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Biologs Phenotype MicroArray Technology Unlocks Critical Clue in Understanding Autism

Hayward, CA (PRWEB) June 05, 2013

Discovery Demonstrates Advantage of Metabolic over Genetic Screening

Biolog, Inc., creator of powerful cell analysis technologies for biomedical research and development, announced today a breakthrough in autism research made by using its advanced Phenotype MicroArray (PM) cell scanning technology. In a paper published in the journal Molecular Autism, researchers from the Greenwood Genetic Center reported a 100 percent correlation (87/87) of decreased metabolism of L-tryptophan in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASDs. The metabolic alteration was not seen in 128/128 controls sampled from normal and other neurologically-impaired populations. This is the first time L-tryptophan metabolism has been definitively linked to ASDs and this connection may lead to a better understanding of the biochemistry underlying ASDs and direct studies toward effective diagnosis and treatment.

“Autism is having a tremendous societal and financial impact with an alarming incidence rate, affecting approximately 1 in 50 school-aged children in the US. But the reasons behind the rise of this disorder remain a mystery to researchers,” states Charles Schwartz, Ph.D., Director of Research at Greenwood Genetic Center and lead investigator. “This critical discovery has important implications and applications, focusing future research on tryptophan metabolism as a possible basis for diagnosis and treatment of ASD. As tryptophan is a precursor to many important neurochemicals, changes in its metabolism could result from many genetic changes and explain why single gene association studies have been unsuccessful in providing an understanding of this disorder. We believe that these findings are just the beginning steps toward solving the multiple mysteries that make up ASDs.”

Using Biolog’s proprietary Phenotype MicroArray (PM) technology, Dr. Schwartz and Luigi Boccuto, M.D., Staff Scientist at Greenwood Genetic Center, measured metabolic pathway activities in transformed blood cells sampled from diverse populations and found that decreased metabolism of L-tryptophan was present in 100 percent of samples from patients with confirmed diagnosis of ASDs. L-tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted to form many important neurochemicals including serotonin, kynurenine, kynurenic acid, and quinolinic acid. These neurochemicals have potent effects on developing brains and an alteration in their production provides a hypothesis that could explain autism and lead to a treatment or an approach to prevention. In the shorter term, it may provide the basis for a blood test that could offer an early screening of ASDs.

“We are thrilled that Biolog’s PM technology helped Dr. Schwartz in this pioneering research and that it has led to this breakthrough discovery,” said Barry Bochner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Biolog, Inc. (Hayward, CA). “PM technology provides high throughput phenotyping and metabolic scanning of cells, making it a powerful complement or alternative to genotyping studies. PM technology has great, untapped potential to enable additional breakthrough discoveries with other human disorders. Research laboratories are just beginning to adopt PM technology for research in diseases like diabetes, obesity and cancer.”

“This success with ASDs suggests that Biolog’s metabolic scanning technology may provide an invaluable technology for understanding the basis of other human disorders. We already have intriguing initial data on metabolic alterations with some other non-ASD neurological conditions such as somatic overgrowth and intellectual disability,” added Dr. Boccuto.

About the Study

This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. Biolog’s PM technology enabled this important discovery by accurately measuring the ability of cells to generate metabolic energy from a set of 367 biochemical nutrients. Dr. Boccuto in the Schwartz lab at Greenwood started the study by performing the PM metabolic scans on lymphoblastoid cell lines created from white cells taken from 17 patients with ASDs and compared the results against 18 patients without ASDs. He noted that cells from ASD patients had decreased metabolism of L-tryptophan and peptides containing L-tryptophan. Cells taken from patients without ASDs did not show this change. Subsequently, the study was broadened to include a total of 87 ASD samples with the predictive correlation remaining at 100 percent. As further support of this discovery, the authors measured the relative expression of genes involved in L-tryptophan metabolism pathways and found that some of these were also decreased in cells from 10 ASD patients.

About Phenotype MicroArray Technology

Phenotype MicroArray technology was developed initially for basic research in microbial cells with SBIR funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Subsequently, the technology was extended to work in human and other animal cells with funding from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health. The technology provides a metabolic and phenotypic scan of cells. Unlike metabolomic analysis that typically employs mass spectrometry to measure the pool levels of metabolites in cells, PM technology’s phenomic analysis actually measures metabolic flux rates of various cellular pathways using a universal readout of cellular energy production. One important application is in cancer research, where PM technology can be used to study metabolic reprogramming (the Warburg effect) and the relationship between changes in oncogenes and changes in energy metabolism. A second application is in diabetes and obesity research, where shifts in energy metabolism are important in determining when and how cells burn or store calories. Energy metabolism changes are also fundamental to understanding chemical toxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction and aging. Additionally, PM technology can be a productive tool for optimizing industrial bioprocesses where cells use energy to grow and produce a desired product such as an antibody or vaccine.

About Biolog, Inc.

Biolog is a privately-held company based in Hayward, CA, that continues to lead in the development of powerful new cell analysis tools for solving critical problems in biological, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological research and development. It is the world leader in phenotypic cell profiling. Biolog’s advanced phenotypic analysis technology is unique in its broad applicability to cells – this includes bacterial cells and fungal cells as well as animal cells. More than 260 scientific publications and presentations document the effectiveness and productivity of PM technology. The PM product line adds to the innovative microbial identification products offered by the company, such as the new GEN III System. Biolog products are available worldwide, either directly from the company or through its extensive network of international distributors. Further information can be obtained at Biolog’s website, http://www.biolog.com.

About Greenwood Genetic Center

The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization advancing the field of medical genetics and caring for families impacted by genetic disease and birth defects. At its home campus in Greenwood, SC, a talented team of physicians and scientists provides clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in the field of medical genetics. GGC’s faculty and staff are committed to the goal of developing preventive and curative therapies for the individuals and families they serve. GGC extends its reach as a resource to all residents of South Carolina with satellite offices in Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Greenville. For more information about GGC please visit http://www.ggc.org.

Stevens Institute of Technology Receives $251,000 Instrumentation Donation from Merc

Hoboken, NJ (PRWEB) December 18, 2014

Instruments will aide in the study of new drug discovery

The Center for Healthcare Innovation at Stevens Institute of Technology has received a donation of laboratory instruments, valued at more than $ 251,500, to establish a new Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory within the Biotechnology and Drug Discovery Laboratory aimed at exposing students to biotechnology and drug development. Preclinical drug discovery is the first step toward the development of new medications for the treatment of a variety of diseases.

Merck, a global healthcare leader, donated both large and small pieces of equipment that were no longer being utilized. The donated items include fluorescence plate readers, a spectropolarimeter, and isothermal titration calorimeter which will allow students to develop their biochemistry and biophysical chemistry expertise in enzyme kinetics and drug binding. Had the instruments been purchased at their original retail price, the cost would be more than $ 600,000.

“This donation will give Stevens more competencies to train our students in more detailed aspects of drug discovery and development,” says Dr. Peter Tolias, Professor and Director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation. “Furthermore, the gift provides new resources for the faculty, and affords an opportunity to move forward with our drug discovery projects.”

The instruments were delivered by Merck in late October and are currently in place to assist with the development of biological and chemically-based drugs.

“These instruments will be useful in our research to confirm the activity of newly discovered drugs and to understand how the drugs bind and inhibit the function of proteins involved in causing disease,” said Dr. William Windsor, Director of the Biophysical Chemistry Laboratory. “Ultimately, we would also like to develop a course that incorporates the new lab for students to conduct research and receive credit.”

The Biotechnology and Drug-Discovery Laboratory opened in January 2014 as a new biotechnology and drug discovery enterprise that partners with other Stevens faculty, students and external academic and industry collaborators.

About the Stevens Center for Healthcare Innovation

The Stevens Center for Healthcare Innovation seeks solutions to improve medical technology and healthcare delivery through education and research, connecting the fields of medicine, engineering and science by sponsoring research, building partnerships, commercializing intellectual property and creating curricula to strengthen skill gaps in the workforce. Over 60 university faculty from diverse academic disciplines are affiliated with the Center for Healthcare Innovation, tackling unmet needs in medical technology and major issues in healthcare delivery with their students. Current areas of research include tissue engineering of cancer biopsies for drug assessment and therapy selection, biomaterials that promote cell growth and control infection in implanted prosthetic and medical devices, drug discovery and development initiatives, mobile healthcare and telemedicine applications, and data analytics and modeling of healthcare delivery systems. Additional information can be obtained at the Center for Healthcare Innovation website at http://www.stevens.edu/chi or by contacting the center’s director at ptolias(at)stevens(dot)edu.

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University®, is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, N.J. overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Founded in 1870, technological innovation has been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens’ education and research programs for more than 140 years. Within the university’s three schools and one college, more than 6,800 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with more than 380 faculty members in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment to advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront global challenges. Stevens is home to four national research centers of excellence, as well as joint research programs focused on critical industries such as healthcare, energy, finance, defense, maritime security, STEM education and coastal sustainability. The university is consistently ranked among the nation’s elite for return on investment for students, career services programs and mid-career salaries of alumni. Stevens is in the midst of a 10-year strategic plan, The Future. Ours to Create., designed to further extend the Stevens legacy to create a forward-looking and far-reaching institution with global impact.

“Great Ideas, Valuable Inventions: Patents and Technology Transfer”

“Great Ideas, Valuable Inventions: Patents and Technology Transfer”
WEST HAVEN, CONN. –Todd E. Garabedian, a partner at Cantor Colburn, will discuss changes in U.S patent law on Wednesday, April 15 at 12:15 p.m. at the University of New Haven. The event is part of the Alvine Engineering Professional Effectiveness and …
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Ball Appointed Dean of Medicine, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
1, 2014, after Thomas Boat, MD, stepped down from those positions. The Board's action today elevates the vice … Deeply involved in research, the college and the affiliated Cincinnati Children's received more than $ 290 million in research funding in …
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College News
Oneida High School graduate Jenelle Yeoman ('12) has been inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society at SUNY Potsdam. Phi Kappa Phi celebrates excellence in academics and integrity of character. Yeoman, a second semester junior, was …
Read more on Oneida Dispatch

Site Specific ADC Generation Using SMARTag Technology Platform to be Presented at World ADC Congress

Somerset, N.J. (PRWEB) October 21, 2014

Dr. David Rabuka, Catalent Pharma Solutions’ Global Head of R&D Chemical Biology, is to present “Site Specific Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) Generation using SMARTag™ Technology” at the forthcoming World ADC Congress, which takes place from 26th to 29th October 2014, at the San Diego Marriott Marquis Hotel, San Diego, California.

Dr. Rabuka’s presentation, on Monday 27th October at 11 am, will explain how Catalent’s SMARTag technology platform enables precise and programmable site specific chemical protein modification and the development of novel conjugation chemistry resulting in ADCs with enhanced stability. He will also highlight specialized linker chemistry that optimizes the potency of the cytotoxic payload.

Catalent announced in October 2014 that it had purchased the remaining stake in SMARTag technology’s creator, Redwood Bioscience Inc., following the successful achievement of in vivo and in vitro proof of concept milestones, recent compelling in vivo toxicology data, and strong customer interest in the technology.

The novel, site-specific SMARTag technology enables the generation of homogenous bioconjugates, engineered to improve performance and ease of manufacturing. Combined with Catalent’s proprietary GPEx® cell line expression system, its new state-of-the-art biomanufacturing Center of Excellence in Madison, Wisconsin, and broad range of analytical and fill-finish services, Catalent helps its customers to develop more and better biologics treatments.

Dr. Rabuka assumed the role of Catalent Pharma Solutions’ Global Head of R&D Chemical Biology in October 2014, following Catalent’s acquisition of Redwood Bioscience Inc., where he had previously acted as President and Chief Scientific Officer. He received a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley as a Chevron Fellow in the lab of Professor Carolyn Bertozzi. His research included developing and applying Redwood’s platform technology to cell surface modifications. Prior to joining Professor Bertozzi’s lab, Dr. Rabuka worked at the Burnham Institute, synthesizing complex glycans, followed by Optimer Pharmaceuticals, where he was an early employee, focused on the development of glycan and macrolide based antibiotics. He graduated with a double honors B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan where he received the Dean’s Science Award and holds an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta. Dr. Rabuka is an author on over 20 major publications, as well as numerous book chapters and patents.

About Catalent

Catalent Pharma Solutions, is the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products. With over 80 years serving the industry, Catalent has proven expertise in bringing more customer products to market faster, enhancing product performance and ensuring reliable clinical and commercial product supply. Catalent employs approximately 8,000 people, including over 1,000 scientists, at nearly 30 facilities across 5 continents and in fiscal 2014 generated more than $ 1.8 billion in annual revenue. Catalent is headquartered in Somerset, N.J. For more information, visit http://www.catalent.com

More products. Better treatments. Reliably supplied.™

Key worker in protein synthesis factory revealed – Phys.org

In all living cells, DNA makes RNA and RNA makes proteins . The molecular factory that translates the information from RNA to proteins is called the 'ribosome' (shown in the accompanying movie). It is a large and …

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Key worker in protein synthesis factory revealed – Phys.org

Japanese researcher's death highlights problems in dealing with …

… the STAP controversy deeply disturbing. The STAP controversy began in January over two papers published in the journal Nature

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Japanese researcher's death highlights problems in dealing with …

A curious defense mechanism of some scorpions | Baldscientist

The biochemistry is fascinating, but the wide variety of behaviors that animals use to make use of such venoms is equally remarkable. … ( 2014 ) Venom variation during prey capture by the cone snail, Conus textile

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A curious defense mechanism of some scorpions | Baldscientist

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