SIBS TNFa-figs5

SIBS TNFa-figs5

Shanghai scientists find new method to attack cancer

Scientists from the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences (SIBS) announced they have found a new mechanism governing the programmed death of cells, providing a new target for cancer treatment and altering a 15-year-old theory on how tumor cell death is controlled.

The work could help limit the types of bad side effects caused by current cancer medicines according the scientists. The discovery was published in the January 2013 edition of Cell.

SIBS TNFa-figs5A cell’s life is controlled by its signaling network, in which an enzyme called IB kinase plays a key role. IB kinase is an important regulator of immune responses, inflammation, cell survival and tumor growth.

Previously, scientists found that the IB kinase enzyme can activate an important protein factor in cell reproduction. The abnormal activation of this protein is found in many cancers, so suppression of the protein limits the spread of cancer.

Many medicines are based on targeting this protein or the enzyme, said Lin Anning, the chief research scientist at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology of SIBS. But they often have many negative side effects for the body, Lin said.

During Lin’s research, scientists found the effects of the enzyme on cell survival is also linked to another protein, a death promoter protein that kills cells. The enzyme normally promotes cell survival through turning on the first protein and turning off the death promoter protein.

Scientists said the death promoter protein can be an ideal target for medicines to kill cancer cells without directly targeting the enzyme or the first protein, thus not causing as many bad side effects.

Lin said cooperation with doctors on the clinical study regarding the new discovery is under discussion.

Source: Shanghai Daily

China’s development plan for the seed industry 2020

In a race to further develop the Chinese country side and increase the agricultural production, the Chinese Ministry for Agriculture announced plans to professionalize the seed industry following the No. 1 Document on Agricultural S&T Innovation in 2012.

R&D focus will be on the creation of new varieties of rice, wheat, corn, soybean, potato and 15 varieties of ‘cash crops’ according the development plan by the General Office of the State Council. Emphasis of the research is on creation of drought and pest-resistant seeds. “But also on the taste of the agricultural products” according Lu Bu, a researcher in agricultural resources and regional planning at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Besides R&D investment on breeding of new varieties, the seed market will be reformed to be more competitive, transparent and eventually undertake more scientific research. Meanwhile, China saw 25 registered joint ventures and foreign-owned companies in its seed market including several innovative Dutch global top seed companies.

China is in urgent need for drought resistant seeds (source: asianews.it)

China is in urgent need for drought resistant seeds (source: asianews.it)

source: China Daily 29/1

drought resistant seeds

China is in urgent need for drought resistant seeds (source: asianews.it)

China is in urgent need for drought resistant seeds (source: asianews.it)

source: Asianews.it

Biobased membrane for hemodialysis

A dialysis membrane module is used in the pressure-driven hemodialysis process to remove excess waste products and water from the body. Material requirements for usage for blood purification are strict. Therefore the amount of membrane materials which can be used in clinical application are very limited. Cellulose and polysulfone are two main membrane materials, and the related technologies are now owned by a few companies.

PLA module for hemodialysis

PLA module for hemodialysis

Recently, the functional membrane group led by Professor XUE Lixin and Associate professor LIU Fu from the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE), developed a new bio-based polymeric hollow fiber membrane for the use of hemodialysis.

Cross section of PLA hollow fiber

Cross section of PLA hollow fiber

Polylactide (PLA) possesses better bio-compatibility, lower producing cost, and more importantly, it comes from renewable resources. Moreover, PLA is a degradable polymer.

Source: CAS, NIMTE research group