A computational strategy has delivered a redesigned, more stable version of a cytokine protein that mimics the natural protein’s interactions with receptors, opening the way for designer cytokine-based therapeutics. Prof Yvonne Jones et al writing in Nature, describes how they have engineered a protein structure from scratch to replicate the beneficial receptor-binding properties of IL-2 without the drawbacks of the original cytokine.
Four out of five people in the world with diabetes now live in low and middle income countries. Professor Susanna Dunachie and her Thai collaborator Parinya Chamnan describe how diabetes leads to increased risk and worse outcomes for global infections such as TB, melioidosis and dengue, alongside discussing potential mechanisms and interventions.
Vaccines against Ebola remain an urgent global health priority and outbreaks continue, notably the ongoing outbreak in North Kivu in the DRC. In this study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, scientists from the Jenner Institute and IRESSEF in Senegal showed that combining two new vaccines against Ebola was safe and induced strong immune responses
Pneumothorax is a common condition which can affect anyone where air leaks from the lung and causes lung collapse. Researchers from the Clinical Trials Support Unit and Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit have conducted the world’s largest ever analysis of pneumothorax (over 170,000 cases) using hospital records, and demonstrated that this condition is increasing. The reasons for this are not clear, but provide important data on trends in this disease, and highlight the need for further research in to treatment and prevention
Disease processes can switch genes on or off in a cell and this can alter the progress of the disease. In studying the control of immune genes, Chris O’Callaghan and colleagues have discovered a new form of regulation in human genes—interacting control elements within an individual gene can flip the switch on the gene in the opposite direction to that expected.
A study from Bangkok by Professor Wirichada Pan-Ngum and colleagues shows accessing households for proper spraying was a problem for control dengue outbreaks. In addition, inefficient communications among the sectors from hospital to district offices led to inaccurate or missing patient addresses for spraying. Involving community networks help to improve public engagement with and participation in the programmes.
The leading Oxford’s chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine platform has been engineered as a Zika vaccine, opening the door to clinical trials at the University of Oxford and Mexico. The development was published in Nature Communications in a multinational team effort lead by Prof. Arturo Reyes-Sandoval, the Jenner Institute (NDM) in collaboration with Imperial College London, University of Glasgow, Harvard Medical School, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil.
The prevalence of malignant pleural effusion is increasing worldwide, but prognostic biomarkers to plan treatment and to understand the underlying mechanisms of disease progression remain unidentified. The PROMISE study was designed with the objectives to discover, validate, and prospectively assess biomarkers of survival and pleurodesis response in malignant pleural effusion and build a score that predicts survival.