More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2050. The disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. And the economic impact is massive, with hundreds of billions spent annually fighting it. Athira Pharma is on a mission to treat the debilitating disorder — and now it has additional…
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Taking on Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is extremely difficult to study because the structure the immune system attacks — called the myelin sheath — is buried deep in the brain and spinal cord. “For autoimmune diseases that affect tissues like the skin, researchers can usually biopsy and study these samples,” says BRI’s Estelle Bettelli, PhD. “But the brain is such a complex organ…
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Using 3D Model to Study Effect of Curvature on Endothelial Cells

Picture the route a car might take through a city. To reach the other side of town, it must navigate a complex network of wide, straight highways, busy streets and avenues, and side roads that bend and curve in unpredictable patterns. Civic engineers and traffic safety experts hoping to understand how differences in this varied environment influence human behavior might…
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New Test Better Predicts Which Babies Will Develop Type 1 Diabetes

A new approach to predicting which babies will develop type 1 diabetes (T1D) — which could help them avoid life-threatening complications — is closer to becoming part of routine testing for newborns. The Hagopian lab, located at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI), is part of a pioneering international study following more than 8,000 children with increased genetic risk for…
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How COVID-19 Has Opened Science

Six months after COVID-19 shut down world economies, closed borders and unleashed sickness and death around the globe, the pandemic has helped to break open the cloistered world of medical research. “Open science” is a movement predating the pandemic, largely led by younger researchers eager to cast aside the arcane rules of academic publishing and often secretive, slow peer reviews…
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When graduate student Kate Dusenbury Crawford returned to the lab from her honeymoon on Jan. 20, she had no idea it was a fateful day in her nascent scientific career. The M.D./Ph.D. student in Dr. Jesse Bloom’s lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center studies the proteins that viruses like Ebola and rabies use to enter cells — work that could…
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Merck is making a major investment into Bothwell, Washington-based Seattle Genetics with two strategic oncology deals. Seattle Genetics’ shares rocketed 12% in premarket trading at the news. In the first deal, the two companies will work to develop Seattle Genetics’ ladiratuzumab vedotin both as a monotherapy and with Merck’s checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in triple-negative breast cancer, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and other LIV-1-expressing…
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o read Lexi Walls’ dissertation now is an eerie exercise in watching someone predict the future with precision. “The tremendous pandemic potential of coronaviruses was demonstrated twice recently by two global outbreaks of deadly pneumonia,” Walls wrote in 2019, referring to coronavirus outbreaks of SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012. Despite the threat coronaviruses posed, Walls found that there…
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Computer-designed small proteins have now been shown to protect lab-grown human cells from SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The findings are reported today, Sept. 9, in Science.  Here is the paper. In the experiments, the lead antiviral candidate, named LCB1, rivaled the best-known SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in its protective actions. LCB1 is currently being evaluated in rodents. Coronaviruses are studded…
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In rodents with type 2 diabetes, a single surgical injection of a protein called fibroblast growth factor 1 can restore blood sugar levels to normal for weeks or months. Yet how this growth factor acts in the brain to generate this lasting benefit has been poorly understood. Clarifying how this occurs might lead to more effective diabetes treatments that tap…
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