topologically associating domains -- molecular partitions that are part of the DNA folding protocol. Technology developed by University of Massachusetts Medical School biologist Job Dekker and colleagues allows scientists to study the deep structure of DNA, and studies in mice and humans are showing how TAD disruptions cause genetic expression to go awry.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (1/9) 
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Scientists study roadkill in search of useful molecules
Researchers have identified nearly 4,000 different bacteria from swabs taken from dead armadillos, deer, opossums, raccoons, skunks and squirrels on a 30-mile stretch of road in Oklahoma. The scientists hope molecules produced by the microbes will yield potential drug candidates, and they have already identified two isolates from an opossum's ear that impede biofilm development by fungal cells associated with yeast infections.
Chemistry World magazine online (tiered subscription model) (1/4) 
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Experimental Alzheimer's drug spurs dental cavity repair in study
Experimental Alzheimer's drug spurs dental cavity repair in study.
(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Biodegradable collagen sponges impregnated with tideglusib, a small molecule GSK3 antagonist, healed cavities in mice's teeth by spurring the production of dentin, researchers reported in Scientific Reports. The drug, developed to treat Alzheimer's disease, is now being tested to repair cavities in rats before beginning clinical trials in people.
HealthDay News (1/9),  STAT (1/9) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy drug shows promise in cats
MYK-461 alleviated left-ventricle obstruction in five cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, according to University of California at Davis research published in PLOS ONE, and studies in mice also demonstrated efficacy. Veterinarian Joshua Stern, the study's lead author and chief of cardiology at UC Davis' veterinary hospital, said the study may lead to new treatment options for animals and humans.
Seeker (1/5) 
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Policy News
FASEB opposes preprints in NIH grant applications
Preprints allow researchers to disseminate findings quickly and may spur useful discussion, but neither preprints nor interim research products should be included in NIH grant applications and reports, according to a letter by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. FASEB was responding to an NIH request for comments on whether preprints belong in biomedical research grant applications, which the UK's Medical Research Council recently decided to allow.
The Scientist online (1/6) 
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