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Top 10 Most Concerned Studies In Biomedicine Field of 2021

Release time:2021/12/31 17:20:55
Author:Huateng Pharma

In the biomedical industry, scientific breakthroughs are always the source of progress. It is precisely those scientific …

In the biomedical industry, scientific breakthroughs are always the source of progress. It is precisely those scientific discoveries that have subverted tradition or refreshed cognition that gives the pharmaceutical industry a new direction to better design and develop innovative therapies for the benefit of patients. Lets have a look at 10 of the most compelling research stories of the year.

1. Stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes 

In October of this year, Vertex Pharmaceuticals made a breakthrough in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. In a phase 1/2 clinical trial, patients with type 1 diabetes received their fully differentiated islet cell replacement therapy derived from stem cells. On the 90th day after receiving the single dose, the patient resumed insulin production and reduced daily insulin usage by 91%. The press release pointed out that this is the first trial to confirm that this cell therapy can significantly restore the function of pancreatic islet cells in patients with type 1 diabetes.

2. Alzheimer's plaques may have a protective effect

One of the major pathological feature of Alzheimer's disease is the deposition of β-amyloid plaques. There have been many treatments for this plaque in the past, but most of them failed to improve the memory and cognitive abilities of patients. Therefore, many researchers have gradually begun to realize that these plaque deposits may not be all of the disease. Scientists from the Salk Institute published a paper in Nature Immunology, and put forward a new view on the "toxicity" of a type of amyloid plaque. They found that the production of such protein plaques is to protect brain cells. Therefore, the treatment of removing protein plaques may bring about more harm than good consequences.

3.Five genes related to dementia 

A scientific research team found five genes that seem to determine whether a patient will develop Lewy body dementia. The research was published in Nature Genetics. The researchers pointed out that their findings indicate that Lewy body dementia may be caused by a series of problems, and this finding may be related to Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. With a better understanding of these diseases, we can hope to develop better therapies.

4. Why obesity is related to inflammation?

People have recognized the various risks of obesity, including increased risks of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infections. But why is obesity related to so many inflammatory conditions? Scientists have discovered that in mice, a type of cell can induce inflammation in adipose tissue. Mice store excess calories in the form of triglycerides in white adipose tissue. Once obesity occurs, these white adipose tissues will be overloaded, causing fat cells to die and activating immune cells.

5. Demystifying the sequelae of the COVID-19

The sequelae of the COVID-19 will bring many unexpected symptoms, one of which is the dizziness of the brain and the inability to think normally. In medical terms, this is a type of encephalopathy that causes loss of short-term memory, headaches and confusion. When the condition is severe, mental problems may also occur. In Cancer Cell, the researchers pointed out that this was because patients were flooded with too many cytokines in their cerebrospinal fluid due to persistent inflammation, which could explain their symptoms.

6. Novel molecules to reverse neuronal damage in ALS  

Researchers from Northwestern University have identified a promising molecule to treat ALS by reversing the continued degeneration of motor neurons associated with the disease.  A hallmark of ALS is the progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and eventually causes them to die, affecting the brain's control of the muscles. The study pointed out that this research molecule called NU-9 can reduce protein misfolding in cell lines and can penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

7. Astrocytes repair brain damage

A study found that astrocytes protect the surrounding brain tissue after the brain is damaged. These cells participate in a defense mechanism called "reactive astrogliosis", which can help control inflammation and tissue damage. These cells also ensure that nerve cells near the damaged location can survive, thereby maintaining the function of the neural network.

8. The revelation of Jurassic Park?

In the movie "Jurassic Park", scientists isolated dinosaur DNA from amber and finally cloned dinosaurs. A study from the University of Minnesota is doing similar work. Of course, their work is not to bring dinosaurs back to life-in traditional medicine, amber was used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, and some studies have pointed out that this is because some of the molecules in amber may have antibacterial effects. From amber samples, scientists have isolated many compounds that have the ability to kill Gram-positive bacteria.

9. The key to living to 105

A study from Italy analyzed super longevity stars who lived over 105 and 110 years old. By comparing the genetic codes of these elderly and ordinary people, the researchers found that in long-lived people, there are five common genetic variations between the two genes COA1 and STK17A. Subsequent analysis found that these mutations may affect the expression of COA1, STK17A, and another gene, BLVRA. This also points out the direction for scientists to study longevity genes.

10. Junk DNA and longevity

For a long time, people regarded the non-coding regions of DNA as junk DNA. Recently, more and more studies have shown that these junk DNA have important functions, particularly in regulating other genes. A study found that a DNA region called VNTR2-1 can drive the gene activity of telomerase and prevent aging in some types of cells. Generally speaking, the longer a person lives, the shorter their telomeres will be. But in some germ cells or cancer cells, active telomerase can restore the length of telomeres, allowing these cells to gain immortality in a sense.

Hundreds of papers are published every day. People may not know their significance at the moment of publication. But in retrospect, it was these unimpressive papers that laid the foundations of important science. We also hope that more scientific discoveries can be transformed into innovative therapies to benefit patients around the world!

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