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Somatek looks back at 2020

It goes without saying, 2020 was a year with major challenges and disruptions. However, it was also a year of growth and new opportunities for the biotechnology industry and for Somatek. In the summer of 2020 Somatek moved into newly renovated laboratory facilities in...

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Cold chain is a hot topic among investors

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 received an emergency use authorization from the FDA last Friday, and thousands of doses are being rolled out across the country this week. But the vaccine, which must be stored at between -80 and -60 degrees Celsius, necessitates the utilization of a “cold chain” to keep it within this temperature range from the moment it leaves the manufacturing site to just before it is administered to a patient.

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Pfizer reports coronavirus vaccine with more than 90% efficacy

In what could prove to be a turning point in the fight against COVID-19, U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech announced yesterday that one of their coronavirus vaccines is more than 90% effective at preventing the viral disease, according to new data from its Phase III trial. They are predicting that they will have the requisite safety data for an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA before the end of the month.

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Chronic jet lag deregulates cancer cell microenvironment

Mounting evidence suggests that good sleep is critical to many aspects of our health. Circadian rhythms regulate the sleep-wake cycle in everything from mammals to fruit flies to plants, and keeps them synced up to the 24-hour cycle of the Earth’s rotation. In humans, circadian rhythms can be disrupted by chronic jet lag and shift work. New research indicates that disrupting these rhythms has negative consequences for both tumor size and microenvironment in mice.

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Tiny bovine antibody fragments show big potential

In the world of monoclonal antibodies, being small is a big deal. Smaller antibodies and antibody fragments can penetrate solid tumors that would be inaccessible to larger antibodies, and some can even make it across the blood-brain barrier. That’s why it’s exciting that researchers at the University of Bath and UCB (a Belgian biotech company) have designed extra-small antibody fragments from cows.

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Maternal microbiome affects brain development in mice

Researchers led by UCLA’s Helen E. Vuong have determined that the presence of specific bacteria in the gut of pregnant mice can lead to long-term behavioral changes in the mice’s offspring. The group’s work contributes to the growing understanding of the relationship between gut bacteria and brain development.

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Novel fusion protein could help hemophilia A patients

Hemophilia A, a rare medical condition that prevents blood from clotting properly, may soon have a new therapy to contend with, courtesy of a team led by hematologist Barbara Konkle of Bloodworks Northwest. A new fusion protein based on factor VIII has shown promising results in a small-scale clinical trial and has some researchers hopeful that this novel therapy could make life easier for hemophilia A patients.

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Microgels protect transplanted islet cells from immune system

People with type I diabetes are unable to make the insulin needed to regulate their blood sugar, which is why they must take exogenous insulin every day. Another treatment option is pancreatic islet transplantation, wherein healthy donor islets (tiny structures which contain insulin-producing beta cells) are transplanted into the diabetic patient.

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