dolphins alzheimer

Intelligent and curious, they love to interact with each other and also with humans. We look more like dolphins than we think ... for better and for worse. They are in fact the only wild species in the world in which a form of Alzheimer has been found, which is similar to the human one. A "natural" model that has raised the interest of scientists, opening a new line of research that helps to combat the disease even in humans.

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nanobodies alpacas CART

They are funny to look at, mild and intelligent: that was what we knew about alpacas until 1989. That year, two students discovered by chance one important feature that has long remained unknown. This and other species belonging to camelid family have "miniature" antibodies: smaller than ours and those of most mammals, they can reach even the most difficult targets. Researchers at Boston Children 's Hospital used the so called “nanobodies” to make CAR-T cells better at solid tumors. The study has been published in the journal PNAS.

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Monoclonal antibodies are specialized bullets that target only specific molecules. Some antibodies recognize proteins expressed by tumor cells, while others bind receptors on the surface of immune cells. What if they can do both? A class of antibody called BiTE (bi-specific T cell engager antibodies) is able to simultaneously bind a T cell and a cancer cell, forming a bridge between the two and thus helping the former destroy the latter.

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White shark: their only name inspires fear. Not only are they the most dangerous sharks in the world, but they also got a few tricks up their sleeve: their wounds heal very fast; they are long-lived and rarely get cancer. Now, their genome has been fully decoded for the first time, revealing the molecular secrets of white shark’s extraordinary adaptation. The findings are reported in the journal Pnas.

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bats influenza

Novel influenza A viruses identified in bats in 2012 use a particular, receptor to infect cells, which was unknown until recently. Researchers from University of Zurich have finally discovered its identity. Bad news is that it is not exclusive to bats, but largely diffused among vertebrates. This makes such viruses potentially transmittable to other species and even more likely than other influenza viruses. The research was published in Nature.

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dog car t

Humans will not be the only beneficiaries of CAR-T therapy for much longer. The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is the only institution in the world that is bringing this sophisticated technology into veterinary clinic in order to cure dogs from cancer. Thanks to the passionate work of researchers and veterinaries, our pet friends may soon access the same therapy available for humans and have one more chance against cancer.

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