Japanese researchers using silkworms to create COVID-19 vaccine

August 17, 2020

A team of scientists at Kyushu University in Japan is working to develop a possible COVID-19 vaccine using silkworms, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The vaccine is scheduled to be tested on humans in 2021.

The researchers, led by Professor Takahiro Kusakabe at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, are utilising the silkworms like factories. Each worm produces a protein which will become the key substance in a possible vaccine. “We have about 250,000 silkworms in about 500 different phylogenies (family lines),” Kusakabe was reported as saying. From the thousands of insects in the lab, “we have found a type of silkworm that can efficiently manufacture the proteins.”

The project sees genes of the protein that forms the outer “spikes” of the coronavirus incorporated into the virus, which is then injected into a silkworm. After about four days, spike proteins that can serve as vaccine material start to be produced in large quantities by the silkworms, the report explained. Once this has happened, these proteins are removed and refined and can be made into a vaccine.

Producing spike proteins using silkworms is believed to be a safer method than using an ‘attenuated vaccines’, in which a weakened form of the virus is introduced into the human body.

Kusakabe plans to inject the spike proteins into mice first to see if this creates antibodies to block the coronavirus infection. He will then check if the antibodies can actually block the virus’s intrusion into cells. Animal testing is scheduled to be completed by early 2021, after which clinical testing on humans will begin.

“Using silkworms, you can shorten the time it takes to produce candidate substances for the vaccine to as little as about 40 days,” Kusakabe was quoted as saying.

The cost of producing the vaccine will also be lower as the silkworm method does not require large equipment.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

—————————————-

TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

For translation and interpreting services in Japanese, please visit our sister site, The Japanese Connection.

Members of: ATCITIProz

See our LinkedIn profile or visit us on Twitter


Full face transplant lets firefighter finally feel like a ‘normal guy’ again

August 25, 2016

Just one year after receiving the world’s most extensive face transplant, a firefighter in Mississippi says he feels like a ’normal guy’ for the first time since a burning building collapsed on top of him 15 years ago, the Guardian reported this week.

Speaking to reporters at NYU Langone Medical Center, Patrick Hardison, 42, said, “I’m here today because I want others to see that there is hope beyond the injury.”

As a result of the surgery performed in August, 2015, he reported that he can now see, hear, eat and breathe normally. Moreover, he no longer worries about, “people pointing and staring or kids running away crying.”

Back in 2001, Patrick Hardison was a volunteer firefighter in Senatoba, Mississippi, when a burning building came crashing down on top of him.

In the years following, he underwent 71 reconstructive surgeries before receiving the transplant. 

According to a BBC News article, the history of face transplants is very recent, only dating back eleven years.

In 2005, a French woman received a partial face transplant to replace her nose, lips and chin. Since then, there have apparently been just under 40 face transplant surgeries conducted around the world.

Yet what set’s the surgery conducted on Hardison apart is that it is said to be the first transplant to include a scalp and functioning eyelids, the Guardian informs us.

Since the transplant, doctors have also apparently removed Hardison’s breathing and feeding tubes, and made a few adjustments to his features.

In terms of his appearance, the Mississippi firefighter now looks much like he once did. There are no scars on his face, and he once again has a mop of sandy brown hair. Only now his face is rounder and his eyes smaller than before.

The transplant has also made huge practical changes on his daily life.

Prior to the surgery, his field of vision was severely restricted, he said, because doctors had partially sewn shut his eyelids to protect his eyes. 

This has changed thanks to the transplant, as he is once again able to drive and live independently. 

According to Hardison, the effect on his emotional wellbeing has also been dramatic. 

“Before the transplant, every day I had to wake up and get myself motivated to face the world,” he said. 

Now, he said, “I’m pretty much back to being a normal guy doing normal activities. My life has changed, and it has been renewed.”

Back in June, on a trip to Disney World, he said, “I swam in the pool with my children for the first time in 15 years.”

At the news conference, Hardison was joined by four of his five children. His daughter Allison, 21, also noticed a marked difference in her father.

“After the injury he wasn’t normal on the inside. He was very unhappy.” She said. “Now he’s happy with himself and happy with life.”

The Mississippi firefighter, whose donor was a 26 year old artist said to have died in a bike accident in Brooklyn, has been lucky not to have faced any issues with his body rejecting the transplant. 

Eduardo Rodriguez, chairman of the plastic surgery department at Langone, puts this down to the medication, Hardison’s children, as well as his own strength. 

Rodriguez described the man as a “remarkable individual.”

Hardison said he hopes to meet with his donor’s family in the autumn.

 

Sources include: BBC News, Guardian

—————————————————————————-

TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

For translation and interpreting services in Japanese, please visit our sister site, The Japanese Connection.

Member of: ATCITIProz

See our LinkedIn profile or visit us on Twitter


High-tech goggles allow surgeons to ‘see’ cancerous tissue

April 18, 2014

A new type of goggle currently under development in the USA has the potential to be a major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and intrusive surgery are currently the only treatments available to doctors and surgeons when combatting cancer, which affects approximately one in every three people in some form. Removing cancerous tissue by surgical means is particularly challenging, as the difference between healthy tissue and tumorous tissue is often difficult, if not impossible, to perceive. This can often lead to cancerous cells being left behind in the body, often resulting in further bouts of surgery.

The new ‘high-tech goggles’, currently being tested at pilot stage by scientists in the USA,  could potentially be an answer to the challenges posed by detecting cancerous tissue. The goggles allow surgeons to distinguish cancerous cells from healthy tissue, by causing cancerous cells to ‘glow’. Scientists hope that the goggles will enable surgeons to remove all the affected tissue in a single surgery, leaving no part of the tumour behind.

Dr Ryan Fields, a surgeon at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said: “The technology is quite amazing – almost like having a microscope to guide your surgery in the operating room.”

Just how do the goggles work? In fact, the goggles are not the only thing to play a role in this incredible technology. Before undergoing surgery, the patient is injected with a type of dye, containing a small protein called peptide. This protein has a unique quality, in that it is able to seek out and bind to cancer cells – and cancer cells only – effectively ‘dying’ them.

These ‘dyed’ cells emit light: a specific speed of light that is imperceptible to humans. The goggles are designed to overcome this problem, by using a sensor, which  The dyed cancer cells emit light at a wavelength that cannot be seen by the human eye, but can be detected by a sensor in the goggles worn by the surgeons.

“The sensor captures the fluorescence from the dye lodged in cancer tissue and projects the image into the surgeon’s [field of] view,” explained a doctor working on the development of the dye and goggle technology.  “This creates an augmented reality that allows the surgeons to see cancer cells glowing, providing real-time guidance during surgery.

Whilst the goggles are still in their prototype form, scientists and surgeons alike have strong hope in their potential to reduce the number of secondary surgeries in cancer-related cases. Indeed, it is thought that up to 40 per cent of breast cancer patients in the USA require secondary follow-up surgeries to remove cancerous tissue left behind in the first operation.

“It has the potential to reduce the size of operations, when safe, and guide us to take out more tissue, when required,” said Dr Fields.

However, the goggles will require much larger trials to prove their reliability before they can be considered for routine use.

 

Sources include: BBC News, The Week

——————————————————————–

TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

For translation and interpreting services in Japanese, please visit oursister site, The Japanese Connection.

 

Members of: ATCITIProz

See our LinkedIn profile or visit us on Twitter


Diesel boom results in increased numbers of air pollution-related deaths

November 19, 2013

Ahhh, London. Breathe in deep, and get yourself a lungful of that wonderful smell, of chip shops, sewers and, best of all, exhaust fumes. It’s not for nothing that the United Kingdom’s capital city is more commonly known as ‘The Big Smoke’. And according to Public Health England, our daily commute through a thick fog of car exhaust emissions could be more costly for our health than we dared to believe.

A recent report by Public Health England has stated that in almost half of London boroughs, there was a significant increase in the proportion of deaths from air pollution between 2010 and 2011.

In recent years, the capital has seen an extra 360,000 diesel-run vehicles on the roads, spewing their fumes into the atmosphere. The motivation for this change to diesel is due to its relative environmental friendliness as compared to petrol, as it releases fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This increase in traffic is suggested to be partly to blame for such a rise in pollution-related deaths, as diesel, unlike petrol, emits certain harmful particles when burnt, which aggravate heart and lung conditions. Public Health England noted a rise in air pollution-related deaths in 15 boroughs. In the borough of Westminster, percentages attributed to pollution rose from 8.30 to 8.32 in 2011. In sharp contrast, England’s average percentage is 5.36%.

Frank Kelly, of King’s College London said of the figures: “The climate-change linked policy of favouring diesel over petrol has really backfired for Europe because of the increased pollution. We need more electric vehicles, but the simplest solution is to reduce the traffic on our roads.”

Source include the New Scientist

—————————————————————————————-

TJC-Global offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 180 languages.

Equipped with the broad range of skills which our network provides, TJC Global has been able to deliver a focused and dedicated service to our diverse range of clients for more than 20 years. This is why we have obtained the trust of our clientele and enjoy a reputation of being a global leader in our field.  You can also visit our sister site for professional Japanese translation and interpretation services.

Members of: ATC, ITI, Proz

See our LinkedIn profile or visit us on Twitter


Feel no pain? Congenital analgesia research paves the way to new pain medicine

September 18, 2013

A girl who does not feel pain may hold the key to new developments in painkiller medicine.

Researchers who have studied the girl, who has congenital analgesia (a disorder which means that she is unable to feel physical pain) have discovered a gene mutation in her DNA which they believe disrupts and often blocks the perception of pain. Using their findings, they hope to go on to develop new types of pain medication, which would work in much the same way by blocking the neural impulses which transmit pain.

The gene in question, identified by a team of researchers (led by Ingo Kurth) at the Jena University Hospital in Germany, is named SCN11A, and is responsible for controlling the way in which pain-detecting neurons develop. Kurth and her team were able to identify and locate the gene by comparing the young girl’s DNA sequence against those of her parents. Upon further investigation, the team found that in typically developed people, sodium ions travel through these pain-sensing neurons, creating electrical nerve impulses to the brain. It is these electrical impulses which are responsible for alerting the brain to painful sensations. In people with congenital analgesia, the researchers found that the SCN11A gene was overactive, causing a build-up of  the electrical nerve impulses, which are not discharged and thus fail to transmit the pain signals to the brain. As a result, those with the disorder are numbed to all physical pain.

Kurth and her team confirmed their findings by injecting mice with a mutated form of the gene and testing the subjects to learn whether their ability to feel pain was affected. A common feature of people with congenital analgesia is the acquisition of wounds without the person realising. Indeed, the mice who received the mutated gene were found to develop such injuries, whereas the control group of mice did not.  The mice who received the gene were also noted to take over twice as long as the control group to react when a hot light beam was placed close to their tails. Speaking of the experiment, Kurth said: “What became clear from our experiments is that although there are similarities between mice and men with the mutation, the degree of pain insensitivity is more prominent in humans.”

The team hopes that with these positive results, they will be able to begin the development of new drugs which would selectively block the SCN11A channel, thus acting as a painkiller.

Sources include New Scientist

…………………………………………………………….

TJC can provide professional translation and interpretation services and have specialists working in a range of areas including medical conferences, pharmaceutics, and other medical fields. Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. For further information about what we can offer your organisation, please visit our website or contact us. You can also visit our sister site for professional Japanese translation and interpretation services.

If you require an interpreter for a Medical Conference, please see our Medical Conference Interpreter page

Members of: ATCITIProz

See our LinkedIn profile or visit us on Twitter


Stick insects a clue to the secrets of antibiotic resistance

September 9, 2013

Scientists in Norwich have discovered an entirely new source of antibiotics, in a very surprising location: stick insects.

Researchers at the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich claim that a microbe located in the gut of a particular stick insect, the giant lime green stick insect, could be an unexpected aide in the battle against antibiotic resistance.

The giant lime green stick insect feeds primarily upon eucalyptus, a plant which is well-known for its antibacterial properties. In fact, the stick insect, when introduced to certain toxins and infections, which it would almost certainly never have come across naturally in the wild, showed a remarkable resistance to them. Such a response is, claim the Norwich researchers, indicative of an exciting mechanism at work, one which could hold the key to the secrets of antibiotic resistance.

Katarzyna Ignasiak, who is working on the research with the stick insects at the JIC, said: “This research is at the very early stage but it is exciting to investigate new solutions to the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance.

Indeed, this is a problem which has become increasingly worrisome for scientists in recent years, as large numbers of drugs become less effective or even ineffective each year due to microbes evolving to become resistant to antibiotics.

Professor Tony Maxwell, head of biological chemistry at the JIC, said of the situation: “If we don’t take action now, antibiotic resistance could mean that widely used treatments for diseases including cancer and common operations such as hip replacements could become impossible.”

The antibiotic properties of the stick insect are not entirely new. In the recent past, scientists have also discovered similar effects in the leafcutter ant, who carries an antibiotic on its skin. These ants cut sections off the leaves, which they carry underground to allow it to decompose into a type of fungus. In order to protect this fungus from microbes and bacteria, and to encourage the fungus’ growth, the ants carry an antibiotic-producing bacteria on their skin.

One antibiotic discovered on leafcutter ants is already used in an antifungal in modern medicine, and the researchers at the JIC hope that further study of the giant lime green stick insect will lead to the uncovering of new antibiotics in the future.

Sources include BBC News, Pharmiweb

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

TJC-Global offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 180 languages.

TJC Global‘s medical interpretation service offers a complete package. Medical interpreting is a highly specialized area, and should only be attempted by qualified, experienced medical interpreters. Instructions, dosages and procedures must be conveyed accurately, and medical terminology must be fully understood. TJC Oxford has a network of Translators often holding a degree or certificate in the medical sciences, as well as being a native speaker in at least two languages. This means we can provide a bespoke medical interpretation service of unparaled quality, covering all aspects of the industry.

For further information about what we can offer your organization, please visit our website or contact us. You can also visit our sister site for professional Japanese translation and interpretation services.

Members of: ATCITIProz

See our LinkedIn profile or visit us on Twitter


%d bloggers like this: